Everything I Need To Know About The Bush Presidency...
I rarely quote David Broder, the icon of "Beltway High School Student Government" establishment journalism, but a single sentence captured what I believe is the fundamental truth about the Bush presidency:
"President Bush's highly developed tolerance for egregious incompetence in his administration may have met its supreme test in Attorney General Gonzales..."
Broder's column is actually about how dumb Harry Reid is (Broder's right about that, too), but I think it's fair to say that, whatever happens between now and 2009, the story of the Bushies has been written: Incompetent.
Just as Clinton was defined long before his presidency ended by his sleaze and laughable rejection of the obvious truth, Bush has forever earned the reputation as a leader who never met an incompetent he couldn't like.
I don't think this is the same thing as being stupid. Stupid is doing dumb things. Bush's ideas, including regime change in Iraq, are all reasonable (it's possible for an action to be reasonable and wrong at the same time). What's been lousy is the execution.
Here's the Bush management style:
A--"Hey, I've got an idea! Let's buy an ad on the Super Bowl. It's going to cost a ton of dough and risk our ability to make a profit for an entire year, but if it's a great ad, it could revolutionize our business and make us money for a long time."
B--Hire a buddy from college to produce the ad. He comes in way over budget and the ad bombs.
C--Deny the ad sucked, give your buddy a promotion and blame business reporters for the lousy reviews.