May 29, 2008

"I Knew It Was a Terrible Mistake, but I Didn’t Mention It Until I Got a Book Contract."

The "most tedious" of 3 annoying types of political memoir, according to this NYT editorial. (The other 2 are: "'I Reveal the Honest Truth' a kiss-up-and-tell designed to settle scores (nod to honesty optional)" and "'I Was There at the Start,' designed to make the author appear to be the linchpin of history.") Like the NYT, I can't get past the rank venality of McClellan's project.

And does McClellan add anything to the discourse?

From the WaPo:
Instead, McClellan says, President Bush stayed in a "permanent campaign culture" and allowed his staff to use misleading and incomplete information to "sell" the Iraq war to the American people. While the president focused his public arguments on the possibility that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, McClellan said, his true goal in toppling Saddam Hussein was to boost democracy in the Middle East.
It seems to me that Bush didn't do enough to boost support for the war. He let criticism go unanswered and seemed to trust that the American people would understand why he was doing the right things, so I completely don't get the "permanent campaign culture" charge. As for the decision to concentrate on the WMD rationale over the democracy argument: It's been well known for a long time.

117 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Yes, I'd say Bush did a good job of selling the start of the war -- after all, the US invaded! But selling the continuation as reasons for the war changed? Horrible.

Jason said...

His true goal was to boost democracy?

Why, that scheming, conniving bastard!

Pundit Joe said...

From Wapo: "While the president focused his public arguments on the possibility that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, McClellan said, his true goal in toppling Saddam Hussein was to boost democracy in the Middle East."

Bush and Cheney did sell the point of boosting democracy in the Middle East.

As an example - this from February 26, 2003 - President Discusses the Future of Iraq - via whitehouse.gov:
"The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."

Read the rest for even more supporting info.

I don't see how McClellan can say this was a hidden agenda.

radar said...

The "most tedious" of 3 annoying types of political memoir ...

Most style guides suggest that small numbers, such as two and three, should be spelled out.

I just thought I would point that out. :-)

TMink said...

"Instead, McClellan says, President Bush stayed in a "permanent campaign culture" and allowed his staff to use misleading and incomplete information to "sell" the Iraq war to the American people."

Hmmm, I wonder why the Democrats went along with the President? Are they so gullible as to believe this man they hate?

Trey

hdhouse said...

hey trey,

its not the man it is the office he holds. generally people don't think or want to believe that the president is a shameless liar and provacature.

most of us knew bush to be both before he showed up for his latest gig and we just kinda hoped he would live up to the office.

oh well.

Brent said...

Why does anyone read a tell-all book written by someone leaving an administration? To give anecdotal verification to one's already hardened perceptions? Perhaps to reaffirm one's prejudices? What is there new to know of value? Entertainment?

2008 definition of "character": A public servant having the courage to reveal all only after leaving employment in order to avoid potential loss of book and speech income.

Even though I could not stand the Clinton's, I have yet to waste any of my precious time here on this earth reading any of the anti-Hillary or anti-Bill books. What did any of those "revealing" tomes do to improve the common good even one miniscule tittle?

Similarly, I will not squander any of my lifetime reading the latest self-righteous-congratulatory-pleasuring volume.

jimbino said...

Love McClellan. It's great to find one public employee who actually serves the people who pay him.

Palladian said...

"generally people don't think or want to believe that the president is a shameless liar and provacature."

They should have learned their lesson from the 42nd President.

Palladian said...

"It's great to find one public employee who actually serves the people who pay him."

And how did or does he "serve the people who pay (paid, actually) him"?

He waited until he was safely out of the job and had a book contract with George Soros until he decided to "serve" the public. What a hero!

bearbee said...

Early morning (2:30am) ABC news program showed old clips on presidential insider expose books. Several on each Nixon, Reagan and GW Bush. One (Stephanopoulos) on Clinton. Sounds as if Repubs are more likely to rat out the boss. Must be their more highly evolved business sense?

re: C.I.A. operative leak, I thought Novak was the originator and others made reference to what was already known.

Sounds like a lot of rehash.

Can Bush poll numberss sink any further?

Will McCain duck further fundraising appearances with Bush?

You have to wonder why anybody would want to be president.

Methadras said...

Man, talk about being a stinking backstabber that burned every bridge he ever had and will be left to hang out and dry by both sides.

Moose said...

As I said before with a small variation:

If someone wants to prove their commitment to truth and rightousness, let them write the book when they are still in the job. Not after when they can safely collect the pension.

The generals who came out as against Rumsfeld after they retired and McClellan are the lowest form of camp followers behind the train of "Bush McHitler-ism".

If someone is truly outraged and wants to make an effort to stop whatever they feel is offensive, don't do it from your retirement community in Florida. Sorta dilutes the message...

Moose said...

Follow on to the previous...

I am now amusing myself.

This is a modified version of the old Chickenhawk argument - if you beleive in the war, join the army!

If you beleive in your outrage, deep six your career!

Ahh... Good comedy.

AJ Lynch said...

Palladian:

George Soros book contract? Is Soros involved in this book deal - jeez how many of these "non-partisan" efforts can that guy have going?

That rat bastard Soros must never sleep.

knoxwhirled said...

his true goal in toppling Saddam Hussein was to boost democracy in the Middle East.

That jerk

HRD said...

"Rank venality"?!

Oh please. This book reduces his chances for future earnings; and nobody gets rich on boosk anyway.

But the harsh truth about Bush hurts, especially on this blog.

Anyway, Althouse, your blog is as much an exercise in rank venality -- buy the book here! donate to me! advertise! -- as his book. More so, actually, since your crass money-grubbing is ongoing.

Revenant said...

Yes, I'd say Bush did a good job of selling the start of the war -- after all, the US invaded! But selling the continuation as reasons for the war changed? Horrible.

He did a horrible job selling the start of the war. There were three major mistakes he made:

(1): Trying to go through the UN. It was obvious from the beginning that this was never going to work, since three of the veto powers (China, Russia, and France) were in Saddam's pocket. By trying to go through the UN anyway he granted it an aura of authority it didn't possess.

