Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The A B C’s of Panic at the White House

When the president is so weak that his only remaining weapon is the veto, the first whisperings of panic can be heard in the corridors of the west wing. The corridors are emptying out, except for Gonzales and Rove.

Bushgrimace When the president is so weak that his only remaining weapon is the veto, the first whisperings of panic can be heard in the corridors of the west wing. The corridors are emptying out, except for Gonzales and Rove.
With near-record deaths in Iraq last month and an early trend this month to top that number, the tremble ushered Dan Bartlett toward an exit before the roof fell and Dan was one of those expected to go down with the ship. Bartlett’s spent his entire career at the side of the president.
So, what’s a harried president to do when no one believes, Dan leaves, Alberto deceives? Who is there to share the blame when Rummy, Feith, Perle, Libby, Gerson, Wolfowitz, Powell, Veneman, Paige and Abraham have hit the bricks and there’s no one to make up a quorum but Cheney, Gonzales and the Prez himself? Time for a new playbook by the Rovemeister.
Shazzam! Thy will be done.
Bushbartlett A is for climAte. Bush will take his vowels where he finds them and if the A is five letters down in the word, so what? Getting out from in front of the juggernaut called climate change, that threatens to run him down at the G-8 in Germany, Bush calls for ‘talks’ on warming. Crimey, the rest of the world has already done all that, George. You weren't paying attention. There’s precious little talking left to be done before our feet get wet.
"In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it," Bush said. "The United States takes this issue seriously. The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany next week."
Um, you going to serve that with whipped cream and strawberries, George?
National Environmental Trust president Philip Clapp said, ''This is a transparent effort to divert attention from the president's refusal to accept any emissions reductions proposals at next week's G-8 summit. After sitting out talks on global warming for years, the Bush administration doesn't have very much credibility with other governments on the issue. '' (Associated Press)
Well, of course it is, Phil. It’s a diversionary tactic from a divisionary White House.
Aidsafrica B is for Billion, the $30 billion or so George is touting for AIDS in Africa while he shortchanges NASA the $6.5 billion it needs to extend and maintain the monitoring of global warming from various satellites (that's about 20 days of the Iraq war budget). The United States takes this issue (warming) seriously, but only in the headlines, not in the bread lines.
AIDS in Africa has been at the top of the list of White House under-funded and over-discussed initiatives. The Bush base doesn’t have a high opinion of folks who contract AIDS, so the prez has pulled most of the remaining teeth from this nearly toothless program. No needles for needle-sharing, no condoms, no real information other than to stop having sex. Not a big winner platform.
“Once again, the generosity of the American people is one of the great untold stories of our time,” he said. “Our citizens are offering comfort to millions who suffer, and restoring hope to those who feel forsaken.”
Danbartlett Comfort and hope, but still no needles or condoms. Dan Bartlett, counselor to Mr. Bush, said the president intended to address climate change in a speech on Thursday at the United States Agency for International Development. It’s unclear if that statement was made before or after Dan opted to spend more time with his family.
According to the NYTimes, the White House said that in addition to providing treatment for 2.5 million, the new money would prevent 12 million new infections and provide care for more than 12 million people.
Mr. Bartlett said the president was convinced America’s image in the world would improve because of it. Which is what this is really all about.
“I’ve heard him talk about this is a part of America that gets overlooked,” he said, “and that over time, people will look back and say, ‘At a point in time where America may have been under scrutiny for other reasons, look at the significant contribution they have made. They saved more lives than anybody could have imagined.’ ” (NYTimes)
On Tuesday, Mr. Bush announced he was imposing stiff economic sanctions on Sudan to press its government into cooperating with a United Nations peacekeeping force that is trying to end the violence in Darfur.
On Wednesday, in addition to the AIDS announcement, Mr. Bush named Robert B. Zoellick, his former trade representative, as his candidate to head the World Bank, calling the nominee “a committed internationalist” who “wants to help struggling nations defeat poverty.”
In Thursday’s speech, Mr. Bush also intends to talk about education programs in the developing world, and his initiative to combat malaria.
My god, the man is a veritable dervish of activity. The G-8 meeting must really have him spooked.
C is for Zoellick and if you think that makes no sense, George doesn’t either. He was perfectly happy with Paul Wolfowitz over at the World Bank until Paul self-destructed in much the same way as the even less talented Roberto Gonzales. Wolfy's underlings staged a revolt. Arrogance and incompetence, those twin pillars of the Bush administration, had their way and the price has been paid.
Paulwolfowitz For Wolfowitz, the price was the international embarrassment of watching him beg, plead and grovel for his job. The further price was worldwide evidence of just how thin the Bush appointment actually was—a mile wide and an inch deep. Suffice it to say that Gonzales has even less shame that Wolfy. Paul was crafty, haughty and a poor administrator in a job that is mostly administration. Gonzales is the definition of an empty suit, too embarrassing for anyone but Bush to tolerate.
Robertzoellick_2 Halfway across the world, Bob Zoellick is  now in the process of the ‘European tour’ that was popular among debutantes of the 1930’s. Like driftwood in a hurricane, Paul's likely to be well received and the Europeans much relieved.
On the way to his G-8 discomfort, the president is stopping off in Prague to shake a few hands and try to put his Star Wars radar program on track. 70% of Czechs are energetically opposed to the use of their country as a surrogate for American military incursion in Europe.
Lessons A, B and C in Karl Rove's book of slippery governance are to change the topic when it's impossible to change the subject.
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