February 20, 2004

And This Is What Unmuzzled Republicans Think of George W. Bush...

Reagan's Secretary of the Navy James Webb says that George W. Bush has weakened America's military, harmed America's economy, and damaged our alliances--all while committing the "greatest strategic blunder in modern memory":

USATODAY.com - Veterans face conundrum: Kerry or Bush?: ...Recent statements defending Bush claim that the National Guard was not a haven for those who wished to avoid Vietnam; but it clearly was. According to the National Guard Association, only some 9,000 Army Guardsmen and 9,343 Air Guardsmen served in Vietnam. Considering that nearly 3 million from the active forces did so, one begins to understand why so many of America's elites headed for the Guard when their draft numbers were called.

Bush used his father's political influence to move past many on the Texas Guard's waiting list. He was not required to attend Officer Candidate School to earn his commission. He lost his flight status after failing to show up for a required annual physical. These facts alone raise the eyebrows of those who took a different path in a war that for the Marine Corps brought more casualties than even World War II. The Bush campaign now claims that these issues are largely moot and that Bush has proved himself as a competent and daring "war president." And yet his actions in Iraq, and the vicious attacks against anyone who disagrees with his administration's logic, give many veterans serious pause.

Bush arguably has committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory. To put it bluntly, he attacked the wrong target. While he boasts of removing Saddam Hussein from power, he did far more than that. He decapitated the government of a country that was not directly threatening the United States and, in so doing, bogged down a huge percentage of our military in a region that never has known peace. Our military is being forced to trade away its maneuverability in the wider war against terrorism while being placed on the defensive in a single country that never will fully accept its presence. There is no historical precedent for taking such action when our country was not being directly threatened. The reckless course that Bush and his advisers have set will affect the economic and military energy of our nation for decades. It is only the tactical competence of our military that, to this point, has protected him from the harsh judgment that he deserves.

At the same time, those around Bush, many of whom came of age during Vietnam and almost none of whom served, have attempted to assassinate the character and insult the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with them. Some have impugned the culture, history and integrity of entire nations, particularly in Europe, that have been our country's great friends for generations and, in some cases, for centuries.

Bush has yet to fire a single person responsible for this strategy. Nor has he reined in those who have made irresponsible comments while claiming to represent his administration. One only can conclude that he agrees with both their methods and their message....

And this is what the unmuzzled Republicans think.

Posted by DeLong at February 20, 2004 08:01 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

For what it's worth, Webb also goes after Kerry in this piece, but his criticisms of Bush are on subjects that are primarily a lot more current and salient.

I must say, if many potential Bush supporters feel this way (e.g. it really isn't that important who wins, since they're both bad), then Bush is basically doomed, politically. Of course, it's a long time to November, but it's hard to see how the upcoming "Ad Blitz of the Century" against Kerry (or Edwards, whoever looks to win the nomination) will do much to turn sentiments like this around.

Posted by: Jonathan on February 20, 2004 08:16 PM

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"The Bush campaign now claims that...Bush has proved himself as a competent and daring "war president."

He's daring, all right. He's daring other people's lives.

Posted by: Adam on February 20, 2004 08:20 PM

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all last summer and fall, i waited for the republican with the wit to realize that it was August, 1967 in the democratic party for the gop and presidential politics.

Now, finally, some of the people who should have spoken up then are waking up.

i wonder if john mccain ever regrets not running against bush in the gop primaries....

Posted by: howard on February 20, 2004 08:55 PM

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He also did it unilaterally, another dimension to the strategic blunder.

Posted by: Lee A. on February 20, 2004 10:12 PM

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I'm sure there are big gobs of intervening history that I'm overlooking, but Croesus' crossing the Halys river to destroy a great empire comes to mind as a good parallel to Bush's blunder: PNAC's hubris in scoffing at those who (eg) had actual plans for post-war Iraq is positively Herodotean. Unfortunately, nemesis will affect all of us.

Posted by: M.Tullius on February 20, 2004 10:19 PM

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Has anybody else noticed the odd situation that USA Today (which I've generally thought of as News Lite) has harder-hitting stories these days than respected newspapers like the NY Times and the Washington Post?

