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Monday, November 13, 2006

When Bipartisanship Hits the Fan

Bush's switch from 'stay the course' to 'adjust to win' is welcome -- if he actually means it -- but was too little, too late for the electorate. The Decider decided to live in reality at pretty much the eleventh hour and actually listen to somebody for a change. And the Republicans seem to have learned a new word -- "Bipartisanship."

The 'somebody' he'll be listening to today will be the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. You get the idea that Bush knows (or at least has a good idea of) what the recommendations will be. After all, he's picked Robert Gates, who serves on the panel, to succeed Rumsfeld. It's hard to believe that Team Bush would pick a group member without knowing what the Study Group will suggest.

Where Dick Cheney had told the nation the policy in Iraq would be "full speed ahead" (what is it with these guys and nautical terms?), Bush chief of staff Josh Bolten, apparently speaking for the broader White House consensus, told talking heads on morning news shows, "We clearly need a fresh approach." You kind of hope this means that folks are done listening to Shooter. Firing Rumsfeld would suggest the same -- the neocons look like a declining force.

On that new word, "bipartisanship" -- sure comes easy to them now, doesn't it? In a stunning display of why it's a bad idea to go on a campaign of bridge burning before an election, Bush and the GOP spent a big chunk of this past year trying to convince people that Democrats are practically allies of al Qaeda and that putting them in control would mean the death of the republic. As the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin put it the day after the election, "On a rhetorical level, it's a neck-snapping reversal from the savage smearing of Democrats as troop-hating terrorist-appeasing cowards that continued right up until last night, when the will of the voters became undeniable even by White House standards."

Now we're going to move together in the spirit of bipartisanship.

Dan Froomkin again, from a piece published on the ninth:

Washington Post:

Consider this passage in [Bush's] introductory remarks:

"Amid this time of change, I have a message for those on the front lines. To our enemies: Do not be joyful. Do not confuse the workings of our democracy with a lack of will. Our nation is committed to bringing you to justice. Liberty and democracy are the source of America's strength, and liberty and democracy will lift up the hopes and desires of those you are trying to destroy.

"To the people of Iraq: Do not be fearful. As you take the difficult steps toward democracy and peace, America is going to stand with you. We know you want a better way of life, and now is the time to seize it.

"To our brave men and women in uniform: Don't be doubtful. America will always support you. Our nation is blessed to have men and women who volunteer to serve, and are willing to risk their own lives for the safety of our fellow citizens."

On the one hand, a noble and gracious and important assurance to the world of America's enduring values and determination. On other hand -- given the ferocious way that Campaigner Bush attacked Democrats as troop-hating terrorist-appeasing cowards -- an astonishing admission that he was just making that stuff up.

So now we're supposed to ignore all of that crazy campaign stuff and concentrate on moving forward. Unfortunately, there are still robots for whom White House propaganda is gospel and they're not giving up the line so easily. As I wrote at Griper News, John Hinderacker of Power Line is all freaked out that the terrorists have won, apparently mistaking al Qaeda propaganda for reality. Mostly because terror-prop and Bush-prop have been in agreement.

And Investor's Business Daily makes the same mistake. In an editorial, they claim that John Conyers is a tool of terrorists, because there are a lot of arab americans in his district -- want a side of racism with your BS propaganda?

The dems, for their part, have to talk about bipartisanship -- they don't have the White House and they don't have a veto-proof majority. The only things that will get done will be bipartisan efforts. Well, except investigations. As the party controlling congress, they'll have the magic subpoena -- which, of course, is why the Republicans spent so much time trying to convince americans that a dem congress would bring about the fall of western civilization.

The hearings won't be bipartisan. They'll be partisan by necessity. The Abramoff scandal, the PR campaign that brought us to war, and the massive incompetence and neglect that the Iraq war and hurricane Katrina exposed were all grown on the GOP farm and, as their Bible should've warned them, you reap what you sow.

So it'll be all smiles and bipartisanship until January -- not long after that, it hits the fan.


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