(2): Putting all his eggs in the WMD basket. While Bush did give a number of speeches outlining the reasons why Muslim democracy was (and is) necessary for American security, he didn't do nearly enough. He focused far too much on the WMD angle. Now, admittedly the WMD angle was the easier sell, since Democratic leaders (Clinton, Gore, et al) and foreign leaders (Chirac, Blair, et al) shared the Bush administration's conviction that Iraq had WMDs -- but despite that, letting the case for war rest on WMDs was a mistake because it gave them nothing to fall back on.

(3): While Bush and other Administration officials did say from the beginning that we'd be in Iraq a long time, they failed to properly set expectations as to how long we'd be there and what we'd be doing.

Revenant said...

its not the man it is the office he holds. generally people don't think or want to believe that the president is a shameless liar and provacature.

That line of bullshit would be more convincing if Democrats hadn't been calling Bush a shameless liar and provacateur since November of 2000.

MadisonMan said...

While Bush and other Administration officials did say from the beginning that we'd be in Iraq a long time, they failed to properly set expectations as to how long we'd be there and what we'd be doing.

That's not my recollection -- which I admit might be faulty. Rumsfeld especially I recall saying it would be quick. He may have been talking just the military take-over aspect, but that wasn't my interpretation.

Revenant said...

Oh please. This book reduces his chances for future earnings

Oh, sure -- publishing a book bashing the book administration does horrible damage to one's ability to land a good job in the notoriously pro-Bush news media. Normally they prefer to hire Bush loyalists. McClellan might as well apply for a job at Starbuck's, because he'll never work in the news industry again.

Please. His book is being published by George Soros, the Democratic Party's sugar daddy. If he fails to land a good job in the future it won't be because he bashed the least-popular President of the last 30 years -- it will be because he was notoriously incompetent at his LAST job.

AJ Lynch said...

Madison:

Rumsfeld also coined the phrase "long hard slog" so at some point he had a less rosy timeframe.

And that was before he resigned as Sec Def.

Ann Althouse said...

"Anyway, Althouse, your blog is as much an exercise in rank venality -- buy the book here! donate to me! advertise! -- as his book. More so, actually, since your crass money-grubbing is ongoing."

I write want I want to write and I say what I think in the words that express what I think. I'd also like to make money doing that. I don't adjust what I say to make more money and I don't sell myself as a mouthpiece.

The Drill SGT said...

jimbino said...
Love McClellan. It's great to find one public employee who actually serves the people who pay him.


The problem with that hypothesis would be that IF McCellan was the great public servant you and he want him to be portrayed as, He should have publicly resigned 5 years ago and stated his reasons and exposed the evil of the Bushies thus saving countless lives, etc, etc, etc.

In fact, he is BS'ing now for profit rather than for the greater public good.

Ann Althouse said...

And I've turned down various offers to write things that I didn't want to say.

1jpb said...

It's interesting to read in these comments that there are still some "true believers" still trying to justify the Bush push for war.

I predicted that he would attack Iraq before he took office (which is partly why I, as an R, was a strong supporter of McCain in the 2000 primary, the other reason was that Bush seemed like a brat, who lived off his family name.) Now, I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack, but Bush had always given hints that he wanted to deal with Saddam, where he thought that his father (and WJC) had failed.

This new book (like O'Neil's) tells us that 1) the goal was war, and 2) the justifications were concocted to meet the goal of war--this process was backward. The problem is that the government strategically and dishonestly manipulated Americans to support a war. The problem is not that this manipulation wasn't sustainable, and now Americans know that Bush's vanity was the true motivation for this war. That's a good thing, y'all have finally caught up to me.

The question is will enough of you catch up to me and realize that this time around McCain is the mistake, and BHO is the solution? Time will tell (although, it looks like Murdoch may be on board (for now), that's a start.)

Palladian said...

"The question is will enough of you catch up to me and realize that this time around McCain is the mistake, and BHO is the solution?"

Ah, I was wondering when the endorsement of Obama was coming. I love the reasoning of these disgruntled "republicans": Bush was a lousy president (true!) so what will I do? Why, I'll vote for the most liberal candidate ever to score a major party ticket! That's the answer! Socialism!

"Now, I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack,"

You got that right, especially since you're a disciple of Obama; the bulbs in your pack are probably all notoriously dim compact fluorescents.

Palladian said...

AJ Lynch: I don't read LGF anymore but I was pointed to this post which suggests a strong connection between Public Affairs, McClellan's publisher and a host Soros-owned publishers under the umbrella of Perseus Books.

vbspurs said...

The NYT mentions that there are several kinds of Washington memoirs, citing just three types.

We can think of many more, Althousians!

For example:

"I Didn't Do Whatever They Said I Did Even Though They Caught Me In the Act"

(AKA the Marion Barry or Willie Jefferson memoirs, forthcoming)

"Look At Me! Don't Look At Me!"

(AKA The Bill Clinton memoirs, possibly the Emily Gould memoirs, forthcoming)

"I Know Americans Think They Know Me, But You Have No Idea -- I Played in A Jazz Band!"

(AKA The Alan Greenspan memoirs)

"I'm Writing a Book With 'My Father' In the Title, So People Think Dad and I Were Really Close...Which We Weren't"

(AKA The Barack Obama and John McCain memoirs)

"Life Outside Politics Sucks"

(AKA The Trent Lott memoirs)

"Yeah, I Hit That. I Know Right?!"

(AKA The whoever dated Maureen Dowd and other Washington Power Brokers at one time memoirs)

My prediction for the next explosive memoirs are:

Harriet Miers

Many shocking revelations shall be revelated.

Cheers,
Victoria

Paul Zrimsek said...

now Americans know that Bush's vanity was the true motivation for this war.

We know that? I don't know it. How do you know it?

john said...

Hey peanut butter and jelly:

I predicted the earthquake in China.

I predicted the typhoon in Burma.

Hell, I even predicted Hurricane Katrina (except I got the name wrong).

(My problem is that I didnt tell anyone.)

Predicting Pres Bush would go to war with Iraq was an easy one, since he was handed a war with Iraq on his first day in office.

Alan said...

"I completely don't get the "permanent campaign culture" charge."

