Friday, December 01, 2006

It's That Other President's Fault....

In response to my previous post, Rich Lowry notes that I selectively quoted him (and Jonah, apparently done polishing up on Burke, chimes in with a bit of Corner-variety cheap burlesque here). In quoting only part of one of Lowry's pre-election columns, I was actually trying to give him the benefit of the doubt for being inconsistent instead of ridiculous. That doubt is now gone. Lowry seems to believe there's a consequential difference between the president as a man and a theoretical faceless executive who does things like run wars. He gushes that Bush the man is just brimming with "strength" and "resolve" and "energy" and "confidence" (the first two adjectives he reiterates by reference in his response to me) but laments Bush's torpor when it comes time to do something one might reasonably consider part of a president's basic job description: showing leadership during wartime. Lowry asserts vaguely that Bush the executive-in-chief is constrained in some way by the realities of the "executive branch" (or the "environment" as he argues here). It appears this is the corollary to the rapidly spreading, Dolchstoss-rooted meme (Kurtz here, Kondracke here among others recently) that Iraq is the public's fault.

If Lowry's Theory of Presidential Duality were true, we might not find ourselves in this current mess; unshackled, Bush would be free to apply his wonderful personal qualities to wartime leadership, while his alter ego -- a passive, "lassitude"-laden executive -- would sulk and curse the bureaucracy.

Alas, this sort of whimsy is best suited for that transporter-malfunction/split-Kirk episode of Star Trek (right, Jonah?) -- or the pages of National Review, as the case may be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that Lowry reads your blog? He's still thick as a brick, so he obviously hasn't learned anything.

12/01/2006 12:10 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

"We're Winning" by Richard Lowry

12/01/2006 2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12/01/2006 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowry's another right-winger who got his gig via parental connections, correct?
-- sglover

12/01/2006 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowry's another right-winger who got his gig via parental connections, correct?
-- sglover

12/01/2006 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush was recently quoted as saying that "Americans have lost the will to fight"

He got it wrong.

"Bush has lost the ability to lead us in a fight"

And Rich Lowery is a scag!

12/01/2006 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Awake! said...

Some years ago I recall reading an article, which unfortunately I can not locate, that attempted some conjecture regarding George W. Bush's appeal to certain kinds of men: Working class men mistake his bonhomie for good-old-boy robustness; middle-class men may believe they detect the energy of leadership w/o regard for evidence that Bush has neither accomplished much nor done much on his own but; men closer to Bush in social class or personality recognize the signature of the upper-classman bully in prep school who watched grinning as his henchmen molested or buggered an under-classman and know full well which side of the fence they prefer when the bully's attention wanders.

When men like Lowry reconcile all the evidence before them then they will either turn away in disgust or they will at least know where the fence is and perhaps we will see less strenuous apologia then.

12/01/2006 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Six years into a turbulent presidency, Bush is determinedly un-crushed.
There's a big difference between "un-crushed" and "oblivious". I don't think Bush really understands just how badly he's screwed the pooch in Iraq, in Afghanistan, after Katrina, etc. sounds as if Bush’s Iraq policy is on a mindless auto-pilot.
It sounds that way because it has been that way. It's been faith-based policy. He believed in the original premise and "strategy", and stuck to it. That lack of will to change anything "signals a stubborn unwillingness to adjust". If you disagree, please list a handful of major adjustments made by the Bush administration in the past 3 years. And I'm not holding my breath that he does anything more than talk a lot about how flexible he's willing to be in the future.

This is why the phrase “stay the course” has flipped in its political significance.
Flipped? No, we just remember how it was originally used in context. Heck, we've seen replays of multiple videos. Karl Rove is the one who attempted to flip it, but it didn't work.

It would be perverse for Bush to take the political hit from being associated with “staying the course” this November, when that isn’t what he intends to do after the election.
Did you hear his latest Iraq speech? No goals for the Iraqi gov't to meet, no withdrawal timetable, and no consideration of partitioning by region. I'll be interested in seeing what's left to consider.

He might be the “decider,” but his deciding hasn’t reached down far enough to see that his strategic decisions are effectively implemented.
His "strategic decisions"? By all means, Mr. Lowry, name a few. I'd love to hear what strategic decisions were made by George "Deer in the Headlights" Bush that those farther down failed to implement.

I'll take Lowry seriously when he writes that GW has been a worse President than Carter.

12/01/2006 1:28 PM  
Anonymous MattF said...

It's called cognitive dissonance. Reality doesn't match the model, therefore...?

A sociologist would remind us now that part of Lowry's quandary is that he needs to maintain his status in a specific social milieu (a.k.a., the NRO Corner). A dilemma.

12/01/2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Ooh. This is fun. How many President Bush's can I choose from? Did a different Bush handle Katrina? Medicare? North Korea?

Must have been that bad, bad Bush that Lowry reserves some mild criticisms for in between his serial hagiographies.

How utterly ridiculous.

The National Review is a National Embarrassment.


12/01/2006 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's called a reality-free zone over there: burlesque is the right word.

12/01/2006 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

**Snicker**!! I'm glad to see you throwing us a tad bit of humor ("Theory of Presidential Duality" and the gratuitous Star Trek reference) after the Poor Man called you out. Keep it up! Your dry wit has been a little bit lacking lately (quite understandable, given how depressing the U.S. situation is) but your wit forms the "cunning" part of your apellation. It's an effective weapon in any pundit's arsenal, don't give it up.

12/01/2006 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More to the point, the "Theory of Presidential Duality" would mean that impeaching Bill Clinton over Monica was improper.

It was Clinton the Man, rather than Clinton the Executive, who had extramarital relations, and accordingly, did not commit an impeachable offense in that regard.

To borrow from Belle Warring, in the "Theory of Presidential Duality" you get two presidents...and a pony.

12/03/2006 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

No, Clinton was impeached because he lied to a federal grand jury. Yes, Ken Starr went on an all-expenses-paid fishing expedition, but Clinton was primarily impeached for being attempting to weasel out of unsavory facts about him.

Granted, everyone should be entitled to a personal life, but if you were the president of the US shouldn't you at least use a modicum of discretion?

12/04/2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Dunno, steve. How many times have your intimates been secretly recorded while confiding to a neoCon mole who's passing the tape to an actively seated Independent Counsel who wanted to retire to the Presidency of Pepperdine but was collared back in on ongoing attempt to unseat a popular President?

That said, Clinton ought to have fessed up.


What would the current President do under similar circumstances? Start another war?

12/07/2006 4:59 AM  
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