Thursday, January 20, 2005

DIAL "Z" FOR REALITY. Zbigniew Brzezinski absolutely ate Walter Russell Mead's lunch on The NewsHour tonight. Of course, Mead was at quite a disadvantage: it's not easy being an idealist when you're the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Mead's biggest problem, though, was that he really didn't have a coherent answer for Brzezinski's critique of Bush's "I Am the World" speech.

"If it was to be taken literally," Brzezinski said, "it would mean an American crusade throughout the entire world." Mead responded by saying that Bush may very well mean what he says (a view that Media Log shares, with considerably less happiness about that prospect than Mead evinced). Mead pointed to remarks by Cheney today that suggest the White House is already gearing up for its next foreign military adventure - this time in Iran, possibly using Israel as a proxy. Brzezinski replied that such an action would be "destabilizing." To say the least.

Brzezinski characterized Bush's speech as a repackaging of his old ideas in new containers. Instead of "fear," Bush is now talking about "freedom." Instead of "terrorism," it's now "tyranny." But when he pronounced Bush's goals as "vacuous," Mead differed.

That led to an exchange over China. What, Brzezinski wanted to know, could Bush possibly do about China and its horrendous human-rights record?

Mead started to say something about how the Bush administration could encourage China's dissidents. Brzezinski, obviously disdainful, cut him off. "We need to deal with the North Korean bomb. We need China for that," he said. End of discussion.

So thoroughly defeated was Mead that, as Margaret Warner tried to close the segment, he got in a shot about Brzezinski's days as Jimmy Carter's national-security adviser, and the criticism that Carter's concern for human rights was sometimes said to be more intense in places like, say, Argentina than in the Soviet Union. Brzezinski responded that the Carter administration managed to do both. And there it ended.

BUSH BY THE NUMBERS. Brian Williams tried out his best perturbed look tonight in noting that House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi today vowed to continue fighting Bush's "extremist" agenda. The wingnuts don't flood you with as many e-mails if you signal them that you think the Dems are looney-tunes.

But then Williams had to contend with a tough Bush critique from an unexpected source - NBC Washington-bureau chief Tim Russert, who wondered how Bush would apply his aggressive doctrine to Iran, North Korea, or Cuba. How indeed?

Russert, though, was just warming up. It turned out he had some new poll numbers with some very bad news for our only president. For instance:

- Bush's approval/disapproval rating is 50 percent/44 percent, the worst of any just-re-elected president since Richard Nixon.

- Only 40 percent of respondents say that removing Saddam Hussein was worth it; 52 percent say it wasn't worth it. Among independents, Russert reported, 56 percent say it wasn't worth it.

- Was Bush's victory a mandate to change Society Security? Thirty-three percent say yes; 56 percent say no.

- Just 33 percent say that congressional Democrats should act in a "bipartisan" manner; 57 percent say they should "provide balance" - as in, fight like Nancy Pelosi.

Russert: "The president has to be very, very careful not to overplay his mandate."

So how did Bush ever get re-elected, anyway?


Anonymous said...

I'm getting to dislike NBC more than Fox,I think a switch to ABC is in order. Speaking of Fox since I never listen, does anyone know what Judy Bachrach said there,to get the natives restless over at VF:

Anonymous said...

The VAnity Fair thing with Fox, a transcript:


Anonymous said...

So how did Bush ever get re-elected, anyway? You’re asking why the theme for the elections turned out to be "Democrats No More In '04?"

(1) Democrats have to learn to accept the fact that people vote Republican because the Republicans are giving them something the Democrats are not. "A Clear Vision." Without a clear alternative, inspiring vision, you are always doomed from the start and will finish last and/or lose senate and house elections.

When you don't have a message or a messenger to reach your voters (that might actually vote for you), and the other side does reach their voters you lose. Proverbs says, "Without a vision, the people perish." And without a vision, Democrats had zilch to offer the American people as a viable replacement and alternative to the vision offered to the voters who pulled the leaver for the Bush administration.

The nation is not going to allow a visionless pilot steer at the helm. It's just like the airlines – I'm sure that they are ADA compliant, however they are not about to offer folks that are sightless a seat that faces the controls in their jetliner's cockpits.

(2) While there were many "scandals" and they may have had something directly to do with Bush, the dems could not pin one thing on him that questioned his character enough to make the voters think twice.

The Dems had Dan Rather and Kerry has the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Had the focus of this election campaign been on an appalling economy, corporate scuttlebutts, and economic insecurity and anxiety, instead of war with Iraq and the threat of terrorism, the Republicans might have been in real trouble.

The Democrats' lack of a clear alternative to the administration's economic program, or its conduct of the war on terrorism, is the core reason why the Republicans recaptured the Senate, increased their strength in the House, and solidified the popularity of a president who barely prevailed in the controversial election of 2000.

(3) Not only did Bush get re-elected, the House & Senate won the majority the first president to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 to be re-elected while gaining seats in both the House and the Senate. And then, just to add insult to injury, there was Florida. Not only did Dubya's brother win the gubernatorial election in Florida--the one he was supposed to lose--the race wasn't even close. Jeb Bush became the first Republican governor of Florida to be elected to a second term since Reconstruction.

(4) Most Democrats (and especially the majority of the Democrats who lost in this election) actually 'originally' supported and voted for both President Bush's war policy in Iraq as well as his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Then they looked like idiots when they appeared (to the public) to have changed their minds; i.e. [paraphrasing] "I voted for it, but I didn't support it!

The - I'm the "Vote for Me - Changed My Mind… Again!' candidate" rarely inspires voters, even if they hate the incumbents - they just don't vote at all!

Many people who wanted to vote against war or for economic fairness (or whatever) didn’t really know who to vote for in most races, or just didn’t turn out on Election Day. In key states, the long-established Democratic base was neither energized nor mobilized. The Bush administration's message was that military might is the only real response to terrorism.

What was Kerry's message -- "I'd tell you what it is but I'm probably still checking with his numerous consultants -- Don’t worry, I'll get back to you."

(5) The term "Democratic Leadership" has become an oxymoron. Democratic leadership is dead [or at least mummified, in my view.

Tom DeLay(ter) Alligators.