That was my gut reaction to his statement. I didn't get it either. But, looking back at the way the Administration sold the war, with its lack of substance--taking back those 16 words, etc. I have to wonder. Lack of substance in political campaigns is exactly what characterizes them. So maybe McClellan is speaking the truth.

Pundit Joe said...

This is for the hrd:

While I may not agree with Ann on some items, I do believe she is an honest and genuinely nice person and undeserving your nasty comment.

I wouldn't visit the site if I thought otherwise.

Palladian said...

"So maybe McClellan is speaking the truth."

Oh he probably is! I don't think most people are disputing that. The problem is his timing, and the way people who formerly jeered and derided him are now falling at his feet as yet another oracle. My issue with McClellan is that he's a coward who is playing "hero truth-teller" when he's simply another opportunist of the worst kind.

Anyway, isn't the job description of White House press secretary "professional liar"?

Pogo said...

As Machiavelli noted, to betray friends and to be devoid of honor cannot be counted as merits, for although these are means which may lead to power, they confer no glory.

Or more briefly, snivelling backstabbers are assholes and cowards. He will soon learn that the other side may be clapping him on the back now, but he will soon be forgotten, and neither side will ever quite trust him again.

And he shall be remaindered, thus spake the Lord.

AJ Lynch said...

Palladian:

Thanks - I am sure the MSM will be reporting this Soros connection too. :)

AJ Lynch said...

Ann you are a corrupt capitalist pig. That is probably why we love you.

vbspurs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

HRD wrote:

Anyway, Althouse, your blog is as much an exercise in rank venality -- buy the book here! donate to me! advertise! -- as his book. More so, actually, since your crass money-grubbing is ongoing.

I've never seen Althouse do that until I mentioned that I would've bought that $400 Kindle, giving her credit, but I hadn't seen a link anywhere.

So chalk that up to me, not her.

Since then, she's put up these "but if you do buy it, here is the Amazon link".

So what? A lot of bloggers do that.

Do you go around chastising them for their "greed" too?

I've bought dozens of books thanks to Instapundit (my two latest are "War and Decision" and "Caliphate") and not only am I grateful for the book suggestions, but I'd like to give something back -- since it costs me nothing so to do.

Other than that, do you have a point to make with your nasty comments, or do you just dispense your bile everywhere?

Cheers,
Victoria

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Its easy to be a 'truth teller' when you have nothing to lose. Just like someone already pointed out with the Generals who spoke their minds well after their pensions were assured, having the courage of your convictions means that you also take some personal chances.

Yachira said...

Tmink says, "Hmmm, I wonder why the Democrats went along with the President? Are they so gullible as to believe this man they hate?"

And not just a man they hate. No indeed! He's also, variously, a monkey, moron, fool, drooling half-wit...

Yes, how did this sub-human specimen fool the Democratic party's best and brightest for so long?

George said...

The only news in the book is that its author is a weasel. Best PR job of the year. Kudos to whoever reps him.

Everyone wants to focus on the past. It must be psychologically easier to go over old arguments than to confront new problems.

Thanks to the US invasion, the Iraqis have been able to discover new oil reserves--350 billion barrels-- which may make it the world's biggest exporter. Plus, Iraq is now our friend.

Oil for war! Hooray!!!

I'm all for it, especially if we get a democratic Iraq in 50 or 100 years.

Three cheers for the duplicitous Bush!

OldGrouchy said...

Going to the Milwaukee Zoo was the best part about living in Whitefishbay! Especially riding in the miniature railroad, which I told my wife was so the kids could enjoy it but in reality was my treat to myself.

That Zoo was excellent in the late '70s, my wife said it reminded her of the San Diego Zoo both in style and it treatment of the caged up animals. However, the bird exhibit was horrible. Seeing the lions, tigers, and elephants in their so-called natural like setting was grand.

This post is all about visiting the zoo, isn't it? It couldn't be about that lying piece of crap Scott M., could it?

Alan said...

"Thanks to the US invasion, the Iraqis have been able to discover new oil reserves--350 billion barrels-- which may make it the world's biggest exporter. Plus, Iraq is now our friend."

Wow, good news. No wonder oil prices have been so stable.

Pogo said...

“I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”
E. M. Forster

“In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.”
Charles de Gaulle

Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a riband to stick in his coat.

- Robert Browning

John Stodder said...

After making a few comments on the prior McClellan thread, I found myself unable to get that bag of wind out of my mind. So I wrote an extremely long post about it on one of my blogs (one that focuses on business and PR) last night. If anyone's interested, it's herehere.

I drew from the book excerpt in the Wall Street Journal. What's striking about it is his absolute refusal to take any position on the question of whether he, Bush or anyone in the Administration ever actually, consciously, lied.

His position is more like the old liberal cliche that criminals are merely a product of their environment and thus not responsible for what they do. Whatever McClellan did wasn't intentional, conscious lying. It was him playing the "Washington game."

He really muffles his level of responsibility in this book, based on the excerpts. He also seems unwilling to show exactly how he changed his mind about what he and the Administration did. It's not even clear the degree to which he has really changed his mind. He covers himself every which way.

The point of my longer post is that McClellan is, among other things, a disgrace to the PR industry. That might not sound like much of a thing to be a disgrace of, but in fact there are millions of people in the PR industry, most of whom are legitimate and have integrity, and many of whom are very young. The president's press secretary is always the most prominent PR person in the country. McClellan's handling of his job and now the aftermath set an abysmal example.

Revenant said...

Just like someone already pointed out with the Generals who spoke their minds well after their pensions were assured, having the courage of your convictions means that you also take some personal chances.

Well, the military is kind of a special case. Publicly condemning a superior's military decisions is not something a member of the military is supposed to do. You make your objections in private, but if your objections are ignored you have two valid choices: obey orders, or resign.

And we can't expect a soldier to resign whenever he thinks his commander has his head up his ass -- in short order there wouldn't be anyone LEFT in the military.

Revenant said...

Wow, good news. No wonder oil prices have been so stable.

Oil prices are high because demand exceeds current supply. Obviously increasing the supply is a good thing for oil prices. Iraq is currently on track to exceed its prewar production rate by the end of the year, and to exceed its historically greatest production (from 1990) next year.

