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Here’s a side of George W. Bush you’ve never seen before

…and one which you’ll never, ever, want to see again.


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Civics 101: how we elect, and don’t elect, Presidents

It’s rare that I have any considerable daylight’s worth of disagreement with the political analysis of frequent YNN-Partner-In-Crime Harvey Kronberg, but something he said near the end of his most recent analysis on YNN caught my eye:

With all of this, there is still the opportunity for an October surprise. The classic was the indictment of Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for his role in the Iran Contra Affair just four days before Bill Clinton narrowly defeated the first President Bush in 1992.

First off, Clinton did not “narrowly” defeat Bush in 1992. In the only measure that counts – electoral votes – Clinton demolished Bush by earning almost 69% of them.

“AHA!,” I can almost hear Kronberg, and you, screeching. “But what about the popular vote??!”

Friends, I know we’ve all been brainwashed by countless national polling every single day which provides a daily – almost hourly – reminder of where things stand in the Presidential election. And for the sake of this civics lesson I’ll even set aside the fact that Clinton bested Bush by almost 6 million popular votes nationally (which, also, ain’t that narrow). But here’s the bottom line: measuring national popular votes for a Presidential candidate is about as useful a measure to the outcome of a Presidential campaign as counting dead squirrels killed in the Presidential race as a useful measure of outcome of a Presidential race. It just doesn’t count at all.

The candidate who gets 270 electoral votes or more is the candidate who wins a Presidential election, period. Therefore, the campaign with their focus on how best to win those electoral votes is the smart campaign. And the pundits who forget that fact are too lost in the national polling forest to see the electoral vote trees.

Don’t get me wrong – national polls are useful, and I’m glad I get to obsess on them every day, because I’m a dork that way. There’s no better measure of which candidate has the national momentum. But national polls only serve to estimate a national popular vote – and that is just simply not how we elect Presidents.

There are arguments which could be made that it shouldn’t be the process. But nobody can make a fact-based argument that it isn’t the process. And since that’s the process, arguing that Clinton only narrowly defeated Bush just isn’t accurate.

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Note to Rick Perry’s opponents: you’re screwing this up

Ever since Governor Perry went to Iowa and opened his pie hole, all the Democrats and half the Republicans have been calling his comments “un-Presidential.” The Bushies, led by Karl Rove, have been particularly vocal in their opposition to Perry’s rough rhetoric.

Perry finally makes a valid point

Here’s a helpful hint for you Republicans: you’re only helping Perry. Don’t you imagine that all those wing nuts whose support Perry is after like that there is now a candidate in the race who is “un-Presidential?” They believe that people being “Presidential,” ironically including George W. Bush, is what got us in this mess to begin with. The fact that those who intend to be unflattering to Governor Perry are calling him precisely what best positions him in this whacked-out race for the Republican nomination only helps propel him to the top of this pile of Bad News Bears-esque misfits running for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Perry thinks the Republican nomination will hinge on the jobs message. Perry isn’t wrong. So if you want to ensure that Perry isn’t the nominee, take him up on it. There’s plenty to talk about.

Perry’s narrative about jobs in Texas looks great at first blush, but it has ginormous holes upon closer scrutiny. Yup, Texas has jobs. Texas is a pro-business state. So what – Texas has always been pro-business, and we’ve almost always been near the top of the heap in job growth, and were long before Perry was around to take credit for it. And under his “leadership,” those jobs he brags about are crappy jobs – we have twice as many minimum wage jobs as anybody else in the country.

If you want to avoid getting a whuppin’ by Perry, stop taking Karl Rove and the Bushies’ lead in calling him “un-Presidential.” Instead, use his own jobs blather against him. He’s not un-Presidential – he’s simply unfit for office.

But speaking of Bushes, this is happening. I never thought I’d say this, but she really should keep her Bush.

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Re-writing history, one lie at a time

About six weeks ago, George W. Bush’s spokesbot Dana Perino claimed in a FoxNews interview that there had never been a terrorist attack on American soil while Bush was the President. I thought at the time it must have been a massive case of the stupidicitis, in which she simply misspoke.

