The Lowe Down


Category: President Bush (37)

Chan Lowe: Obama's scandals


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The affection that Barack Obama’s supporters feel for him has always been based more on what he is rather than who he is. The first African-American president. The constitutional scholar. The man who dedicated his early career to organizing society’s underdogs for their collective empowerment.

Barack Obama the man is not as easy to love as Barack Obama the symbol. It’s often said he’s too cool, too above it all. This sounds trivial, but being that guy you would like to have a beer with is essential to effective leadership and political durability in modern-day America. George W. Bush had it, but unfortunately he was a screw-up. Bill Clinton had it in spades, but that lovability and desire to be loved (absent the leavening of good judgment) is what got an otherwise supremely gifted politician into so much trouble.


Now that the Obama administration has hit rough waters, the sharks on all sides are circling. Had he not felt that the gritty, relationship-building, back-slapping, schmoozing and stroking side of politics was beneath him, the relationships he might have built over the past five years would have stood him in good stead now, when he needed personal allies.

The so-called “lame-stream media” are deeply offended that the Obama justice department pulled a Big Brother on the AP by snagging its phone records without warning. Actually, this is an act of monumental political tone-deafness that offends all Americans, regardless of whether it was justified by the underlying imperatives. It could have been handled much more adroitly, and it leaves the news outlets with a sour taste in their mouths at a very bad time for the administration. When you mess with source records, you threaten reporters’ livelihoods.

The other stuff—Benghazi and the IRS scrutiny business—will play itself out, but it will endure as long as it can be shown to damage the president.

Obama likes to think of Abraham Lincoln as his inspiration. At lonely times like these, maybe he wishes he’d looked more to LBJ to understand the importance of developing personal bonds.

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Chan Lowe: End of the Iraq War III


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There were some who argued that the government should have imposed rationing of fuel, foods and consumer goods, as we did in World War II. Not because we needed to, but just to be a constant reminder that there was a war on.

It was somehow unseemly that people blithely gassed up their gargantuan SUVs while our troops were fighting in the oil fields. But the Bush administration felt that the best way to keep Americans from getting in the way of executing the strategy (whatever it was) was to keep the war below the radar. The American people, above all, should not suffer privation. Privation costs votes.

Continue reading "Chan Lowe: End of the Iraq War III" »

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Chan Lowe: The Obama vacation ruckus


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To be fair, the Democrats were just as hard on W. whenever he went off to Crawford to clear brush.

Wait a second. By this point in his term, he’d already taken three times as many vacation days as President Obama.

Well, okay. But the nation wasn’t in a crisis, the way it is now.

Wait a second. Under Bush, we sustained the worst attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor, and we started two separate wars that weren’t going too well.

Fine, but Bush wasn’t really running the country. Cheney, Rummy and the neocon cabal were. W. was just the front man. What difference did it make if he went on vacation?

Well, you’ve got us there.

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Chan Lowe: Snoozin' through a crisis


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It’s the financial stigma Republicans won’t talk about, and average Americans won’t remember because it happened before last week.

It was the golden son, George W. Bush, who inherited a humming economy and a surplus from his predecessor. Thanks to his bumbling, and that of the two houses of Congress his party owned for six years⎯we squandered our wealth and undercut our revenue base to the point where yahoos elected in a reactionary wave to the appalling spending spree now threaten to ruin the reputation of the country we all love. The only silver lining to the crash having happened in late 2008 is that there is no way it can be blamed on his successor⎯President Obama’s detractors have to content themselves with attacking him for cleaning up the mess too slowly, and (horrors!) for spending more money in the process.

Meanwhile, President Mission Accomplished slumbers on, enjoying the undisturbed, dreamless sleep of the benighted.

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Chan Lowe: Anti-Afghanistan war sentiment


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Don’t you remember way back, like four or five years ago, when to talk about winding down a war was condemned as “cutting and running?” When to even question the president’s thinking on the matter of our various foreign military involvements was labeled as unpatriotic, that it was undermining our brave troops who were out there in harm’s way?

