"The significance of Judge Taylor's ruling lay not in the quality of her judicial opinion (which everyone gets to feel really smart by demeaning), but instead it is the resounding rejection of the extremist and dangerous theory that the President, because of the "war" we are fighting, has the right to operate without constraints of any kind, including those imposed by the Constitution and Congressional statutes. On that key issue, the court's analysis was correct and even powerful."
"Condi Rice is the midwife stoically enduring the new Middle East's "birth pangs" (though if I were the Middle East right now, I'd be wondering where the fucking epidural was)."
" But the bitter irony to those of us accustomed to the toasty crunch of bitter irony first thing in the morning is that even with Olmert's facedown splat he's still got better poll numbers than Bush! If Bush clawed his way back into the forties, the Note would form a conga line and bugger each other until they squeaked, Peggy Noonan would paint herself pink and roll downhill like an Easter egg, and Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss would make the rounds of the political chat shows to muse knowingly about Bush's Reaganesque Indian summer, and his durable bond with the American people
Not only are we stuck with an unpopular, incompetent, incoherent president, but we're hostage to whatever "legacy" he's determined to forge for posterity, a legacy that is a midget-giant wedding of personal ego and a hypertrophied sense of historical importance. The very presumptuousness of a presidential legacy goes unquestioned in our media, as if it were among the many royal entitlements granted our chief executive, a staged exit for which the rest of us are mere bystanders.
It would be one thing if a president's legacy were to make peace with a former foe, or restore environmental health to a ravaged region, but Bush's legacy is militarized by his belief in divine mission, which could get a lot of innocent people killed, a higher slaughter rate than the ongoing fiasco in Iraq. If Seymour Hersh's sources are creditable (and I think we can all agree Hersh's track record ), Bush has made up his one-track mind for the rest of us that he will not leave office without neutralizing the threat of Iran. Not having learned the lesson of Iraq about the danger of apocalyptic hyperbole, the media are already beating the bass drums like a corps of Michael Ledeens about how there can be no end to terror until we confront Tehran, which is "terror central." (I just saw a segment on MSNBC's Tucker show, where that was the gist.) I still have my doubts as to whether the US will attack Iran. As Emmanuel Todd writes in After the Empire, the recent US pattern-- evidence of its atrophied superpower prowess--has been to bomb countries much weaker than itself, while shying away from more formidable foes (such as North Korea). Iran is no pushover, and Hezbollah out-smarted and out-toughed Israel in Lebanon, making even an airstrike on Iran a more difficult sell. But one thing we've learned in the Bush years is never to anticipate that reason will prevail."
"Unlike other two-term presidents, Bush hasn't grown in office, become an old familiar whose irritating traits and lapses could be accepted almost affectionately, like Reagan's dottiness. He's demonstrably diminished, dwarfed by the reality that he continues to deny and repeating himself in press conferences like a robot whose wiring is on the fritz, for whom words and phrases are nothing more than pre-programmed units of sound. He's more irritating and dangerous than ever before, because he doesn't know anything, doesn't know or care that he doesn't know anything, and yet persists in a path of destruction as if it were the road to salvation. It's finally dawned on responsible minds that Bush could take all of us down with him before he and the neocons are through."