Five steps to a better presidency

The New Republic’s Ryan Lizza has laid out a five-point plan on How Bush Can Save His Presidency. (Why TNR feels compelled to outline such a plan, I cannot explain, although at least Lizza recognizes its futility, ending the column with the note, “Next week I'll be explaining how unicorns can solve the energy crisis.”) The proposal is as follows:

1. Fire Cheney.
2. Bring in McCain.
3. Champion Reform.
4. Get Your Hands Dirty in Iraq.
5. Make Iran Policy Bipartisan.

A couple of thoughts…

1. “I believe historians will trace all of Bush's problems back to July 25, 2000, the day he picked Dick Cheney as his running mate… Cheney has been at the center of most Bush screw-ups: the energy task force investigation, the policy battle over torture, White House stonewalling of numerous congressional investigations, the Iraq war, the intelligence failures, and many more. (Also, Cheney shot someone in the face.) Now Cheney is a recurring star in the court filings of Patrick Fitzgerald.”—Bush didn’t pick Cheney as his running mate; Cheney was tasked with finding Bush a running mate and picked himself. And perhaps the reason that Cheney has been at the center of the storm is because he’s the one calling all the bloody shots. It may be the Bush presidency, but it’s the Cheney administration. Bush ain’t firing anybody.

2. “McCain is the one Republican for the job that would signal Bush cares about governing from the middle.”—Jerry Falwell has hell and gone too much influence, but he (thankfully) still isn’t “the middle.” McCain waved bye-bye to the middle long ago.

3. “Instead of acting as the leader of his party and ignoring or staying mum about the scandals engulfing Republicans, he could act as the leader of the country, distance himself from Republicans, and lead a reform effort to clean up the lobbying, campaign finance, and earmark systems.”—This idea is predicated on the assumption that Bush is aware of the corruption and scandals plaguing his party; since he only watches Fox News and listens to his inner circle of blowjob-doling sycophants, he very well may not be. If he is, he’d have to consider them a problem before he’d find himself in a position to do anything about them, and, as we all know, Bush doesn’t admit mistakes. And considering the White House policy of no-commenting on ongoing investigations, I’m not sure he’d be able to convey the effort, were it to be made, short of holding daily interpretive dance shows for the press corps.

4. “One of Bush's problems on Iraq is that he appears impotent. He doesn't seem to be doing anything except making speeches justifying the original invasion.”—Forgive the semantic pedantry, but he doesn’t appear impotent; he is impotent. He clearly has no idea what’s going on, and he clearly has no idea what to do. The Iraq invasion was a neocon dream; they pitched it to him and he bought it without reading the fine print. He didn’t concern himself with the details then, and he isn’t doing so now. Forget getting his hands dirty; he needs to take an accelerated class on what the hell his precious little war is all about.

5. “Bush should bring the Democratic and Republican leadership of the relevant congressional committees into the policy-making process. He can't make a case against Iran on his own.”—Fair point; his credibility’s shot, so he needs the Dems. Lord help us, however, if they’re foolish enough to restore his credibility by going along with some crackpot scheme of his. Again.

Drum picks out another bit of Lizza’s piece and provides a useful retort:

Bush has to overcome these two characterological features that have cemented as conventional wisdom — that he's fundamentally incompetent and that he governs for the benefit of a handful of Republican special interests.
Well, OK. Except that Bush is fundamentally incompetent and he does govern for the benefit of a handful of Republican special interests. How does one "overcome" one's very raison d'etre?

On the other hand, I like the idea of shipping Bush off to Baghdad for the rest of his term. He could start a blog and report back regularly on all the progress we're making.

(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)

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