"People gave Bush the benefit of the doubt after 9/11 (and the media anointed him the next Winston Churchill for reasons that are still unclear to me) but his terrible public awkwardness helped destroy his presidency after Katrina. Someday someone will put together his press conferences in the first months after 9/11 and future generations will be shocked that a majority of this country agreed to follow this man into war --- they were stunningly inept. (That first major evening press conference scared the living hell out of me as I realized how over his head he was.) It was only the extreme deference of the press and the nation's deep need to believe that we were in competent hands that allowed him to get away with it.
He did fine in his well-written prepared speeches. Any person could. But his mind and speech were so slow and thick in his unscripted moments that all he really had was a sort of cliched TV cowboy attitude, which seemed to be enough for people for a little while
When they send Bush out today and he speaks in his halting, unconvincing manner -- aggressive, slightly hostile and often incoherent --- it has the opposite effect they need it to have. Every time they see him now people are reminded that they were sold a bill of goods and they resent him and reject what he's saying.
If they want the nation's support for their policies, the last person they should use as their salesman is the guy who makes half the people cringe in embarrassment for their own past bad judgment and the other half intensely frustrated that he is in office in the first place. But there are so few Republicans with any credibility at this point, I honestly don't know who they can trot out to do it. The party's lockstep, slavering sycophancy to Bush's inept governance has left them without anyone people can trust.
I suspect this is why they are all so hot for Fred Thompson. He can at least act like he knows what he's doing. (Worked for Reagan.) Finding a Republican who actually knows what he's doing may be an impossible task."
* our newest regular contributor, Enlightenment, has some thoughts about some of the apparent fishiness re VTech in the comments here. (Welcome Enlightment, and thanks for all of your thoughtful posts recently). Cannonfire, too, has been on top of the story.
* xymphora, in full:
"The Establishment Plan for the Middle East was based on a model developed by the British and French after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. You start by drawing some sloppy national borders. Then you pick as the leader of each country someone from a minority group or clan, someone who will require the assistance of the imperial power in order to stay alive. In return for imperial support, the grateful leader provides a favorable deal on the oil. The model has worked perfectly – at least from the point of view of the Establishment – for decades, and is still working like a charm in those places not touched by neocon ‘improvements’ to the model.note that he didn't once say 'ya know, the people Chomsky says rule the world' :-)
When a neocon’s car breaks down, he parks it in his garage next to his other vehicles, pours gasoline over it, lights it on fire, and hopes that the car, his other vehicles, his garage, his whole house, and the entire neighborhood, burns. In a nutshell, that is the Zionist model. The plan is to use the attack on Iraq to set the entire Middle East on fire, leading to the weakening of all possible opponents to the Zionist Empire. Contrast that with the Establishment model. When an Establishment car breaks down, they send it to be fixed by swapping out a part. When a leader isn’t providing proper service to the Empire, they don’t start a war, They just swap out a part, like the CIA did in 1953 in Iran. A nice clean coup which doesn’t mess with the oil fields.
Pumping oil isn’t as easy as it looks. It requires a completely stable political environment, preferably supplied by a ruthless dictator beholden for his power to the Empire. The pipes and ports required to move the oil are very delicate, and essentially indefensible, so you have to depend on the dictator to provide the political stability necessary to move the oil out of the ground, and out of the country. The huge downside to a war in countries under the Establishment Plan is that the systems are set up to be inherently unstable. A war is a disaster, as it allows all the forces held in check by the dictator to run amok, leading to exactly the kind of problems we are seeing in Iraq, and the danger, promoted by the neocons, of causing a domino effect in every other country set up on a similarly unstable basis in the Middle East.
Even the Gulf War followed the Establishment Plan. When Saddam got out of line by interfering with Kuwait oil production, they didn’t set out to destroy Iraq with a war in Iraq. They simply did what was required to push Saddam out of Kuwait, and intentionally didn’t follow him to Baghdad. They then had the option of doing a deal with him to bring him back into the fold, like they have subsequently done with Libya, or swap him out with another Sunni general. In neither case do they mess with anyone’s oil fields.
There is a stark contrast between the completely destructive Zionist Plan for the Middle East, and the Establishment Plan for the Middle East. Of course, neither does the people living under these regimes much good, but at least the Establishment Plan leaves them alive. The Establishment Plan also protects oil production, something not a part of the Zionist Plan. This has finally become clear to the Establishment, prompting the resistance to Zionism which we are starting to see."