Posted by: rps on February 20, 2004 10:40 PM

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James Webb is one of those guys, like John McCain, who you can generally rely on to call 'em like he sees 'em. He is almost universally revered by most veterans that I know, including myself.

I wouldn't necessarily call him an unmuzzled Republican... maybe a Republican that just isn't beholden or betrothed to the Bush Administration. There are lots of Reagan and Bush I Republicans who are less than thrilled with this administration. Similarly, there are lots of "Clinton Republicans" not happy with this administration either. The GOP tends to be somewhat disciplined about these fractures, largely because power makes a good balm for smoothing over differences. But these fractures still exist, and they can be exploited by a smart moderate DLC-type Democrat.

Posted by: Phil Carter on February 20, 2004 10:45 PM

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Someone recently said that McCain is not a "real Republican". The context was an attempt to prove that one of Bush's investigative commissions wasn't stacked.

I like the idea, though. McCain and Web are not absolute drivelling idiots or fanatical ideologes, and they're not praying for Armageddon to come as soon as possible, so they're not real Republcians. That works for me.

Posted by: zizka / John Emerson on February 20, 2004 10:57 PM

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At http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040219-115614-3297r.htm Chalabi pretty much says, "Ha we got you to go to war. Now we're in Baghdad. Thanks."

It appears the INC did a very good job of duping the neo-cons into going to war.

Posted by: Dave Johnson on February 20, 2004 10:59 PM

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" Of course, it's a long time to November, but it's hard to see how the upcoming "Ad Blitz of the Century" against Kerry (or Edwards, whoever looks to win the nomination) will do much to turn sentiments like this around."

I really am not at all sure how the Bush administration is going to be able to run for reelection on its record. I have a feeling that some aspects of their ad campaign could go terribly wrong. The Bush Administration's official line is so divorced from reality that ads painting a rosy picture of Bush's record could just reinforce the fact that the administration is so far removed from reality. In addition, while ra-ra Bush ads may work in solidly red states, viewed in swing states, they could just make democrats more incensed and more likely to gotv in force.

The amount of money that one has is irrelevant, if one's advertising is crappy, something that Dean learned very quickly. An ill-conceived ad buy can cause mega-damage (as now ex-Congressman Grucci found out). I have confidence that the Bush people are so removed from reality and that their judgement (yes, even their political judgement...Rove is way overrated!) is so compromised that much of their war chest will be used ineffectively.

So far, the few pro-Bush ads that have been run have been abysmal. There was one in Iowa a while back that simply reiterated clips from Bush's thoroughly debunked 2003 SOTU, an ad that drew a response from MoveOn. The laughable Clubforgrowth "take your new-york-times-reading, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, volvo-driving, body-piercing, etc. left-wing freakshow back...where you belong!" ad was even worse. Yeah, these were insignificant ad buys, but if they are any indication of what the Repubs have planned, they are going to have a hard time...

So, here's to hoping that bush's 200 mil is enough to dig himself a big hold in the ground!

Posted by: Sean on February 20, 2004 11:19 PM

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The $200 million is gonna have to be used almost exclusively for negative attack ads against Kerry or Edwards. Rove Inc is gonna bank on Americans being stupid enough to think that while Bush might be bad, ya sure don't want to put those hippie commie trial-lawyer blah blah blahs in office. It worked once--well sort of.

Gonna be a nasty nasty campaign.

Posted by: Pat M on February 21, 2004 12:30 AM

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Can't wait for the "mean-spirited" epitaph to start being used against the Republican TV ads! The sooner, the better!

Posted by: tjallen on February 21, 2004 12:41 AM

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Would love to see Kerry pick McCain as his Vice President.

I know it will not happen, but.....
they are close personal friends.
if Bush wins McCain will have no influence in Rep party.
McCain really dislikes Bush.

Wild idea!

