Joe Scarborough on the GOP’s albatross

Joe was never a favorite of mine. The former Republican congressman turned MSNBC newsman succeeded in turning me off again and again with his conservative outlook and occasional tirades against all things progressive. But credit where due: in recent weeks he has joined the ranks of Republicans who dare stand up against The Worst President Ever, and to finally tell it like it is. This is going to hurt, comng at a moment when the president is trying frantically to draw the war-torn GOP together in time to keep the Dems from sweeping the elections a mere eight weeks from now.

I can’t help but feel sorry for my old Republican friends in Congress who are fighting for their political lives. After all, it must be tough explaining to voters at their local Baptist church’s Keep Congress Conservative Day that it was their party that took a $155 billion surplus and turned it into a record-setting $400 billion deficit.

How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader?

How does a God-fearing Reagan Republican explain all that away?

Easy. Blame George W. Bush.

Escaping political death by attacking an unpopular president is hardly new — especially since most endangered politicians have the loyalty of a starving billy goat. But this is Dubya’s Washington, where the White House has pushed around, bullied and betrayed GOP lawmakers for years.

Republican House members and senators always believed that this White House took them for granted. But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, most of them had no choice but to sulk in their cloakrooms, listen to Debby Boone on their iPods and take it like a man. Bush was a rock star among the party faithful through the 2004 election, so crossing this popular commander in chief was not an option. That’s not to say that Old Bulls didn’t privately growl about how they were treated better when their old nemesis was still frolicking with an intern. So what if Bill Clinton misbehaved? At least that president found time to personally negotiate terms of subcommittee markups — even if he was defiling the Oval Office at the same time.

There is much more very funny, biting stuff in this column. Read it all and pass it along to your Republican friends.

Of course, it’s tempting to ask Joe where he was in 2001 when BushCo was given rock-star status. But no matter – better late than never. This is all part of a long-overdue avalanche of damnation falling upon the Cheney administration. And it’s a Republican avalanche. Is there something cynical about it? Of course. There’s little that they know today that wasn’t known over the past five years. But as Joe says, it was impossible to turn on the president when he was riding high after 911 and in the early days of Mission Accomplished. Now he’s not so popular and he threatens his party’s electability, so he’s fair game.

The piece de resistance, of course, occurred when earlier this week the GOP Gang of Four (John McCain, John Warner, Lindsey Graham and Colin Powell) rejected Bush’s sleazy efforts to obfuscate the Geneva Conventions so that America can define torture however we choose. The four were all actual soldiers who understand just how terrible Bush’s meddling would be for the boys on the ground. This was to be Bush’s great act of unity, to bring all the Republicans together making a loud noise over the “War on Terror” in order to deflect attention from the disaster in Iraq. There’s a certain poetic justice seeing his efforts torpedoed by his own party. Words cannot express just how vile and deceitful Bush is being on the issue of torture – so deceitful that one former Bush worshipper says Bush must eventually be charged with war crimes.

First, let’s take the House, then move on to war crimes. As I now say with just about every post on domestic politics, the only thing that can keep us, the people of the United States for whom this government exists, from winning back the country is the bickering, message-free Democratic Party. If they let this slip through their fingers, I will declare them defunct, dysfunctional and utterly useless. This is their last chance. If they blow it, time for a new party.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Sheesh! Andrew Sullivan thinks Bush should be tried for war crimes!

I think I woke up in a parallel universe.

September 17, 2006 @ 5:22 am | Comment

With great sorrow:
80% of the vote will be by electronic ballot.
The machines are easily hacked.
The regime is a bunch of thugs.
After that the Democrats offer some small friction.

— ml

September 17, 2006 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

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