Is it the incompetence? The ideology? The Dishonesty? Every day we find these three defining characteristics of the Bush Administration in competition with one another to define its most essential quality. Everyone in this government is Michael Brown, from George W. Bush right on down. Today's Exhibit A is George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang. Turns out the 24 year old writer and editor in NASA's public affairs office lied about, get this, graduating college. And this lying little pisher was telling James E. Hansen what he could and couldn't say about the science of Global Warming. Really, would James Frey even dare make these people up? Doesn't every single person in the country who ever said a word about George W. Bush's "competence" owe an apology to every single other person in the world? (Plus the little twerp's a polar bear killer.)
Quote of the Day: "Given the circumstances [of George W. Bush's 'victory'], there is only one possible governing strategy: a quiet, patient, and persistent bipartisanship." --Joe Klein
Mc-Crazy: The thing about John McCain: Well a few things, actually. McCain really is an attractive fellow, especially for a politician. And let's give him his due, he sure was brave during Vietnam. But the thing about McCain to remember right now is that:
1. Note-y journalists remain deeply in love with him and believe he can do no wrong, whether he is the victim of Bush/Rove/Falwell/Robertsron attacks on his alleged South Asian love child or kissing the collective posterior of same individuals.
2. He's really quite a right-winger and a hawk.
3. Even though he is the above, he is nowhere near right-wingy enough for the Republican rank-and-file, but he is willing to pretend to be, for the sake of maybe being president, which calls into question the value of everything attractive about him.
4. Another thing that calls into question the value of everything attractive about him is that if he does get the Republican nomination for the presidency, because he is not really trusted by what Lee Atwater used to call the "extra-chromosome Republicans," he will have to appoint someone who is credibly extremist in the Bush fashion to be his VP. Someone like say, ... Jeb Bush. And remember, McCain is old and sick. Can you imagine? (Personally, I think I'd prefer a nuclear holocaust.)
5. But finally, the last thing you have to remember about McCain is that he is at least a little bit crazy, and seems to take pride in showing it. That's all you really need to know about his otherwise inexplicable attack on Barack Obama. The entire problem with Obama, from McCain's standpoint, is that he has agreed to serve as one of Harry Reid's appointees on a commission on reform. Really. So why is McCain kicking and screaming like a guy who has just been forcibly thrown inside a rubber room? Is it because attacking the only African-American member of the Senate is a means of building his bona-fides with the Republican rank and file? I dunno, your guess is as good as mine. In the case of McCain, you can sometimes only answer that the man is genuinely crazy. But if we give him the benefit of the doubt, then he has to have a reason and that reason cannot possibly be contained in the nutty letter he released. So it's gotta be a play to the party that doesn't trust him but contains the key to the future he so desperately seeks. Why Obama? You tell me.
There's good coverage of McCain's close relationship with Jack Abramoff here at Josh's nicely redesigned TPM Café site, as well as more musings on the ridiculousness of his attack on Obama.
Anyway, maybe McCain has figured out something that's been gnawing at me lately. If the Republicans do manage to nominate McCain, given the love he enjoys from "The Note" and the chattering class it represents, there is only one Democrat who could conceivably beat him.
You guessed it: The name is "Barack Obama; Get used to it."
The Bush Budget, continued, here. "If President Bush gets his way, the venerable $255 Social Security death benefit will fade into history. And 16- and 17-year-old high school dropouts will lose their monthly survivor payments."
How much does "The Note" love this administration? David Igantius writes here,
The administration is trying to ramrod the program through, shamelessly summoning families of Sept. 11 victims to intimidate political opposition. Rove evidently has defined anti-terrorist surveillance as a new "wedge" issue -- you're either with the administration or you're for Osama bin Laden."
The smart boys headline the piece: "The Washington Post's David Ignatius claims that liberal interest groups are refusing to compromise on the wiretap debate." Here.
Speaking of cartoon rioters, "I demand that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Indonesia and Egypt apologise to me. Otherwise I am unfortunately forced to threaten, beat up, kidnap or behead their citizens."
On the other hand, if they clean my city's streets of the floating trash of New York Press, maybe these rioters can't be all bad.
Congratulations to Time Inc on paying Little Roy to make jokes about having homosexual sex with Anderson Cooper, here. I have no idea whether Cooper is really gay, as everyone in the media appears to believe, but since all gay people seem to know everybody else is gay, I guess this solves it. Meanwhile, I do know that CNN, which is owned by Time Inc, cannot afford to have it be believed out there in Real America, as it would destroy their credibility in the hyper-right wing world of cable news. So here is Andy joking about "doing" Cooper in the guise of bragging that he got invited onto his show. ("Corporate Synergy, not Sisterhood, is Powerful.") Next thing you know, Andy will be moving to one of those decadent coastal elitist-places where we think being gay is just fine, but don't love George Bush's posterior enough for his taste --and I don't mean that in a you know, gay-but-there's-nothing-wrong-with-that --way.
So what's the word, Coop? Do your own decorating?