Well, today’s Republicans are betting you don’t remember, either. Now that we have a Democratic president running things, it’s all right to question motives like getting involved in a war overseas just to topple a dictator. And now that Afghanistan has lost its luster, we can simply label it “Obama’s War,” and agitate to withdraw the troops without fear that we’re undermining their morale in the process. That’s the wonderful thing about short memories.

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Chan Lowe: Obama's Israel stumble


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The ongoing Middle East conflict is so sensitive, so nuanced and so tinder-dry that any alteration in what is said, what is not said, the timbre of the saying of it, and which parts are emphasized and de-emphasized can cause a conflagration to break out.

Added to these variables are the one that has been occupying the news of late: Who says it. George W. Bush, who was considered a “Friend of Israel,” could say that peace negotiations should use as their basis the pre-1967 borders with mutually-agreed swaps. No ripples in the waters of the status-quo. But Barack Obama says it, and suddenly it’s an international incident.

A colleague who has been to Israel several times, and who has her finger on that country’s political pulse, says that our president is not a popular figure in Israel. This is putting it mildly. She says the general feeling there is that Obama “is too busy trying to suck up to the Arabs.”

Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Obama's Israel stumble" »

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Chan Lowe: The death of Bin Laden


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A big day. More later.

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Chan Lowe: Bush's memoir


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For me, one of the most telling moments of the George W. Bush presidency occurred during a press conference. A newsman asked him if he could name any mistakes he had made, and the question took the President aback.

None that he could think of, he responded after some thought. Some would call this evidence of his resoluteness; others, of his foolhardiness.

In any case, we knew that his decision to invade Iraq was not something that kept him awake at night. What does keep him awake? Evidently, the verdict of history, because he is now seeking to shape it.


Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Bush's memoir" »

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Chan Lowe: The end of combat operations in Iraq


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Tuesday night, President Obama gave just about the only speech that could have been given to properly mark the transition of America’s role in Iraq.

He sounded like the maid stuck with cleaning up a hotel room the morning after it has been rented by a rock band. There really wasn’t much to say about the whole endeavor that was positive, except that our troops did their jobs superlatively. The whole subject is uncomfortable for us, because while our service members did their duty and in many cases made the supreme sacrifice, we’re at a loss to know what they did it for.

We’re at a loss because our leaders violated the sacred pact the civilian leadership has always had with the military: We will ask you to go into harm’s way on behalf of your country, and in return you can have faith that we will only ask you to do so if the cause is worthy, if the mission is clear-cut, and if it has a reasonable chance of success.

We went in because they said there were WMD. Well, there weren’t any. Then it was about democracy, and we “surged” to give the Iraqis time to form a government. They still haven’t formed one. The place is a hair’s-breadth away from anarchy.

We had intentions of building a Western-oriented Arab bulwark in the Middle East. The only thing the Iranians will lack after the last Americans leave is an engraved invitation to invade.

Americans like to win wars, particularly after they’ve spent a trillion borrowed dollars when there are pressing needs at home. With Iraq, there is no surrender at Yorktown, no signing ceremony on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri, just a fizzling-out.

Years from now, after the accursed place recedes into painful memory, it will probably revert to what it was before: a dusty crossroads ruled by whichever warlord among its contentious populace happens to be the most ruthless.

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Chan Lowe: The leaked Afghanistan papers


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This should tell you something about the shifting, treacherous sands we find ourselves in while fighting the longest war in our history: Leaked classified documents reveal to the American public that we’ve been indirectly financing our own enemy, and government types in the know dismiss it as “old news.”

Which is worse…that a website released the information, which is surely damaging to our cause, or that our leaders have learned to accommodate this travesty as part of the cost of doing business with the Pakistanis?

The Bush team thought they were the sharpest guys around. After 9/11, they were going to go in there, shoot ’em up, and show the Rooskies the right way to tame those Afghans. Bring back Osama’s head on a plate.

They should have known they were getting this country embroiled in a part of the world where, if the locals didn’t actually invent intrigue, they certainly refined it to an art form.

There’s a story about a meeting in the Holy Land during the Crusades between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, the local warlord. It’s probably apocryphal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t teach us something:

Richard, in order to demonstrate his military might to Saladin, draws out his huge, heavy double-handed broadsword and, in one blow, smashes a rock to pieces with it.

