Monday, November 07, 2005


The Moose comments on the new conventional wisdom.

Now is the time to sell your Rove stocks - it is a political bear market for Boy Genius. He is now truly Turd Blossom. The Boy King is losing the Mandate of Heaven and his Rasputin is in ill-repute.

Mike Allen reports in Time Magazine,

"Karl Rove's colleagues don't know exactly when it will happen, but they are already laying out the reasons they will give for the departure of the man President George W. Bush dubbed the architect. A Roveless Bush seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. But that has changed as the President's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff remains embroiled in the CIA leak scandal."

The new CW contends that while Rove was a genius at winning elections, he is abysmal at governing. This wisdom will be advanced by the Bush Kennebunkport clan in their Hatfields and McCoy-like feud with the Bush Crawford Clan. The "Bushies of K" will argue that Rove's political skills are superb, but he is overestimated (or Roverestimated) as a governing guru. The Moose has reason to believe (he will do a "Judy Miller" before he reveals his inside sources) that the First Lady holds this view.

Meanwhile, conservatives are rallying to Rove's side urging him to push the polarization button. Bill Kristol in the Weekly Standard,

"This is where Karl Rove comes back in. Between the 2000 election and the 2004 election, Rove became the master of polarization politics. And now, with this year's ill-fated experiment in trying to govern from the middle surely over, polarization along ideological and party lines is a fact of life. Ethics classes won't ameliorate Democratic hostility to Bush. Nor will firing Rove. In fact, throwing Rove overboard--dropping the political adviser who has been with Bush during his past comebacks and greatest triumphs--will increase the sense of a White House in disarray and retreat.

"Keeping Rove; being unapologetic about the war; explaining why Saddam had to be removed, that there were terror ties between Saddam and al Qaeda, and why the war needs to be seen through to victory; fighting for Alito, and other well-qualified conservative judges at the appellate level; advancing pro-growth, pro-family tax reforms--this agenda won't enamor Bush to liberals. But it could lay the groundwork for a Bush comeback. The alternative is three long years of ducking, dodging--and defeat."

Here's where it gets interesting - could Rove be maneuvering for Kristol to replace Card as Chief of Staff? It would be a bold move, but Karl needs allies where he can get them at this critical moment.

Rove created the concept of Bush as a Governor and then as a President. However, the Bushies of K have always viewed him with suspicion. Not only has Karl been disappointing, but the other minder of Junior, Dicky C. has also let down the Kennebunkport bunch. As the President plummets, their views are in the ascendancy.

Karl - the Kennebunkports are coming after your job. What ingratude. How sad.
-- Posted at 8:25 AM | Link to this post | Email this post

Hook 'em Vince and Kinky!

The Moose muses about some exceptional Texans.

Saturday, on the Jewish sabbath, the Texas Longhorns team perpetrated a 62-0 massacre against the fighting Baptists of Baylor in the Moose's hometown of Waco. The Longhorns displayed a shock and awe offense and a stalwart defense. President Bush should immediately consider replacing Rummy with UT Coach Mack Brown.

Longhorn quarterback Vince Young once again proved that he is the premier college football player in America. Vince is a combination of Staubach and Unitas. Give that man the Heisman!

Meanwhile, Longhorn graduate and future Governor of the Lone Star State, the Honorable Kinky Friedman, continues to gain traction. He is now breathing down the neck of the Democrats, and Governor Good Hair Perry should be sweating - '06 is not going to be a good year for Republicans - even for those in Texas.

And while Texas may not yet be ready for a donkey as Governor, next year should be perfect for an outsider with an anti-establishment message. The Kinkster gives reasons for both disaffected Republicans and Democrats to vote for him. Texans may very well have a come to Jesus moment and elect a Jewish writer of fiction and a teller of truth as their Chief Executive.

Republicans will be attracted to his resolute anti-political correctness message and Democrats will like that he is willing to take on the big boys like one of his political heroes, Smilin' Ralph Yarborough ("put the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it.") Even Aggies can discern that Kinky is the man for the moment.

And Kinky is the king of free media - he has his own "reality show"! His campaign reports,

"On Thursday, November 9th, Country Music Television will run a sneak
preview of "Go Kinky," the reality show they've been producing about the
Kinkster's campaign. The show provides a glimpse of life on the campaign
trail with Kinky, following him and his “circus with a purpose” from
fundraisers and speeches to trips to the barber."

While some of you may not be regular viewers of CMT, it has reach into the voter base that Kinky needs - independent Texas cowboys. And after watching politics being performed in Washington and Austin, who among us can't identify with the message - "circus with a purpose"?

Vince, Mack and Kinky - the eyes of Texas are upon you - and soon so will be those of the world!
-- Posted at 8:07 AM | Link to this post | Email this post

Friday, November 04, 2005


The Moose contemplates a new political order that may emerge out of chaos.

This week the Politics of Mass Destruction have been released. And chaos is the Moose's friend. The White House is in complete disarray - the West Wing is resembling the Sunni Triangle. Bushie is turning on Bushie. Rove will probably go Rovian on his colleagues.