Posted by: spencer on February 21, 2004 05:15 AM

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Its not just unmuzzled Republicans. The Strategic Studies Institute said the following in a paper from Dec 2003:

"In the wake of the September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorist attacks
on the United States, the U.S. Government declared a global war on
terrorism (GWOT). The nature and parameters of that war, however,
remain frustratingly unclear. The administration has postulated a
multiplicity of enemies, including rogue states; weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) proliferators; terrorist organizations of global,
regional, and national scope; and terrorism itself. It also seems to
have confl ated them into a monolithic threat, and in so doing has
subordinated strategic clarity to the moral clarity it strives for in
foreign policy and may have set the United States on a course of
open-ended and gratuitous confl ict with states and nonstate entities
that pose no serious threat to the United States.
Of particular concern has been the confl ation of al-Qaeda and
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as a single, undifferentiated terrorist threat.
This was a strategic error of the fi rst order because it ignored
critical differences between the two in character, threat level, and
susceptibility to U.S. deterrence and military action. The result has
been an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred
Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic
terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing
the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable
al-Qaeda. The war against Iraq was not integral to the GWOT, but
rather a detour from it.
Additionally, most of the GWOT’s declared objectives, which
include the destruction of al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist
organizations, the transformation of Iraq into a prosperous, stable
democracy, the democratization of the rest of the autocratic Middle
East, the eradication of terrorism as a means of irregular warfare,
and the (forcible, if necessary) termination of WMD proliferation to
real and potential enemies worldwide, are unrealistic and condemn
the United States to a hopeless quest for absolute security. As
such, the GWOT’s goals are also politically, fi scally, and militarily
unsustainable."

full text can be found here:
http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/2003/bounding/bounding.pdf

So, even the US Army's own think tank thinks the Iraq invasion was a 'detour...(from) the Global War on Terrorism.'
Speaks volumes doesn't it?

Posted by: Phil on February 21, 2004 05:51 AM

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"Bush arguably has committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory. To put it bluntly, he attacked the wrong target."

Indeed. So isn't it really a miscarriage of democracy that "the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory" is effectively off the table in the election of 2004?

Posted by: Bob H on February 21, 2004 07:06 AM

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An invasion of Iraq that has let Al Qaeda attract new recruits truly was a strategic blunder.

Posted by: Harold McClure on February 21, 2004 07:26 AM

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Regarding attack ads, the Wall Street Jounal had an interesting column (obviously not on the editorial page) about two unanticipated benefits to the Democrats resulting from McCain - Finegold.

One was that, by restricting soft money contributions, it forced the Ds back to grass roots fundraising - see, Dean and the Internet.

The second point was that the new requirement that a candidate take responsibility for an ad (witness the tag line, "Hi, I'm ____ and I approved this ad.") has been extraordinarily effective at toning down the mud slinging. Nobody wants his name and smiling face associated with charges that his opponent had improper relations with woodland creatures.

The column pointed out the near-term benefit to the Ds that the candidates haven't ripped each other to shreads and so the winner won't come to the general election as damaged goods.

Will this same factor limit what Karl Rove and friends can do in the fall?

Posted by: Rod Hoffman on February 21, 2004 07:59 AM

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Just a pedantic aside on this phrase:

> I wouldn't necessarily call him an unmuzzled Republican... [would you call him a muzzled Republican?]

> Its not just unmuzzled Republicans. [Is it that SSI does not consist solely of Republicans, or is your point that they're muzzled and write this report anyway?]

Is it a safe assumption that most Republicans would self-identify as "unmuzzled"? I.e., I would think that few Republicans would take pride in the thought that they are prevented by a metaphorical party muzzle from speaking their mind. (But maybe it's a conservative thing that I just don't understand.)

Posted by: Paul Callahan on February 21, 2004 08:11 AM

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I expect a dirty campaign, and I think the Democrats should match the Republicans tit for tat. [No, not Janet Jackson's.] At my URL I have a detailed explanation of how Bush is unfit to run the War on Terror because he's in the Saudis' pocket. Accurate, but red meat too.

"Can't wait for the "mean-spirited" epitaph to start being used against the Republican TV ads! The sooner, the better!"

I'm assuming that the above came from a partisan Republican who thinks Democrats are crybabies. I'm not waiting for the Republicans to start whining, because they've learned to whine ALL THE TIME. That way the media are intimidated ("working the refs"). We should give the Republicans good reason to complain.

