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Dropping It at the President’s Doorstep, Cont’d: The Moral Fiber of the Empty Suit

emptysuit.jpgTo read this site and others, you'd think today was a day of great victories for our President.  So why does Greg Sargent at TPM Cafe catch him sounding so testy in his latest press conference?

Asked by NBC's David Gregory why anyone should view him as credible on the war, Bush gave an answer that included this about the terrorists:

"They are a threat to your children, David."

And in response to The New York Times's Jim Rutenberg, who asked why Bin Laden is still at large, Bush gave an answer that included this about terrorism:

"It's a danger to your children, Jim."

. . . now that'll make 'em think again about asking tough questions! If you do, the Prez names you on national TV, suggests he understands the threat to your own kids better than you do.

If that strikes you as Dubya reaching for the last, most desperate weapon in Karl Rove's arsenal, you're probably right.  Even if the Democrats are hurting themselves for failing to stop the war in Iraq, the snowballing poll results show it's just collateral damage from the (ahem) birdshot aimed at the Shrub-in-Chief.

In the midst of disappointment over Congress's failure, let's not forget who the real target is.  Last week in this space, I wrote about the need to place the Department of Justice scandals at Dubya's doorstep, making the President's morality and credibility part of the conversation.  Bush freaked out at the questions above because they did exactly that regarding the war in Iraq.

If we set a task for ourselves in the wake of today's vote, I think it should be sharpening the moral focus of our arguments to bring home to spineless wavering Democrats the urgency of ending the war — and to make Bush so clearly repellent that he becomes radioactive, forcing congressional Republicans to abandon him for the sake of their short-term survival.  Here's how I put it in a post at Needlenose yesterday, noting that at current casualty rates, "2,000 more Americans will have died by the end of January, 2009":

What will have been accomplished by the loss of those 2,000 lives? Will Iraq be any more stable or secure, or will those lives have just been sacrificed at the altar of wishful thinking and a President who's too weak and paralyzed to admit a mistake?

Any politician who won't support an exit strategy needs to be made personally accountable for those 2,000 additional deaths — and to the 2,000 families who will bear the burden. And every Democrat or other progressive with access to a microphone, TV camera, or keyboard can help by reminding people that those 2,000 lives are the price we're going to pay for not putting an end to the war.

Judging from his comments today, it appears that Sen. Russ Feingold has already adopted this approach.  And we can reinforce it by emphasizing the moral angle of Dubya's other failings, as I suggested in last week's post on Alberto Gonzales.  That way, it becomes a narrative where individual issues combine to form an echo chamber instead of distracting from one another.

This president has something missing where his morals are supposed to be.  Making it impossible for Republicans (or Democrats) to hide from that fact will help us end the Iraq war sooner.

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (