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December 29, 2003


One can argue that the President is not all powerful, at home or abroad, but this White House has shown just how focused the executive branch of government can be and how it can push its polices through the House and Senate. And the President does have genuine and real input: it is unlikely that the invasion of Iraq, the wholesale scrapping of the Kyoto treaty and the tax cuts that have rewarded the wealthy and left America with an unprecedented deficit would have happened if Al Gore had won the last presidential election, for which he obtained more votes. Howard Dean, the man most likely to take on Mr Bush, has tapped into the anger that many Americans feel about the President, but Mr Bush's approval rating has risen to about 60 per cent following the capture of Saddam. "Smeared" as a liberal by the Republicans, Mr Dean is actually a fiscal conservative and a social centrist. But, more importantly, Mr Dean is someone who has realised that Bush and the neo-conservatives have taken America to extremes, to a place outside the margins of consensus where, to paraphrase Mr Bush's own words, someone is either "with us, or against us". He is someone who realises just how important November's election is.


George W. Bush and his top advisers learned little from the Vietnam debacle of the 60s, since most avoided service in the war. But many top Bush aides played key roles in the repression of leftist peasant uprisings in Central America in the 80s, a set of lessons the Bush administration is now trying to apply to the violent resistance in Iraq.

The key counterinsurgency lesson from Central America was that the U.S. government can defeat guerrilla movements if it is willing to back a local power structure, no matter how repulsive, and if Washington is ready to tolerate gross human rights abuses.

Some of us have gone 'round the bend.

When Robert Dreyfuss of the American Prospect asked an unspecified Bush neocon "strategist" how best to deal with the resistance in Iraq, the response he received was chilling, "It's time for 'no more Mr. Nice Guy.' All those people shouting, 'Down with America!' and dancing in the street when Americans are attacked? We have to kill them."

And here's a little condescending arrogance to round out today's picture of the USofA.

Via Tom Paine, take a look at Bush's Christmas present for Ashcroft. (I can't get the link to the actual text of the law to work and don't have time to fight with it at the moment. If I find a working link later, I'll let you know.)

Obsidian Wings has the right 'spin' on a different subject.

Avedon Carol says that "regime change" isn't appropriate for the DLC and that what we need to do is make sure everyone knows they're idiots (okay, I added a little editorial spin to that) but that's wrong. If we want to take back the Democratic Party, then we need to oust the current inhabitants of the "Leadership" council and install people with voices that reflect actual, you know, Democratic Party beliefs. Either that, or find a way to isolate the "council" itself and to remove it from any position where it can influence what the Democratic Party does, but I don't actually see anything wrong with a "leadership" group that's actually dedicated to "leading" Democrats and not to flimflamming them.

I went to look at this and after I picked myself up and put myself back in my chair, I decided not to look at it any more because I get dizzy really easily. But I am saving the link to use, as suggested, as an identifier for relentless spin in the future.

For what it's worth, I like Cliopatria's new look. I spend a fair amount of time on the HNN site as a whole and anything that improves the readability of any of it is a plus.

Which reminds me that I need to add HNN to the list of sites I should make a donation to in January. I've been trying to send a little support to some of the sites I find most useful or most interesting, but to be honest, it's getting expensive. I read too many sites, I guess.

I got a dolly for Christmas.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:08 AM


No, no, you don't understand. They're not the Democratic leadership, they are just some guys who got together and call themselves "The Democratic Leadership Council." They don't exist as some sort of official top tier of the party. They just think they are the brains of the outfit. We just have to make sure everyone knows they are not.

Posted by: Avedon at December 31, 2003 09:38 PM

Well, who in the heck are they, then?

Is this a Fifth Column of Republicans working to undermine the party from the inside or just a group of egotistical politicos who didn't get invited to the real party?

Posted by: Anne at January 1, 2004 09:15 PM