Does Rick Santorum have a chance?

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks at his Iowa Caucus night rally in Johnston, Iowa, January 3, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

With his surprise showing in Iowa, Rick Santorum has become the new hope of the conservative movement, or at least some in the conservative movement. Santorum has been getting pummeled at conservative sites like RedState.com for his past support for pork barrel spending and other big spending programs during the Bush years when the GOP abandoned nearly everything they claimed to stand for regarding the size of government. Santorum has not joined the anti-earmark bandwagon pushed by the Tea Party, and Erick Erickson keeps hammering him for that.

At least one prominent conservative, however, is offering support to Santorum – George Will. Will offers up a column defending Santorum’s record, so let’s see if that changes the minds of some Tea Party members who are skeptical of Santorum.

Joe Scarborough and the Iraq War

Joe Scarborough just wrote a column for Politico in which he discusses the Iraq War. As he acknowledges in the article, he was a supporter.

Like 75 percent of Americans and most of Congress, I supported the war with Iraq. Much of that support was the result of selected intelligence from the Bush administration. The White House suffered a systemic breakdown, with a vice president and secretary of defense more focused on justifying a war than showing the type of caution our troops deserve before being sent to fight in a foreign land.

George W. Bush was also guilty of gross negligence, in part, by failing to reach out to the two greatest living experts on warfare in the Persian Gulf. Eight years later, it is still hard to believe that the commander in chief refused to seek the advice of his father or his secretary of state, who had run a searingly efficient military campaign a little more than a decade earlier — in the same region, against the same dictator. But as Bush told Bob Woodward, there was no reason to ask Colin Powell’s advice because he knew the general opposed the invasion. Bush 43 also told Woodward that there was no need to seek out Bush 41’s wisdom since he had his “Heavenly Father” to consult.

George W. Bush’s decision to remain isolated and willfully ignorant of these great leaders’ insights led to a disastrous war that could have been avoided. Instead, the invasion of Iraq was launched on March 19, 2003. And despite what media outlets and Democratic politicians would like you to believe, the war began with greater bipartisan support than the 1991 Gulf War.

I guess it’s nice to hear Scarborough acknowledge that he supported this fiasco, but this statement is somewhat misleading. Notice how he mentions that 75% of Americans supported the war. If you didn’t know Scarborough’s past, you might assume he was just one of many Americans who went along with the President. But he was much more than that, as he had his own cable show on MSNBC at the time, Scarborough Country, and he used that platform to become one of the loudest cheerleaders for the war. And, he enthusiastically mocked people who were against it. Joe Scarborough contributed to a climate that made it more difficult for rational voices who opposed the war and questioned the Bush/Cheney/Rove propaganda machine on WMD. He didn’t just go along; he helped lead the parade.

It was obvious to some of us that Bush was cherry-picking the intelligence. If you dug a little, there were journalists who were questioning the intelligence, but most people on network television and in the newsroom of The New York Times were either too stupid o

Jokes for Friday . . .

Enjoy the weekend:

“In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 56 percent, his highest in two years. Which shows there is literally nothing he can do to please the other 44 percent.”
––Seth Meyers
-
“Conspiracy theorists who are claiming that we didn’t really kill bin Laden must be reminded that they didn’t think he did the crime in the first place. Come on, nut jobs, keep your bullshit straight: The towers were brought down in a controlled demolition by George W. Bush to distract attention from Hawaii, where CIA operatives were planting phony birth records so that a Kenyan named Barack Obama could someday rise to power and pretend to take out the guy we pretended took out the towers. And I know that’s true because I just got it in an email from Trump.”
—Bill Maher

Moronic Republicans

There are so many examples of how this party has completely lost its way, but this news item takes the cake.

A group of 31 House Republicans have introduced a resolution “declaring victory in Iraq,” which is bound to evoke images of “Mission Accomplished” and George W. Bush in a flight suit.

The intention of the resolution isn’t actually celebratory. It’s intended to set a political trap by declaring, six weeks into Obama’s presidency, that all responsibility for the six-year conflict, which was initiated by President Bush on flawed evidence and incompetently pursued for much of his presidency, is now Obama’s to lose.

These guys are complete morons. It’s amazing that they would try to declare victory when we still have 150,000 troops in Iraq and the Iraqi government needs to hide from its own people behind our army in the Green Zone!

