October 8, 2005

"You know, once you start to think 'Bush is an idiot,' it becomes a pervasive organizing principle."

Did Althouse say that just now?

37 comments:

Internet Ronin said...

I don't know, did Althouse? Is there another Althouse posting here or just the one? Is there, in fact, another Althouse?

As one who voted for the idiot, I think there is much to be said for "mean and stubborn" as organizing principles. Feel free to take them for a test drive and see if they deliver as well or better. As always, your mileage may vary.

Ann Althouse said...

Let's not forget, it was a choice between two men. You had to pick one. Or, put better, you could only reject one. I had to reject Kerry, and I don't regret that.

Internet Ronin said...

True. In spite of subsequent events, I still would not choose Kerry.

Henry said...

The appalling thing with Bush is that there's Iraq and everything else. On everything else he's an idiot.

Even if you abhor the Iraq war, you could at least say its a different kind of idiocy than everything else.

What Bush always had going for him, as opposed to Kerry, is that he does stuff. It's a visceral thing, but given a choice between someone who makes stuff happen and someone who makes nothing happen, I can't help but lean toward the former.

To thrown in a sports metaphor (!) its the difference between a halfback who runs north and south vs. one who runs east and west (see "Tips from eHow users" here).

Sean said...

I dunno, Henry, I'm finally finishing my taxes this weekend, and the fact that I'm paying tens of thousands of dollars less than I would have if Gore or Kerry were president is not to me compelling evidence of the president's idiocy.

paulfrommpls said...

I wonder if Bush checks out blogs to see what people are saying.

Even when I opposed him in 2000, and thought that he wasn't really sure why he wanted to be president, I always felt more empathy for the guy than most people I knew.

And after 9-11, I found myself definitely feeling sorry for him. What a sad, lonely place, to be an overwhelmed man handed the toughest spot any president ever was handed. To feel responsible for saving the country, literally, with half the country hating you.

Soemtimes I think that's what that baffles me most about the W-haters. Isn't there any empathy for the spot he's in? Do they never imagine the kind of intelligence he's handed every day?

That's why "this war is for Haliburton" seems so idiotic and dark.

griffin d. politico dog said...

Sean, is it merely about taxes? Don't you think that if Iraq continues, and Bush's cutting of taxes continues, that you are going to eventually end up paying that "tens of thousands" of dollars in other ways, such as increased state & local taxes, higher gas prices, increased costs for school, etc? Bush is expanding the gov't, and covering it with debt. Eventually, you and/or your kids are going to end up paying that back.

amba said...

Sean: so your shortsighted self-interest trumps everything?

Griffin says it better than I could.

downtownlad said...

Let's not forget, it was a choice between two men. You had to pick one. Or, put better, you could only reject one. I had to reject Kerry, and I don't regret that.
Untrue. There were third party candidates. I took great pleasure giving a middle finger to both of them by voting Libertarian.

John(classic) said...

I agree. Bush is an idiot. What then are the people that keep losing to him?

Calling Bush an idiot does sort of leave a terminology vacuum for so many of his political foes, doesn't it?


Prediction: Harriet Miers will win the support of the public and will be handily confirmed. Why? Because people will start to admire her for her guts, and feel that she has been unfairly treated. And Bush is an idiot....?

tcd said...

amba writes: Sean: so your shortsighted self-interest trumps everything?

amba,
Why do you vote? And why do you care how and why Sean votes?

griffin,
As far as taxes go, do you propose Kerry is/was a fiscal conservative?

griffin d. politico dog said...

I wouldn't say that I think Kerry was a fiscal conservative, but I definitely think he'd be more fiscally conservative than Bush.

John(classic) said...

Griffin---

An interesting dynamic. Had Kerry been elected I have no doubt he would have liked to spend more. Congress would have fought him nail and tooth, and, I suspect, insisted on a balanced budget.


But with Bush....Congress and the President seem to have struck a bargain to support each other's excesses.


Perhaps the electorate is not wrong in thinking of a divided President and Congress as best? Particularly if the public's viewpoint is that of a sheep amidst wolves.

griffin d. politico dog said...

Perhaps, John. I disagree that Kerry would have spent more. Outside of my thinking that Kerry would have been more reasonable than Bush with money, I also think Dems are shifting to being more fiscally conservative.

nina said...

It is time, isn't it, to reflect upon why we now have had several consecutive elections where we are pushed to choose between barely (and arguably not) electable candidates.

The 9/11 attacks completely redefined the way we pick presidents. Not since the fifties has fear played such a role in the presidential race. Anger, hatred, greed, compassion, religion -- all have had their place. But fear? I don't recall it shaking up the electorate in the way that it did now.

Am I wrong?

bearbee said...

*..that you are going to eventually end up paying that "tens of thousands" of dollars in other ways..*

How about this from the LATimes:

Tax Reformers Eye Breaks for Housing
Mortgage deductions and other benefits are costing more than forecast. With a rising federal budget deficit, they may be scaled back.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-taxbreak8oct08,0,1112971.story?coll=la-home-headlines

I have never considered Bush as an idiot but his fiscal policies are definitely idiotic!

