Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The Moose suggests that W. looks like some Democrats who once had his job.

America is in a funk. The war appears to becoming a quagmire. The economy is not bad, but unsteady. And perhaps most important, the country's morale is suffering.

As a nation, we were united, resolved and determined after 9-11. Now, we are deflated, demoralized and divided. Our leaders are not telling us the truth. We suffer from a mild combination of LBJ-like distrust and Carter-like malaise. While the President was always ineffective in public diplomacy with a foreign audience, now he is having trouble promoting his cause at home.

W. has clearly lost his mojo. Rove completely misinterpreted the results of the election to believe that the country was aching to move to the hard right on social issues and social security. Now, W. desperately needs an "order" issue that will enable the GOP to play to its usual national security advantage.

However, the Republican strength in the "order" area is rapidly becoming a central liability for the party. The country's funk is best explained both by to find WMD in Iraq and the subsequent chaotic and costly occupation. The military, the traditional bastion of conservative strength, is in crisis.

The Washington Post put it well in an editorial this morning,

"All this should call into question the Bush administration's present rhetoric and apparent strategy, which assumes that the Iraqi insurgency is, as Mr. Cheney put it, in its "last throes"; that Iraqi units will be ready before the U.S. military, now facing a recruiting crisis, is broken by the strain of deploying more than 130,000 troops; and that the United States can still afford to take a relatively hands-off approach to the political process, leaving Baghdad without an ambassador for months at a time. In fact, the U.S. mission in Iraq seems to be drifting dangerously -- and the president, once again, is not talking frankly to the country about the sacrifice that may be required, or where the troops and other resources for such an effort will come from. Those ought to be the questions at center stage this summer."

The next time the President is in Texas he might take a trip from Crawford down I-35 and pay a visit to the LBJ Library in Austin. Once there, he should listen to the tapes of the conversations between President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara from around 1966. He might note a striking similarity between the Vietnam reports from McNamara and the assessments he is getting from Rummy on Iraq. Bush suffers from the early stages of Johnsonitis - a chronic inability to level with the American people.

It is far too long before the next election to predict doom for the GOP. But clearly, the party's afterglow from the past election is gone. At the moment, the President is not a lame duck, but rather appears like a befuddled donkey of days gone by.
-- Posted at 8:18 AM | Link to this post | Email this post