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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The Waterboy Retires

Let's face it, as far as Speakers of the House go, Denny Hastert (a.k.a. the one carrying the water for the Bush-led GOP) was lacking. He was lacking in his ability to unite the Congress as a whole; he was lacking in his ability to curb those in his won party whose own self-interests took precedence over the nation's interests; he was lacking in any attempt at trying to police his GOP underlings before or after their mis-deeds; and he was lacking in his dealings with the White House as they reamed the American people, drained the US Treasury and depleted our armed forces. And now Denny-Boy, the ex-wresting coach and the man who was two heartbeats from the biggest job in the world is retiring.

How's that saying go? Yee-Ha!

Hastert was blamed, at least partially, for his party's ignominious defeat in the 2006 Congressional elections. As you all know, US Representatives in the house are up for re-election every two years and the turnover was larger than expected.

"If Denny ever decided to leave, his Capitol Hill presence would be greatly missed,"
-Ron Bonjean, a former senior aide to Hastert

Mr. Bonjean is referring to Hastert's way of appealing to other House Republicans, and as compared to the tactics of former Majority leader Tom DeLay, I'm sure that Denny was a class guy. But even as he decides to leave his comfy (and large) seat in the lower chamber of Congress, one has to really try and figure out what he had accomplished for the nation (not for his party) during his GOP record breaking term (eight years) as House speaker.

I'm waiting...

Some of you might remember that it was Hastert, through his staff, who tried to hide the fact that then-Rep. Mark Foley (REPUBLICAN-FL) was hitting on under-aged male House pages, with varying success. Other events which happened during the Hastert years were the bill for one person (Terri Schiavo), a political stunt designed to appease the Religious Right, and record-setting earmarks designed so his GOP brethren could bring home some bacon at the expense of the US taxpayer.

Ah... the good old days...

Hastert's Illinois District, which resembles many suburban GOP-dominated districts throughout the country, has always given the former speaker comfortable margins of victory. However, from his high of 72 percent of the electorate, Denny-Boy's numbers have drooped to a mere 60 percent, and many believe that his seat would have been up for grabs come 2008.

"In the current environment, the Democrats are going to take a look at any district like this, particularly if it's an open seat,"
-Nathan L. Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report

As well they should.

Remember, on the eve of the 2006 mid-term election, it was none other than Karl Rove who predicted not only a GOP win in both houses of Congress, but significant gains as well. And although he and President Bush (and his policies) have taken much of the heat for the losses, many, especially in his own party, blame Hastert equally, if not more so for them.

In any respect, I say good-bye and good riddance to a do-nothing leader who cared more for the few than the many. His presence won't be missed.

-Noah Greenberg

Coming Home?

General David Petraeus, the leader of the troops on the ground in Iraq; the guy whom all of the nation (the US that is) waits on for a September assessment on Iraq and its US troop levels; the man who supposedly "wrote the book on counterinsurgency", said he and his staff were "trying to do the battlefield geometry right now" on troop realignments and withdrawals come next Summer.

"We know that the surge has to come to an end, there's no question about that. I think everyone understands that by about a year or so from now we've got to be a good bit smaller than we are right now."

What? Now wait just a gosh-darn minute here, Gen. Leader. I thought that the surge isn't even at full strength yet. As a matter of fact, the Commander-in-Chief (George Bus) without his brain (Karl Rove) as recently as a month ago said that the troop surge hasn't even really begun as of yet.

"They just showed up, and they're now beginning operations in full. And in Washington you've got people saying, 'Stop.'"
-Bush, in early July

Hey Georgie-Boy, they're saying "Stop!" in Baghdad, too. General Patraeus that despite the "Surge", and the President's expectations of it, the troops need to start coming home. It isn't a question of when any more.

"The question is how do you do that ... so that you can retain the gains we have fought so hard to achieve and so you can keep going. Again we are not at all satisfied where we are right now. We have made some progress but again there's still a lot of hard work to be done against the different extremist elements that do threaten the new Iraq."

Well, if one were to examine Iraq and its counterinsurgency as it stands right now, one would see that the people of Iraq, and more to the point, the Sunnis, are sick of the fighting and have taken up arms against those who are against them. Originally, those they felt were against them were our American troops and today, many of the Sunnis are fighting al Qaeda. Some of you might remember that al Qaeda wasn't even inside of Iraq before the ineptitude of the Bush administration invited them in during the initial occupation hours.

The shift in attitude from American-hater to American-tolerator has been termed "a pretty big deal" by the General, and it is. But it's not of our doing. With foreigners in the form of a loosely aligned al Qaeda in Iraq (as aligned with Osama bin-Laden's al Qaeda) trying to take over in Anbar Province, the Sunnis there decided to fight back.

"You have to pinch yourself a little to make sure that is real because that is a very significant development in this kind of operation in counterinsurgency. It's all about the local people. When all the sudden the local people are on the side of the new Iraq instead of on the side of the insurgents or even al Qaeda, that's a very significant change."

And its a change we welcome. But more significantly, it's a change that would have come whether we were there or not. and it's a fight that might have been a bit easier for the Sunnis had there not been 190,000 weapons lost to the likes of al Qaeda in Iraq. There can be no doubt that at least some of those weapons ended up in the hands of our enemy, whether it be by oversight or by Iraqi military personnel selling the guns they received in order to buy food and clothes for their children. One has to wonder how many American guns and bullets killed American personnel.

And let's not forget that the man in charge of the missing guns prior to his promotion was none other than General David Patraeus himself. With all of the bogus Medals of Freedom being handed out by President Bush, and all of the less-than-qualified loyal Bushies being promoted, you have to ask yourself when ineptness will stop being promoted.

Then again, this is the Administration of Diminished Responsibility.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "So now that Bush's brain MC Rove is gone, has the Lame Duck President turned into a Lame Brain?" Eddie Konczal writes:

Saying someone is a "lame brain" implies they have a brain to begin with. That's giving Bush too much credit. Now that his Brain is gone, Bush is Brain-less.

"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind... How true that is." Dan Quayle, addressing the United Negro College Fund

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-Noah Greenberg