Saladin smiles, and pulls out a silk handkerchief. He tosses it in the air and unsheathes his scimitar of fine Damascus steel, holding it out cutting-edge up while the kerchief flutters down across the blade, splitting itself in two.

That’s what we’re up against over there.

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Chan Lowe: Oil and the government


boot.gifThis is a Manhattan Project moment, as was 9/11. And we’re squandering it the same way we did then.

Had George Bush surrounded himself with advisers of broad vision and foresight, he could have molded the world into an interdependent, terror-proof network. He could have laid the foundation for a crash program leading to energy independence for America. Instead, he started a couple of wars.

Now a nation that is just beginning to grasp the true scope of the unfolding tragedy in the Gulf cries out for leadership, as it did in 2001.

Rather than provide it, the Obama Administration has gone into bunker mode, uttering empty platitudes and hollow ultimatums in an attempt to divert blame and responsibility in an election year.

We are awakening to the reality that our government is powerless to deal with the mess. A victim of its own lack of political will in not requiring that adequate safety provisions be put in place before drilling even began, it now reaps the whirlwind of its corrupt impotence.

We as a nation are forced to entrust the rescue and restoration of our environment to the very same soulless private sector whose cutting of corners resulted in its rape.

We are angry at the oil industry, the way a debtor is angry at his loan shark. We know that the oil companies are exacting what amounts to a national indemnity by providing us what we cannot do without. We are in their thrall, and we look to our leaders to extricate us.

But we don’t elect leaders anymore; we elect people who tell us what we want to hear. They reflect us, with all our weaknesses and addictions. If we can’t do anything ourselves to stop the madness, why should we expect them to?


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Chan Lowe: The long finger of blame


blackhole.gifSmall government, in theory, is an intoxicating idea until you suddenly need the benefits of big government.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who turned down federal stimulus money for his state last year in a fit of partisan pique, is now screaming about how little the feds appear to be doing to save his coastline.

Sarah Palin is out there, too, condemning the Obama administration for its ineptitude.

These are Louisiana’s wetlands being ruined, though, so isn’t this technically a state issue? Why should the people of Montana have to help pay to clean it up?

I’m being facetious, of course. We all know that BP is going to pay for everything and make us all whole again…the same way Exxon did after the Alaskan spill.

As for blame⎯it’s a long bar, and there are plenty of us who ought to be bellying up to it. Every time we hop in the SUV to tootle down to the store when we could have walked or ridden a bike, every time we leave the engine running to keep the AC cool when we duck into the dry cleaners, we stoke the beast’s appetite.

It’s fine to vent our spleen at BP for plowing up the Gulf in search of riches without a disaster plan, and it’s fine to rail at the government for not regulating enough or not enforcing the few regulations we have.

But it’s a lot like the drug trade. There wouldn’t be the murders, the kidnappings and the cartels if there weren’t a market for the product. Prevention of future disasters must begin at home.

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Chan Lowe: Obama and the empathy thing


empathy.gifBarack Obama needs to learn there is more to governing than staying cool and bringing his calculator mind to bear on the weighty problems of state.

Where is that legendary charisma we saw during the campaign? The dewy-eyed youths willing to follow him to the gates of Hell, or even to Washington, D.C.? His followers are turning away in disgust, not just because he isn't following through with his more liberal promises, but because he isn't stroking them enough.

Remember that stupid poll about who you'd rather have a beer with? There's something to it, because an aloof professorial type may be able to tell you what's best for you, but only a drinking buddy can actually talk you into doing what you have to in order to achieve it.

Barack needs to connect. I don't have any specific suggestions on how to do it--he's the president, after all. He's the one who's supposed to know.

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Chan Lowe: Obama and the Afghan whirlpool


afghani.gifThis is one of those times when you wonder why anybody would want to be president, much less spend years of his or her life running for the job.

I remember the 2000 campaign, and drawing a cartoon commenting on how Al Gore had been preparing all his life to be president. He would probably not take a loss well.

Bush, on the other hand, looked like somebody who'd been drafted because his brother was defeated when running for governor of his state, which happened to be the case. After losing, he would probably shrug and say, "I tried, Daddy!" and happily go back to running his baseball team.

