September 27, 2004

September 27: Today's eason to Not Elect George W. Bush

Today's shrill critic of George W. Bush is Dan Froomkin:

No Regrets From the President (washingtonpost.com): Five months ago, Bush's chief political adviser met with the Columbus Dispatch and expressed regret. "'I wish the banner was not up there,' Rove said. 'I'll acknowledge the fact that it has become one of those convenient symbols.' . . . The Dispatch also noted that the banner had a history of controversy: "In October, Bush declared that the White House had nothing to do with the banner. A spokesman later clarified that White House staff members had the banner made at the request of the ship's crew, then sent it to the carrier before his visit."

But Bush is averse to contrition. At his last prime-time press conference, in April, Bush was famously flummoxed when asked to describe his biggest mistake, post-9/11. "You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet," he said. And last month, Bush told the New York Times that he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" in postwar Iraq -- but he didn't say what he would have done differently.

So here's my question of the day: How far does this dislike of expressing regret extend? What would Bush do if at Thursday's debate, moderator Jim Lehrer asked him about some of the more serious things that opponents have said went wrong during his presidency? For instance, I wonder:

• Would he, in retrospect, have prepared differently for the occupation?
• Does he wish he had issued clearer directives against torture in Iraqi prisons?
• Would he, in hindsight, have been more skeptical of the WMD intelligence?
• Does he regret not having heeded that pre-9/11 briefing on the threat posed by Osama bin Laden?

Posted by DeLong at September 27, 2004 10:47 AM | TrackBack
Comments

The better question is why none of this matters.

I think we need to wonder why people are not interested in what the presidents says or even really whether it is true or not and why so many are fixed on how clearly he speaks his mind and wrinkles his eyebrows?


Posted by: Michael Carroll at September 27, 2004 10:55 AM

Does he regret the perception created by his refusing to testify before the 9/11 commission by himself; that he and the Vice President had to testify together?

Posted by: Dane Janeiro at September 27, 2004 11:06 AM

and didn't he just tell Bill O'Reilly that he doesn't regret Operation Flightsuit, despite his earlier hints that he does?

(warning: use link at your own risk)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,133684,00.html

Posted by: P O'Neill at September 27, 2004 11:13 AM

Michael, i think if people felt there
was another option, like perot, they would
be more open to accepting bush's problems.
Without an acceptable alternative, and kerry
is not it, people just dig in their
heals and close their minds.

Posted by: joeseph at September 27, 2004 11:26 AM

Porter Goss is an old CIA "hand". At the time, he was the chair the House Intelligence Committee. I wonder what HE knew about "the threat posed by Osama bin Laden?"

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"Bin Laden Comes Home to Roost"

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 1998

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3340101/

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I wonder WHEN he knew WHAT he knew too...

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"White House Nominee to Head the CIA has Dubious Links to the Terror Network"

Jul 4, 2004

http://www.apfn.net/messageboard/07-05-04/discussion.cgi.43.html

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Posted by: Mike at September 27, 2004 11:30 AM

This won't surprise anybody. Anybody who has been paying attention, I mean....

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Cheney: 'Investigators, Keep Out'

by Michael Isikoff and Tamara Lipper

21 October, 2002

The vice president blocks an independent commission to investigate 9-11

NEWSWEEK -- Dick Cheney played a behind-the-scenes role last week in derailing an agreement to create an independent commission to investigate the 9-11 attacks. Last month the White House endorsed the formation of the panel. But on Thursday, hours after congressional negotiators hailed a final deal over the scope and powers of a 9-11 panel, Cheney called House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Porter Goss, sources told NEWSWEEK.

Later that day Goss told a closed-door conference committee he couldn't accept the deal, citing instructions from "above my pay grade...

http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/10.15A.nswk.cheney.911.htm

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Posted by: Mike at September 27, 2004 11:56 AM

joeseph

I don't think you can honestly say John Kerry is not an acceptable alternative unless you buy into the whole caricature of the man that has come out of this campaign. One may argue whether or not he is the better choice but to think the Country is headed for disaster if we go with Kerry is truly absurd.

Much of what the right dislikes about Kerry is the lengths he goes through to be prudent in the decisions he makes. That is fine. No one wants to see Rome burn while Ceasar diddles. But to make the case that BEING prudent is not an alternative is a stretch. People who support Kerry (even with reservations) tend to think that the job and the national state of affairs impose sufficient urgency without the president needing to bring his own hair trigger instincts to compound affairs. Prudence is really what we need here.

Think about it like this. The one thing that has distinguished the U.S. from any other nation at any point in time is the lengths that we go to preserve checks and balances. Checks and balances got us through the founding of the nation, through a civil war, through a depression and two world wars. One candidate for President has shown very little respect for the very notion of checks and balances and the other has taken nothing but abuse because he seems to internalize it.

Given that on Nov. 3 2004 the Republican Party will control the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, the majority of Governorships, and the majority of state legislatures. Someone whose even overcommitted to checks and balances stillseems like a reasonable alterative over here.

Posted by: Michael Carroll at September 27, 2004 12:24 PM

Hah!

"Checks and balances" went out with FDR, Michael Carroll at September 27, 2004 12:24 PM...

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"History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997"

http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/history.html

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...In D.C. today, if you don't have a security clearance, you don't 'count'. (The dog and pony show on the floors of the House and Senate is strictly for the 'amusement' of the 'folks back home', in case you haven't figured it out.)

If you DO have a security clearance, AND if you want to keep your job--not to mention your liberty and conceivably, your life--you can't tell anybody who doesn't also have a security clearance what you really THINK you know about ANYTHING that really matters...

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"LA TIMES UNCOVERS THE ROOTS OF US V. REYNOLDS"

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2004/04/042104.html

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...THAT'S the really 'deep' reason for the corruption, delusion and decay so evident in D.C. today...

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"Sibel Edmonds' Public letter to 9/11 Commission Chairman"

http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Sibel_Edmonds

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And that has been the really deep problem in D.C. for decades...

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"Limit CIA Role to Intelligence"

By Harry S Truman

December 22, 1963

http://www.maebrussell.com/Prouty/Harry%20Truman's%20CIA%20article.html

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Posted by: Mike at September 27, 2004 01:47 PM

Why would Lehrer ask him about any of that?

Everybody knows all those things were Clinton's fault.

Posted by: Lewis Carroll at September 27, 2004 02:37 PM

Would he, in retrospect, have prepared differently for the occupation?
--Our present course is well on the way to providing liberty for all Iraqis. Doing anything different would jeopardize that.
Does he wish he had issued clearer directives against torture in Iraqi prisons?
--I abhor torture. Saddam tortured prisoners. That's why we had to take him out.
Would he, in hindsight, have been more skeptical of the WMD intelligence?
--Like I said, Saddam tortured prisoners. That's why we had to take him out.
Does he regret not having heeded that pre-9/11 briefing on the threat posed by Osama bin Laden?
--You have to remember the context at the time. The threat posed by bin Laden could not be fully appreciated until I had finished reading "The Pet Goat."

Posted by: Grumpy at September 27, 2004 02:48 PM

Um sorry Mike,

Checks and balances did NOT go out with FDR although political nihilism may have come in at about that time.

Witness for better or worse:

All Eisenhower era Civil Rights progress,
The resignation of Nixon,
Bush senior raising taxes,
The impeachment of Clinton,

I'm not saying the past presidents didn't hog the stage (a fact that predates FDR for sure) But in the face of persistent 40-50 percent popular opposition this president has proven FAR more powerful than any of the "imperial" presidents ever were.

Posted by: Michael Carroll at September 27, 2004 03:47 PM