OLBERMANN: But even in that context, other historical examples, President Reagan rebounded from Iran-contra, and President Clinton rebounded after the impeachment. But Harry Truman did not shake off Korea while troops were still in Korea, and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon certainly didn’t shake off Vietnam while troops were there. Are not the president’s poll numbers, and, to a large degree, his presidency now, absolutely indivisible from our continuing presence in Iraq?
ALTER: Yes, I think pretty much, which is why there are not a lot of people who expect him to move very much in the polls. And once you’re tagged as an incompetent, that’s pretty hard to recover from.
I mean, you’ve got a situation now where, you know, in workplaces across America, if somebody says, He’s a real Dick Cheney, what they mean is, a guy who sounds like he has a lot of gravitas in those meetings at your company, and looks the part, but is actually, you know, kind of full of it and can’t get the job done when it comes to making a profit.
And so that’s where these guys are now. Their credibility for getting the job done has been eroded, I think largely because they surround themselves with these yes-men, the truth doesn’t get up the chain of command, as we saw with these trailers. So theyâ€”because people feel like if they tell them the truth, they’re just going to get their heads bitten off. And as a result, your batting average on decisions goes down, down, down, your competence level goes down, down, down, because you’re not making well-informed decisions.