Friday, June 15, 2007

The Uniter

I'm beginning to think that Rosa Brooks just might be reason enough to actually resubscribe to the Los Angeles Times. Her column in today's edition has just the right snark and bite to take the edge off the work week as she reminds us that George W. Bush did manage to get one thing right. It turns out that he is in fact a uniter, not a divider.

YOU KNOW YOU'VE got a problem when only the Albanians welcome you with open arms — and even then you need to take your watch off to keep them from stealing it.

This is what it's come down to for President Bush, a duck so lame he's nearly quadriplegic. Six and a half years into his interminable presidency, the whole world is sick of him. ...

The GOP's Republican primary candidates are competing to distance themselves from Bush, and more and more conservatives are in open revolt. Some, like economist Bruce Bartlett, fume at the explosion of government spending under Bush. Others, like Sen. Chuck Hagel and a growing cadre of Republican foreign policy experts, are appalled by Bush's mishandling of the Iraq war and other national security issues.

Others, such as Richard Viguerie (conservative direct-mail pioneer) and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr (the House's lead prosecutor during the Clinton impeachment), are so angry at what they see as Bush's constitutional abuses that they've started channeling (and in Barr's case, joining) the ACLU. "Since 9/11," they assert, "the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power and has repeatedly claimed that the president is the law. The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling." Even the three harpies of far-right punditry — Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham — have denounced Bush's favored immigration bill as soft on illegal immigrants.

Oh yes, then there are the courts. Last week, judges in two of the administration's military commissions announced that the commissions lacked jurisdiction to try Guantanamo detainees. This week, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — one of the nation's most conservative courts — gave Bush another slap in the face, declaring that "the president lacks power to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain" terror suspects in the United States.

Then there are the military and defense establishments, which are increasingly taking positions opposite those of the president. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates thinks Guantanamo should be closed. So does former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Uniformed officers complain openly that Bush has broken the back of the military. And no one, including the generals charged with overseeing military operations in Iraq, seems to think that Bush's "surge" is succeeding.

Funny? Hell, yes! But the humor is dark. I mean, look what it took to get us to this point. Still, laughing sure beats the alternative.



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