View Full Version : Twice fooled — shame on us: The case for impeachment
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
06-25-2005, 04:35 PM
George W. Bush stole the 2000 election and we let him get away with it. While the Democrats cried because Al Gore had won the vote, the Republicans counted their loot and planned the next heist. Crime does pay when the justices of the Supreme Court are in on the caper, and they can't be impeached if the crooks control the Congress.
At first, most of us (irrespective of politics) thought that, even though Bush was sort of a goofy guy, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other retainers from the reigns of Ronnie the Great and George I would be able to run things for four years. The world was at peace, the economy was good, and, much as he had done for the Rangers baseball team, Bush would play the part, lead the cheers and leave the big decisions to those better equipped to think deep thoughts. Sooner or later, the voters would catch on that they'd been had, and the doofus would be replaced with someone who could read, write and think for him (or her)self.
But, suddenly, on September 11, 2001, the game changed. At first, things appeared the same. While the president was flying around in circles, without a clue and out of touch, Cheney and the other grownups dealt with the emergency and scripted Bush's response.
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
06-26-2005, 03:36 PM
Battered Bush watches as support ebbs away
With memories of his poll victory still fresh, the President already seems a lame duck. Backing for the Iraq war has collapsed and his domestic agenda is in disarray. Even his party is rebelling
By Paul Harris, The Observer
On Tuesday at 8pm President George W Bush will speak to the American people. The setting will be Fort Bragg, a North Carolina military base that acts as a springboard for many soldiers on their way to the war zone of Iraq. It will be a rare prime-time appearance for a President notoriously shy of such performances.
But these are not ordinary times. Beset on all sides by the bloodshed in Iraq, rebellions in the Republican party and Democrat attacks on his domestic agenda, Bush faces the derailment of his second term only six months after his inauguration.
It is a remarkable turnaround. After his 2004 victory, Republican advisers spoke of a 'Bush unshackled', freed by the fact he will not fight another election and buoyed by winning 12 million new voters to his cause. Bush boasted of spending 'political capital' in a radical second term to transform America.
No longer. Bush is confronting the nightmare of any American President in his second term: he is becoming a lame duck.
George Bush's long hot summer
Jun 23rd 2005
From The Economist print edition
It should be used to rethink his ambitious second term
George Bush likes his summers hot. While the Clintons used to disappear to the cool breezes of Martha's Vineyard, he heads down to the furnace of Crawford, Texas, and spends an inordinate amount of time clearing brush on his ranch. This summer is likely to be sweatier than most.
Mr Bush's second term is not going well. The most visible disaster remains Iraq: the euphoria of the January election has worn off, six out of ten Americans want to bring their troops home and he has failed to get much help from the Europeans. His secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is (correctly) beating the drum for democracy in the Middle East; but the face of American justice remains the internment camp at Guantánamo Bay, which Mr Bush seems unsure whether to close. A new Pew survey of global attitudes to the United States shows hearts and minds are not being won.
Things are also going badly at home, where his approval ratings have dipped below 45%. The president has spent weeks on the road, flogging his ambitious plan to overhaul the Social Security system—and nobody seems to be buying it. This week, the ever less loyal Republican Congress again held up the nomination of John Bolton, his proposed ambassador to the United Nations. Mr Bush has had to postpone his efforts to reform the tax code, and he is struggling to hold down government spending, after his first-term splurge, and also to get through a tiny Central American trade deal.
Meanwhile, his promises to bring the country together after his re-election have faded away. Both the main Republican gambles on Capitol Hill this year—trying to “save” the life of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman, and trying to force the Democrats to give up the filibuster they are using to block his judicial nominations—were deeply divisive and ended in failure. Congress is even less popular than he is. And soon (maybe next week, if the ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist retires at the end of the Supreme Court's current term) Mr Bush may have to nominate a new Supreme Court justice—plunging the country into its bitterest fight yet.
To Mr Bush's many critics, his discomfort is easy to explain: it is the sound of a flock of Texan wild turkeys coming home to roost. This most loathed of presidents is getting his come-uppance for being wrong on just about everything.
This rejoicing seems wrong on two counts. First, it is premature to write off Mr Bush: even in this fallow period, he can point to some achievements, including a partial reform of the tort system at home and the glimmerings of an Israeli-Palestinian deal abroad. He still enjoys the support of his base: his approval ratings are 85% among Republicans. And the Democrats lack both ideas and leadership.