Ann Althouse said...

Nina: I don't run with the "fear" meme pushed by those who would not take the war on terrorism seriously. I don't think those who wanted a strong response to the very real threats were being fearful. I think it took nerve.

gs said...

My attitude toward Bush has gone from support to frustration to distrust to anger, and now, perhaps, to bitter amusement.

It is little solace that Bush is failing with a higher grade than his opponents might have gotten.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

I wonder what leads the LA Times to believe the federal budget deficit is rising.

PatCA said...

I don't think any one person is equal to the task of Leader of the Free World, Complete with Nukes. Sometimes I think it's good that we end up choosing between two people who appear to be mediocre. How scary and ultimately disappointing if we thought we were electing "the one."

de toqueville said our system of mandatory elections showed great wisdom because it acknowledges human nature. Everyone, given enough time in office, will screw up the country, so we pick the one who will screw it up the least and shoo him out in four years.

WisJoe said...

Ann:

Kerry was personally hard to enjoy; however, he was more articulate and had a better vision of the United States' role in the world. It is not as if Gore or Kerry would have cowerred in fear and quickly surrendered to Al-Qaeda. I think you and many moderates got snowed by Bush & Co.'s mantra that they are strong and principled vs. Kerry would give up the fight against terrorism. I did not enjoy Kerry personally, but I voted for him because I thought his policies would be better.

Ann Althouse said...

WisJoe: I said similar things about Kerry -- that he'd just have to follow through in Iraq, etc. -- until I reached the point where I had to admit I didn't trust him to stick with it. I waited a long time for him to say something straight. Then I gave up. (Articulate? No, he wasn't.)

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eli Blake said...

paulfrommpls:

I wonder if Bush checks out blogs to find out what people are saying.

I doubt it. I used to call the White House comment line regularly, during the administration of his father, and of Bill Clinton. They may have thrown all the comments in the trash, but the secretaries who answered it were always polite and took the time to let me say what I wanted, and promised to forward it to wherever they looked at the comments (I'm sure not the President's desk, but they probably went somewhere).

About two months after W got into office (this was before 9/11, mind you), the line was suddenly changed. Now you get a recording, asking your opinion about one or two topics that are hot at the time. You have about three choices, not necessarily the one you have (if the topic of the day is even the one you are calling about).

This disturbed me because it seemed to signal a pattern of secrecy and closed doors that I had not seen before. And, everything that has happened since has confirmed my beliefs.

Now, I've never claimed to be anything but a Liberal. And no, I don't hate Bush (in fact he is a distant relative of mine) but I hate many of the things he does. I believe that he has destroyed much of what made this country great. Just my opinion.

Now, I do support his going after the terrorists. 9/11 was a tough spot and he was the President. Unfortunately, he started to make mistakes almost immediately in the way he handled it. Unlike his father, he did not think much of diplomacy. He dictated what we would do, and over time, alienated even some of our closest allies, like Canada. He put the war in Afghanistan on a back burner while we went and invaded Iraq (where there were few if any terrorists against the war).

NOW: As to his being an idiot: There is ONE DAY when I REALLY regretted the White House comment line being changed. That day was about April 11 or April 12, 2003. It was a couple of days after the fall of Baghdad. Looters were going in and burning all the government offices. Cheney even condoned it and said they were just 'blowing off steam.' We made no effort to prevent it or secure any of the buildings. On that day, I had a thought that we should secure the buildings and prevent it because of documents in the buildings that would tell us about a lot of things: WMD, who was a member (secret or otherwise) of Saddam's organization, what Saddam's dictatorship knew about terror groups, what happened to Scott Speicher, what weapons were in the country and who had control of them, political prisoners, in fact almost everything that a zealous dicatorship would know.

I tried to get the message through that we should do something to make sure that we could see the documents. I made a point of mentioning it to a marine recruiter asking them to send the message back up the line. I called my congressman's office. I even emailed Rush Limbaugh.

Obviously, it didn't get through. And equally obvious, with us having only question marks about WMD, who the network of Saddamists are (since we know they began the insurgency and still play a major role in it), what kind of arsenal they might have, who in Iraq might be associated with or provide haven to terrorists, those documents would be INVALUABLE. We did secure the Oil Ministry, but that was the only office we bothered to secure (so yeah, we got all their geological survey maps. Oh, goody.)

So, I do believe that this administration is in general full of idiots. If I, as Liberal and anti-war as I am, could see how important it was for us to get into and secure those buildings instead of letting them be burned and looted, then why couldn't they see it?

Jacques Cuze said...

It is easy to blame Kerry, and he deserves some blame for running a craptacular campaign.

But Ann, you may wish to take a look at yourself, and ask what is it about yourself that let you get snowed by the President's lies and blinded to his idiocy?

