Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory."

-- John McCain, via his overworked Twitter feed

Yes, he deserves credit the same way BP deserves credit for essentially being forced to clean up the mess it made. If it hadn't fucked things up so royally in the first place, there would be no need for the effort put into making things right. You don't get to claim victory when the colossal screw-up you created finally limps into history. Backward logic at its finest.

On the plus side, at least McCain didn't figure out a way to turn this into an opportunity to flirt with Snooki.

You know something, now that I think about it: taking credit for something you're supposed to have done -- where have I heard that before?

"The President Is Near" (Originally Published, 1.16.09)

A disclaimer: What I'm about to say will probably offend the hell out of some of you. It only makes sense given that the source material I'm drawing from was considered so offensive by so many. I guess you'll have to let me know whether I get right up to the precipice without going over on this one -- or if I've finally just thrown myself off the cliff.

One of Chris Rock's most infamous bits postulates that there's a distinct difference between "black people" and "niggers." According to Rock, one of the qualities that makes the latter stand out as such an embarrassment to the former is that "niggers" will often loudly take credit and ask for affirmation for something mundane that they were supposed to do anyway -- they'll, for example, boast about taking care of their kids when any normal, well-adjusted adult, black or white, would understand that such a responsibility is a given and therefore not worthy of a pat on the back.

I don't think I need to elaborate on why this was the first thing that came to mind as I watched last night's "Farewell Address" from President Bush. We've become used to seeing Bush delusionally deny his mistakes and outright failures, and God knows we've seen him drag ass when he should've been on the ball. But last night, as Bush proudly proclaimed that whether or not you agreed with his decisions you have to admit that he did, in fact, make some decisions, it hit me like a sledgehammer the number of times over the past eight years that he's expected credit and acclaim for doing the bare minimum his job requires. The sheer volume of instances in which he tried to pass off the merely mediocre as something spectacular.

When you think about it, it's maddeningly ironic that someone who really has done so little while in office -- who's made almost no serious effort and typically tries to get away with working as few hours as he can -- managed to screw up the country as monumentally as he did. Bush is regularly in bed before 10pm, regardless of what might be on his agenda or could be in need of his attention; he's taken more vacation time than just about any president in recent memory; he's intellectually incurious in ways that would embarrass a 6th grader. And yet, he touts all of this -- this 9-to-5 ethos -- as proof that he's doing what needs to be done, as if working on a Saturday and skipping a lunch or two qualifies as going above and beyond the call of duty.

If you believe Chris Rock's definition of the word, then Barack Obama cleaning up the messes left behind by George W. Bush is just another example of a strong, intelligent African-American having to undo the damage done by -- well, you get the picture.

Obama may be the first black president of the United States, but I think it's pretty clear what Bush was.

(Update: Looking back on this quickie piece, no one should assume that I don't have issues with a few of the things that Barack Obama has and hasn't done since taking office. But make no mistake: the man still towers head and shoulders above Bush.)


Deborah said...

I'm a registered Democrat who no longer CARES about party affiliation. I'll vote for whomever I think is the best person for the job - whatever that job may be. I voted for Obama. And, I'm with you...he hasn't lived up to the hype. Who could? And I also believe this FIRMLY, esp. where matters of war are concerned: When you are NOT in a need-to-know position - and that includes, I assume, presidential CANDIDATES - I think it's easy to say, well, what he said. Once elected, the game changed. He was suddenly privy to inside information that could very well have changed his mind. Now, in no way is this situation exclusive to Obama. I've LONG said that anyone running for president should consider this fact. I doubt that any of them would, though. But in the case of Obama - and, indeed, in the cases of his predecessors - I've allowed for this. All day long, ANY president knows far more than the general public, and must act accordingly. But I think withdrawing troops from Iraq, and committing more to Afghanistan (something that I believe Obama said should be done VERY EARLY in the campaign process)is the right thing to do. Again, Obama's promise of transparency was perhaps a little hubris and naivete, something not exclusive to him. Where I feel badly for - and about - Obama is that I don't believe I've EVER seen, heard of, anything, such a polarizing person. And inadvertently so! I will say this, though: For the first time in many, many years, I am proud of who is the president of my country. And I think that he looks - for lack of a better word - presidential overseas, as well.

