Thursday, December 22, 2005
Balloon Juice "Smacks" The White House
Cole is, in many ways, a moderate Republican. He is certainly not a social conservative and regularly criticizing the religious right part of the conservative movement. On the other hand, he is fiscally conservative, a military vet, supports the war and regularly deconstructs strident posts from the Daily Kos and Atrios types. He is part of the Republican group blog, Red State and also part of the, ahem, Pajamas Media collective (oh well, no one's perfect).
This is the strongest indication to me that the [White House] did do something wrong, and they know it.
Why can this gang not shoot straight? Why can they not tell the truth? Why?
On days like this, the Bush administration reminds me of heroin addicts. Junkies will lie to you- about everything. Sometimes they lie intentionally, sometimes accidentally, sometimes they can’t tell truth from fiction. But they never have any long-range concepts of time- it is just say whatever they can to get out of the current mess, with no regard for what is going to happen tomorrow, or what is going to happen when this false truth is uncovered. It is just deal with the right here and the right now, get their fix, and deal with tomorrow when it comes.
They don’t respect themselves. They don’t respect you. And they just do whatever they have to do and say whatever they have to say to get by.
I don’t think Bush is personally a bad man or an evil man. But I wonder what the hell is going on in this White House, and I wonder what the hell is wrong with these people and why they keep setting Bush up for the fall like this. Why would his advisors clear this speech if it is bullshit? At some point, when you deal with junkies and addicts, you have to quit trying to convince yourself that they are telling you the truth and realize that they can’t help themselves- they are going to rob you, they are going to lie to you, and they aren’t going to remember why tomorrow.
If this latest piece in the LAT turns out to be true, I will be at that point. I simply will refuse to believe anything this administration says.
In short, he can't be in any way portrayed as a "Bush-hater" -- from either the right or the left. Which is a long, roundabout way of saying that the Bush team had better be careful. Cole is the last person they can afford to lose. And they shouldn't think that there aren't more Republicans like Cole out there.
The president's poll numbers have moved back up a bit -- partly because Republicans have "come home." But there is nothing to guarantee that they will stay there. More funny "explanations" about the NSA wiretaps or some other such issue and the White House could, as the above post suggests, lose the John Cole-type Republican for good.
UPDATE: This news from the 4th Circuit can't make John too happy either. Michael Luttig, on just about everybody conservative's Supreme Court short list rightly slaps the administration for its outrageous "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla bait-and-switch between military and civilian jurisdiction. As Kevin Drum notes, Luttig and the court seem furious at the administration's deceptive arguments in its earlier hearing before the 4th Circuit on the legality of Padilla's status:
They want to know why the government claimed it was absolutely essential to national security that Padilla be detained indefinitely and then suddenly changed their minds without so much as an explanation. They want to know why this change of heart came only two business days before Padilla's appeal was scheduled to be filed with the Supreme Court.
And that's not all. They also want to know why the government provided them with a completely different set of facts than they provided to the civilian court in Miami. They want to know why the government provided more information about the case to the media than they did to the court. And finally, they want to know why the government did all these things even though they must have known that these actions rather obviously undermined their own public arguments about the importance of the war on terror.
Presumably, Judge Luttig and the conservative 4th Circuit's chastisement of the administration is something that can't be summarily dismissed.
Tags: John Cole, George W. Bush, NSA