Nasty internal White House politics may make the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary look like an election of the officers of the League of Women Voters. Expect the conflict between the Bush Kennebunkport clan and the Bush Crawford clan to intensify.

The blinding brilliance of Rovian pandering to the base has sent the President's popularity down into the Jimmy Carter 30's. The corruption of the Congressional Republicans have sent their favorability down to a range that is lower than many serial killers.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are in a full throated Dean scream. The Bushies' woes are too inviting. It is only a matter of time that some lefties make the argument that the White House has manufactured the Avian flu threat to profit the drug industry. Bush rage is the primary motivating force for the donkey. Someone should tell them that Bush can't run for re-election.

Now, of course, the Vast Moose Conspiracy did not manufacture the PMD which is resulting in the Republicans imploding in ineptitude while Democrats are exploding in an Tourettes-like rage. Could the American people look for an independent alternative to this unlovely political mudfest, and a modern reincarnation of the Bull Moose emerge in 2008?

Not necessarily. However, it is quite possible that both parties will field candidates who challenge the prevailing polarizing partisan dynamic in American politics. There is more ample room for a progressive independent force to emerge in both parties.

The Rove-Hanna-plutocratic model is increasingly vulnerable in the GOP.

Jacob Weisberg writes in Slate,

"Of course, the failure of Rove's realignment doesn't mean a new progressive era is at hand. After winning the White House back in 1896, Republicans held on to it until 1912, years after McKinley had succumbed to an assassin's bullet and Hanna had died of typhoid fever. But Republicans retained the presidency on a basis that Hanna never anticipated. Theodore Roosevelt, a man Hanna feared and tried unsuccessfully to keep off the GOP ticket in 1900, was sworn in when McKinley died in 1901. Roosevelt emerged as a reformer and a trustbuster, taking on the corporate interests that had underwritten his predecessor's career. The GOP retained power, but only by reversing the pro-business direction Hanna had set.

"Like McKinley, Bush has a potential successor who would like to change his party's direction. John McCain spouts reform and idolizes Teddy Roosevelt. And oh yes-he and Karl Rove loathe each other."

In the Democratic Party, an outsider could very well emerge who promises a new type of bi-partisan politics that is not driven by rage but instead by bringing the country together around a reform and progressive message. More on that later.

Unlike Saddam's WMD, we have found the domestic PMD and it may re-arrange our politics in unexpected ways. This is going to be interesting!
-- Posted at 8:20 AM | Link to this post | Email this post

Thursday, November 03, 2005

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

The Moose raises the specter of the "I" word.

Congressional Democrats are settling on a "narrative" and a "frame" for the Iraq War. In essence, their argument is that the President and his Administration practiced massive deceit to lead the nation to war - that they manufactured and manipulated intelligence. In other words, the narrative goes, the President knew there were no weapons of mass destruction and deliberately lied to the Congress and the American people on the road to war. Or as the anti-war movement inelegantly frames it, "Bush lied and Americans died."

The logical extension of this argument is that its advocates should call for impeachment of the President. If there was ever a "high crime and misdemeanor" it is deliberate deceit to lead the country to war. Some of the outer reaches of the left have already reached this conclusion. Is this where the leaders of the party are headed? It sure seems so by the argument that they are now employing.

This author believes that the President and the Administration grievously mismanaged the war. Yesterday, he heard first-hand reports from brave Iraqi democrats who explained that Iranian agents are pouring into the country because the border between the two countries is unguarded and is porous. They are also concerned that they will abandoned by the United States to the tender mercies of the jihadists - and the latest Democratic behavior should give them reason to fear this possibility.

Of course, this Administration was negligent from the beginning in planning for the occupation. Rummy and the boys expected to leave the country soon after the toppling of Saddam and failed to prepare for an insurgency with sufficient troop levels. And we all know the horrendous stories of how our troops even lacked sufficient armor.

But, the Congressional Democrats are not pursuing the Administration's mishandling of the war and the failure to achieve victory. No, they are now headed for Michael Moore territory with the argument that a vast conspiracy concocted a war base on lies. These Democratic leaders should be aware of the path on which they have embarked.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bushies first began poisoning the well of public debate with their malicious and despicable attacks on those such as Max Cleland who opposed an anti-labor provision in the Homeland Security legislation. The GOP attack machine descended to another level in '04 by questioning John Kerry's honor and service. The descent continues with the opposition suggesting that the President deliberately, and with malice, lied to provoke a war.

This Administration should be held accountable for its grave errors and incompetence without opening a wound in our political life that will be very difficult to close.
-- Posted at 8:28 AM | Link to this post | Email this post

Compassionate Conservatism RIP

The Moose mourns the official passing of conservative compassion.

The prime reason that the Moose is not an elephant is that the GOP is theologically devoted to comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. The blessed sacrament of the high church of the Republican Party is the permanent elimination of the estate tax.

A war against terror is no deterrent to the crusade on behalf of the comfortable. The Bushies broke a historical precedent by cutting taxes during wartime so that the donors could be reimbursed. However, these erstwhile conservatives were not limited government types. They expanded the welfare state on behalf of their friends in the drug industry and passed more pork than is contained in a Jimmy Dean sausage factory.

