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January 15, 2009


I watched a couple of minutes of the speech on YouTube.

Is it just me, or is Bush picking up on Reagan's body language? The raised eyebrow, the slightly tilted head nod? Maybe it's just me.

I guess it's obligatory to give some kind of farewell address, so Bush gave his. I'm not sure exactly what there is for him to say at this point.

I'm the worst president ever?
Everything I touched turned to crap?
I'm leaving the country in a utter shambles?

Goodbye, George. Goodbye and don't come back.

"democracy" is a talisman for Bush. he seems to think it's the shiniest word in the dictionary and uses it as if he thinks people will hold their breath and nod in awe at its sheer magnificence.

he uses "terrorism" much the same way: as a club to beat the listener into submission.

Nice of Chris Matthews to be saying this now. Too bad he wasn't saying this back in 2002 and 2003, when it might have actually made a difference.

Here is some of what Tweety had to say about our outgoing president back at the time of the Mission Accomplished speech:

Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?...

He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him -- I mean, he seems like -- he didn't fight in a war, but he looks like he does....

We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits. We don't want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.

It looks to me like we only stand with young democracies if they elect the right people or with dissidents in countries we don't currently like. Same as it ever was.

It looks to me like we only stand with young democracies if they elect the right people or with dissidents in countries we don't currently like. Same as it ever was.

Ding ding ding!

Actually, I'd say "freedom" is Dubya's biggest talisman. Would that he understood what the word means.

I wish I could remember the name of the elderly American diplomat who pointed out that being pro freedom means being in favor of freedom for your neighbor. Being in favor of freedom for yourself is nothing: even Saddam was all for that.

Dubya's notion of freedom seems to be that people should be free to, for example, practice their own religion. When it turns out, as happened a couple of years ago in Afghanistan, that their religion requires the death penalty for apostates, what do you do? The resolution of that particular episode was deliciously ironic: the Afghan man who had converted to Christianity was spared the death penalty on the grounds that he was innocent by reason of insanity :)


RobW and gwangung: No kidding!

There's a certain kind of victory in having Matthews say that. It's too bad that victory came seven years too late. But at least it bodes well for the future of our politics.

I forgot Bush was giving this speech. I can't say I feel I missed much.

Ben Alpers:
Tweety couldn't say it then. He admitted voting for the chump at least once(if not twice).

All the country really needed from Bush by way of a farewell addresss was someplace to send the process servers.

I think W simply mispronounces when he says 'freedom'. He clearly means 'fray (&) Doom'

Olbermann and Matthews? Really?

Take a deep breath all. Its only 4 days to Hope-n-Change…

Thanks for posting the video, publius. I had some extended thoughts on it if anyone's interested. (Also thanks to Ben Alpers for the great Matthews quotes, which are cited...)

Don't know if anyone saw this weeks cover of The Village Voice, but it had a picture of monkey boy climbing some airline steps with the text "We'll Miss You!" The article's thesis: we won't again have such a presidential oaf who provides the press with unlimited opportunities for riducule with the imbecillic things he says.

My subtitle to the headline: Like a bad case of the flu! Oh, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop on pardons.

Olbermann and Matthews? Really?

Well, I suppose they could have posted Bill Bennett's recent fellation of Dick Cheney. Would that have been better?

Also, this: "You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions."

I wish I believed in Hell, so I could believe this man would burn forever in it. He never made a tough decision, ever. He made the easy, simple, dumb decision every. Single. Time.

He never made a tough decision, ever. He made the easy, simple, dumb decision every. Single. Time.

I think he was talking about the decision to buy a pig farm out in the middle of nowhere and call it his "ranch" and use it as a PR prop.

I bet he hated it there.

I could fisk the entire thing, but this bit stood out most last night:

I've often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two of them there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense — and to advance the cause of peace. [emphasis mine]

Is it just me, or is this "ends justifies the means" in flashing neon? That he thinks anything is justified in the cause of "good" has been clear for a long time -- the "if the US does it, it can't be evil" outlook. This just puts an exclamation point on it. Grr.

GWB has got to be the most conceited, egocentric jerk that I've experienced in my life.

Indeed we are most excellent! And bodacious too.

Publius! I bow before you! Thank you for linking my humble donkey blog!

you blog about humble donkeys?

Neoconservatives and the Dilemmas of Strategy and Ideology, 1992-2006

In all the discussions of neoconservative foreign policy that have taken place over the past couple of years --- some more informed than others, some more disapproving that others --- there is one abiding perception that seems to unite critics and proponents alike: that a neoconservative foreign policy is distinct from other strands of conservatism because of its emphasis on democracy promotion and that, in fact, exporting democracy for strategic and moral reasons --- and through hard power if necessary --- is one of the central defining purposes of contemporary second generation neoconservatism.

This paper will challenge the dominant view that neoconservatism prioritises democracy promotion. It will examine the nature of the neoconservative foreign policy strategy articulated during the 1990s --- which, it is argued, has been widely misinterpreted --- and will discuss the strategic and ideological tensions inherent within the strategy. Though the George W. Bush administration has not followed a neoconservative strategy in every respect, his administration has been strongly influenced by it and so some of these strategic and ideological tensions have also emerged since 9/11. It is my belief that the central cause of this tension is that the most important priority of the neoconservative strategy has always been to preserve the post-cold war ‘unipolar moment’ by perpetuating American pre-eminence and this clashes with the purported emphasis on democratization. The strategy also risks imperial overstretch and, for the most part, it fails to consider matters that are not state-based economic or state-based military issues.

Neoconservatives and the Dilemmas of Strategy and Ideology, 1992-2006 [pdf]

ugh ftw!

Poetic justice: Bush's farewell address was overshadowed by the "Miracle on the Hudson" and a real American hero -- Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, who can wear his flight jacket proudly.

Idiot Bush did not even work it into his speech -- bet your ass Reagan would have.

Everything about Bush and Cheney's farewell tour has been so canned and so stupid that instead of rewriting history they have made us relive it, thus solidfying their place as leaders of the worst presidential administration in modern history.

P.S. Ben, those Matthews quotes were astonishing -- "The women like this war"? -- even for Matthews. I don't watch Chris Matthews as much as I used to, but I still watch -- he's dependable: He'll either make an ass of himself or his guest.

via B.J., a real WTFer of a Bush rememberance: Andrew Roberts writes:

    With his characteristic openness and at times almost self-defeating honesty, Mr Bush has been the first to acknowledge his mistakes – for example, tardiness over Hurricane Katrina – but there are some he made not because he was a ranting Right-winger, but because he was too keen to win bipartisan support. The invasion of Iraq should probably have taken place months earlier, but was held up by the attempt to find support from UN security council members, such as Jacques Chirac's France, that had ties to Iraq and hostility towards the Anglo-Americans.


    When Abu Ghraib is mentioned, history will remind us that it was the Bush Administration that imprisoned those responsible for the horrors. When water-boarding is brought up, we will see that it was only used on three suspects, one of whom was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda's chief of operational planning, who divulged vast amounts of information that saved hundreds of innocent lives. When extraordinary renditions are queried, historians will ask how else the world's most dangerous terrorists should have been transported. On scheduled flights?
    The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people, will initially be blamed on Bush, but the perspective of time will show that the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started with the deregulation of the Clinton era. Instead Bush's very un-ideological but vast rescue package of $700 billion (£480 billion) might well be seen as lessening the impact of the squeeze, and putting America in position to be the first country out of recession, helped along by his huge tax-cut packages since 2000.

Bush is truly a man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius.

in fact, exporting democracy ... through hard power if necessary

OK, I think I see the problem.

The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people

Next person I hear say this in person gets a punch in the nose.

Thanks -

Next person I hear say this in person gets a punch in the nose.

