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Comments by YACCS
Monday, November 06, 2006

What if we win?

The cost of Bush's war

Limiting the Damage


At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all of his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in Iraq.

What if the Democrats do win? That doesn’t guarantee a change in policy.

The Constitution says that Congress and the White House are co-equal branches of government, but Mr. Bush and his people aren’t big on constitutional niceties. Even with a docile Republican majority controlling Congress, Mr. Bush has been in the habit of declaring that he has the right to disobey the law he has just signed, whether it’s a law prohibiting torture or a law requiring that he hire qualified people to run FEMA.

Just imagine, then, what he’ll do if faced with demands for information from, say, Congressional Democrats investigating war profiteering, which seems to have been rampant. Actually, we don’t have to imagine: a White House strategist has already told Time magazine that the administration plans a “cataclysmic fight to the death” if Democrats in Congress try to exercise their right to issue subpoenas — which is one heck of a metaphor, given Mr. Bush’s history of getting American service members trapped in cataclysmic fights where the deaths are anything but metaphors.

But here’s the thing: no matter how hard the Bush administration may try to ignore the constitutional division of power, Mr. Bush’s ability to make deadly mistakes has rested in part on G.O.P. control of Congress. That’s why many Americans, myself included, will breathe a lot easier if one-party rule ends tomorrow.

I freely admit I am nervous. But not because I'm worried about a Democratic victory. I think it would take a miracle for that not to happen. They happen, but that isn't what bothers me.

What does bother me is what happens next. Iraq is increasingly untenable. The Military Times chain of newspapers are going to denounce the war in the strongest terms possible. Most of the new Congress will be very opposed to the administration. I just don't know how Bush can handle it. I seriously, seriously think he will have a breakdown if he's faced with a hostile Congress. Sure, Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to play investigator, but do you think he's gonna sign any Democratic bills?

If I'm going to lose sleep, it's not over 15 seats vs 40 seats, it what happens when things change hands. Make no mistake, you think Bush's rhetoric was overheated during the election, it's going to get worse, something we've never seen before.

Krugman doesn't say this, but I will: Bush breaks under pressure. Michael Ledeen said one smart thing in his sea of lies about Iraq, Bush is surrounded by women who are in love with him, his wife, Condi, Harriet Myers and Karen Hughes. This is not the retinue of a strong man. Bush is weak, he has been weak all his life.

The new Congress will not have weak people in it. Sestak, Murphy, some of these folks are anything but weak. They are going to demand answers.

But something else needs to be said. Cheney has limited his public appearances all year. My feeling is that between his heart and his meds, he's prone to actually doing very little. He's even fallen asleep in public, to little notice.

If you're worried about polls or GOP dirty tricks, stop. They don't matter any more. I think people just stopped listening to the GOP.

Worry about what comes next.

posted by Steve @ 12:30:00 AM

12:30:00 AM

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