To him, being President was all about the cool plane and getting to wear that nifty windbreaker with the presidential seal on the chest. The rest--sadly--is history.

There is no upside to the Afghan war. We won't know when we've won, but we may well know if we've lost. Like Vietnam, it could go on and on, ensnared in the tentacles of geo- and domestic politics.

Not something you'd want to be commander-in-chief for in your worst nightmares.


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The CIA revelations


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You can “look forward, not back,” as President Obama says he is doing in distancing himself from his “rogue” attorney general, Eric Holder.

This, of course, is an adroit little sidestep. After all, Obama’s the one who nominated the guy. Holder, as a member of Obama’s cabinet, serves at his pleasure. I guess this kind of waffling is what they call “leadership.”

Anyway, an investigation of alleged illegal acts is probably a good thing for the republic. Obama has made it clear that those who were only following orders will not be prosecuted (that argument didn’t fly when it was made with a German accent, but this is the national security of the American homeland we’re talking about now, folks).

That leaves…whom? Probably nobody, because going after the principals of the Bush administration who set the policy would distract everyone from Obama’s priorities, not to mention possibly derail his presidency.

In any case, if we don’t at least examine the excesses of our behavior and do a little public self-reflection, then our already-battered worldwide reputation as a nation of laws will suffer even further.

And the terrorists—while not exactly winning—will have achieved a tactical victory in the battle for hearts and minds.

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Dick Cheney's tell-all


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Ever heard of the diamond cutters of Antwerp, Belgium?

These are guys with an extraordinary amount of experience who have an extraordinarily high-pressure job. They sit in their little workspaces, jewelers' loupes screwed into their eyes, and they transform raw, shapeless diamonds from the mine into gemstones. They "read" the crystalline structure of the diamond, carefully position a chisel over the stone and give the chisel one sharp tap with a mallet.

If they do it exactly right, they split off a portion of the diamond, and are on their way to producing an object of surpassing beauty.

If they're off just a hair, or the angle is wrong by less than a degree, the chisel reduces a stone worth possibly millions into a pile of very expensive gravel, suitable only to coat the edges of drill bits.

I see Dick Cheney as the guy with the mallet, and George W. Bush as the chisel. What gorgeous possibilities could have been coaxed out of the goodwill stemming from 9/11, had they just handled it right.

Anyway, Cheney's big beef now is that George got recalcitrant toward the end, and stopped following directions.

The gall. After all, Cheney chose himself as Bush's vice president after exhaustive research because he knew that he--and only he--had the requisite skills to run the White House and keep Junior in line.

In the past, Cheney condemned administration figures who aired dirty laundry in self-serving books as despicable, but that isn't stopping him now. This is a crusade. George will taste the lash, for sure.

In the meantime, the rest of us can just be content with our pile of gravel.

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Giving Iraq back to its owners


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The talking heads use various metaphors: "It's going to be a hard road ahead."
"We're only entering the fourth quarter."

Well, we're giving the Iraqis back their country, for better or worse. Mostly worse. We've already been over how misbegotten this whole foray was, how it was the wrong war for the wrong reasons, all the blood and treasure lost in the sand.

The hard line rear guard Bush administration apologists claim that, regardless of all the bloodshed, the Iraqi people are better off now than they were under Saddam.

I wouldn't know, since I'm not there on the ground. I have a feeling they don't either. As we stand back and observe the inevitable sectarian score-settling, favoritism, corruption, and the other symptoms of a failing state as the Iraqis--who never thought of themselves as a "people," but a collection of tribes--jockey for power, we'll probably see a strong man emerge.

A populace grown weary of undending violence will turn to him for stability, and gladly trade in whatever trappings of "democracy" we bequeathed upon them at the point of the gun.

The new strong man, after all is said and done, will remind us a lot of Saddam Hussein. Maybe he won't look as ridiculous in a fedora. He'll probably deal with us on oil, because he'll need the money...which was what the whole thing was about in the first place.

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The torture memos


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George W. Bush is a lucky guy. He will never be a tragic figure.