My impulse is to hand them a calculator and say, "Really? Why don't YOU add things up?"

The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people

Next person I hear say this in person gets a punch in the nose.

I was thinking more along the lines of having their eyelids surgically wired in the open position Clockwork-Orange style and then being forced to read every word every written on the subject of mortgage origination, starting with Tanta's epic commentary at CalculatedRisk and then heading steeply downhill from there in terms of the entertainment and excitement quotient of the writing in question, all the way down to city and county zoning ordinances and tax code.

But your punch-in-the-nose method sounds much more humane.

The temptation to credit Bush with a delusion (an imaginary world in his head) is too kind.

Delusional people think that the world of their delusion is a real one. They don't bullshit about their delusional world, or acknowledge that they are in on the joke.

TLTIABQ:and then heading steeply downhill from there in terms of the entertainment and excitement quotient of the writing in question, all the way down to [the] tax code.

Hey! The Tax Code is a source of excellent prose that can only be described as a combination of Milton and Hemingway, with Mark Twain's wit. Take, for example, this passage with the inspiring title of "Example (2)":

Initial short year with four required installments. Corporation B began business on January 9, 2009, and adopted a calendar year as its taxable year. B computes its required installments based on 100 percent of the tax shown on the return for the taxable year in accordance with section 6655(d)(1)(B)(i). Pursuant to §1.6655-1(f)(2)(i), the due dates of B's required installments for B's initial taxable year from January 9, 2009, through December 31, 2009, are April 15, 2009, June 15, 2009, September 15, 2009, and December 15, 2009. Pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the amount due with each required installment is 25% of the required annual payment for B's first required installment, 50% of the required annual payment for B's second required installment, 75% of the required annual payment for B's third required installment, and 100% of the required annual payment for B's fourth required installment.

Your welcome.


Personally I would have chosen to label that passage "Proustian" rather than invoking Anglo-American writers, but YMMV.


Reimbursable at 58.5 cents/mile.

section 6655(d)(1)(B)(i)...

ah, such memories. we had that as a reading at our wedding.

Ugh @ 1:09 -- you left out a rimshot sound effect.

Rimshot sound effects were taxed out of existence under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

I've always been fond of 501(c)3.

In the case of any required installment determined under section 6655(e) in which the taxpayer does not reasonably expect that the taxable year will not be an early determination year, the applicable percentage under section 6655(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the applicable percentage provided by paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section with the remaining balance of the estimated tax payment for the year due with the final installment.

That's page 67,207. See page 20,601 for regulations not amended to reflect law changes.

Gee thanks, slarti.

I never would have known that was how it worked.

For some reason the youtube link isn't appearing on my browser, firefox. Anyone else have a similar problem?

If you mean the Matthews video, it is not youtube.

What Bush brought to the neo-conservative ideology was what Bernie Madoff and Bush (a two-for for the latter) brought to finance capitalism:

The Smirk.

A fairly small coterie of monogrammed-cuffed smirkers have brought the economy and our foreign policy to their respective knees.

A person's heart (he said in passive voice) begins to freeze over and become gnarled and bitter over these matters.

I read a review in the New Yorker of a book about the Ludlow coal massacre and the smirking perpetrators in Colorado and in Rockefeller palaces back East (in another time when the smirkers got the best of us) and one (there goes that passive voice again) gets just a little glimpse of how Pol Pot and Osama Bin Laden went down the wrong road and flew the wrong airline, moldering away in jungle and cave.

If we (not you, not me) could only harness this sort of retribution for the smirkers in a sort of preventative surgical strike from time to time to keep the smirkers and their colossal damage in line .....

.... but, alas, we are civilized people who permit smirking (and even vote for it if it's marketed properly) and the accompanying screwing, but look askance at the ultimate bitterness as bad form ....

... for those who smirk that's the beauty of our system.

... they get to live in the City on the Hill. Most everyone else hauls water and expensive but delectable canapes up the hill in exchange for a little trickle down smirking.

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