This is pure politics, but it’s also dumb politics. The GOP is turning into a sideshow.

Good riddance

George W. Bush’s farewell tour has been just as pathetic as his actual presidency. In several days, we’ll finally be able to turn the page on one of the worst presidencies in American history.

As I’ve said repeatedly for the past 6 years, Bush’s failures have little to do with ideology and instead can be traced to his utter lack of competence. He screwed up practically everything he touched.

The Republican Party helped him along. Most Republicans are so consumed with partisan bitterness that George W. Bush still gets an approval rating in the 70 percent range with Republicans. Republicans also went along with massive spending and deficits and an ill-conceived war that has crippled our nation.

I’m very optimistic about Barack Obama’s ability to chart a new path for our country that will return us to peace and prosperity. Many Americans share this optimism according to the polls. Obama’s leadership skills have been on display throughout the transition, and thus far he’s been impressive.

I expect Obama and his team to hit the ground running on Wednesday. They face huge challenges, and yet they will not shrink from doing big things like health care reform and transitioning to a green economy.

The Bush Legacy – interesting stats

Here are some statistics worth notng as we prepare to say good riddance to one of the worst presidents in American history:

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE
Then: 10,587 (close of Friday, Jan. 19, 2001)
Now: 9,015 (close of Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)

FAMILIES LIVING IN POVERTY
Then: 6.4 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 7.6 million (Census numbers for 2007 — most recent numbers available)

AMERICANS WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE
Then: 39.8 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 45.7 million (Census numbers for 2007 — most recent available)

U.S. BUDGET
Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)

Hat tip: Joe Sudbay

The lamest of all possible ducks

Leave it to Joe Klein to sum up the sad spectacle of George W. Bush limping to the finish line of his failed presidency.

That we have slightly more than one President for the moment is mostly a consequence of the extraordinary economic times. Even if George Washington were the incumbent, the markets would want to know what John Adams was planning to do after his Inauguration. And yet this final humiliation seems particularly appropriate for George W. Bush. At the end of a presidency of stupefying ineptitude, he has become the lamest of all possible ducks.

Watching Obama name a cabinet of all-stars is reassuring, though Bush also appointed heavyweights with impressive resumes. You can have the best team in the world, but that team will fail without strong leadership. I’m optimistic that Obama will fare much better than W.

Klein ends his column with a final indictment of Bush’s presidency.

In the end, though, it will not be the creative paralysis that defines Bush. It will be his intellectual laziness, at home and abroad. Bush never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and regulation that was necessary to make markets work. He never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and equity that was necessary to maintain the strong middle class required for both prosperity and democracy. He never considered the complexities of the cultures he was invading. He never understood that faith, unaccompanied by rigorous skepticism, is a recipe for myopia and foolishness. He is less than President now, and that is appropriate. He was never very much of one.

Don’t waste your time on “W”

The movie is just as bad as the Bush presidency. Josh Brolin gives an inspired performance, but most of the film falls flat.

The film works best when focusing on Bush’s life story and his rise to the presidency. His relationship with his father was central to his life, and his interactions with his parents and Laura inspired the more interesting parts of the film.

Regarding his presidency, however, all we see are caricatures of the people around him. Scenes are invented based upon public statements we saw in other contexts, but they seem forced and inauthentic. Historians can rightfully criticize the roles of administrations officials like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, but the portrayals of these men in the film are ridiculous.

Someday, we’ll see a serious movie that delves into the disasterous Bush presidency and the march to war, but “W” is not that movie. Oliver Stone goes for a lighter touch, but he doesn’t deliver enough laughs to make this a successfult comedy. In the end, it’s mostly a waste of time.

John McCain – The Sidekick

The speeches are getting much tougher tonight at the Democratic convention, though so far the cable networks haven’t been showing all of them.

Bob Casey actually introduced a pretty good line. After pointing out that John McCain voted with George W. Bush over 90% of the time, he said that McCain shouldn’t be referred to a “maverick,” but instead should be referred to as the “sidekick.” Frankly, if this was written by the Obama campaign, they probably should have had a better speaker deliver it, but at least Casey did a decent job with it.

Frank Caliendo impersonates George W. Bush

Here’s a great clip of Frank Caliendo on The Late Show with David Letterman doing his hilarious George W. Bush impersonation:

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