"Tax farmers, mercenaries and viceroys: Why does the Bush administration want to run a modern superpower as if it were a 16th-century monarchy? Maybe people who’ve spent their political careers denouncing government as the root of all evil can’t grasp the idea of governing well. Or maybe it’s cynical politics: Fiefdoms provide both an opportunity to evade accountability and to create a vast source of patronage."
* frankrich, unleashed:
"The ineptitude bared by (Katrina) — no planning for a widely predicted catastrophe, no attempt to secure a city besieged by looting, no strategy for anything except spin — is indelible. New Orleans was Iraq redux with an all-American cast. The discrepancy between Mr. Bush’s “heckuva job” shtick and the reality on the ground induced a Cronkite-in-Vietnam epiphany for news anchors. At long last they and the country demanded answers to the questions about the administration’s competence that had been soft-pedaled two years earlier when the war first went south."
* glenn on John Dean's book:
"What excites, enlivens, and drives Bush followers is the identification of the Enemy followed by swarming, rabid attacks on it. It is a movement that defines itself not by identifiable ideas but by that which it is not. Its foreign policy objectives are identifiable by one overriding goal — destroy and kill the Enemy, potential or suspected enemies, and everyone nearby. And it increasingly views its domestic goals through the same lens. It is a movement in a permanent state of war, which views all matters, foreign and domestic, only in terms of this permanent war.
It is a movement devoted to the destruction of its enemies wherever they might be found. And it finds new ones, in every corner and seemingly on a daily basis, because it must. That is the food which sustains it.
The Bush administration’s ability to engage in extraordinary and radical behavior has not occurred in a vacuum. The administration is radical and can act seemingly without limits because its supporters and followers are radical and limitless in their allegiance to its abuses. Understanding the disturbing and dangerous human dynamic which fuels that movement is critical to understanding the movement itself, and ultimately, to defeating it. Dean’s book is a uniquely valuable tool for understanding what the so-called "conservative" movement has become."
"The 66-year-old San Francisco lawmaker (pelosi) is an aggressive, hyperpartisan liberal pol who is the Democrats' version of Tom DeLay, minus the ethical and legal problems of the former Republican House leader. To condition Democrats for this fall's midterm elections, she has employed tactics straight out of DeLay's playbook: insisting other House Democrats vote the party line on everything, avoiding compromise with Republicans at all cost and mandating that members spend much of their time raising money for colleagues in close races. And she has been effective. House Democrats have been more unified in their voting than at any other time in the past quarter-century, with members on average voting the party line 88% of the time in 2005, according to Congressional Quarterly. That cohesion enabled Democrats to hasten President Bush's slide in the polls when they blocked his plan to reform Social Security by allowing retirees to eschew guaranteed benefits in favor of private accounts."