A tragic figure is a man who is brought down by some fatal flaw in his own character, and no matter how roundly George W. Bush and his benighted administration may be condemned by history, he will not be brought down, for there is no anguish. His conscience and his sense of his own rectitude remain unshaken.

George Bush has probably never lain awake one night in his life second-guessing a decision he made. This is the advantage of leading "from the gut," rather than by reason.

Gut leadership is strong, swift, sure. Reasoning is more deliberate, and can easily be read as tentative by an electorate that demands immediate action.

George Bush is probably not lying when he says his administration never approved torture. He may be horribly wrong, but he believes he is telling the truth. He has effectively, and enviably, insulated himself from the consequences of his decisions.

If only the rest of us could.

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The pendulum swings back


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One school of thought holds that the Obama Administration should investigate the violations of America's moral code that occurred under President Bush's watch: the torturing, the extraordinary renditions, Abu Ghraib, the whole Guantanamo charade. It would be like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Punish those responsible (read here Cheney, Rummy, and lesser-known figures) so that those who might ponder these acts in the future would know that they couldn't get away with it. Also, prosecution would reaffirm to ourselves what we stand for as a nation.

Another school says let's move on, we have far more pressing problems to face down without getting mired in the sins of the past. Besides, it must have worked, because we didn't get hit again after 9/11.

President Obama, as is his wont, would like to split the difference: indulge in a little garbage-picking after we've addressed the immediate stuff. A pragmatic solution, although my gut says we should hold the malfeasance up to the light, and go wherever an investigation takes us. The national guilt we might feel for turning a blind eye to the dilution of our principles might inoculate us against falling prey to such apathy in the future.

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The shifting sands of public opinion


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Not to rain on President Obama's parade, but the American people (at least the current crop) do not weather hardship well. The difference between us and our forebears from the 1930's is that they never had it all that good to start with, so the Great Depression represented, for them, a more severe degree of personal restraint, not a quantum contraction of lifestyle as our current situation demands.

Our history of living high on the credit hog, those big fat cars and houses we really couldn't afford, the flat-screen TVs, the travel, the dining out, are all too vivid in our recent memory. We got used to the taste of prosperity, even if it was just a chimera. We want it back, pronto. A few more months of denial, and we're going to forget that the crash happened on George W. Bush's watch. All we'll think about is that Obama seems to be spinning his wheels at a furious pace, but we're no closer to moving back into our mcmansions.

That'll be right around when things start heating up for the off-year Congressional elections, and the Republicans will be more than happy to point out how little progress we will have made under an all-Democrat government.

How did it all begin? Heck, who will be able to remember that far back?

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Votes you regret


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When you give the gift of democracy to a people, the vote doesn't always turn out the way you had hoped.

Take the Palestinians (no Henny Youngman jokes, please), who freely and openly elected a government whose central platform plank was the destruction of the State of Israel. Their vote may have been out of desperation, despair or anger, but they made their bed, and the Israelis are now making sure they sleep in it.

It was Hamas, not average Gazan civilians, who fired the rockets into Israel, but the only way Gazans are going to be convinced to change their government is to show them that there is no future for them in supporting their current one.

If this keeps up, Hamas' support in Palestinian public opinion polls may sink even lower than George W. Bush's in American ones. In the regrets department, our two peoples have a great deal in common.

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The last cheap shot?


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To paraphrase Richard Nixon, we won't have George W. Bush to kick around anymore.

As we enter the final two-week stretch of this long-running disaster, I realized that throwing tomatoes at W. after he's out would be like speaking ill of the dead, so I'd better take a final (maybe) nasty, small-minded poke at the man who has been the gift that kept on giving for editorial cartoonists.

While I was drawing the cartoon, however, I couldn't help but give a sympathetic tip of the hat to the pathetic picture of a sitting president who is so unpopular that he can't even land a book deal. While Sarah Palin(!) snagged a multi-million-dollar advance for her story, publishers delicately told our swashbuckling hero that he might want to wait a while (read: forever) before penning that memoir. Why would people want to pay good money to read about somebody they'd rather forget, especially in this economy?

Best to just disappear to the Dallas mansion, where his ever-shrinking cadre of hard-core supporters can arrange to have brush dumped in his backyard for him to clear.

