Questionnaire and answer on the topic of troop surge | – Houston Chronicle

William F Buckley Jr has an article on the thought process behind a vote on “the Surge” that starts like this… 

You are a Republican legislator, retiring after this, your fifth term. Last night, into the midnight hours, you composed a questionnaire for yourself. You vowed to submit to it before your committee speech. You’d flower up the language a bit — but not the thought. You wake up this morning and turn to last night’s self-quiz.

I always find the “Corporate America” mind set troubling in its clinical dispatch of human suffering but I am gladdened by the conclusion he eventually arrives at. It is too bad our CEO President doesn’t have the same analytical abilities and can’t seem to listen to those that do. Go follow the argument, it’s worth the time.

Source: Questionnaire and answer on the topic of troop surge | – Houston Chronicle

Richard Cohen – Irrational Is as Irrational Does –

Today’s Washington Post Editorial by Richard Cohen goes a long way in making me understand the “inner” Bush that has seemed so out of touch with reality. Mr. Cohen gets your attention with the first sentence.

George W. Bush has executed 153 people, 152 of them in Texas and one so far in Iraq. The Iraqi, of course, is Saddam Hussein, who went to his burlesque of a death with more dignity than the Iraqi government, which so hurried him to the gallows that in much of the world the hanging looked a lot like a lynching.

I do not know if the analysis that follows would bear up but it has the feel of a deeper truth than anything I have read about the President yet.

…Bush embraced a famously irrational way of thinking — the logical fallacy often called “proving a negative” — but in this case he used it to overwhelm all evidence to the contrary. Once you know this, you can appreciate what Bush means when he calls himself The Decider. It means that evidence, arguments, proof and logic cannot be conclusive when, as is often the case, the president proceeds on what can be called a matter of faith. I am not referring here just to religion — although surely that is paramount to Bush — but to supremely secular matters of state: when to go to war, why go to war and when to remain at war. In Bush’s mind, the bad guys will lose and the good guys will win and Iraq will become a democracy. This will happen not because Bush can prove that it will but because nobody can prove it won’t.

What this says to me is that we have in the White House a man who is incapable of seeing himself as being wrong. We all debated this for the longest a few years back and never reached an answer that I found satisfactory. Now I think I understand and it scares the hell out of me. How can you “prove” something to a man who is already assured of his own infallibility? Even after a lifetime of facts to the contrary, facts that are conveniently swept under the rug before anyone can hold them up to the light, he can think of no mistakes he may have made. Folks, believe it or not, the man does not believe he has ever been wrong. And according to his press conference a short while ago, if you come back in 200 years they will tell you he was right…isn’t that the meaning of his remark about still reading about George Washington?

The execution of Saddam Hussein was Iraq in a nutshell. Aside from the dead man at the end of the rope, nothing went the way the Americans wanted. It was sloppy, putrid with the stench of sectarian hatred and, as always, totally unnecessary. George Bush saw it differently by not, as is his custom, seeing it at all.

Source: Richard Cohen – Irrational Is as Irrational Does –

A Heckuva Claim –

 This Washington Post Editorial touches on a number of points about the Bush tax cuts, most of which are not in the President’s favor.

PRESIDENT BUSH wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday that “it is also a fact that our tax cuts have fueled robust economic growth and record revenues.” The claim about fueling record revenue is flat wrong, and it is shocking that the president should persist in making such errors. After all, tax cuts are the central plank of his domestic policy. How can he fail to understand the basic facts about them?

They throw in all the facts and figures from a number of different sources here, then follow with this closing…

Mr. Bush’s op-ed included nice statements about bipartisan cooperation. But the Democrats would be more likely to cooperate with the president if he stopped making things up.

In my book, this is where the President has the biggest problem with the majority of Americans, wether he believes what he says or just says what he needs to to sell his agenda, it has become a lose, lose conundrum for this White House. The American people are left with two choices, either the man is daft or he’s a liar. Neither of these options work for the President. It’s the proverbial rock and the hard spot.

It is beginning to look like Mr. Bush believes that if the American people have reached a consensus on an issue, he must take the opposite side because he knows the American people are stupid. Hell, he’s right in a way, they elected him didn’t they, which in his mind proves his point.

I think the thing that has really amazed me about this President is the way he has tried to stack the deck both in American Law and in Treaty to make himself and those in has administration immune to being called to account for their actions in any legal sense. Why wait for someone to come along and pardon you if you can pardon yourself in advance…

Source: A Heckuva Claim –

David S. Broder – Suggester in Chief –

Just don’t “suggest” to the “decider” that he can’t do what he wants…He may pick up his ball and go home… 

After an election in which war-weariness was a motivating force for the defeat of Republican candidates, the president has to face the reality that the only decision on Iraq that can possibly command sustained public support is a collective decision shared with Congress — not a personal order.

Any action he takes may still be thwarted by Iraq’s own divisions. But if he does not bring Congress and both parties into the process, the policy will inevitably fail. He has to face that reality.

As usual, everyone is looking to the President to act like a rational grown-up. Sadly for all, they haven’t been paying attention for the last 30 years. While his father was “born with a silver foot in his mouth”, George W just settled for the spoon. He has never lost that spoon or the attitude it instills.

Source: David S. Broder – Suggester in Chief –

the ramblings of my brain over that first cup… and other meanders