Monday, April 30, 2007

The "Surge" Is Causing More Death

Not surprisingly:
BAGHDAD - Five U.S. troops were killed in separate attacks in the capital this weekend, including three in a single roadside bombing, the military said Monday, pushing the death toll past 100 in the deadliest month so far this year.

Retired Lt. General declares Bush 'seems to have gone AWOL'

"Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army,

"I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus,
I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan
retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security
Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, asked me.

"In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.

"Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

"To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is 'absent without leave.' He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Obstruction of Justice?

There is reason to be suspicious about these events. Last week, all Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could offer was weak excuses for the firing — that Mr. Charlton had asked Mr. Gonzales to reconsider a decision to seek the death penalty in a murder case and that he’d started recording interviews with targets of investigations without asking permission from Justice Department bureaucrats.

Beyond that, this story line is far too similar to one involving a fired prosecutor in New Mexico. Senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, asked the prosecutor there, David Iglesias, about the status of an investigation of prominent Democrats. If Mr. Iglesias had brought indictments before the election, it could have helped Heather Wilson, a Republican congresswoman locked in a tight re-election battle. He didn’t. Mr. Domenici reportedly complained to the White House. Mr. Iglesias was fired.

Since this scandal broke, the White House has insisted that the firings were legitimate because United States attorneys serve “at the pleasure of the president.” They do. But if prosecutors were fired to block investigations, that might well be obstruction of justice, which is itself a federal crime.

Yesterday, Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, wrote to Mr. Gonzales to request all White House and Justice Department communications about the Renzi investigation. Given what has already come out, the burden is now on the Justice Department to show that Mr. Charlton’s firing was legitimate.

28% Approval in WSJ Poll

The American public is just so fickle, isn't it?
Wall Street Journal - President Bush's approval rating slipped to new lows in the most recent Harris Interactive survey, but he's not alone: For the first time since the series began, all of the political figures and institutions included in the survey have negative performance ratings.

Of the 1,001 American adults polled online April 20-23, only 28% had a positive view of Mr. Bush's job performance, down from 32% in February and from a high of 88% in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The current rating is his weakest showing since his inauguration.

The Bushes Have Suffered the Most


According to the first lady, when it comes to Iraq, "No one suffers more than their president and I do."

During an interview on NBC's Today show Wednesday concerning Malaria Awareness Day, Laura Bush talked to Ann Curry about "other challenges her husband is facing."

"You know the American people are suffering watching --," Curry said to the first lady.

"Oh, I know that very much," Laura Bush responded. "And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harm's way."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Worst Quarter Ever!

Bush 35% Approval Average in Most Recent Quarter Lowest to Date
Lowest quarterly average of his presidency

by Jeffrey M. Jones


PRINCETON, NJ -- George W. Bush's presidency reaches a milestone of sorts on Thursday as he completes his 25th quarter in office. But his 25th quarter is not one on which he will look back fondly, given that he averaged only a 35% job approval rating, the lowest quarterly average of his presidency to date. His previous low was the 36% he averaged in the quarter spanning April - July 2006. Those are both far cries from the quarterly averages in excess of 70% he received from late 2001 through early 2002.

During the most recent quarter, which began on Jan. 20 and concludes April 19, Bush's approval rating ranged between 32% and 38%. It is 36% in the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted this past weekend. Bush's lowest single approval rating during his presidency is 31% from a May 5-7, 2006 poll taken during his 22nd quarter in office.

Bush has now gone seven months since he last had an approval rating above 40% in any Gallup Poll. He has averaged below 40% in each of his last five quarters in office, and has averaged below 50% in each of the last eight quarters. In his second term in office, which began in January 2005, he has had just one quarterly average above 50% -- a 50.4% reading in the initial quarter of his second term. He is averaging 40.8% so far in his second term, after averaging 62.2% his first.

Bush in Historical Perspective

Gallup has computed quarterly averages for 246 presidential quarters since 1945. Bush's most recent quarter ranks near the bottom, placing 228 out of 246, putting it in the 7th percentile.

Only four other presidents besides Bush have served 25 quarters or more since Gallup began tracking approval ratings in 1945. Not surprisingly, Bush's 25th quarter average does not compare favorably to the other presidents' at the similar points in their presidencies.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Missing E-Mails

Executive Privilege Absurdity

Various White Houses have made more or less copious claims for executive privilege. But even Richard Nixon was not half this audacious. Remember those Republican National Committee emails that seem to have gone missing? President Bush's lawyers says that if they're ever 'found' then they're covered by executive privilege too.

From the Times ...

The clash also seemed to push the White House and Democrats closer to a serious confrontation over executive privilege, with the White House counsel, Fred F. Fielding, asserting that the administration has control over countless other e-mail messages that the Republican National Committee has archived. Democrats are insisting that they are entitled to get the e-mail messages directly from the national committee.

This one is worth slowing down and seeing just what the White House is saying. Executive privilege doesn't just apply to conversations the president has with his top aides. It doesn't just apply to conversations his top aides have with each other. It doesn't even just apply to any presidential aides doing anything connected to the White House. Executive privilege applies to the outside political party work the president's aides do on their own time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

War Czar

Rahm Emanuel reminds us that once upon a time the "war czar" was called the "Commander in Chief," that is until the boy king decided it was hard work.

The Washington Post reports that the White House wants to appoint a war czar to run the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but they can't find anyone to do it. Someone needs to tell Steve Hadley that position is filled, it's the Commander in Chief, unless the decider's become the delegator.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Deadly Beginning to April in Iraq

You Wanted Change? We'll Give You Change!

White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino defended President Bush's escalation or "surge" strategy as a response to polls indicating that a majority of Americans were disapproving of the Administration's handling of the war in Iraq and sought a new direction.

"The American people have wanted change in Iraq, and they got it," Perino said. "The president announced a new policy on January 10th that was quite different and divergent from where we were before."

Every time you think these people have outdone themselves, they outdo themselves again in chutzpah.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Go to Hell, Mr. Bush

WASHINGTON -- President Bush today again warned Congress that unless he receives a clean emergency war funding bill for Iraq -- free of timetables for withdrawal and spending for what he called pork projects -- U.S. military readiness could be affected.

"If Congress fails to act in the next few weeks there will be significant consequences," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. "Congress should not tell generals how to run the war."

This is just lovely too:
The US News Political Bulletin reported this morning that “White House strategists are now pulling out all the stops to blame the Democratic majority in Congress for a potential delay in funding the Iraq war. … White House aides have adopted a new gambit — referring to the number of days since Bush requested funding for the troops in an effort to keep up the pressure.”

This morning at his Rose Garden press conference, President Bush highlighted this new gambit, saying it has been 57 days since he sent Congress his funding request. If Congress fails to act soon, Bush said, “the price of that failure will be paid by our troops and their loved ones.”

During the reign of the Do-Nothing 109th Congress, Bush submitted two major supplemental spending requests. Each request experienced a delay far more than 57 days with hardly a peep of anger from the Commander-In-Chief. Details below:

February 14, 2005: Bush submits $82 billion supplemental bill
May 11, 2005: Bush signs the supplemental
Total time elapsed: 86 days

February 16, 2006: Bush submits $72 billion supplemental bill
June 15, 2006: Bush signs the supplemental
Total time elapsed: 119 days

After the 119 day delay, Bush did not say an “irresponsible” Congress had “undercut the troops” or that military families had “paid the price of failure.” Instead, Bush told the conservative-led Congress, “I applaud those Members of Congress who came together in a fiscally responsible way to provide much-needed funds for the War on Terror.”