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Enough


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Face it, you blew it. Now--just go away, please. Don't try to put frosting on a failed presidency.

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The sole of a free people


forrmonnblogg.gif And we thought the French were an ungrateful bunch.

It's a fitting coda to the utter pointlessness of Bush's invasion of Iraq. Even the people we liberated at the cost of so much human life and treasure are literally hurling their very worst insults at our president as he tries to run his final "victory" lap.

Bush laughed off the incident in his simple-minded way, but it really is tragic that our massive undertaking has come to this. Is there any positive outcome, anything at all, that we can point to? We got rid of Saddam. Great--Iran is taking advantage of the power vacuum, as are the various domestic Iraqi sects and factions he managed to keep in some kind of restless order.

At the very least, we were hoping to leave behind a pro-American client state in the middle of a hostile region.

Instead, the locals are hailing the shoe-thrower as a national hero.

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Remember W.? Still here.


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I guess the best way for a failed presidency to end is not with a bang, but with the long, slow hiss of deflation.

There has been some talk lately that the transition shouldn't take so long. The period between the election and the inauguration used to be even longer, and had something to do with the time it took to go by horseback from the seaboard colonies to the new areas out in Appalachia, to let the locals know who their President was going to be. The only reason there's talk this time is that the nation's condition is so dire.

One does find oneself wishing that if W. just wants to hang around for all the retirement parties, at least he could do the country a favor and get out of the way so that Obama can start fixing things. Every day wasted compounds our plight.

Well, as BHO (is that what the headline writers will call him?) likes to say, "There's only one President at a time."

Somebody should tell Dick Cheney.

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Bush and the bailout


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Normally, I don't feel too sorry for members of Congress. They have gold-plated medical and retirement plans, and they get repaid for the cost of their commute, among other things.

This bailout, though, is when they really sweat their salary. They hear from screaming constituents that they should not spend taxpayer money to rescue greedy Wall Street capitalists. At the same time, they're afraid that if they do nothing, Main Street might tank from frozen credit.

Here's their real problem:
Today, they chose to weasel out and bow to the will of the people. But, come November, if the economy really DOES crash because Congress did nothing, how many constituents will remember that they sent an email to their representative telling them to vote "nay?"

About the same number as those who remember that they voted for President Bush four years ago. Like, maybe, five.

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Bush's Gift


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If we needed some kind of a signal that President Bush considers himself in the home stretch, this is probably it. No longer concerned with his polling numbers, which are in the toilet, he has decided it's time to start distributing plums to his friends.

A recent Presidential directive that does not need the approval of Congress now allows his business-friendly regulatory agencies to approve projects (self-regulate!) without getting the necessary clearances from Fish and Wildlife and the EPA. Creatures whose survival stand in the way of progress have long been a bane of the plutocrats, and now we can satisfy ourselves with photos of what they used to look like. Since Vice-President Cheney prefers shooting his cronies to shooting quail, even he probably won't miss the wildlife anymore.

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The Crisis in Georgia


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At first glance, this probably looks like another gag cartoon about how stupid George Bush is. It isn't. That line of humor and commentary was exhausted a long time ago. This cartoon is about the frustratingly powerless position we now find ourselves in when it comes to influencing world events.

Our President must honor the Chinese with his presence at their Olympics because they hold so much of our national debt that not to do so might offend our biggest bankers, regardless of their record on human rights.

And now, thanks to being overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must look on helplessly and cluck, cluck while Russia swallows our staunchest ally in Eastern Europe. Remember when President Bush visited Georgia back in 2006 (you probably don't)? "You Georgians have chosen to stand up for democracy," he said to the cheering multitude (more or less), "and the people of the United States will stand with you."

Now the Georgians, as well as Bush, are learning that he misspoke himself ever so slightly. What he meant to say was, "We will stand by."

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Iraq war time horizon


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It turns out this President is a lot more adroit with the English language than we thought. A timetable, as it turns out, was a "prescription for surrender." A time horizon, on the other hand, is something we can live with, particularly when a Democratic candidate seems to be gaining traction with a public tired of the war.

Not that it matters that much what he says anymore.