Now comes “Mr. 9-11” Rudy Guliani, who claimed the exact same thing last Friday on Good Morning America:

In political messaging, one person misspeaking is a mistake. Two misspeaking is a concerted coordinated trend, and thinking, patriotic Americans should call them on their lies every time they attempt them. Those who seek to re-write this history only serve to so utterly mask the roots of our life-threatening challenges that they themselves put Americans at further grave risk.

And what of the so-called “reporters” interviewing these liars? Best I can tell from the video clips, neither Perino’s or Guliani’s false claims were at all challenged by their interviewers. Of course, Perino’s interview was on FoxNews, which is to political news coverage what pro wrestling is to sports – it’s not real, they just want you to think it is.

Republicans, get it through your thick skulls: no matter how anxious you are for President Obama to fail, 9-11 happened, with Bush and your beloved Dick Cheney at the helm. And what about those anthrax attacks? Did Bush ever get to the bottom of that? Nope. But whether they originated from a foreign or domestic enemy, they too were terrorist attacks, which is what the Bush administration called them at the time, on American soil during Bush’s tenure.

And, by the way, just in case the lies spread to other fronts, here are some other things that actually did happen during the Bush administration, much to the inconvenience of Republican history re-writers everywhere.

— New Orleans was partially destroyed, and FEMA’s response under Bush made more people die.

–America went to war under false pretenses, while the Bush White House implied repeatedly that Iraq had something to do with the 9-11 attack, and people died.

–The White House, under Bush, turned a budget deficit Bill Clinton erased into an ocean of red ink.

–America, under Bush, failed to capture Osama bin Laden, “dead or alive.”

–The economy, under Bush, completely tanked

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Alberto Gonzales is a classy guy

George W. Bush’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally found work. He’ll be teaching a political science class at Texas Tech University, already the most prestigious university in all of West Lubbock. Many news reports could have told you that much, but Letters From Texas, Ivory Tower Division, goes the extra mile and exclusively reports this draft of:

Professor Gonzales’ Class Syllabus

Professor Alberto Gonzales
Political Science 2303
Tuesdays-Thursdays 9-11:30 am

Class 1: The silly and trivial notion of habeas corpus: liberal evil at work.

Class 2: Domestic eavesdropping for fun and profit.

Class 3: U.S. Attorneys: you appointed ’em, and you can fire ’em.

Class 4: Waterboarding is a Club Med activity: the torture is only torture if we use the word “torture.”
Class 5: Congressional Testimony: why the phrases “I don’t know” and “I can’t remember” are unacceptable when your children try it, but work just fine for Attorneys General.
Class 6: Why being a “Yes Man” is highly underrated. (co-lecture with Condoleezza Rice)
Class 7: Life after public service, and how I should have left “Dick Cheney’s Bitch” off my resume.
Class 8: Final Exam

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

The weekly poll was to complete the following sentence:

“With the departure of George W. Bush from the White House, I haven’t been this happy since….”

Coming in first place with 63% was “…since…never mind. I’ve never been this happy.” That, my friends, was a no-brainer. It was a total set-up. You people are so obedient.

Tied for second place with 13% apiece were “…since I found out Greg Brady was nailing Marcia Brady in real life” and “…since Dick Cheney shot that guy.”

In last place with 10% was “…since my divorce.”

This week’s poll is on top of the right hand sidebar. Vote on it there, and comment on it here.

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Rarely is the question asked, “is our voters learning?”

Somebody in the incoming Obama administration is going to have to quickly learn how to mangle stuff up, or we as a nation will be completely bored. Meanwhile, here’s one last (un)fond look at the last eight years worth of decider-ing and strategerizing.

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

The weekly poll question was “how will George W. Bush most likely spend his final days in office?”

Of course, when the poll appeared last weekend, we had no way to know that what Our Only President Right Now would actually be doing is dodging flying shoes. But hey, we did the best we could.

Coming in first place with 39% was “pardoning Dick Cheney and Karl Rove in advance.”

In second with 34% was “Wondering where it all went wrong, while pretending to give a damn.”