Padre Steve said...

I agree completely! I wish they had done a better job explaining the dangers to the American people. Instead we had the media on full blown campiagn mode against the President. Let's pray folks are basically smarter than the media believes them to be! God bless! Padre Steve

blake said...

Yes, how did this sub-human specimen fool the Democratic party's best and brightest for so long?

I think, Yachira, it's that their minds are too highly trained.

blake said...

Rev already said everything I was going to say. Damn work schedule....

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"And we can't expect a soldier to resign whenever he thinks his commander has his head up his ass -- in short order there wouldn't be anyone LEFT in the military."

LOL. I've never been in the military so I don't know the protocol, but I've been in corporate America....I think they both resemble your statement.

Cedarford said...

Love that video loop that is running from McClellan's going away Rose Garden moment where clueless Dubya is saying that later on, he and Scott McClellan would be sitting in rocking chairs laughing and chatting about the old days when they were in the White House.

Finally a going away gift that people on the Left and Right can happily buy and send to Bush as a gift when he leaves office.

I hope he gets a few hundred Scott McClellan-initialled rocking chairs he can pick and choose from to put on his Crawford Ranch porch.

PatCA said...

I join other commenters in their outrage at a president trying to spread democracy! Oh, the evil.

P. Rich said...

There was an interesting interview last evening (Fox, or CNN Headline News) with a man who represented himself as a close, long-time friend of McClellan. He said that he had talked to Scott several times about the book while it was in development, and that it began in a much more positive tone - then went through several editorial "revisions" before going to print.

The friend's take was that the editor/publisher revised or rewrote major portions of the book into what it became, probably to sell better - especially to the anti-Bush crowd.

It's hard to know what really transpired, but in any event McClellen has his name on the finished article - though it may represent little more than a useful branding for which SM will of course be handsomely rewarded.

TitusWhat'sthatinyourpocket? said...

Wait until Laura Bush's tell all memoir comes out.

I heard she slams our great president and tells us he isn't good in bed.

John Stodder said...

The friend's take was that the editor/publisher revised or rewrote major portions of the book into what it became, probably to sell better - especially to the anti-Bush crowd.

It's sad, but not unexpected, that a Homer Simpson like McClellan would take this kind of editorial direction.

But it's doubly sad that the "anti-Bush crowd" is so easily gulled.

Some entrepreneur should launch a brand of "Impeach Bush" and "Impeach Cheney" cigarettes. Smoking would make a big comeback among obedient liberals.

Moose said...

Revenant:

Gotta disagree with you somewhat.

My father was in the Navy and working as an advisor on nuclear weapons policy for the Chiefs of Staff in the 50's. He got an admiral drumed out of service for failing to store nuclear weapons safely on carriers.

The same corollary hold true for generals and their commander in chief. If you think he's not leading the country properly, you either bring it up to your superiors, in this case congress, or you resign and tell the people.

Nuremburg pretty much throw away the concept that you're faithful to your command structure even when you know that what you're doing is morally wrong.

William said...

In Hollywood memoirs the embarassing revelations are inversely proportional to the wattage of the star. Thus Tom Hanks gets to write about all the fine people he has known all his life, and Danny Bonaduce gets to write about his week-end performing in a tent show in Tijuana. Something similar seems to happen with Washington memoirs. Scott was a bit player and nobody wishes to read his insights about the forces that made him such a great press secretary. I haven't read the book but he seems more like a tattle tale to history than a witness to history. And despite the high fives between Matthews and Doberman the revelations don't seem so scandalous.

Eli Blake said...

Ann:

seemed to trust that the American people would understand why he was doing the right things,

Except I fail to understand how putting the war against the people who actually attacked us and allowing them to regroup (as they have done) is 'right.' Frankly, as an American, it is criminal. Bin Laden and the Taliban will be problems for us in the future, of that you can be sure.

As for foisting democracy, what made Iraq so special that we had to go invade it? Less than a third of the nations in the world have a government that is anything like democratic, and many of them like North Korea, China, Sudan and Zimbabwe are run by despots who have proven that they are every bit as bloody as Saddam Hussein. So I don't buy the 'democracy' argument, if that were our only goal then Bush would have invaded Cuba (the closest non-democratic state) first.

And that even is aside from the moral issue of whether it is up to the U.S., even if we are secure in our belief that we have the best system, to therefore enforce our values on other countries by means of military force. That sounds a lot like the justification that has been used historically for everything from the crusades to colonialism.

Eli Blake said...

And does McClellan add anything to the discourse?

Well, his revelations together with Jessica Yellin's revelation yesterday that she and other reporters were pressured by the higher ups at the networks to tilt news coverage in favor of the pro-war side (exactly as McClellan said) does add a lot to the discourse. The media has a role to be a watchdog, not a cheerleader, and at a critical time it was the latter.

George said...

Oh, my God.

A reporter pressured to be patriotic—and at a critical time, too.

When will the horrors end?

Revenant said...

If you think he's not leading the country properly, you either bring it up to your superiors, in this case congress, or you resign and tell the people.

Congress are not the superiors of anyone in the military (or out of it, for that matter). They're not in the chain of command at all.

They could resign, of course. But we don't want to encourage officers to resign over differences in strategy; we'll never get anywhere with that attitude.

Revenant said...

[Bush] seemed to trust that the American people would understand why he was doing the right things

Except I fail to understand how putting the war against the people who actually attacked us and allowing them to regroup (as they have done) is 'right.'

Apparently Bush's trust was misplaced. :)

Crimso said...

"As for foisting democracy, what made Iraq so special that we had to go invade it?"

I'm guessing that it wasn't just democracy in Iraq, but the larger Middle East. A hoped-for domino effect. It plainly (to some people at least) makes more sense to have this as a goal in the Middle East than the Carribean. Castro really has no way to wage serious economic warfare against the U.S. (or anyone else for that matter). Oil-producing countries most certainly do. It's worth noting (again) that Europe and Japan are far more dependent on oil from the ME than the U.S. Unfortunately, they are largely incapable of protecting that supply. Oh, they'll bitch and moan about the warmongering Americans, but in the end I doubt that they really mind that we're doing the heavy lifting they can't. And let's not even get into the issues surrounding Japan and ME oil. Suffice it to say there are still people alive in Asia who remember the last time Japan felt compelled to go out and take oil to replace the oil FDR refused them.