Lame media people will always say "I must be doing something right, because because both sides are mad at me!" When the Republicans complain, it gives cover to the worst media people. It's fairly analogous to the kind of parity which requires "neutral" reporting: "The Republicans say A, and the Democrats say B".

The Republicans have learned to game the cynics and airheads perfectly. And the cynics and airheads will still recite highminded cliches about neutrality and non-partisanship to justify themselves. The word "tool" is not just an idle insult here; it's an accurate description. And the people who are being successfully gamed are not the amateurs or the naive; it's the sophoisticates, cynics, and some of the "professionals".

When a partisan makes a claim, the content of the claim can be true, false, or some mix of those. Someone who reports the claim has to make an effort to decide which; otherwise he/she is useless.

People really should have listened to Nader and Chompsky twenty years ago.


Posted by: zizka / John Emerson on February 21, 2004 08:12 AM

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Unhinged Republican would be more like it. He gets off to a bad start with the claims about Bush getting into the Guard because of family connections. Retired Gen. Walter Staudt, the man who accepted W. into the pilot training program vociferously denied that back in 1999 to a LA Times reporter.

Bob Somerby, of all people, also debunked the waiting list claims, at the same time:

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h071499_1.shtml

---------quote--------

SLOVER AND KUEMPEL: (13) Records provided to The News by Tom Hail, a historian for the Texas Air National Guard, show that the unit Mr. Bush signed up for was not filled. In mid-1968, the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, based in Houston, had 156 openings among its authorized staff of 925 military personnel.

(14) Of those, 26 openings were for officer slots, such as that filled by Mr. Bush, and 130 were for enlisted men and women. Also, several former Air Force pilots who served in the unit said they were recruited from elsewhere to fly for the Texas Guard.
---------endquote---------

Also, it turned out that the 147th was two pilots short of its complement at the time Bush got in.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 21, 2004 08:39 AM

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" I expect a dirty campaign, and I think the Democrats should match the Republicans tit for tat."

So, should the Republicans point out that Kerry did no Reserve service at all, so he must have been AWOL?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 21, 2004 08:43 AM

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Patrick Sullivan cherrypicks the Daily Howler article to create a misleading impression.

The Howler actually wrote about 2 different accounts: one in the Dallas paper and one in the LA Times. Even though they drew on some of the same people as sources, they drew different conclusions.

Somerby thinks that a dispassionate view would suggest that the Dallas newspaper account was more accurate, but he points to uncertainty and conflicting evidence.

Although I learned something from the Dallas write-up, the case on jumping the line isn't closed, especially in light of the Ben Barnes satement (under oath, mind you):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/US_election_race/Story/0,2763,202917,00.html

Posted by: howard on February 21, 2004 08:59 AM

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>

Considering that terrorists are motivated by hatred it's obvious that Bush has mobilized a lot of force directed against America and Americans. A strategy that has only increased the size and fervor of the enemy fails at a very fundamental level.

>

Let's not forget that the war against terrorism will never be won by military might alone. It will take a thoughtful reconsideration of foreign policy to keep us from continuing to throw fuel on the fire.

Posted by: dubblblind on February 21, 2004 09:02 AM

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Lost the cut and paste on the first try. Here's the full version. Sorry for the double reading.

"Bush arguably has committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory...While he boasts of removing Saddam Hussein from power, he did far more than that."

Considering that terrorists are motivated by hatred it's obvious that Bush has mobilized a lot of force directed against America and Americans. A strategy that has only increased the size and fervor of the enemy fails at a very fundamental level.

"Our military is being forced to trade away its maneuverability in the wider war against terrorism..."

Let's not forget that the war against terrorism will never be won by military might alone. It will take a thoughtful reconsideration of foreign policy to keep us from continuing to throw fuel on the fire.

Posted by: dubblblind on February 21, 2004 09:07 AM

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I'd say support Edwards. I don't trust Kerry for some reason I can't pinpoint. Edwards doesn't know economics. He probably doesn't understand foreign policy either. But he's young, he can learn, I think he is certainly willing to learn.