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Bush, the bubble, and the economy


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Listening to the President giving his happy talk speech about the economy the other night first amazed, and then depressed me. It reminded me of his press conference a couple of months ago, when a reporter asked him about four dollar gas. "Four dollar gas?" he retorted, testily. "Where'd you hear that?"

It also reminded me of his father, who was taken through a grocery store as President, and saw his first price scanner. "Wow. I've never seen one of those before. Isn't that something!" Or President Reagan, who, upon entering a McDonald's, said: "How do you order?" (Postscript to this post: I've just been informed that the price scanner story is apocryphal, and has been repeatedly debunked. It is, nevertheless, part of public lore. My question: If you're going to make up a false rumor about somebody, why something so tame? Doesn't begin to compare to blue cocktail dresses in the Oval Office).

I guess it's the President's job to be a cheerleader, even when it clearly makes him look as if he's completely out of touch. What if he'd told us the truth? The stock market would have tanked. Maybe he should have just left well enough alone. Then, at least, we wouldn't be worrying that the country was another Exxon Valdez heading for the rocks with a drunken captain at the tiller. Actually, our situation is worse. The Exxon Valdez was full of oil.

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Top Secret plans for invasion of Iran


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That we are even discussing this scenario as a real possibility is a testament to Congress' abrogation of its Constitutional role in declaring war, and the President's eagerness to act like the very king the Founding Fathers feared.

Remember the good old days, like 1941, when FDR had to go and make an impassioned case for war before Congress would even go along? And that was after Pearl Harbor, when they actually DID something to us.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear what G.H.W. Bush has to say about how his feckless boy has taken the old man's carefully constructed web of international alliances and understandings, and just blowed 'em all up real good, like a prankster flushing a cherry bomb down the boy's room toilet. Oh, well...that's the next guy's problem.

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The McClellan Apostasy


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What's interesting about the White House's coordinated response to the kiss-and-tell by Scott McClellan is that the inner circle is focusing on his disloyalty and base motives for writing the book, rather than attacking its accuracy. I guess you go with your strengths.

Washington protocol has always held that the rats only desert the ship once it has sunk. McClellan seems to be getting a head start, maybe because he knows that a coming torrent of post-Bushian curtain-lifters will dilute the market for the genre. Let the book deals begin!

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Campaign 2008: Bush and McCain, the Two Amigos


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Seventy-two percent of Americans are sick of President Bush. Among the remaining twenty-eight percent are the ones with all the money. One of the more amusing diversions of this campaign will be to watch John McCain's contortions as he tries to embrace the fundraising pig without getting the smell all over him.

I would almost feel sorry for W. (stands for "Who?" in McCain's vocabulary) if his bumblings had not been so destructive. Even his own former flack is stabbing him in the back to sell books ("Et tu, McClellan?"). So much for the vaunted Bush team loyalty.

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Bush and the environment


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Maybe the polar bear will survive until the next administration takes over.

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Myanmar


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In all the excitement with the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, gas prices, and the economy going to hell in a handbasket, it's easy to forget there are other things going on in the world that make our issues pale by comparison. It's also easy to forget that there is somebody still occupying the White House, trying to be relevant.

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The big lie


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Yesterday, I heard on National Socialist Radio (a.k.a. NPR), my broadcast news provider of choice, that one in 10 Americans still believes that Barack Obama is a Muslim, despite all the recent brouhaha in the news about his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and his inflammatory comments. I checked with our editorial assistant in charge of handling nutty calls from readers, and she said that there had, in fact, been a down-tick lately in the almost three per day she had been fielding, demanding to know why we didn't do an expose on Sheik B. Hussein Obama's "Secret plan to turn America into an Arab country." (That's a direct quote).

Anyway, this got me thinking about the continuing misapprehension on the part of many of our compatriots that the Saudi terrorists on the 9/11 planes were actually Iraqis. I suddenly realized that with a brain-trust like this, the Bush Administration must think we'll believe just about anything they feed us. Well, almost.

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Bush and Cheney's war


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Yesterday, when Vice-President Cheney was asked his reaction to the fact that a majority of Americans thought the Iraq war hadn't been worth it, he answered, "So?"

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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