I watched Bill Kristol and Karl Rove on a re-run of December’s BBC’s debate on Bush’s presidency on Saturday. Rove is so thoroughly disgraced that his name drew cat calls from what seemed to be a thoroughly middle class audience, and I suspect it would get the same just about anywhere on the planet.
Kristol is distinguished by the fact that he’s been completely wrong about so much so many times and yet is able to carry on, with that dull, arrogant grin. His championing of Sarah Palin last year was pretty firm evidence that this man is less of a, self proclaimed, conservative intellectual, and more simply, just resoundingly stupid. They way he and Rove responded to Simon Jenkins and Jacob Weisberg was simply to carry on as usual, with sneers, innuendo and intentional misrepresentation, not least when these two clowns of the ugly right, thought they had one up on Jenkins when he said that the US simply didn’t have to confine and process it’s detainees that way it had. There was a better way. In their sneers they simply looked small.
And the statement of the debate came from Kristol, who continually proclaimed victory in Iraq because:
we lost 55,000 people, we lost a war, 2 million people plus died in Vietnam and Cambodia, it was an unbelievable catastrophe, which the region took a long time to recover from, it was a terrible humiliation moral and political for the United States. That’s like Iraq? Where we’ve only lost 4,000 soldiers…
I guess non-Americans don’t count, something that seemed to be a recurring theme for both in their arguments.
But mostly they just relied on slogans, lies or convenient half truths. It’s a tactic which has served Rove well over the past decade and it seems he’s not about to move on from it, in the knowledge that the media rarely call him on such.
So it’s not really surprising to see their boss go out on similar note with his truly bizarre press conference yesterday:
But he offered no evidence he takes personal responsibility for any of those failures. The only two areas where he seemed to acknowledge that errors in judgment had been his were his penchant for cowboy rhetoric, such as saying "Bring 'em on!" to foes in Iraq, and his decision to pursue partial privatization of Social Security immediately after his 2004 re-election.
and, this howler:
Most angrily, Bush dismissed "some of the elite" who say he has damaged America's image around the world. "No question, parts of Europe have said that we shouldn't have gone to war in Iraq without a mandate, but those are few countries," he said.
Read through, it’s like something from an unfamiliar parallel universe where the past eight years veered off on another course altogether.
As he leaves the office the question is still whether this is just simple delusion or dishonesty. His fanbase, most vocally the likes of Rove and Kristol, love to say that jury is still out on Bush, and point to Truman who left office on quite a down. I’m thinking that the only part that the jury is still out on is that last question.
There are much better overviews of the Bush presidency, from better minds than mine, all over the media right now, but a week before we rid ourselves of the man, this assessment of the costs of the his years is worth a flick through.