Our president, in a time of war, terrorism and nuclear intrigue, will likely remain in office for another 33 months, with crushingly low approval ratings that are still inching lower. Facing a similar problem, voters had a chance to quickly toss Jimmy Carter out of office, and did so. With a similar lengthy period left on his White House lease, Richard Nixon quit, facing impeachment. Neither outcome is at hand this time...
That is indeed a problem. And since Bush's primary motivation over the remainder of his tenure will likely be split between dodging scandals, gutting regulations and enriching himself and his cronies, there is little hope for any good to come of President Dubya regardless of the midterms. Mitchell then directs us to his canary in the media coalmine:
So let’s assume, as Nixon might put it, that we do have George Bush to kick around for another almost-three-years. How worried should we be about the possible damage he might inflict -- and what can the press do about it?
Consider Thomas Friedman’s column in The New York Times today, and its implications.
Friedman, who still supports the Iraq war, opens by declaring that given a choice between a nuclear Iran and an attack on that country engineered by the White House, he would choose the former. That’s how little he trusts the diplomatic and military chops of Bush, Rumsfeld, Condi and Co. He cites “the level of incompetence that the Bush team has displayed in Iraq, and its refusal to acknowledge any mistakes or remove those who made them.”
But then he goes on: “I look at the Bush national security officials much the way I look at drunken drivers. I just want to take away their foreign policy driver's licenses for the next three years. Sorry, boys and girls, you have to stay home now -- or take a taxi. ... You will not be driving alone. Not with my car.”
The problem -- the crisis -- is that Bush and Co. likely WILL be driving the “car” for 33 more months.
The fact that Friedman is right doesn't stop me from wanting to throw him around an alley filled with garbage cans like a renegade cop (or Easter Bunny) for coming up with this conclusion four years too late.
Bush's (and Rumsfeld & Cheney's) unique blend of stubborn incompetence and arrogance was readily apparent before we went into Iraq, and Friedman was among the biggest War cheerleaders. Just because a few pages of your "Flat Earth" book were interchangable with some PNAC binder does not mean these guys ever gave a shit about the greater good of the Middle East like you purport to.
So, Tom, nicely-made points taken, but your "told you so moment" never materialized—you were as wrong as Bush himself for believing in him. Now sit down and shut the fuck up. Okay?