I lost confidence in John MacCain about a year ago-- when he supported Iraq invasion.

By the way, I'm curious: Why can't the Democrats critisize the Bush administration in the kind of no-nonsense language the "unmuzzled Republicans" can? Like Prof. DeLong has just posted?

Posted by: Bulent on February 21, 2004 10:03 AM

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Bulent: "By the way, I'm curious: Why can't the Democrats critisize the Bush administration in the kind of no-nonsense language the "unmuzzled Republicans" can? Like Prof. DeLong has just posted?"

Hey hey hey hey hey hey! Look pal, this posting and all of the following comments can only maintain their intellectual coherence by not asking this question. Trying to answer this question would only bring up a host of other questions, questions that would lack simple answers. So show some consideration....

Posted by: Joe Mealyus on February 21, 2004 10:46 AM

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Poor Democrats... it must be a tough life, **intellectually speaking**, that is...

Posted by: Bulent on February 21, 2004 11:15 AM

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" The Howler actually wrote about 2 different accounts: one in the Dallas paper and one in the LA Times. Even though they drew on some of the same people as sources, they drew different conclusions."

Howard, Somerby ridiculed the LA Times version, and rightly so. Go to his archives for the period July 14, 1999.

The facts detailed by a historian of the Guard are not refuted by some statement by Ben Barnes. The numbers are what they are.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 21, 2004 11:32 AM

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Patrick, i did go back and read it.

When the Howler says that it doesn't resolve factual disputes, do you have some new interpretation for that remark?

When he points out that the Times guy interviewed the historian and got a conflicting story than the dallas guys, all he notes is that there is a conflict and that the times guy should have pursued it.

That's why I said that Somerby suggests that the Dallas view is more accurate - he does. But that's as far as he goes, so we shouldn't go further than that either. I'd like to hear more.

But the Ben Barnes recollection of course means something. It means, at a minimum, that people around Bush thought that he needed help getting into the Guard and thought it could be provided. For all we know, the historian's account is right on the money, and there was this one flukey division and the call was unnecessary - but then again, perhaps not....

Posted by: howard on February 21, 2004 01:34 PM

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- Why can't the Democrats critisize the Bush administration in the kind of no-nonsense language the "unmuzzled Republicans" can? Like Prof. DeLong has just posted? -

That is fortunately just what they have been doing. Either Senator Kerry or Senator Edwards would make a far superior President to any Republican, but especially superior to George Bush.

Posted by: lise on February 21, 2004 03:24 PM

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I have to object to the use of the word "unmuzzled" here. This usage is extremely generous by implying that the others are "muzzled," rather than simply "willfully credulous."

Posted by: Pete Coffee on February 21, 2004 05:18 PM

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Howard, Somerby says about the LA Times reporter, Serrano:

" Serrano never refutes Col. Walter Staudt's claim that there was no waiting list for pilot applicants in Texas."

and

" But Serrano's willingness to use bogus data is found throughout his piece. All through the body of his article, Serrano uses misleading or irrelevant data to suggest that wrong-doing occurred."

and

"Again, we're offered a clear-cut image of Bush getting special, fast treatment. But fifteen paragraphs earlier, Serrano has already shown that these data are irrelevant to Bush. Col. Staudt says why Bush was accepted"


" [Historian Tom] Hail says he has never heard of that being done, except in the case of doctors. But did Serrano report this to Staudt for reaction, or check Hail's impression against actual records? There is no sign within the piece that he did, and Serrano mishandles so much other data that one is reluctant to put faith in his judgment."

and

" Did Bush receive special treatment from Staudt? At THE HOWLER, we have no way of knowing. But all throughout Serrano's piece is material intended to suggest that he did-and all throughout Serrano's piece, the data don't back up the spin."

He's ridiculing Serrano.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 21, 2004 05:56 PM

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"Invading Iraq was the greatest strategic blunder of the post-cold war era."

General (ret) Wesley Kanne Clark

Posted by: Stirling Newberry on February 21, 2004 06:42 PM

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Patrick, whatever strings Mr. Bush did or did not pull to get into the National Guard, he did it with the intent of not going to Nam like John McCain, Al Gore and John Kerry did.