Revenant said...

As for foisting democracy, what made Iraq so special that we had to go invade it?

We could invade Iraq without violating international law, particularly since we were technically still at war with them from 1991.

if that were our only goal then Bush would have invaded Cuba (the closest non-democratic state) first.

Cuba isn't Muslim.

The Bush Administration came to believe that the root cause of terrorism was the despotic nature of much of the Muslim world, which offered neither hope nor a constructive outlet for political and religious frustration. They reasoned, correctly, that Al Qaeda was not the problem, but merely a symptom of the problem. Focusing all our efforts on eradicating Al Qaeda while allowing the cesspool of the Middle East to continue festering would be like putting a band-aid on melanoma.

PatCA said...

Eli,
Every pundit on TV is no saying they were "pressured" about the news by the White House.

It's like when an activist claims some article resulted in hate mail and death threats to him. How come we never get to see any mail or hear the message on the machines?

vbspurs said...

I heard she slams our great president and tells us he isn't good in bed.

Dude, I can't believe that. Did you see the hog he's packing in that flight suit?

Uncut, being a WASP and all, but still.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Eli wrote:

The media has a role to be a watchdog, not a cheerleader, and at a critical time it was the latter.

Eli, media have a self-appointed task to be watchdogs. Readers and viewers cannot un-elect them, when they find them distasteful.

Instead, we vote with our eyeballs.

And MSM, facing at last a serious pushback in the form of Fox News and conservative talk radio, which didn't exist during Watergate, decided that they weren't going to risk losing viewer or readership.

Not that I recall that the NYT or CNN were that gung-ho about going to war in Iraq.

Having lived through that time, I remember the tone of distaste and disapproval by many of its personnel, including Christine Amanpour.

I guess the small fry like Yellin didn't get a choice.

Cheers,
Victoria

Beth said...

would understand why he was doing the right things

Except he wasn't.

Beth said...

Victoria,

Don't be fooled by a rolled-up gym sock.

Sloanasaurus said...

If McClellan really knew what was going on he would have wrote about Area 51.

Bummer.

1jpb said...

There's a fair number of "true believer" hold outs who comment here.

I'm intrigued by your references to

1) oil
and
2) radicals (as one of y'all put it: "They [Bush et. al.] reasoned, correctly, that Al Qaeda was not the problem, but merely a symptom of the problem. Focusing all our efforts on eradicating Al Qaeda while allowing the cesspool of the Middle East to continue festering would be like putting a band-aid on melanoma."

which are arguments for invading Saudi Arabia and Iran, not Iraq. And, of course, these are extremely simplistic and naive arguments, but at least y'all could aim them at the appropriate targets.

You are undeterred by the fact that oil has spiked since the war. And you forget that oil is fungible (as long as we're looking at the same grade, e.g. light sweet vs. sour), so it's unwise to overemphasize the importance of who buys what from where, we're all connected.

The oil market is really controlled by cartels and producing countries/companies. This is why Bush feels compelled to endure repeated face to face repudiation from Saudi Arabia.

And, the concept that invading Iraq was an attack on radical Islam is so hilarious that there are no words to fully express the silliness. The belief that the Iraq war is helping to suppress radical states (e.g. Iran) and win the battle of hearts and minds in the ME is delusional to a level that probably requires professional help STAT!

True believers, heh.

Sloanasaurus said...

I don't think McClellan adds anything to the Bush lied arguments from the left. He just rephrases it in a different way.

I am still shocked at why so many vehemently oppose the war in Iraq. I always understood the war as having the purpose to remove Saddam Hussein and set up an ally in his place. I never really got why finding stockpiles of WMD was so important. Perhaps it was the easiest thing for the media to talk about. The truth is that Saddam was the most dangerous totalitarian dictator since Adolf Hitler and we were smart to get rid of him. We made a serious error in 1991 when we left him in power. If Saddam were ruling Iraq today he would be doing so with $130 per bbl oil. The world would be a much more dangerous place. Our soldiers who have fought and died there have done so facing one of the most barbaric enemies in the history of civilization. The Iraq war and the fight against the insurgency/al qaeda is one of the most noble wars ever waged.

Of course I would have also supported the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and did so in Bosnia, so maybe I am just a war monger. Or maybe I read too many books about the 1930s.

The Iraq war is now largely over. We have won this war. Wars often end this way. They get really bad, the enemy counter-attacks and no ground is gained and then suddenly the enemy breaks and starts to get rolled up. The rolling up has begun in Iraq.

Revenant said...

which are arguments for invading Saudi Arabia and Iran, not Iraq.

They're arguments for doing what it takes to get liberal democracy into places like Saudi Arabia and Iran. They are only an argument for invading if invasion is the best of the available means for achieving that end, which it most certainly is not.

The Hussein regime was almost universally hated inside Iraq. Furthermore, the majority of the population -- the Kurds and Shiites -- were being openly oppressed, and periodically slaughtered, by Hussein. That put the majority of Iraq on our side at the time.

With Iran, an invasion would put most Iranians on the side of the regime. While most Iranians *dislike* their regime, it isn't even remotely as bad to the Iranians as the Hussein regime was to the Iragis. Invading Iran would destroy the existing pro-democracy movement within the country and solidify popular support behind the mullahs.

Invading Saudi Arabia would be even dumber. In addition to the fact that invasion would unite people behind the Saudi regime, there's the little fact that Mecca is in Saudi Arabia. Think about that for a minute. Americans, shooting Muslims in the streets of Mecca. Offhand can you think of a better way to convince the hundreds of millions of so-called "moderate" Muslims that we really ARE trying to destroy Islam itself?

Plus, of course, there's the little fact that we didn't have anyplace to invade Saudi Arabia *from*. If you think any of its neighbors would have let us base troops there for an invasion, you're high.

Revenant said...

