Thursday, November 09, 2006


Who was responsible for the Republican Party's humiliating loss in yesterday's mid-term elections? It can be summed up in three words: George W. Bush. His foreign policy chickens have come home to roost with a vengeance, and America is now bogged down in Iraq with no way out, no end in sight, and no friends to help them. Normally, you'd expect some show of contrition or personal acknowledgement of the people's concerns after such a thumping defeat, but Bush didn't do that. Instead, he fired Donald Rumsfeld.

There's no question that Rumsfeld deserved to be fired long ago, though I'd prefer that it had been done over his involvement in torture rather than mere incompetence. But at the same time, this is classic Bush. It's always somebody else's fault, and there's always somebody else to take the blame so that he doesn't have to acknowledge that he fucked up and admit responsibility for his own actions.

Fortunately, now that the Dems control the House (don't you just love saying it?), there's some chance that they'll be able to sheet some of that responsibility home to Bush, and finally hold him accountable for the disaster that his presidency has turned into.


Can't agree with your statement "in three words: George W. Bush"

That's two names and a letter or two names and a initial. Its certainly not three words!


Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 11:50:00 AM

I thought that W is a two syllable word.
The disturbing thing to me about this election is the turn out figure which is looking to be close to 41% at the best estimate. Yet this has been billed as the most important mid term election ever.
What is going on?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 12:05:00 PM

SB: it works if you pronounce the "Dubya".

Hamish: Turnout in US elections has always been low, and the Republican party likes to keep it that way. And given that gerrymandering has meant that most house seats aren't competitve, and that those elected are loyal to their donors rather than voters, I'm not sure if I can blame anyone for being cynical about the system and refusing to participate in it.

US democracy looks excellent on paper - but it needs some serious reform if it is to match that in practice.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/09/2006 12:13:00 PM

there's some chance that they'll be able to sheet some of that responsibility home to Bush, and finally hold him accountable

Just how accountable may be a tricky issue, however. If they move for impeachment, they risk setting an unpleasant precedent. No matter how justified an impeachment of Bush might be, another attempt so soon after the nasty and unnecessary one against Clinton would bolster the impression that impeachments in general are just partisan tool. It might be better in the long run for the Democrats to take the moral high ground and prove that they don't take impeachment lightly.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 12:30:00 PM

Isaac: given his crimes - lying his way into a war, gross abuses of civil liberties, conspiracy to torture - its difficult to see how beginning proceedings against Bush would be treating the issue "lightly". But apart from that, there's a very good reason why they shouldn't try and impeach him: they don't have the numbers. Therefore it would be a mistake to even start, when it would so easily fail.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/09/2006 12:46:00 PM

now that the Dems control the House (don't you just love saying it?)

but there's no difference of any substance between the dems and the repubs.

they (nearly) all voted to:
- bomb afghanistan
- pass the USA PATRIOT Act
- pass the extension of most of the USA PATRIOT Act
- invade Iraq against international law
- legalise torture

and they nearly all supported war crimes against Palestine and Lebanon.

on top of that, virtually none of these dems are the least bit interested in pulling out of Iraq quickly.

and the dems are just as much in the pockets of corporate america and AIPAC

so what's the difference again?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 01:05:00 PM

The difference can also be summed up in three words: George W. Bush.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 01:13:00 PM

I think impeachment attempts will always be doomed to fail (at least at the Senate trial stage, "impeachment" itself is the first stage in the House).

Since the Senate is elected by thirds, it's highly unlikely that there would ever be the required 2/3 majority against a sitting president (who will have been elected at the same time as a third of the Senators).

The only way this would realistically happen would be if a President had done something so undeniably bad that their own party deserted them (e.g. Nixon - maybe)

I think that's how it's designed - if the founding fathers had wanted to require the president to hold the confidence of Congress (like a Westminster PM) they would have explicitly said so.

(Of course, in the 18th century British PMs didn't need the confidence of parliament either).

Posted by Rich : 11/09/2006 02:33:00 PM

Andrew Jackson was almost convicted - there was only one vote in it. And one of the charges against him basically boiled down to vetoing unconstitutional legislation,

Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 03:04:00 PM

Well, I still feel ambivalent about water-boarding, and the Paremoremo behaviour management regime. BUT. I think this is a great result. Bush & the Republicans led the USA into war on the basis of falsehoods. I desperately needed to see some accountability for that to maintain some faith in US democracy.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 06:48:00 PM

Anon - that would be Andrew Johnson, not Jackson. Jackson was never near impeachment, despite his policy of genocide. Johnson violated a much more important principle - he illegally appointed an official to office.


Posted by Anonymous : 11/09/2006 08:31:00 PM

> being cynical about the system and refusing to participate in it.

The bottom line is it is seldom in anyone (besides possibly politician's and campaigners) interests to vote. the cost of getting to the polling booth vastly exceed the expected gain (which is very close to zero in NZ, and even closer in the USA). Presumably the way around that is to make voting a form of entertainment/social event.

You could throw 'voters parties' for the youth and have a voters day soup kitchen next to the voting booth and have voters bingo for the

elderly. You could have a 'labour vs national' (or dem vs repub) tug of war and a 'quiz night' later on.

Posted by Genius : 11/09/2006 08:55:00 PM


Even if you take no interest in politics, it doesn't mean that politics will not take an interest in you.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/10/2006 08:04:00 AM

I don't think it is necessary to impeach Bush. A thorough investigation into his cronies will mean you just have to follow the stench to the Oval Office. They've got Rummy, now they can aim for Cheney and so on. The President will cut them all loose before the hot lead starts heading towards his interior.

Plenty of time after 2009 to investigate the little bugger anyway. While it might be nice to get him for violating the Constitution, there would be more likelihood of getting him for any illegaility that he may have allegedly committed.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/10/2006 10:19:00 AM