An Oral History of the Bush White House

Just finished reading a very long piece on the Bush administration in Vanity Fair. Almost 40 pages printed from their website. It reads like a very depressing, but gripping, novel. Painful but hard to put down. I’m posting here because I don’t consider this politics. If you don’t want to wait for The Golden Bush Years chapter in the 2080 history books, read this Vanity Fair account. Sort of a high colonic to start the year off clean. A few nuggets from the final page:

“Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell: As my boss [Colin Powell] once said, Bush had a lot of .45-caliber instincts, cowboy instincts. Cheney knew exactly how to polish him and rub him. He knew exactly when to give him a memo or when to do this or when to do that and exactly the word choice to use to get him really excited.

Bob Graham, Democratic senator from Florida and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee: One of our difficulties now is getting the rest of the world to accept our assessment of the seriousness of an issue, because they say, You screwed it up so badly with Iraq, why would we believe that you’re any better today? And it’s a damn hard question to answer.

Meanwhile, the Taliban and al-Qaeda have relocated, have strengthened, have become a more nimble and a much more international organization. The threat is greater today than it was on September the 11th.

David Kuo, deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives: It’s kind of like the Tower of Babel. At a certain point in time, God smites hubris. You knew that right around the time people started saying there’s going to be a permanent Republican majority—that God kinda goes, No, I really don’t think so.”

I Told You So!

Strange/muted tension at work today. I am one of a handful (five? six?) of out-of-the-closet Obama supporters in our office. Two years ago, Bush supporters roamed the hallways like Senior jocks, administering titty-twisters to freshmen Liberals. As Bush devolved into the pariah he has become, they shed their Neocon uniforms and melted back into the crowd.

Today, the morning after the majority of Americans said they’d had enough of W and his ilk, I gave the gop’er’s lots of room and resisted the Snoopy Dance. And they found other things to talk about as we passed each other in the parking lot.

A few have dropped a little chum in the water to see if I’d bite ("Boy, the country is in trouble NOW"). But it’s hard to lay this shit-storm at O’s feet after only a few hours.

But it’s coming. A few of my pals are already looking forward to playing "I Told You So," but I’m ready.

I’m encouraging them to chronicle every misstep of our new president. If they don’t have a blog, I’ll help them set one up. They can share their anger and despair with the world. And me.

For those that insist on sharing their political angst with me in person, I’m introducing a new feature on my politix blog:

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"I Told You So."

I’m keeping an audio recorder with me at all times. When the subject turns to President Obama’s latest terrorist/socialist/liberal sin, I whip out the recorder and let them have their say. Which I’ll post to the politix blog. Unedited and unfiltered. A bully digital pulpit.

Don’t want to go on the record, no problem ("Did you see 30 Rock last night?").

Seriously,  hope it doesn’t come up. I HATE talking about politics. Or religion. Or my sexual fantasies. I’ve posted on this before.

So, if you love me… if you enjoy my company, but hate my politics… don’t read my blogs. And I won’t read yours. But we can both have our say and spend our time together talking about movies or books or that smokin’ hot intern.

“Like watching Gidget address the Reichstag”

[Alert: McCainiacs and Palinistas can skip this post. You won’t appreciate Matt Taibbi’s biting wit or pithy rage. Go watch a Sean Hannity re-run. And I’ve had some email reminding me I had said I wasn’t going to write about politics anymore. I believe what I said was, I would no longer ‘discuss’ politics.]

My favorite political writer, Matt Taibbi has outdone himself with his column  on Sarah Palin. When interstellar archeologists dig through the rubble of what was once the U.S.A. and wonder what the fuck happened, I hope they stumble across Mr. Taibbi’s column. Every line is a gem but I’ll share just a few of my favorites:

“Four-chinned delegates from places like Arkansas and Georgia are pouring joyously out the gates (of the GOP convention) in search of bars where they can load up on Zombies and Scorpion Bowls and other “wild” drinks and extramaritally grope their turkey-necked female companions in bathroom stalls as part of the “unbelievable time” they will inevitably report to their pals back home.

Only 21st-century Americans can pass through a metal detector six times in an hour and still think they’re at a party.

Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

But Americans like politicians who hate books and see the face of Jesus in every tree stump. They like them stupid and mean and ignorant of the rules.”

And we love Sarah.

Where in the world is W?

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In a few months George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will return to private life. They’ll be surrounded by Secret Service guys (does the VP get SS protection?) but they have to be somewhere.

I’d like to "crowd source" a volunteer army of citizen journalists to report the last known location of these guys. No trespassing or peaking through windows, just a short report:

"W entourage just left Crawford ranch, heading for airport."
"W group just checked into Paris Hilton."

Include phone pic if you have one. All of which goes to a map.