Trailing with 18% was “being the decider on which Dr. Suess books will be included in the Presidential library,” and in last place at 7% was “starting the rough outline of his book, working title: ‘Guantanamo? What Guantanamo?’”

The weekly poll will make its triumphant return after Christmas, or maybe after new years, or whenever I get around to it.

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The Agony of Da Feet

So it seems one of the region’s more emotional journalists threw both his shoes at George W. Bush during a presser in Iraq earlier today.

Security officials said the guy wouldn’t get far on foot. In fact he might not have a leg to stand on. They eventually shoe’ed the man away. But not before they socked him. He was treated by Dr. Scholls.

Except for the fact that Bush is apparently very adept at ducking, he would have finally found those WMD’s he’s been looking for all these years. And by that I mean the Weapons of Migraine Development.

And while I apologize for all of the above, it does not excuse you from voting on the George W. Bush poll on top of the right hand sidebar. Here’s the news clip:

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

The weekly poll was “name the biggest loser of 2008 so far.”

The winning loser (or is that the losing winner?) by a squeak was John McCain/Sarah Palin, who won by a single vote and came in at 30%.

Coming in a close second place was Wall Street, at 26%, with George W. Bush third at 16%. Eliot Spitzer was next at 13%, and Rush Limbaugh and “anybody who said Tina Fey’s career was over” tied for last place at 6% apiece.

This week’s poll is on top of the right hand sidebar. Vote on it there, and comment on it here.

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Dear Voters of San Francisco:

Lost in the irrational exuberance of election night’s meaningless trivial matters, such as electing an inspiring new leader to repair the global damage done by The Worst President Ever, the truly important stuff has been ignored.

And of course when I say “truly important stuff,” I mean Proposition R in San Francisco, the crucially-important measure which would have re-named a local sewage treatment plant after George W. Bush. If Bush deserves to have anything named after him, this was certainly the thing.

Sadly, San Francisco voters were duped, and the referendum went down in flames. With all due respect, San Francisco voters, you’re a bunch of wusses. We were counting on you. You’re dead to me now.

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

Last week’s poll question was “George Bush is now down to his final 100 days in office. What would be the best use of his remaining time?”

Coming in first place at 29%, surprisingly to me, was “pop all the “W” keys off White House computers, sell them on E-Bay to raise money for Presidential library.” Surprising, because this option was a shameless knock-off of what outgoing Clinton administration staffers actually did as a joke before leaving the White House to the incoming Bush staffers in January 2001. Of course they didn’t sell them on E-Bay, but they did reportedly mess with the keyboards. The Bushies howled, and the country chuckled.

Tying for second place at 19% each were “while attending WWF Wrestling event, go to crowded restrooms, loudly demand to know where glory holes are” and “do final performance evaluation on Dick Cheney: give generally positive marks, except for that ‘killing way too many people in Iraq’ thing.” I honestly though the glory hole thing would do better, and the Cheney thing would do worse. I guess in readers’ minds, glory holes and dicks just belong together.

In third place with 16% was “accidentally leave a child behind.” This actually may have been wishful thinking on readers’ parts, because what this administration has done with those children is shameful – create boatloads of school mandates, then leave the money behind to pay for ‘em.

In fourth place with 12% was “call Websters, lobby to have ‘evildoer’ included in next dictionary edition.” Legacy-wise, if you’re the President of the United States, and you repeatedly use a word, it might be helpful to your legacy if it’s actually a word.

And in last place with 9% was “host seance, contact spirit of Ronald Reagan, ask him how he muddled through ‘legacy’ challenges.” I suppose it’s understandable if readers have already concluded that even the spirit of Ronald Reagan cannot help Bush pull any sort of positive legacy out of the cesspool of the administration of the last eight years.

As always, this week’s poll is on top of the right hand sidebar. Vote on it there, and comment on it here.

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Now we know why they’re doing so well in the polls: their razor-sharp focus on the important issues of our time.

In related news, I thought a short review of several pictures McCain supporters are spreading around the web might be relevant. Please note that these are the tamest ones – I found many too offensive to post.

