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Lame Duck, Loose Cannon

from Andrew Sullivan:

The only thing Washington loves less than a lame-duck president is a completely unpredictable lame-duck president. They are scared that he could do anything, without real consultation. The Libby decision was made just like the decision to authorise torture: it was done outside the normal channels of government, blindsiding key aides, and shocking the establishment. If he did this once - and he has done it many times - he could do it again. And so, for all his failure and polling dive, he retains the capacity for surprise. Which is the capacity for relevance.

This is all he's got left. The mighty power of the presidency, a predilection for sudden action, and absolutely nothing to lose. This lame duck, in other words, could quack or fly without warning. And Washington, for all its increasingly open contempt for him, is rattled by the possibility. They don't know what's coming; but they know they'll have to adjust.

Bush is a defeated man, but like an alcoholic in the gutter, he still cannot admit it, even to himself. And that's what makes him so dangerous. He's surrounded with toadies, he's untouchable by congress or the courts, he still thinks he's on a mission from God, and he'll never, ever again have to answer to the American people for the things he does.

It could be a very rough 18 months...

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Comments (7)

Bush is still the President and the fact that he doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks makes him a more dangerous opponent than if he had a stake in what happens to the next President. That is the message I got from Sullivan's article. It is a mistake to assume that means he is defeated or in denial.

Lee Ward:

It'll be interesting to see whether GWB43 draws the line.

Will he stop before he totally destroys the GOP's chances in the 2008 elections? I suspect not.

If he doesn't answer to the people of the United States, and ignores his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, who does he answer to?

"Bush is a defeated man, but like an alcoholic in the gutter, he still cannot admit it, even to himself."

That was an interesting choice of words. I'll archive it here for use when you hold forth on your next sensitivity sermon.

Paul Hamilton:

Please do. If you know anything about substance abusers, you know that the very first step in recovery in the admission that you have a problem. To this day, Bush sees nothing wrong with his war and believes that it should continue unabated. Obviously that is a self-delusion, and like a substance abuser in denial, he thinks that he can just keep doing what he's doing with no negative consequences.

And so, as long as he continues to lie to himself and the American people, the analogy fits.

Bush saw plenty wrong with the prosecution of this war and accepted the resignation of the Secretary of Defense. He has a new General on the ground in Traq. Is is executing a new strategy with the surge.
This is not remotely the action of a self delusional man. On the contrary, it looks like the action of a successfully recovering alcoholic, which he has never denied he is. He saw the need for change and made the change.

Larkin, you think this President lives in a fanatasy world? He's have made none of the above changes if he were in a fantasy world. It's very real to this president what is going on. He just refuses to cut and run when it gets tough.
The surge is working. Don't be so emboldened in your rhetoric by the sight of a few wobbly Republican Senators.

Of course, this isn't surprising since alcoholics often live in a fantasy world of their own making.

Living in a fantasy world of your own making is something psychotic people do. Alcoholics are not psychotic. I really hate to defend Dubya but when you assign bogus symptoms to his alcoholism you do a disservice to anyone who has had to deal with that particular disease.

Re: Denial

It is quite common for non-alcoholics to be in denial about some aspect of their lives that they do not want to deal with. That aspect may be an illness, a financial burden or a cheating spouse but, regardless, there is plenty of denial to go around in the non-alcoholic world. Alcoholics hardly have a monopoly on it.

Re: Bush

He is a crappy President because of the choices he has made not because he is an alcoholic.


Under Bush we've had the finest economy in history and an excellent first innings against Islamic radicalism. The next President will make the case for Bush over the next 16 months. The candidate doing the best job of this is Fred Thompson.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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