Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Carpetbagger Report » How serious is it?

The Carpetbagger Report "How serious is it?': "Last week, there was ample criticism in Republican circles about the president's ineptitude. Newt Gingrich called the emergency response 'impossible to defend.' Rich Galen, a Republican consultant in Washington, compared the president's rosy remarks about progress in New Orleans to ''Baghdad Bob' saying there are no Americans at the airport.' The Washington Times, the Union Leader, and National Review — three of the most conservative news outlets in the nation — all expressed deep concerns about the president's competency.

"And then these guys figured out just how serious this is.

"The reality is that Bush's presidency, if Republicans abandoned Bush on Katrina, could very well have reached an unrecoverable state. It seemed to be heading in that direction, right around the time the president told a national television audience, 'I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.'

"That was last week. This week, they're in full Swift-Boat mode. I guess it's cold comfort to know that, just below the surface, many Republican officials seem to be well aware of the administration's incompetence, even if they won't admit it out loud."

Yep. It is so serious, the Republicans are going to lie about it. That's news . . . not.

What makes this real storm the beginning of a political storm is the prospect of worse, yet to come. Iraq is too remote, geographically and media-wise, for a majority to have yet faced up to the reality that we have lost that war of choice, in the way that failure in New Orleans was unavoidably obvious.

New Orleans is not over. Don't get me wrong. Bush, being incompetent, is still capable of creating situation in which, say, innocent people are shot by nervous, exhausted National Guardsmen. That is coming. And, it is as predictable as a consequence of Bush's leadership failures as the failure of the levees. (But, it will be easier to pretend that Bush had nothing to do with it.)

But, Iraq is not over yet, either. Iraq is a complete and total failure, waiting for the final denouement.

And, then there's the economy. There's difference of opinion on the state of the economy, founded on a difference in interest. The very rich have benefitted tremendously from Bush's economic policies, by design. So, some people are quite pleased with what Bush has wrought. People, with a broader view of the "national interest", however, will have noticed, not just that the middle class has seen its situation stagnate, but that the country has been eating its seed corn. The deficits matter. The soaring national debt matters. And, will have consequences. The housing bubble is over, and as it comes down, there's good chance a vicious circle of collapsing consumer spending and confidence in the dollar will bring the economy down with it.

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