Second, from this newspaper's perspective, Mr Bush has not been wrong about everything. We have never shared his enthusiasm for the religious right, which is one reason to watch his Supreme Court appointments nervously. And we have long regarded his approach to both fiscal policy and civil liberties as reckless: he deserves all the flak he gets over Guantánamo. But we have supported his push for democracy in the Middle East, his tough approach to the war on terror and, yes, the Iraq war; and in his domestic policy we have found things to admire, including his education reforms and his willingness to tackle Social Security.
So what is he doing wrong? Mr Bush's biggest problem remains execution—a crucial failing in one so ambitious. The mistakes vary from challenge to challenge, but they usually involve three things: mis-selling, an obstinate refusal to change course or personnel and a failure to reach out to opponents.
Baghdad and beyond
With Iraq, even Mr Bush's supporters admit that the administration exaggerated Saddam's ties to al-Qaeda. But in some ways, the current blithely optimistic doublespeak is worse. How can Mr Bush say he is “pleased with the progress” there, or Dick Cheney claim that the insurgency is “in the last throes”? Iraq is no Vietnam, but the sooner Mr Bush spells out the truth bluntly, the sooner he will recover his reputation as a straight-shooter with the American people and Congress.
With Social Security the mis-selling is more complicated. Mr Bush deserves credit both for pushing America to reform its huge entitlement system before the baby-boomers start to retire and for trying to create an “ownership society”, based around private accounts. But he has blurred the lines between the two, trying to sell private accounts as an answer to an immediate pensions crisis. In fact, Social Security will be “fixed” only by changing the entitlements or the contributions.
Recently, Mr Bush has altered course a little with pensions. But on many issues his generally admirable resoluteness has descended into pig-headed obstinacy. The only possible explanation for his determination to stick with Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary responsible for post-invasion planning and the disasters of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, is the misguided assumption that firing him would be a sign of weakness. In fact, it would be a sign that even Mr Bush's friends are accountable. The same goes for Guantánamo itself. Giving terrorist suspects a proper trial is not a risk; it is justice.
It is hard for Mr Bush to reach out beyond his natural supporters, partly because he often brings out the worst sort of unprincipled negativism in his opponents—be they Howard Dean or Jacques Chirac. But it cannot help the war on terror that so many people regard America as an unprincipled bully. At home, his tactic in the first term of beating up the Democrats, even when they supported his tax cuts, has solidified their opposition—and he is finding it difficult to get anything past them, let alone a project as large as Social Security reform.
More than anything else, Mr Bush's long hot summer represents a failed opportunity. Last November he was given not just a mandate, but a chance to reinvigorate his presidency. He did not take it. The next few months will be crucial—and not just for Mr Bush. It is not good for the world to have an American president consumed by domestic misfortune. But that is what we will have to deal with, unless Mr Bush clears the brush that threatens to overwhelm his legacy.
Copyright © 2005 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
06-26-2005, 03:44 PM
"You tell 'em, W*GS! You're my best pupil."
"You tell 'em, W*GS! You're my best pupil."
You'd be less of an ass if you bothered to read what I post.
But please, what with your being a Democrat and all, keep making a jackass of yourself.
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
06-26-2005, 03:51 PM
Beyond impeachment: The Bush administration as war criminals
In the wake of the Downing Street Memo and other leaked British documents created before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, many have begun to question the legality of the Bush administration's actions. In particular, families of soldiers, a few Democratic senators, and hundreds of thousands of outraged Americans, are calling for an independent investigation of the Bush administration's manipulation and outright fabrication of intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq. The word "impeachment" is even being bandied about.
While it is certainly appropriate to demand an independent investigation of the Bush administration's pre-invasion shenanigans, as well as to pursue bringing articles of impeachment against the President for his official misconduct, there is something larger at stake. There is the matter of the Bush administration's post-invasion atrocities.
Pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483, adopted on May 22, 2003, the U.S. and the United Kingdom identified themselves and were recognized as the occupying powers of Iraq. As an occupying power, the U.S. accepted duties that were coextensive with its area of occupation. That is, the greater its degree of control, the greater its degree of responsibility.