One day, the plutocratic Republicans awoke from their slumber and discovered that they had put America even more in debt to foreigners who reside in Communist China and Saudi Arabia. They decided that "the deficit must be cut!" So, are they going after corporate welfare or rolling back the tax cuts on trust fund heirs? Of course not, they are attacking the benefits for the most vulnerable in our society.

The Washington Post reports,

"The food stamp cuts in the House measure would knock nearly 300,000 people off nutritional assistance programs, including 70,000 legal immigrants, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Those immigrants would lose their benefits because the House measure would require legal immigrants to live in the United States for seven years before becoming eligible to receive food stamps, rather than the current five years.

"About 40,000 children would lose eligibility for free or reduced-price school lunches, the CBO estimated."

Along with these cuts for legal immigrants are reductions in Medicaid and other safety net programs. And this from a Party whose President never vetoed a pork barrel spending bill.

This is the biggest scandal in Washington - the redistribution of wealth upward during wartime while slashing programs for the poor. It is a profoundly obscene budget.
-- Posted at 8:15 AM | Link to this post | Email this post

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


The Moose weighs in on the re-litigation of the war.

Yesterday's Senate action demonstrated that the Democratic minority can stage creative political theater. It is good for the Republican majority to be hornswaggled once and a while. The Democrats also forced the Republicans to move on the delayed intelligence report. And the dramatic maneuver brightened the spirits of the frustrated Democratic base.

But, alas, the Senate action raises the question - does the Democratic Party really want to re-litigate the arguments to go to war? Maybe so, but keep in mind that many Democrats voted to grant authority to the President to go to war. And most still stand by that vote.

This author argues that while the Bushies went to war with insufficient troop levels and mishandled the post war situation, it was inevitable and just that Saddam was removed. In the post-9/11 environment any American Administration would have erred on the side of vigilance concerning Saddam's threat. That may not have been wise, but it wasn't a case of lying and massive deceit.

The Moose does not have to trust George W. Bush to hold that view. He believes Tony Blair. For that matter, most of the Clinton national security team was convinced that Saddam posed a threat to American interests and security. It was hardly a vast neo-con conspiracy that brought us to war.

Will the American people have faith in and trust a party that claims that it was gullibly duped, or as George Romney claimed about another war - that it was "brainwashed."? Moreover, should the objective be re-fighting the reasons to go to war and making the Democrats the official anti-war party or should the goal be achieving reasonable success in Iraq? If you believe in the former then you would encourage more efforts like the one Senate Democrats undertook yesterday. If you believe in the latter, you want the opposition party to present a better plan for winning this war.

While the war is increasingly unpopular, the Democrats should be careful that they are positioning themselves as a party that is gullible, feckless and indecisive on national security. It may provide immense partisan satisfaction to flummox the Republicans on a procedural maneuver, but beware of the long-term impact on the party which already suffers from a perception of being weak on national security.

During the late 90's the Moose was appalled by the behavior of many of his fellow Republicans who ascribed the worst motives to President Clinton for attacking Saddam and going to war in Kosovo. Clinton drove the Republicans to lose all judgement. Although it involves different different players, the Moose is feeling deja vu all over again.
-- Posted at 8:14 AM | Link to this post | Email this post

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Karl Rove, Bush Liability

The Moose takes exception to the conventional wisdom (even his own).

The Moose has always taken the view that Rove was the indispensable man. He is critical to the direction of George W. Bush ever since he created W. as a political entity.

But, maybe the Moose is wrong (that has definitely happened before). What if Rove is a severe liability to this President? In other words, without Rove, this President might be tempted to reach out to the political center and break loose from the paradigm of polarization.

Keep in mind that Rove's great idea of social security privatization and the ownership society didn't exactly work out that well - and neither did the base pandering Schiavo episode. In short, the President is overly Rove dependent, and the fact that Karl escaped indictment is a missed opportunity for W. to venture out on his own.

The likely Rove engineered Alito nomination excites the base and probably guarantees that Bush will break the 40% mark again in popularity. But, Rovian base politics also imposes a ceiling on Bush's popularity in the upper 40's, if it reaches that high. Moreover, while Rove is comfortable fighting on values issues, Alito carries significant baggage on such economic issues as the Family and Medical Leave Act and workers rights that may alienate middle class traditionalist voters. And some suburban moderate Republican women may become squeamish over Alito's defense of husband (not "spousal") notification.

Rovian politics will result in a meager domestic legacy for this President. Besides moving the judiciary to the right, the only other domestic "achievement" will be putting America in debt to the Chinese and redistributing wealth to the wealthy - not exactly the stuff of which to achieve the realignment of the electorate.

So, the fact that Rove did not get indicted and was not forced to resign is a very bad development for this President and the Republican Party. It may now provide the Democrats the opportunity to regain control over Congress and win the White House in '08. The good news for Democrats is that Rove will still be around to steer this President toward increased political unpopularity.

But then again, maybe the Moose is wrong...
-- Posted at 8:16 AM | Link to this post | Email this post