Eric said...

At the risk of Godwinizing the thread, how can I not suggest that we also acknowledge the credit Hitler deserves for the Allied victory in World War II?

Dear Republican pundits and politicians: please stop. Just. Stop. Every single time I think one of you has just said the stupidest possible thing anybody could ever say about anything--that you have nowhere to go but up from Michael Steele's latest press conference, Newt Gingrich's most-recent op-ed, Sarah Palin's freshest tweet--one of you proves the bottom is actually several floors beneath the sewage-filled basement that someone just descended to. (How is this even possible? Shouldn't some of these lower levels be completely flooded? Are your people using some kind of sophisticated diving equipment? Couldn't you have leased it to BP when they were trying to cap the Gulf gusher?)

The good news is that my head is no longer exploding. The bad news is that there's nothing left to blow up. I think there's probably a piece of my skull in the middle of the road back there, it's very distressing. I no longer facepalm, I no longer beat my head against a wall. I realize it is possible that this was a very clever strategy on the part of some conservatives to cow me into submission by being so ridiculously, inanely crazy and idiotic that I would eventually shut down like an overheated computer with a busted fan and inadequate heatsink; I also realize the fact I'm thinking this could be some sort of reverse-cleverness is a sign of just how much damage the repeated head'splodin' did before my brain finally said, "Whatever, I'm outta here until you stop reading this news shit, go buy some comic books or something and maybe we'll talk about me coming back. Later."

I'm not sure I can take any more of this abuse.

toastie said...

It's like giving Billy Peltzer credit for saving his town from the Gremlins.

Chez said...

And toasie gets the freshly minted "Analogy of the Week" award.

CNNfan said...

"I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory."

Some victory. Almost like John McCain deserves some credit for being elected President.

Bill Orvis White said...

Let's face it, Chez. Hussein Obama was handed the keys on this war which was successfully being prosecuted under the fine guidance of the Honorable President (my president) George W. Bush, the Honorable Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the Honorable Secretary of the Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Honorable and gorgeous Secretary of the State Condoleeza Rice. What did Lil Hussein do? He swaggered into office with his shirt off, cancelled the Surge, brought in Godless helpers and messed up this once-successful war with "his" incompetence. The Community Organizer in Chief kept and keeps fumbling the ball on the war and everything else. It's not about that he's a fine-looking, clean African. He's an illegal, illegitimate "president" who is selling the US out to the jihadists.

So, yes, the Honorable Senator John Sidney McCain is right when he writes that we should all thank God for George W. Bush who is the one responsible for the troop withdrawal. Senator McCain is right.

Likewise, Bill Clinton should have been thanking and honoring President George HW Bush for the good economy because it was Senior Bush who put the wheels in motion for all of it. Never once did Bubba thank HW! NEVER! You know why? Because his pants were down in the Oval Office for eight debaucherous Godless years! THAT'S WHY!

Likewise, the Fonz should be thanking Richie for all those good years on "Happy Days." It was Richie who left the show in popular condition which paved the way for those fun years with that shaggy-haired sister of his and the Honorable Scott Baio. I love that Chachi kid. Do you remember him, Chez? Chachi is a good patriotic Republican American.


Benoît from Ottawa said...

Yeah, poor Americans, being forced to put up with monumentally stupid statements. You have my sympathy, no guff.

The victory in Iraq towers below the victory in Vietnam.

Americans killed: some 5000
Iraqis killed: couple 100,000s
Weapons of mass destruction: 0
Dictators overthrown: 1
Problems solved: I'm not sure...

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with Bill (!) that Condy is kind of pretty. I voted for Obama, and I am way disappointed. I think it's true that a candidate has no idea what he (maybe she?) is in for until they get there. Look how gray his hair has become! I think he was shocked by the weight of it all, without enough experience, and maybe a little too much hubris, he's not what I expected when I voted for him. I, an agnostic, pray for his good health, because Joe Biden would be a nightmare! Probably just going to vote Libertarian in 2012 and throw my vote away.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

Oooh, good, Bill White has weighed in. Funnier than Colbert.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

For those it might interest: an article (I'M still reading) that gives news about this from a different viewpoint: inside Iraq.