The belief that the Iraq war is helping to suppress radical states (e.g. Iran) and win the battle of hearts and minds in the ME is delusional to a level that probably requires professional help STAT!

It suppressed two "radical states": Baathist Iraq (obviously) and Libya, when Qadaffi realized he'd rather be alive and in charge of his country than have nukes and chemical weapons.

As for winning "the hearts and minds" of the ME, that's not the point. We don't need to win the hearts and minds of Muslims to get them to stop blowing us up -- we need to offer them a constructive outlet for their frustration.

That assumes, of course, that you accept the optimistic belief that terrorists are products of their society, rather than products of Islam itself.

vbspurs said...

That assumes, of course, that you accept the optimistic belief that terrorists are products of their society, rather than products of Islam itself.

Your reply is excellent, Rev. Let me just add that I do believe that Muslims are products of their society rather than Islam.

It is possible to have Islam and Democracy -- just look at Turkey. I know, one country, but it IS possible.

What isn't possible is to have Shar'ia Law and Democracy together.

So long as Iraq stays the course, as it is now (and Iraq has improved massively on all fronts since 2007) it can become a success story.

The oldest Western civilisation in the world just needs time.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

/in the sense that Mesopotamia has a rich vein of tradition with the West.

Verso said...

God.

The 27% still following Bush lets out another collective death howl. These past years have been so agonizing for all of you. The brutal reality of the collapse of the Bush administration, and more important the massive, damaging blows done to the United States of America, have left the Republican base reeling. I'm starting to feel sympathy.

I'm guessing at least half of the people who voted for him will spend the rest of their lives lying about it. I mean, can you imagine, 30 or 40 years from now, what you will feel when your grandchild looks up at you and asks, "Did you vote for Bush?"

By then, it will be clear to all except the last dying Bush voters that James Buchanan, who let America slide into Civil War, was a better president than George W. Bush.

That's gotta hurt. If you voted for Bush, the shame must be intolerable.

Verso said...

Someone said, "Man, talk about being a stinking backstabber that burned every bridge he ever had and will be left to hang out and dry by both sides."

This really captures the essence of the 27%'s death howl.

To the 27%, the one in four Americans who are still, inexplicably, defending this failure of a president, McClellan didn't just betray Bush, he betrayed the whole 27%.

It's so difficult, in 2008, to hold on to those pro-Bush illusions, and now here comes this McClellan guy, making it all the harder.

Bad news for the 27%: It's never going to get any better.

Here's something to think about:

George W. Bush is more popular and more highly regarded today, May 30, 2008, than he will ever be again, for the rest of his life.

Learn to enjoy his "popularity," because it only gets worse from here.

Verso said...

The thing that blows my mind most about Bush is that he's stupider than Dan Quayle, and lacks all of Quayle's charm.

Verso said...

the other reason was that Bush seemed like a brat, who lived off his family name

This nails it. Bush has always acted like a pissy, petulant teenager. I can't imagine how a juvenile temperament in a sixty year old recovering alcoholic could ever appeal to intelligent people, like law professors and the like.

It's well known that emotional development is arrested when drug addicts or alcoholics begin using their drug of choice. As a consequence, there are many full grown adults who function at the level of a child -- whatever age corresponds to the onset of their abuse.

I'm convinced this is what explains Bush; he probably started drinking and drugging around age 13 or 14, and kept it up through his forties. This is why when you listen to him talk, he sounds like an angry 8th grader.

Really, Bush needed 8 years of intensive therapy. Instead, he dragged the world to the brink of ruin, and now has more blood on his hands than Pol Pot.

Crimso said...

"George W. Bush is more popular and more highly regarded today, May 30, 2008, than he will ever be again, for the rest of his life."

And what about after? On what date was this true for Lincoln? Or Carter? How it must eat at you to know he doesn't take his decisions based on polls. I mean, really, not considering Verso's opinions (who, like Barack Obama, didn't vote in favor of the war; didn't vote against it , mind you, but still...).

"like law professors and the like."

"You, a law professor!"

"This is why when you listen to him talk, he sounds like an angry 8th grader."

Recognizing your projection would be a first step in recovering from it.

"has more blood on his hands than Pol Pot."

Olby, is that you?!?

Ralph said...

Uncut, being a WASP and all, but still.
I'll wager he's cut. If he'd been born before the war or at home, maybe not. Send Bushlover Titus to find out.

Cedarford said...

Moose - The same corollary hold true for generals and their commander in chief. If you think he's not leading the country properly, you either bring it up to your superiors, in this case congress, or you resign and tell the people.

That is stupid. The military is in the executive. The soldier or officer's chain of command and superiors lie in the executive, entirely outside Congress.
And people who facilely say it is so easy for military to simply resign and denounce superiors - ignore that unlike powerful civilian lawyers and money people elites with guaranteed positions waiting after they resign - the prospects of a resigning career military person are not at all at that level of coziness. The resigning military person pisses away full retirement benefits from a long, arduous career, may not have the civilian job opportunities a "team player" can expect, and are never "picked back up" and restored back in military service by a different administration once resignation is complete.
That is why lawyers resigning is a frequent phenomenon, a NCO or officer resigning in principle is a rarity - in America.

Moose - Nuremburg pretty much throw away the concept that you're faithful to your command structure even when you know that what you're doing is morally wrong.

Horseshit. Nuremburg is victor's justice.
If the Axis has won WWII, there would have been thousands of "legally determined" executions and tens of thousands of long jail sentences of Allied war criminals for the same stuff that got Germans and Japs hanged and shot.

1. Aggressive war. (UK&France against Germany, full economic warfare initiated by US,UK, and the Dutch against the Japs, and the US starting the war against Germany by violations of Neutrality treaties by August, 1945)
2. Unrestricted submarine warfare.
3. Nukings and firebombings intended to "terrorize" and mass slaughter enemy civilians in the millions..
4. Taking no prisoners, prisoner maltreatment -by Soviets and Americans. On the Eastern Front - and on many Pacific Islands where Jap forces were killed enmass or bypassed and left to starve to death.
5. US and UK and Soviets for their starvation and medicine campaigns that blocked food and critical medicines from reaching areas occupied by the Axis, that killed up to two million civilians..