Posted by: bakho on February 21, 2004 08:01 PM

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Patrick, no point in turning this endless.

Somerby says exactly what he means to say, which is just as i've characterized it: he suggests that the dallas news account is more accurate.

He doesn't say that the matter is settled; in fact, he points out that there are discrepancies in the accounts that should be rectified.

I won't take up any more of Brad's space quoting the parts you leave out, but i'll direct your attention to your own quote: "reluctant to put faith in his judgement." When Somerby thinks someone is just wrong, he flat out says so; this isn't that.

I don't deny that it's been educational to look back at this aspect of the story, and i agree that there are questions here that should be resolvable, but they ain't resolved.

Posted by: howard on February 21, 2004 09:04 PM

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.. Either Senator Kerry or Senator Edwards would make a far superior President to any Republican.."

"ANY" Republican?

Come to think of it, you just might be right. The Republicans don't seem to favor even relatively independent minded people to take any siginificant or lead positions, and certainly not the top job.

And I have my doubts about independent mindedness of Senator Kerry as well, especially in comparison to John Edwards.

Posted by: Bulent on February 22, 2004 03:12 AM

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http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/22/politics/22HEAL.html

Taking Spin Out of Report That Made Bad Into Good Health
By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration says it improperly altered a report documenting large racial and ethnic disparities in health care, but it will soon publish the full, unexpurgated document.

"There was a mistake made," Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, told Congress last week. "It's going to be rectified."

Mr. Thompson said that "some individuals took it upon themselves" to make the report sound more positive than was justified by the data.

The reversal comes in response to concerns of Democrats and the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee. They are pushing separate bills to improve care for members of minorities.

"African-Americans and Native Americans die younger than any other racial or ethnic group," Dr. Frist said. "African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans are at least twice as likely to suffer from diabetes and experience serious complications. These gaps are unacceptable."

President Bush's budget would cut spending for the training of health professionals and would eliminate a $34 million program that recruits blacks and Hispanics for careers as doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

On Wednesday, more than 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, issued a statement criticizing what they described as the misuse of science by the administration to bolster its policies on the environment, arms control and public health.

Posted by: anne on February 22, 2004 08:33 AM

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"Poor Democrats... it must be a tough life, **intellectually speaking**, that is..."

Well, because there are almost no intellectually honest conservatives, it is somewhat lonely. Perhaps one day you will grow up and begin engaging in something resembling conversation. Till then, we wait, hopefully, until the day that conservatism is not merely a cover for borrow to bankruptcy, war without end and talking points for people, such as yourself, who enjoy engaging in auto-fornication in public to the point of boregasm.

Posted by: Stirling Newberry on February 22, 2004 09:18 AM

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"Well, because there are almost no intellectually honest conservatives, it is somewhat lonely."

Perfect!

Posted by: lise on February 22, 2004 09:29 AM

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http://www.forbes.com/home/newswire/2003/08/20/rtr1062315.html

February 20, 2004

Bureaucratic Waste dogs U.S. Health Care
By Gene Emery - Reuters

BOSTON - Thirty-one cents of every dollar spent on health care in the United States pays administrative costs -- nearly double the rate in Canada, according to a new comparison that sees colossal bureaucratic waste in the American system.

Researchers who prepared the comparison said Wednesday that the United States wastes more money on health bureaucracy than it would cost to provide health care to the tens of millions of uninsured Americans.

Americans spend $752 more per person per year than Canadians on medical administrative costs alone, according to the study by investigators from Harvard University and the Canadian Institute for Health Information that was published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

The team, led by Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard, said a large sum of money might be saved in the United States if administrative costs could be trimmed by implementing a Canadian-style, single-payer health care system.

Posted by: anne on February 22, 2004 09:43 AM

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" Patrick, whatever strings Mr. Bush did or did not pull to get into the National Guard, he did it with the intent of not going to Nam like John McCain, Al Gore and John Kerry did."