You can be damned sure the NSA knows where you are (if they want to), so why shouldn’t we know where these guys are? I know, the FBI will explain that to me in some detail.

President Bartlet will see you now Senator

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I never got hooked on West Wing but I must have been the only one not watching this popular TV show about fictional U. S. President Jed Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen). NYT columnist Maureen Dowd asked WW creator Aaron Sorkin to imagine a meeting between President Bartlet and Senator Barack Obama.

As you know, I’m fond of such fictional conversations, so I share a nugget or two from this one:

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well … let me think. …We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know … I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! … Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

“Fooled, and used, and a lot of people died.”

Bush and Paulson say the proposed bailout plan is the only way to save our economy. The only way. Okay, Dave Winer is willing to support the plan on the following conditions:

Disneychickenlittleskyfalling“Bush and Cheney must resign immediately. No immunity, no pardons. Nancy Pelosi will become President, promising not to run for re-election on November 4. Her term will be one of the shortest in US history, just long enough to enact the provisions of the bill being proposed by the Republican administration. If it really is the best thing for the country and not a trick, then the Republicans, being impressed by the seriousness of it, would have to insist that Bush step aside and let the Democrats execute the plan. The entire Bush cabinet stays in office through January 20, but reports, of course to Pelosi. And that includes Paulson.”

It’s pretty simple. If they won’t do it, we know they’re bluffing.

Tie me up and blog me

I think I could count on one hand the number of times I heard or read the word “snarky” before email (and blogging) came along. I subscribe tot he notion snarkiness requires a certain level of wit and charm. Otherwise, it’s just bitchy or whiny.

Cox_anamarieMy first snark crush (I’m still not over her) was the Wonkette. The nome de blog of Ana Marie Cox. Ms. Cox was an early blogger who now snarks (last time, I promise) on Time’s Swampland. I trot along after her on Twitter and found a link to a delightful exchange with Megan at Jezebel.com.

“Since the world is ending around us, it’s important to take note of what parts of our civilization fell and in what order. And, really, there’s no one better at documenting mayhem than the original Wonkette (the rest of us are just pale imitations), Ana Marie Cox.”

And then there’s this exchange regarding McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds:

ANA MARIE: “They really need to stop sending the twelve-year-old intern out to the morning shows. Or cable shows, I mean. I think I was thinking “morning show” because he’s getting his ass kicked, in all cases, by heavily rougued faux-next-girls! GIRLS!

MEGAN: Actually, the man just needs to, like, fucking prepare before he goes. Your candidate is out lying like he’s Dick Cheney or something, you gotta put your big boy panties on just like Ari Fleischer did and take it. I think the real problem is that Tucker Bounds likes getting spanked by hot women.

I’ve heard the “big boy panties” reference before but it was “big girl panties.” Someone in the Bush administration?

If I told you, I’d have to kill you

From Scott Pelley’s 60 Minutes interview with with Bob Woodward about “The War Within,” Woodward’s fourth insider account from the Bush White House:

“This is very sensitive and very top secret, but there are secret operational capabilities that have been developed by the military to locate, target, and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, insurgent leaders, renegade militia leaders. That is one of the true breakthroughs,” Woodward told Pelley.

“Do you mean to say that this special capability is such an advance in military technique and technology that it reminds you of the advent of the tank and the airplane?” Pelley asked.

“Yeah,” Woodward said. “If you were an al Qaeda leader or part of the insurgency in Iraq, or one of these renegade militias, and you knew about what they were able to do, you’d get your ass outta town.”

WTF. If this were anybody but Bob Woodward, I’d say yeah, right. If I had to guess I’d say it is some kind of quantum mechanical weapon. All you need is a photo of the target and the weapon punches through space/time and … zap! You read it first (unless you’re Bob Woodward)

Everything WILL be different

You know that scene in the old horror movies where one of the female characters is hysterical and the female lead slaps her to snap her out of it?  That’s what came to mind reading this post by Dave Winer, explaining why Barack Obama does, in fact, represent change. The entire post is must-read for Obama supporters, but here’s my favorite idea:

"Think of it like this. One day you’re using Windows and wake up the next day and all your computers are running Mac OS X. It’s still a computer. It’s still fundamentally the same experience. But it works a bit more logically, and you don’t get in trouble as often. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a bit better."

Kickballs
I’ve been put off by some of Obama’s recent moves, and people are lining up to tell me, "See!? See!? He’s no different! He’s just another politician! Don’t you feel like a chump now?"

Actually, I feel more like the father who’s son keeps getting the shit kicked out of him on the playground and finally gets up and kicks the bigger kid in the balls. Playing nice only works when everyone is doing it.

If the only change we get from Obama is he’s not Bush… that will be enough.