Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Politi-flicks: Bush's Last Speech

Barring resignation, health problems or impeachment, there's two years to go in the George W. Bush Administration and I wouldn't be surprised if this last speech was the last time anyone will even pretend that it's important to see it.

Why would any network preempt programming to cover him? Unless it's to watch a car wreck as he drives America through the steel guard rail at 120 mph in a State of the Union address announcing war on Iran just as Cheney is angling for hard, why would anyone bother listening to him?

It was that bad.

I went into tonight thinking Bush had somewhere between and 20% and 35% chance of convincing America he was finally facing up to his responsibilities and would really, really focus if we give him 20,000 (escalated to 21,500 by the time the speech rolled around) more American soldiers to put in harm's way.

Bush's big hurdle coming into the speech is that there are very few people left in America who still believe he can deliver adequately on anything he promises. As Keith Olbermann so made clear with blistering graphics shortly before the speech, the justifications, cost estimates and declared turning points for this war have changed so many times, whatever Bush said tonight is irrelevant by definition.

The fact is that there has been no fully competent execution except maybe on disproportionately lowering taxes on the wealthy. Nothing, absolutely nothing for the people that isn't botched, sold to cronies, underfunded or donut-holed. It's a managerial failure, to be sure, but can't we admit that this six year nullset of failure is inherent proof of an ideological bankruptcy as well?

Ah, there are die-hard. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who appears to have been the first national figure to give Bush & Co. the inspiration for the "surge" (the "McCain Doctrine") and even he today seemed off his game, splitting hairs on having won the (initial) Iraq War (We were greeted as liberators! We were!)

The once sympathetic Howard Fineman declares "A Crisis of Confidence":
Bush's political problem is not so much that he has lied to the American people—though he may well have done so—but that he seems for years to have been lying to himself.

What the voters saw on TV just now was a man struggling to come to grips with his own unwillingness to face facts. It's still a struggle. His acknowledgement of mistakes was oblique and not as brave as it sounded at first blush. Mistakes were made, and he said. "The responsibility rests with me," he said. What he meant to convey was that others had made the mistakes, but that he was stepped up to take the hit. Hoo-aw! He said that he had "consulted" congressional leaders of both parties before he came to a decision on sending more than 20,000 additional troops. He didn't really consult with members of Congress, and certainly not with Democrats, unless you consider Sen. Joe Lieberman a Democrat.

But if there's anything really newsworthy in the speech is exactly that joyride of threatening war with Iran and Syria. From the complete text (from Kos):
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We're also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.

Well, he has to do something to get our attention back before January 2009.

How about World War III?

As always, Politi-flicks is cross-posted to The Daily Reel.

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