Then why did Bush volunteer to go the Vietnam:

---------quote-----------
Fred Bradley knew him best. They had met before going off to the year-long ordeal of pilot school, and entered the 111th at about the same time. Both were junior lieutenants without a lot of flying experience. But the inexperience didn't prevent Bush — along with Bradley — from going to their squadron leaders to see if they could get into a program called "Palace Alert." "There were four of us lieutenants at the time, and we were all fairly close. Two of them had more flight time than the president and me, said Bradley." All four volunteered for Vietnam (Bradley doesn't remember whether he and Bush actually signed paperwork, but he specifically remembers both Bush and himself trying to get into the Palace Alert Vietnam program.) Bush and Bradley were turned away, and the two more senior pilots went to Vietnam.
--------endquote---------

Col Wm. Campenni who also flew with Bush confirms this story.

Btw, do you think the son of Senator Gore might have used any influence to get a position as a reporter for Stars and Stripes? Or to serve in Vietnam for only six months? Or Kerry to first be assigned to an air-conditioned ship off the coast?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 22, 2004 10:56 AM

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Howard, as a general rule, what conclusion do you draw from a charge of someone using, "bogus data"?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 22, 2004 10:59 AM

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Well, thanks....

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/20/politics/20INSU.html

Hospitals Can Provide Discounts to Uninsured and Needy Patients, Bush Administration Says
By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration encouraged hospitals on Thursday to give discounts to uninsured patients and to financially needy Medicare beneficiaries.

Such discounts are permissible under federal fraud and abuse laws, the government said, in a clarification requested by the hospital industry.

Hospitals have been criticized in the last two years for charging uninsured people much more than they charge people with employer-sponsored health insurance. Group health plans often negotiate rates lower than the prices charged to people without insurance....

Posted by: anne on February 22, 2004 11:05 AM

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Here are a few more nails for the Bush was AWOL coffin:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A60817-2004Feb21?language=printer

--------quote---------------
But Air National Guard pilots who served with Bush say his quick exit allowed him to pursue a career in politics, as he decided there was no future in flying an aircraft that was losing favor to more versatile fighter jets. Other Air National Guard officials said Bush followed a not-unusual path for young professionals who could not dedicate the time to the rigors of flying as they neared the end of their service commitments.

"We were phasing out his equipment at the time, and he would have had to train for six to nine months to get into the new aircraft," said Maurice H. Udell, of Friendswood, Tex., who was Bush's flight instructor. "He had a full-time job outside of the Guard, and people often left to pursue their jobs elsewhere. He was not disciplined. There was no incident."

.... retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald W. Shepperd, who was director of the Air National Guard until 1998, said missing a flight physical happens with many part-time pilots. Shepperd said he once did not take an annual flight physical and was grounded.

"It's not a big deal," Shepperd said. "You're grounded, and you take it again. As a longtime commander, I saw this happen on a regular basis."

....
Udell said Bush did not submit to the exam because he was planning to stop flying, which is also what White House spokesmen have said. There would be no reason to take the physical if Bush intended to go to a unit where he could not fly. Bush was going to Alabama to work on a political campaign, and Alabama's Air National Guard did not have the F-102s Bush flew.

....
Udell, the flight instructor, said Bush once showed interest in volunteering for a program that would have sent him to Vietnam, called "Palace Alert."

Udell said Bush approached him in 1970 and asked him about Vietnam. Udell, who had just returned from a tour, said Bush asked him how he could get into the program, but Udell discouraged him.

"He said he wanted to participate in volunteering himself," Udell said. "He didn't have enough time and experience. . . . There was no way in hell he could go over there and do it. I told him it was not possible."

------------endquote---------

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 22, 2004 01:05 PM

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"...Well, because there are almost no intellectually honest conservatives, it is somewhat lonely...."

Yes, it is lonely, but not because I'm conservative -- I'm not. Neither am I democrat. I'm just a guy who thinks an intellectual is one who has his own mind.

That's why it is lonely.

Posted by: Bulent on February 22, 2004 02:53 PM

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Patrick R. Sullivan wrote, "All four volunteered for Vietnam (Bradley doesn't remember whether he and Bush actually signed paperwork, but he specifically remembers both Bush and himself trying to get into the Palace Alert Vietnam program.) Bush and Bradley were turned away, and the two more senior pilots went to Vietnam."