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The Nation’s Address To The President

President Bush asked for and received network time to address the nation last night. Fair enough. He looked old and haggard, and was full of gloom and doom. I don’t blame him a bit. A lot of us feel the same way after the last 7.5 years.

If the American people were able to collectively call up the networks and request 15 minutes of air time to address President Bush, it might go something like this.

Good Evening, Mr. President:

We hate to admit it, but what you said is fundamentally true. The economy is in a shambles. Thanks for being honest about that, finally.

We won’t even quibble much over how we got here, although an honest economist would tell us that the roots of it lie in deregulation insisted upon by the financial sector itself, and led by Republicans (admittedly, with help from some Democrats as well).

And although virtually all of us hate it, we doubt in the end that Congress will, or even should, turn you down in your request for a $700,000,000,000.00 bailout of Wall Street. As frustrating as it is, we’re not stupid.

We know that the very companies in trouble are the ones who guarantee and underwrite all the deals, who fund all the economic engines which keep the country humming along. From the richest guy on Wall Street to the homeless guy on the streets of Laredo, Texas, our lives are all in some way tied to the multi-billion dollar deals that come and go on a secondly basis.

Credit fuels the economy, and confidence is the essential mothers-milk of credit. Now that confidence is gone, killed by the greed of the very people your Republican Party trusted when you determined that everything everywhere should be deregulated, and that all financial firewalls should come tumbling down. When your bank is also your mortgage company which is also your insurance company, which also owns a minority share in your grocery store, your office building, your road building contractor, the corner bar, and your local sports franchise, and one of those subsidiaries is giving away home loans beyond the means of the loan recipients, the mortgage sector will eventually sink at the first sign of reduced home values. And without those financial firewalls which you Republicans fought to erase, it cannot help but drag all other financial sectors down with it.

We get it. We as a country, one way or another, whether we like it or not, are about to buy down about $700,000,000,000.00 worth of bad investments from those who made them in the first place. We guess that means that the United States of America is about to become one of the biggest shareholders in crappy ill-conceived housing, high-rise messes, overbuilt business districts, and risky old credit card debt.

But, we’d like a few considerations in return.

First, we would like to be spared all future smug lectures by you and other so-called “fiscal conservatives” about how free markets drive robust economies, and as such governments should stay out of the way. Even a true conservative would readily agree that the purpose of governments is to do that which cannot be done by the private sector. We now have $700,000,000,000.00 worth of proof that the private sector cannot be trusted, without government oversight and protections, to police itself.

Second, we demand your recognition that there are other investments which could have driven the economy besides the now-failed housing boom, which would have also gone toward solving real human need, and that those investments could have only been made with the leadership of your uncaring government.

If 8 years ago we had made a national commitment to universal health care, the pent-up demand for long-neglected care among unhealthy Americans would have created countless jobs, fueled research and development toward curing disease, reduced costs to local economies strapped by paying for people who have no other choice than to seek their primary care from the E.R., and resulted in a much healthier workforce.

If 8 years ago we had made a serious national commitment toward energy efficiency and to moving to alternative forms of sustainable energy, it would have spurred billions in new technology development, and created new industries in retrofitting homes and businesses into a new energy-efficiency, would have created a boom in the manufacturing sector, would have reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and would have gone miles toward saving the planet.

The successful implementation of those two ideas alone would have literally changed our world, for the better. Yes, either investment would have been expensive, but the price tag of both of them together would not have approached $700,000,000,000.00. And we haven’t even gotten into the billions you blew on your stupid war.

So, President Bush, in one way or another, you’ll probably get your $700,000,000,000.00 in bail-out money. However, we would all feel better about it if you would just stand up, grow a pair, and admit what that money represents: the utter failure of the neoconservative philosophy, and the biggest waste of money and opportunity in the history of the planet to date.

PS: Just an FYI, Mr. President: yesterday the August numbers were released on U.S. housing market. Turns out that U.S. housing prices fell in the month of August by almost 10 percent – the largest drop in history. Mission accomplished indeed.

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News coverage of the unfolding disaster

No, not Hurricane Ike – the other unfolding disaster.

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

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