I Crack Blog Comments said...

I can't read comments unless they're broken up into paragraphs.

However, I think I have cracked a code in Deborah's comment. Take the words in all caps and you get:


Now, rearrange those words:


Well, the word "candidates" doesn't make much sense, until you rearrange the letters:


I think "Deborah" is reaching out to find someone special. Good luck, girl!

Marsupialus said...

We elected a man not the fucking Messiah. 30 years of Republican bullshit has taken it's toll plus the previous 8 under Bush. Exactly how fast do we expect things to turn around? Haven't gotten 100% of what we thought we'd get? Tough titty. Compromise is the nature of our little republic.

But as long as we're handing out credit Senator McCain, you craven hypocrite who will say anything to get elected, yes, let's give Bush credit. Let's give him credit for the tens of thousands of Americans who are maimed and injured and the thousands more who are dead. He deserves credit for the loss of every one of those lives.

Anonymous said...

love bill white. he makes my dick stiff.

Matt Osborne said...

I already dealt with this topic a long time ago, with apologies to A. A. Milne:

Prince George was not a good man —
And in his latter days,
World leaders did not shake his hand,
Much to his amaze.
At G-20 meetings,
When lining up on stage,
They whispered of his ruined brand,
And did not offer up their hands —
They left Prince George a one-man band,
Turning gray with age.

Prince George was not a good man,
And a lame old duck was he.
On Oval Office afternoons,
No one came round to see.
And, round about November,
Regulations in his queue
Meant as gifts to backers past,
Had missed the deadline at the last,
The end had come so very fast,
And rule of law renewed.

Prince George was not a good man,
Yet had his hopes and fears.
The war he’d launched was endless now
For years and years and years.
But two months before Christmas,
While Americans did shout,
And happy songs of hope were sung
While worldwide, bells readied to be rung,
George stole away upstairs and hung
A bill for fiscal bailing-out.

Prince George was not a good man,
He liked his long vacations;
Alone he planned a new scheme out
While venting his frustrations.
He pushed his team to bargain
And negotiate in true
With Maliki and Talabani,
To divvy up that oil money,
And create from a process quite funny
A legacy for W.

“Please fill my coffers,
And my new library;
I think a tour of speaking
Would surely come in handy;
I don’t mind oil-stock,
And secretive renditions!
And I SHOULD like to leave my staff
In permanent positions.
And, oh! Father Christmas, for my legacy,
Bring me a big, red Iraq war victory!”

Prince George was not a good man —
Riding fiscal crisis out,
He gat him to his ranch again,
There to pace and pout.
Election night he lay there,
Praying hope would lose to fear.
“I think McCain’s a-surging now,
(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)
“He’ll win Ohio, anyhow —
Just like I have for years.

“Forget about the coffers,
And forget about libraries;
I’m sure a tour of speaking
Would bore me, by my theory;
I don’t need oil-stock,
I don’t want rendition,
And I HAVE put my loyal staff
In permanent positions.
But, oh! Father Christmas, if I’m to have a legacy,
Bring me a big, red Iraq-war victory!”

Prince George was not a good man —
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
Obama had it won,
And people seized each other,
And laughed and danced with glee,
For hope had many hearts endeared,
Change more potent than vile smears,
Prince George said grimly: “As I feared,
Nothing for my legacy!”

“I did want coffers,
And a big library;
I know a tour of speaking
Would’ve come in handy;
I do love oil-stock,
I did love rendition.
I haven’t got a loyal staff —
In any old position.
And, oh! if Father Christmas cared for my legacy,
He would have brought Iraq war victory!”

Prince George stood by the window,
And there did glumly meet
The happy crowds of boys and girls
Celebrating in the street.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them still…
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head,
And bounced and fell upon the bed,
The Iraqi SOFA bill!


Ref said...

I think what Obama "found" when he was sworn in was just how much of our fucked economy depended on keeping the Great War Machine humming, not to mention the Hell Halliburton/KBR could unleash on him if he meddled with their profiteering. Gawd only knows what Faustian bargains he had to make to get that abortion of a health care reform bill through Congress.

Anonymous said...

big fucking deal...they leave Iraq and move to Afganistan.