What do you do for an encore after you've already started a war on false pretences, gutted an entire national treasury and vacationed while countrymen and women drowned and starved just few hundred miles away? Admittedly, those are hard acts to follow, but leave it to George to top himself.
Even as he continues to be pelted with criticism for his appointment of an unqualified crony, Michael "Brownie" Brown, to head FEMA, Bush picked Harriet Miers this morning replace Sandra Day O'Conner on the United States Supreme Court.
It all begs the question; what goes through Bush's mind when he makes choices like that? Before being picked to run FEMA Brown's previous job was as head of the Arabian Horse Association. Being a cowboy (sorta) Bush's reasoning must have gone something like this:
"Ever see a horse break a leg? Huh. Ain't purrty. Horse has to be shot. That's an emergency, and not just for the horse, heh, heh, heh. The guy in charge has to decide to do it. Michael Brown has looked death in the eye, made the hard decisions...When there's a emergency Brownie will do a heck of job, specially if there's horses involved..heh, heh, heh. Karl, ask Brownie if he can get me one of them rabian horses for the ranch.. a white one."
Now we have Harriet Mires headed for a seat on the highest, at least until 2001, the most respected panel of jurists on earth. She's never been a judge -- not even at an Eukanuba Dog Show. What she's been is George W.'s personal lawyer. The highest public office she ever held was in Texas where Mr. Big appointed her to a seat on the state lottery commission.
In this case I can only assume his reasoning – a term I use in only the loosest possible way – must have gone like this.
"Lottery... yup. Same thing. Supreme Court is a kinda lottery, when you think bout it. People bet they can win and the justices decide if they do or don't. It's a numbers game just like the lottery. You have your 5 to 4 decisions, you have your 3 to 6 decisions. Harriet has proven she can do the numbers, that she understands the stakes. Besides, she's a female. That's what I call 'diversity', and I believe in diversity. I'm just sorry she's not also Hispanic. That would have been hot .... would have driven the Democrats crazy... heh, heh, heh. They would have had to beat up on Hispanic woman...heh, heh, heh. Would have loved to see that. But the only Hispanic woman I know well is our housekeeper at the Ranch, and we're still trying to get her a Green Card, so that was out. Anyway, this will get Laura off my back..heh, heh, heh. . Hey Karl, call Harriet, and tell her to come over here, that I'm promotin' her again. Oh, and ask her to pick up my dry cleaning on the way."
At least if confirmed, Harriet will finally provide the other Bush family appointee, Clarence Thomas, an equal on the court, someone he can chat with without being made to feel, well, stupid. They will become Justices Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
On Sunday – even before the Harriet Miers announcement – The Economist editorialized:
"The Economist has always had all sorts of ideological disagreements with Bush, but our main problem with his administration has increasingly become incompetence. Katrina now stands beside the shambles overseas in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay as supporting evidence....Bush is a bold decision-maker, but he is also a delegator who too often picks the wrong people and seldom fires them. "Rummy" and "Brownie" ... are both symptoms of the same problems.
The Economist, hardly a tool of the left, has warned for months that Bush may well be a social conservative, but that he sure isn't a fiscal one. Now the paper warns that it's clear he is not even a competent manager.
This lack of competence shows when he Bush picks people like himself when there's a job opening. He particular likes people who appreciate being given demeaning pet names, like "Turd Bloosom." ("Heh, heh, heh.. that's Karl. Heh, heh, heh. Love that guy.")
I wonder what he calls Harriet behind closed doors? Are we about to get a Supreme Court Justice the President addresses as "Shyster Myster?" ("Karl, call Shyster Myster and tell her I need one of those legal-beagle opinions.") I think the Senate should ask her, "What's your White House pet name, Ms. Miers?" I think we should know just how much humiliation this Bush sycophant has been willing to swallow to get where she got. I'd like to know.
Meanwhile In Iraq
I wrote almost a year ago that the formation of a new Iraqi government would only sharpen the differences between the three indigenous parties that must share that artificial nation and that it would only serve to lay the ground for full civil war.
And so it has begun:
Iraq's President Calls for PM to Step Down
KIRKUK, Iraq - Iraq's Kurdish president called on the country's Shiite prime minister to step down, the spokesman for the president's party said Sunday, escalating a political split between the two factions that make up the government. (Full Story)
Yep, here we go. The Kurds have always been determined to form their own autonomous state in the north. And, if you think about it, they are right to insist on it. Because the alternative would be unacceptable to any civilized people. That alternative is to constitutionally bind the progessive Kurdish people forever with the demonstrably dysfunctional, religiou-nutcase Shiites and the Baatho-fascist Sunnis in the south. The poor Kurds. Fools to the left of them, clowns to the right, and them stuck in the middle, again.
So here we are, just days before Iraqis vote on a constitution the Shiites love because it leaves them holding all the cards, and the Sunnis hate, because it leaves them holding an bag of oil-less sand, and which the Kurds don't want or need.
Nicely done Rummy. Keep this up and there's surely a Medal of Freedom in it for you when you retire. Unless of course the International War Crimes Tribunal indicts you first.
Sleaze Score Card
Remember all the noise Republicans made any time anyone in the Clinton administration screwed up? Funny thing about that. It seems the old law and order GOP has lost it's vigor for stamping out sleaze in high places, now that they occupy those places themselves.
Below I list the sleaze-highlights of the Clinton and Bush administrations. Maybe it's just me, but it appears the Bush folks are far better at breaking meaningful laws than the Clintons. The Clintons tended to get into silly trouble, the kind of arguments you expect to see among neighbors in a backwoods trailer park. But the Bush folk have been downright Nixonian in their sleaze, making their friends wildly richer and using the power of the White House to punish those who step out of line. You decide.
Perps: Bill and Hillary
Alleged offense: Losing money on a $29,000. failed real estate deal...
Outcome: Investigated every which way at great expense. (Exonerated)
Perp: Hillary Clinton
Scandal: Cattle Futures investment
Alleged Offense: Paid $1000 for a $12.000 cattle futures contract
Outcome: Investigated (Exonerated)
Perps: Bill & Hilliary Clinton
Alleged Offense: White House aide improperly in possession of FBI files
Outcome: Investigated, Aide fired.
Perps: Bill and Hillary Clinton
Alleged Offense: Accused of giving White House travel business to Clinton friends.
Outcome: Investigated & exonerated.
Perp: Bill Clinton
Alleged Offence: Lying about extra-marital sex
Outcome, Impeachment proceedings, failed.
Perp: David Safavain -- administration's top federal procurement officer
Scandal: Secret sweetheart deals with GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff (who himself has been indicted in a separate matter)
Outcome: Arrested - case pending
Perp: Karl Rove, top Bush advisor
Alleged Offense: Disclosing name of CIA agent to punish administration enemy.
Outcome: Under grand jury investigation, pending
Perp: Scooter Libby, top Cheney advisor
Outcome: Under grand jury investigation-- Pending
Perp: Rep. Tom DeLay -- GOP Majority Leader
Scandal: Campaign finance money laundering
Alleged Offense: Mondy laundering
Outcome: Indicted. Case pending.
Perp: Senator Bill Frist -- GOP Senate Leader
Alleged Offense: Sold stock in family-owned HCA on insider info before it tanked
Outcome: Under SEC investigation -- pending
Perp: George W. Bush, President of the United States
Alleged Offense: Lying to the justify war
Outcome: Pending the judgment of history.