Saturday, May 05, 2007


That's the only thing I have to say to Doug Feith's observations on George Tenet (found on The Corner):
Anyone can make an honest mistake. But the problem with George Tenet is that he doesn't seem to care to get his facts straight. He is not meticulous. He is willing to make up stories that suit his purposes and to suppress information that does not.

Look, I'm not carrying water for Tenet here, but let's keep in mind that this is Doug Feith—Douglas J. Feith, he of "alternative intelligence assessments" and surreptitious White House briefings outside any review process—with the audacity to accuse someone of being "willing to make up stories that suit his purposes and to suppress information that does not."

The stones, the stones...

Media Complicity in the White House's Image Building Machinery

In today's N.Y. Times, there's an article entitled For Queen and First Lady, Bush Will Try White Tie. This is notable because of the picture it paints of the "aw shucks" hayseed salt of the Earth George W. and his encounter with the oh-so-particular Queen and the fusty niceties of high society:
How does George W. Bush, a towel-snapping Texan who puts his feet on the coffee table, drinks water straight from the bottle and was once caught on tape talking with food in his mouth prepare for a state dinner with the queen?

It will be closely watched by the social elite for its collision of cultures — Texas swagger meets British prim. Dinner attire is white tie and tails, the first and, perhaps, only white-tie affair of the Bush administration. The president was said to be none too keen on that, but bowed to a higher power, his wife.
The meat of the article goes on to paint the President, the First Lady, and entire administration machinery being as giddy as schoolgirls getting ready for the prom. Bush is being prepped ("Don't drink water straight from the bottle! The Queen is Your Majesty and the prince is Your Royal Highness! Don't chew with your mouth open!"), flowers are being arranged, and ever so nervously the country bumpkins in D.C. will put their best foot forward to not offend the company.

But this is, quite deliberately, bullshit. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Rutenberg are basically carrying water for the administration here. In fact, Bush is no stranger to this environment in the slightest. Let's keep in mind that his roots are not those of some Dust Bowl Okie or oil-wrangling roughneck, but instead Bush has shown himself to be more than comfortable in the upper crust Yankee milieu from which he actually comes.

In fact (and this point is finally disclosed in one of the last paragraphs of the article), Bush 43 and his wife were guests at the last state dinner for Queen Elizabeth. The fact is that the Bushes are old hands at this type of thing. What type of thing? Well, at moving in the elite of monied society, pretending that they're not the elite of monied society, and getting the compliant media to spin the image that they want to project.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fred Thompson as Tabula Rasa

Fred Thompson is the savior of the Republican Party! Favored by 934% of the Republican base! He's the guy who can bring... whatever it is that he's got to whatever it is that your favorite GOP activist desires!


Thompson has surged ahead in the GOP polls recently, greatly aided by John McCain's slow motion autodefenestration, Rudy Guiliani's overall weirdness, and Mitt Romney's Mormonism and hair. Why is this? Which of Thompson's many attributes has led to this sudden burst of popularity for a guy who's not even an actual Presidential candidate at this point?

It's probably his positions on... something. Or something. Right? What are his positions?

He's actually not particularly religious and was a bit of a whore in his wilder days. His policy positions may indeed jibe with yours, but I can only say that because no one knows what his policy positions are, leaving open the possibility that they do indeed jibe with yours. So will he meet the strict standards of the Club for Growth? Does he love war enough to sit well with the solons at AEI? Who knows?

The fact is that the GOP is desperately scrambling for someone salable to both the base and the general electorate. McCain and Guiliani are both non-starters with the base and at this point might have a pretty hard time with everyone else too. Romney is just not setting anyone on fire. Thompson sounds great and everyone knows he's a competent and fair manager, capable of being tough yet sensitive when necessary, conservative but not dogmatic, able to kick ass when required but sympathetic to the personal impact of abstract legalisms and political positions.

Wait, that's Arthur Branch, his character on Law and Order. So I don't know. But maybe it's too much to expect a decent second-tier character to explode magically into reality fully formed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007