Ann, once you start to think "Bush is an idiot", you begin to realize that almost half the country realized that, and you did not. That gives you an "F" on most curves.

And once you start to think "Bush is an idiot", you may want to ask yourself about others on your blogroll, especially law profs. What is it about blogging law profs that made them such rabid boosters of Bush in ways that few other members of academia are?

"I had to reject Kerry, and I don't regret that" -- With 2131 coalition troops killed in Iraq and almost 15,000 American troops wounded, as New Yorkers fear the subways, the gulf coast struggling to identify its dead and rebuild, with a country unprepared for a bird flu pandemic, and the economy threatening to slip into recession, oil prices sky rocketing, Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs running wild, terrorists taking over Iraq, democracy foundering in Iraq, civil war raising its ugly head in Iraq, the middle east destabilizing due to Iraq, civil rights attacked in America, and as terrorist attacks around the world increase, all I can say is that you are still in denial, Wake up sheeple, your country needs you.

Noumenon said...

I dunno, Henry, I'm finally finishing my taxes this weekend, and the fact that I'm paying tens of thousands of dollars less than I would have if Gore or Kerry were president is not to me compelling evidence of the president's idiocy.

Griffin got it wrong: this is dumb not because Sean is voting in his own self-interest, but because Sean's self-interest is totally irrelevant to determining Bush's level of idiocy. To Sean, "The National Stupid Initiative for Stupidity Promotion, Plus A $10,000 Tax Cut for Sean" would apparently count as smart policy. It was such a dumb, irritating thing to say I'm afraid I've been lured on by a mere troll, but I had fun coming up with the national stupid inititative thing anyway.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, I don't think Sean's a troll. I think he's a satirist. But if it's true and he's so rich that the tax cut gave him tens of thousands, I seriously think he ought to put about $1000 in the Althouse tip jar. (For the rest of you, $5 would be nice! $10 if you want to say "Bush is an idiot." $25 if you want to say "Bush is doing just fine.")

paulfrommpls said...

quxxo-

So you're angry that W has been cooperating with what you evidently see as a failed international diplomatic effort to curb nuclear programs in N. Korea and Iran? You're angry that the war in Iraq has meant we can't yet do something similar and unavoidable with those 2 countries?

I really can't see any other implication of your comments. Or do you in fact have a precise criticism of the way W and his crew have been involved diplomatically?

Or is it simply that you're scrambling frantically toward getting to use what is undoubtedly one of your favorite words, "sheeple?"

MD said...

Hmmmm, you could substitute the generic 'politician' into that sentence and it would sound just the same; it's a very comforting sort of cynicism to make a statement like that. It's like the robust 'independent' who hates all those 'criminals down in Washington!" ( something I heard on one of those C-SPAN call in shows....) It's comforting to think that way because then you can never be disappointed.

If one makes a nomination of a Roberts (brilliantly, eminantly qualified) and one makes a less than stellar nomination (less than brilliantly, eminantly qualified) isn't it essentially a wash? Or, is it a combination of high-lows that makes you think, "what are you thinking sir?"

What do you lawyer types think of the detailed Beldar defence of certain recent idiocies. A bit over my head....

Ann Althouse said...

MD: Beldar has written a lot, and I can't say I've read it all, but scanning it, I don't find anything that speaks to my concerns. He's supplying long argumentation based on facts I already know as far as I can see. I know those facts and I'm not impressed.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Should moderates donate $17.50 to the tip jar? [Splitting the difference between the $10 'Bush is an ijit' and $25 'Bush is doing just fine'.]

Ann Althouse said...

Ruth: The non-expressive donation suggestion was $50. But feel free to express your opinion with an amount between the $10 and the $25 that puts you where you belong on the continuum between the two positions. Presumably, you're not precisely midway. You could be a $13.67 or a $14.41 or a $22.83.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

$24.37 coming atcha. He appears to be sucking wind. But I don't want to misunderestimate his strategery. Did you know his resting pulse rate is 14?

Kirk Parker said...

WisJoe,

"Kerry ... had a better vision of the United States' role in the world."

...
...
...

OK, now that the guffaws have ended and I can read and type again, it's only fair to concede that I can see your point, in a certain way. Sure, Kerry had a better "vision", as long as we stipulate that being able to realize it in the real world plays no part in determining what is "better".

Surely you don't really think, e.g., that if we had just asked France or Russia differently, that they would have been *happy* to get on the oust-Sadaam bandwagon, do you?

krostitzer said...

Yes, "Bush is an idiot" certainly was a brilliant organizing principle for the Democrat's triumphs in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections.

It did Ann Richards a world of good in a certain Texas governor's race, too.

The Exalted said...

mssr parker,

to say you don't get it is a massive understatement

Ernst Blofeld said...

I think Ann is conducting a cunning experiment to determine the truth of her "conservatives look for allies, liberals look for heretics" hypothesis by posting flamebait for conservatives. Sort of a recon by fire.

I liked the post about whether professors understood blogging.