Friday, May 23, 2008

Irrelevancies, plural

By Carol Gee

George W. Bush, our current president, OCP is taking to his lame duck role extremely well. How do I love thee for it? Let me count the ways, Mr. Bush. Just within the past week, OCP has put on a number of outstanding lame performances that have then turned into mandatory ducks for Bush's minions.

Irrelevance I: Defamatory/target-denied remarks to the Israeli Knesset regarding appeasement. Juan Cole at Informed Comment put it beautifully, (Cole's links):

After all that trouble George W. Bush caused with his foolish speech before the Israeli Knesset condemning negotiation with bad guys, it turns out that no one in the Middle East, including Israel, is paying the slightest attention to him. Even his own secretary of state seems to be disagreeing with him in public. Such are the wages of the lame duck, more especially when his favorability rating is 22%.

It turns out that Israel has been negotiating indirectly through Turkey with Syria, over Bush's strong objections...

Bush has painted himself into the corner of irrelevance. It isn't just that he is a lame duck. It is that his policy prescriptions are completely impractical and end up making his allies cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Irrelevance II: In-your-face defeat (except for $165 billion for funding the war, and defeat of a troop withdrawal deadline, alas) came Thursday for OCP. It was far from what the administration had wanted legislatively from the Senate. Votes are equivalent to snubs to a number of Bush's obstinate demands. Politico.com reports that the GI bill (by Jim Webb) along with domestic spending measures (13-week unemployment extension, LIHEAP assistance, etc.) passed 75-22. Half the Senate Republicans voted for the GI bill. OCP is threatening to veto the bill. It now goes to the House. Twenty-six Democrats, one Independent, and one Republican voted against this war funding measure.* (See Addendum, below)

Irrelevance III: The recent presidential veto of the Farm bill was overridden Wednesday and Thursday in both the House and the Senate (and except for a glitch), enacting into law 14 of the 15 titles of the bill, says Politico.com. "Title III of the 15 title bill -- which pertains to trade -- was inadvertently left off the physical bill that was sent to the president's desk. Bush vetoed the bill, and the House voted to override his veto Wednesday evening." This was the first time in history that a farm bill veto has been overridden. According to The Washington Post:

Senate Republican leaders shrugged off the concerns. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) were among the 35 Republicans who joined in the most significant legislative rebuff of Bush's presidency.

* Addendum -- Senators voting against the war funding bill include:

NAYs -- 26
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Smith (R-OR)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)


(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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