Crimso said...

Don't forget that the Allies wanted to prosecute for bombing cities from the air, then thought better of it. IIRC, Taylor said that the reasoning was that one only needed to look around their immediate location in Nuremburg to see why they let that go. Curiously, this was after deciding that the defendants would not be permitted a tu quoque defense.

vbspurs said...

I'll wager he's cut. If he'd been born before the war or at home, maybe not.

Slight threadjack, Ralph, but why IS it that American males, especially during the time you say, are circumcised?

It's really unusual in Europe, amongst white males.

Send Bushlover Titus to find out.

OMG. Even I wouldn't do it with Bush. Now Cheney, yes.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ben Stanwright said...

McClellan lays bare the the greatest flaw of President Bush's administration: his willingness to surround himself with mediocraties.

Jim_J said...

I watched McClelland's interview on NBC twice and I couldn't help but notice how smarmy he appeared.

What also struck me was his often repeated comment that he wanted to change the Washington culture. Seems to me that if he wanted to do that he should have run for office. When I voted for Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004, I certainly wasn't thinking about who the Deputy Press Secretary for Domestic Affairs was going to be; and more importantly, what effect he/she would have on the "Washington culture."

George said...

This is a modified version of the old Chickenhawk argument - if you beleive in the war, join the army!

If you beleive in your outrage, deep six your career!

Ahh... Good comedy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sure, good comedy.

But then you will next post a bleating complaint that there is no accountability in our leadership. Is there nothing for which you would sacrifice your career?

Of course, you probably work at a coffee shop.

George said...

That rat bastard Soros must never sleep.

Yes, billions of dollars never sleep nor does the threat to our freedom from people who 'know better than we do' how we should live our lives.

Pogo said...

Everyone in the Bush administration, although they are all "good, decent people", is an evil idiot who "shuns the truth", but "not in a willful or conscious" way, but still they're all lying, except for Scott McClellan.

I'm with Trooper.
I'm glad Lincoln fired his McClellan, too.

tsj017 said...

To verso and all the other members of the "reality-based community" (which is, of course, almost totally divorced from reality and living in a reality that largely exists only in their own fevered minds):

28-percenter right here. Proud of it. No issues with that whatsoever.

What will I tell my children and grandchildren when they ask me if I voted for Bush? I'll say, "Yes, I did, because he was the better of the two choices in each election, and because he was right on the biggest issue of our time."

My biggest criticism of Bush is that he hasn't prosecuted the war MORE aggressively. However, even that isn't entirely his fault. If he had, you left-wing yahoos--along with your media enablers--would've probably marched on the White House and demanded his head on a stick.

History will look on Bush much more kindly than you can possibly imagine. (See: Truman, Harry.)

I've never posted here before, but some nonsense simply DEMANDS a reply.

Now run along back to the Bizarro World alternate reality that you and your friends have constructed to avoid dealing with the real world.

Honestly. There should be a quarantine on BDS victims. Even if it's 70% of the country, which I don't believe. You people are endlessly amusing, but you're probably too dangerous to be running around loose.

You'll no doubt consider this another part of that "long, anguished death howl". I, however, hear the rantings of the Bush-hating left as the long, anguished death howl of a bunch of petulant children who are furious that the world won't conform to their demands.

D said...

I think future administrations should have a contract with all WH employees. The Presidential Library for that President has the option to buy the rights to any book the employee may write about the administration for 1$.

Roger J. said...

The administration, as I recall, cited about 20 reasons for the invasion. Anyone who believes there was only one reason, has not looked at the record, nor do they have much of a grasp of foreign policy. There are always a host of reasons in support of one policy or another; trying to rank order those reasons is an exercise in futility, IMO.

As to McClellan: low life co*cksucker who, after his 3 days are fame are over--well five days as he may make it to the Sunday funnies circuit-- will disappear from public view. Nobody will ever trust this SOB enough to give him a full time job in their organization.

Fat Man said...

So, he was lying then and telling the truth now? Or is it the other way round? And once I have found out he is a liar, why should I believe anything he says?

richard mcenroe said...

Breaking News! McClellan to update his father's book: exciting new claims Bush was in on LBJ's decision to have JFK whacked...!

Bart said...

For the record, I am proud of my support for GW Bush and always will be. The Iraq war was necessary. I do not have a problem with all the purported missteps. That is the nature of war. There is no war in our nation's history that has ever been free of them. This one has been far better than most.

Nor do I believe that the President's enemies would now be giving him a pass if the war had been "sold" in some other fashion. The vitriolic opposition is a natural reaction by those who feel safe enough to blow off steam. It is a measure of the success of GW's policies viz national security. McClellan makes the point that, when the war was popular, the media did not wish to overdo the criticism. That's because we were all scared. We're not scared anymore. Thank you Mr. Bush!

Al Qaeda is on the ropes, Saddam is no more, Iran will implode in the not-too-distant future. All in all, an exceptional record, especially compared to the "do nothing, close your eyes and hope for the best" policies of his predecessor, to which the fantasists wish to return us.

Despite the myths the media has been pushing, it is instructive to keep in mind that the Iraq war was all about Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda attacked us because of Iraq. Oh, did the media forget to tell you? This from bin Laden's 1998 fatwah declaring jihad against the US:

First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.
If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.
Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.

terrye said...

I don't know if some of the posters are in grade school or were doing drugs a decade ago or what, but everyone believed Saddam had wmd. It was only logical it would be a reason for invasion.

We had been in a state of war with Iraq to some extent for years. We had no flyzones to maintain over the country of Iraq. There had been numerous UN resolutions brought against Saddam for his refusal to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors.

Clinton administration officials from Bill himself to Sandy Berger to Bill Richardson to General Zinni had all made statements about Saddam and his dangerous weapons programs and stockpiles and the need to remove him from power.

I was hearing that stuff for years before Bush ever came along. Now all of a sudden it is as if all this is controversial. Gee, Why would Bush say we needed to go after Saddam because he was a dictator with wmd? God. People think about it.

The truth is if we had not gone into Iraq, Saddam would in all probability have those weapons today anyway. The sanctions programs were breaking down and I doubt that he was keeping the programs in hiding for sentimental reasons.