Even if true, how come Bush didn't then volunteer for the army?

"Btw, do you think the son of Senator Gore might have used any influence to get a position as a reporter for Stars and Stripes? Or to serve in Vietnam for only six months? Or Kerry to first be assigned to an air-conditioned ship off the coast?"

The issue arises only because the Republicans are the ones who insist on wrapping themselves in the flag and ripping it off anyone else, e.g. the ads associating a triple amputee with Osama.

Posted by: liberal on February 22, 2004 04:13 PM

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" Even if true, how come Bush didn't then volunteer for the army?"

You think the ANG would have released him from his pilot duty they'd just spend almost two years training him for, huh?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 22, 2004 05:40 PM

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Too bad nobody told Bush that he had volunteered to go to Vietnam before that Russert interview. D'oh!


BUSH: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way.

RUSSERT: But you didn't volunteer or enlist to go.

BUSH: No, I didn't. You're right.

Posted by: Bob on February 22, 2004 06:23 PM

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" You think the ANG would have released him from his pilot duty they'd just spend almost two years training him for, huh? "

They *did* release him early eventually! D'oh!

Besides, if he'd really wanted to go to Vietnam he could have volunteered *before* signing up for the pilot training. On a type of plane that wasn't being flown in Vietnam at the time. D'oh!

Posted by: bob on February 22, 2004 06:27 PM

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As for strings being pulled:


******************************************************
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/19990927/aponline190140_000.htm

Barnes testified for several hours Monday in a deposition in the case. Afterwards, his lawyer issued a written statement saying Barnes had been contacted by the now-deceased Sidney Adger, a Houston oilman and friend of the elder Bush.

"Mr. Barnes was contacted by Sid Adger and asked to recommend George W. Bush for a pilot position with the Air National Guard. Barnes called Gen. (James) Rose (Texas Air Guard commander) and did so," the statement said.

"Neither Congressman Bush nor any other member of the Bush family asked Barnes' help. Barnes has no knowledge that Governor Bush or President Bush knew of Barnes' recommendation," the statement said.
******************************************************


So when the wingers deny that strings were pulled, what they're *really* denying is that Bush Senior asked for those strings to be pulled. Testimony under oath, revealed that Bush got into the Guard because BUSH FAMILY FRIEND Sid Adger called up Barnes, former Speaker of the House in Texas, and asked that he recommend Bush to the Texas Air Guard commander.

Of course, the way the wingers look at it, doesn't *everyone* have family friends who can call up well-connected politicians and get a recommendation like that?

D'oh!

Posted by: bob on February 22, 2004 06:42 PM

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Also possibly relevant to Bush's alleged desire to volunteer to go to Vietnam is that when he filled out his National Guard application, he checked the box indicating that he'd rather not be considered for overseas deployment.

D'Oh!

Posted by: bob on February 22, 2004 06:45 PM

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spencer,

I thought of Kerry/McCain last week. I think it is a genius-level ticket; strips away McCain republicans and Clinton96 republicans, holds the democratic base, and leaves Bush/Cheney with the super-rich, the NASCAR dads, and the fundamentalists. I like those odds.

McCain did utterly miss the boat on Iraq, but so did a lot of other intelligent people.

NM

Posted by: Nicholas Mycroft on February 23, 2004 08:44 AM

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The function of the artist is to provide what life does not.

Posted by: Dequiroz Jeannemarie on March 17, 2004 04:53 PM

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I dont know what to say, but i likeed it.

Posted by: Geist Morgan on May 2, 2004 11:57 AM

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Unusual ideas can make enemies.

Posted by: Bachner Suzanne on May 3, 2004 12:18 AM

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What else can i say after all this ?!

Posted by: Boroson Bram on May 20, 2004 01:52 AM

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Good people strengthen themselves ceaselessly.

Posted by: Stafford Cassie Dragt on June 2, 2004 08:32 PM

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The best solution against abortions is education, not snipers.

Posted by: Butler Ron on June 30, 2004 05:48 AM

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