Friday, December 16, 2005

Sore Loserman, One



Even when he's right, sort of, he's wrong, wronger than wrong.

Much hooting and catcalling greeted the Quisling from Connecticut's recent declaration that Democrats need to shut up and support their local President.

Much cheering and rejoicing greeted Harry Reid's apparent smack-down of the Quisling.

I can't add to what's already been said against him, so I'm going to offer a, qualified, defense of what he said.

First, though, let's start with what's wrong with what he said.

1. Democrats are not responsible for George W. Bush's credibility as a leader. George W. Bush is. If Bush wants the rest of the world to take him seriously he should a.) stop lying---about everything, but mainly about what he's doing in Iraq---and b.) succeed at something!

2. Democrats aren't the only ones in Congress or in the country criticizing Bush. And if Lieberman wants everybody---Democrats, Republicans, the Media, the Military, most of the American people---to stop criticizing the President he should a.) get Bush to stop lying and b.) think up a way for Bush to succeed at something!

3. Lieberman's statement is pure hypocrisy. As Atrios points out, Lieberman was all for criticizing the President back when doing so looked like a good way to help make Lieberman President. Now when it looks like Lieberman might have something different to gain from allying himself with the President---Lieberman says speculation that he's in line to be the next Secretary of Defense is nonsense. I agree. I think that what he wants is for the Republican Party leadership to remember him fondly when he jumps the fence after the 2006 elections and goes looking for a committee chairmanship.---he is against criticizing the President.

Those three points in place, let us proceed.

Lieberman is correct on these other points.

1. George W. Bush is the commander-in-chief.

2. George W. Bush is our only commander-in-chief.

3. Barring impeachment, illness, or a sudden attack of conscience that causes him to resign and withdraw to a monastery to live out his life digging potatoes, jarring preserves, and doing penance, he will be commander-in-chief for three more years.

4. Iraq and the Middle East are not the only places in the world where the national interest of the United States is at stake. For our own protection, we need a commander-in-chief the rest of the world takes seriously. China, Iran, and North Korea have to believe him when he talks tough with them. They have to believe he speaks for the United States if he tells them we will respond in kind to any act of aggression against us or our interests.

Our allies need to know that when the President says the United States will stand by them---or that the United States will not support them in a particular course of action---he speaks for the United States.

Then there's Russia paring its nails in the background.

5. Given the way things are trending for George W. Bush, if we haven't reached that stage already then in very short order, point 4 will not apply to George W. Bush.

This is a good spot to repeat Number 1 from my first set of points above:

The Democrats are not responsible for George W. Bush's credibility as a leader. George W. Bush is. If Bush wants the rest of the world to take him seriously he should a.) stop lying---about everything, but mainly about what he's doing in Iraq---and b.) succeed at something!

But here we've come to the way that Lieberman is right, sort of.

If George W. Bush loses all his authority and credibility yet still remains in office for the next three years, the United States has a problem.

(I will pause here for all you to point out that no matter what, if George W. Bush remains in office for the next three years we have a problem.)

So Lieberman is right in that he has hit upon a serious flaw in our system of government.

In any Parliamentary democracy, a leader who had shown himself to be as incompetent, mendacious, and totally at sea as Bush has shown himself to be would have been subjected to a no confidence vote and very probably replaced in a special election.

At the very least, he'd have been forced to form a whole new government with a brand new set of ministers.

(Tony Blair appears to have only shown himself to be mendacious and the Brits seem willing to let him slide for a bit on that. Chumps.)

We're stuck with Bush.

Lieberman is saying that we have only two choices here. We can contribute to George W. Bush's continuing quest to be a world-wide joke and persona non grata or we can shut up and rally round.

And he'd be right.


George W. Bush is not a king.

He does not govern by fiat and whim.

Or at least he ought not be allowed to.

There is such an institution as the United States Congress and one of its most important jobs is making the President behave.

Lieberman talks as if the President can't be impeached.

He may think that Bush won't be, and he may be right, but come January 2007 the odds against it happening could very well have evened.

But impeachment or the threat of impeachment isn't the only way of making a President shape up or ship out.

Congress can investigate the hell out of him and embarrass him into changing course, fixing mistakes, and cleaning up his messes.

Congress can cut off his funds so that he can't wage private little wars.

Congressional leaders can bring pressure to bear that forces him to behave as if he was a Prime Minister in a parliamentary system and dissolve his government and form a new one---that is, fire all the incompetents and thieves running around the West Wing and replace them with honest men and women who know what they're doing.

Congress can insist that the President obey and enforce the law, adhere to treaties, appoint first rate people to offices and judgeships, and just generally do his job right.

That this Congress hasn't done that with this President is not the fault of Democrats.

It's the fault of the Republicans and some Democrats.

Quislings like Joe Lieberman.

(Link to the New York Times article via Avedon Carol, without whom I for one would be totally lost.)


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