George Bush: The iWrong President
Howie Klein linked up this sketch from MadTV and I had to share it with everyone. Perhaps I'm just a little punchy this morning, but it cracked me up, in that painful "so funny because it is so unfortunately true" sort of way. Thought everyone could use this today as well. Comedy can be such an effective means of skewering the powerful, by mocking the hubris and the tics that inflate the egos and this particular sketch is a doozy in that regard, with some subtle digs all around. (And do watch it through to the end — the blooper as the credits roll is priceless.)
As scarecrow already linked this morning, Michael Ware, one of CNN's reporters in Baghdad for the last 4 years and counting, took Sen. John McCain to the woodshed yesterday for saying something that was just plain false. And laughable on its face, not just for Ware, but to military commanders in the field.
Juan Cole takes on the McCain blunder head on:
…Remember when, in summer of 2003, Donald Rumsfeld asserted that there was no guerrilla war in Iraq? Remember when he implied that the violence there was no worse than a little race riot in Benton Harbor, Michigan? McCain increasingly sounds like that.
McCain has fallen ill with Rumsfeld's Disease in part because he is losing in the polls because the public doesn't like his gung ho stance on Iraq. If only, he thinks, he could convince the public that actually things are turning around there.
And in part he has succumbed to it because of frustration with his colleagues in the Senate, who just voted to get US troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. McCain thinks things have improved so much that his colleagues are basing their decisions on old information.
The greatest fallacy of all is in McCain's assumption that short-term changes in the Baghdad security environment, produced by deploying an extra US division there, can necessarily be translated into long-term gains. It is much more likely that guerrillas are just lying low and will come right back out when the Americans draw back down (the US can't keep an extra division in Iraq forever.)
McCain is typical of the hawks of his generation, which lost the Vietnam War. For many of them, a war on Iraq promised vindication and restoration of pride. It had all the delights of a Rambo movie, but the advantage of being real.
There have been rumors swirling about problems with the US relationship to the Saudis since Prince Bandar packed his bags and left the post of Ambassador rather abruptly, followed not long thereafter by the precipitous resignation of his successor, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The long-time Bush Family connections to the Saudi royal family notwithstanding, it seems that a chill has occurred in the relationship stemming from the horrible results at every turn of George Bush's foreign policy decisions, and that Bush Administration efforts to cozy back up to the House of Saud have soured.
Official versions discount that possibility, of course. Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, flew to Washington last week to explain to Bush that April 17 posed a scheduling problem. " 'It is not convenient' was the way it was put," says one official.
But administration sources report that Bush and his senior advisers were not convinced by Bandar's vagueness — especially since it followed Saudi decisions to seek common ground with Iran and the radicals of Hezbollah and Hamas instead of confronting them as part of Rice's proposed "realignment" of the Middle East into moderates and extremists….
But Rice will get no relief when she returns to Washington. She will have to deal with more depressing society news: Jordan's King Abdullah, who has spent more time in George W. Bush's Washington than any other foreign leader, has let the White House know that he can't make that state visit discussed for September. Can you do 2008? the king asks instead.
American diplomatic initiatives cannot simply be short-term band-aids and hopping about putting out fires after they have already sprung up and engulfed our interests and allies. Diplomacy is about long-term strategy and foresight, except in the Bush Administration where it has been derided as unnecessary for far too long, shoved to the side for the Rummy and Cheney show and cowboy diplomacy.
We will be years in repairing the damage from this short-sighted, ego-driven idiocy — and I keep asking, in my own mind, whether some long-nursed grudge with Daddy's diplomatic postings isn't factoring into the mess somewhere with Junior, egged on by a Vice President who has imperial tendencies. Whatever the cause, we are staring down the long road of nearly two more years of this failed presidency, and our only hope is Congressional oversight and enforcement. At least the Democrats, who now control both houses of Congress, are actually holding oversight hearings and raising the word accountability, something that the Republicans failed at entirely during their tenure in charge. (Seems to be a theme here, doesn't it?)
Here is to asking the questions that need asking — either through Congress, or through comedy. Because someone has to, and it sure as hell isn't going to be the iWrong President without a whole lot of nudging, if history is any judge of his character.
(And, speaking of asking questions, it is Waxman GSA oversight hearing day. Nothing like a little accountability for politicizing governmental contracting, is there?)