But what the hell, let's just stay stuck in 2003 forever and ever and ever and makes snarky silly comments about what a moron Bush is. What the hell.

MadisonMan said...

I watched McClelland's interview on NBC twice and I couldn't help but notice how smarmy he appeared.

You're a little late noticing.

rcocean said...

Taking no prisoners, prisoner maltreatment -by Soviets and Americans. On the Eastern Front - and on many Pacific Islands where Jap forces were killed enmass or bypassed and left to starve to death.

BS. WE never killed Japanese POW "Enmass". And soldiers who refuse to surrender can be bypassed and left to die under the laws of war.

We were under no obligation to feed bypassed Japanese units still at war.

downtownlad said...

Let's see - Democracy in the Middle East has given us Hamas in Gaza and Ahmadenijad in Iran. Huckava job George!

Pogo said...

You can always count on dtl to be 100% wrong, a reliable negative bellwether.

Regardless, dtl, the world awaits your opinion of Islam's treatment of gays where, in contrast to that in the US, they are hanged. But maybe that's just Iran. The Syrians just stone them to death.

downtownlad said...

Wow - Victoria thinks Iraq was an Islamic country under Saddam.

How ignorant can you get. .

If you want an Islamic country - look at Saudi Arabia. Our bestest ally and bestest friend in the Middle East.

Also the same country that produced Bin Laden (still alive) and 18 of the 20 hijackers.

But let's attack Iraq, because I want to finish Daddy's war.

That IS how history will read this imbecilic episode by America.

Sucks for the soldiers who had to die for a fruitless war. Oh well - that's life.

downtownlad said...

Yes Pogo - gays are killed in Iraq now, when they weren't killed previously. Thanks to you. Aren't you proud of that you bigot.

Pogo's daughter is getting nailed by a black man though. That is funny.

AlphaLiberal said...

Scott McClellan seems to be trying to clean the blood from his hands. Damn stain will NOT come out.

The most disappointing part of this whole exchange is that so many people have lost sight on the vast human destruction exacted upon the people of Iraq.

Tens of thousands, some estimates say hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis have been killed or maimed both directly and indirectly from our nation's actions. but the debate is so far removed from reality.

And one of the 3 dozen excuses for this unforgivable act is that we were "saving" them from Saddam Hussein. How deeply irrational.

If most of the keyboard commandos came face to face with the reality of blood, gore and violence of the invasion and occupation they have urged, maybe they'd change their tune.

But they won't because we have corporate news executives censoring the news to serve the White House. A sad and disgraceful day for the Republic.

downtownlad said...

Pogo thinks its a lie to say that Hamas was elected in Gaza.

Me thinks Pogo should stop watching Fox News.

AlphaLiberal said...

downtownlad, Pogo occupies it's own alternate reality. Facts have no salience there.

So are many here among "moderate" Ann Althouse's hard core supporters.

Roger J. said...

I thought the chickenhawk meme had gone away...alas, not so.

terrye said...

Oh come on, the mullahs were not elected in Iran because of Bush, that is just stupid. And as for Hamas, Bush is not responsible for them either. IN fact the European left has been supporting Hamas for years.

And as for the carnage in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was called the Butcher of Baghdad for a reason. He was a mass murdering dictator. The idea that the people of Iraq were better off with a man who put hundreds of thousands of them in mass graves is absurd. The truth is Saddam could have wiped half his population off the face of the earth without a peep from half the socalled anti war movement. And the people of Iraq are rejecting Islamic extremists even now.

Besides homosexuals have been lynched in Iran for years and most liberals seem to think that is just ok fine.

Moose said...

The Chickenhawk meme is like the Bush McHitler meme. Its good quality BS that smells as good years later after it was first used.

Bart said...

"Victoria thinks Iraq was an Islamic country under Saddam. How ignorant can you get?"

Pretty damned ignorant, apparently.

Saddam, therefore, increasingly portrayed himself as a devout Muslim, in an effort to co-opt the conservative religious segments of society. Some elements of Sharia law were re-introduced, and the ritual phrase "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great"), in Saddam's handwriting, was added to the national flag.

Revenant said...

BS. WE never killed Japanese POW "Enmass".

Just Japanese civilians. :)

And soldiers who refuse to surrender can be bypassed and left to die under the laws of war.

People who fight out of uniform among civilian populations can be locked up indefinitely without trial or Geneva convention rights under the laws of war, too. So what's the problem with Gitmo?

Pogo said...

"when they weren't killed previously"
Hilarious, dtl.
You just have to be pretending to be a far leftist gay. No way are you real.
Good act, if so.

" Pogo occupies it's own alternate reality."
Hey, it's Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs !
It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
Yes, it will, Precious. It will get the hose.


I would argue about your apellation, in that beta seems more appropriate, but hope springs eternal, doesn't it?

Revenant said...

Bad news for the 27%: It's never going to get any better.

Every postwar President has died with higher approval ratings than he left office with. I wouldn't get your panties in a bunch hoping for Bush to remain as widely hated as he is now. If Carter and Nixon can be rehabilitated, anyone can be.

But the other mistake that your sort routinely makes is assuming that people who defend the decision to go to war are part of the 28% who support Bush. I'm not. I think Bush has done a horrible job as President. But while you base your opposition to the war on your dislike of Bush, I base my dislike of Bush on the fact that he's screwed up the war effort.

richard mcenroe said...

Yep, Iraq was not an Islamic nation under Saddam. He just had a Koran printed with his own blood in the ink because it was so edgy and cutting edge.

And Terrye, remember:

The gassed Kurds: breeders
The dead Marsh Arabs: breeders
The women and children in the mass graves: breeders

So in the words of a Great Progressive: Screw them.

terrye said...

Hey richard:

Yeah, screw em, they don't count.

As far as Bush's numbers, well they are better than the media's numbers, better than the Democratically controlled Congress's numbers.

I think people are just in general pissed and I think it has more to do with the price of gas than Iraq. Most people have moved on to some extent. To some people it will be 2003 forever.

And I think Bush has done a pretty good job considering everything he had to deal with from both the right, the left and the enemy.