It was only last week that the beloved GOP talking point "up or down vote" was officially declared dead. Its demise was little noticed in the aftermath of the Senate Republicans' successful all-night filibuster to block the Reed-Levin bill seeking to begin U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq. "Up or down vote" was killed by a desperate Republican Party trying to obstruct Democratic accomplishments at any cost in advance of the 2008 elections. And so far, the GOP seems to be getting away with the crime.
In an elaborate ceremony carried live on all the cable news networks, President Bush and Vice President Cheney feted the disgraced Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with glowing words, military pomp and even a 19 gun salute. "This man knows how to lead and he did," Bush declared, "and the country is better off for it."
Rumsfeld, it seems, will not be held to the GOP's "Les Aspin Standard." That is, decisions that needlessly cost American lives in battle cost defense secretaries their jobs, but apparently only if Bill Clinton is president.
"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you...I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
...President Bush, March 13, 2004.
"Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations. Of course we're worried about Osama bin Laden."
October 13, 2004.
Voters across the nation dealt a major defeat to the radical anti-government movement. In Colorado, California and Washington, the people rejected the starvation tax policies of the Norquistas and reaffirmed their shared commitment to investment in essential public services. Looking ahead to 2006, this augurs well for good government Democrats and represents a stern warning to President Bush and the Congressional GOP.
The nomination of Harriet Miers as the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has united liberals and conservatives in ways few thought possible. Democrats fear she is a stealth arch-conservative. But it is Republicans fellow-travelers like Michelle Malkin, Bill Kristol and David Frum who seem most horrified. They are simply astounded that Bush confirmed Americans' worst fears that he values cronyism over qualification.
Bush's prime-time "Katrina Comeback" address was designed to help him, and not the Gulf States, recover from his administration's disastrous bungling of the Katrina response. He turned to the same old page in his political playbook: offer to shower money on the devastated South, but hold no one accountable for the past and shun independent oversight of the rebuilding. Truest to form, the Free Lunch President refused to ask the American people to pay for it.