Presidential Egg-on-Face Liveblog
Before Mr. Bush steps to the podium, I do want to continue to chime in about the progressive netroots difference. We took this election, we moved this party in the right direction. Without the progressive movement, Rahm Emanuel would have backed even more corporate Democrat-lites who lost big like Ken Lucas and Mike Weaver. The country wanted change and wanted that change to be distinct. Carol Shea-Porter is an amazing victory in NH-01. She's a true citizen legislator, a social worker who won without any national support whatsoever. Contrast that with Tammy Duckworth in IL-06, a fine patriot but an out-of-district candidate who Emanuel, with something like an obsession, lavished $3 million dollars on in a year when so many races were close and so many other worthy candidates needed that money. There are stories like that up and down the line. It's useless to keep carping about it, but the bottom line is that progressives took the House, and good candidates won for the Democrats in spite of the leadership.
Wow, the news just came fast and furious. Montana is ours, Michael Steele finally conceded, and the AP is reporting that Rumsfeld's gone. Wow.
Here's the Prez. "Why all the glum faces?" The only glum face is yours.
Bush is starting off with the boilerplate. Nothing unusual here. Then he laid an egg with the worst joke about drapes I've ever heard. Bush is sounding the call of bipartisanship. I don't understand how anyone can believe him.
...alternative energy gets a mention very early. There's some movement on the ground for this. Bush is basically saying no change on Iraq. I don't think Rumsfeld leaving changes the policy. The Baker-Hamilton commission will be the dodge where a different policy might be added, but I don't see it.
...Will the press understand Bush's statement JUST LAST WEEK that Rumsfeld was there until the bitter end as a FLIP-FLOP? Robert Gates has been tapped for the position. He's the former director of the CIA. I feel like he'll be a cipher, just like everyone else in the Cabinet right now. Gates, interestingly enough, is on the Baker-Hamilton commission.
...now he's ADDRESSING the terrorists. "We still want to get you." Is this necessary? What a loser.
...first question on Iraq. Usual "I want the troops coming home to victory." What IS victory? Why doesn't anyone challenge him on that? Now about Rumsfeld. He talked to Robert Gates ON SUNDAY. Before the election. The writing was on the wall.
...Now he just admitted that he lied to the press about saying Rumsfeld was staying on. Literally, he just said "I lied to you because I didn't want anyone to know my plans."
..."I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows what I know." Printed without comment. He also just admitted that Rumsfeld was out regardless of the election results.
...The media is pouncing on a lot of Bush and Cheney's remarks from the campaign trail. He can't hide from them. Bush has governed the country in an incredibly divisive fashion and now he's trying to be the great conciliator. It won't work.
..."Somehow it seeped into the consciousness that I was just 'stay the course'." Yeah, that probably came about because of the 500 times you said "stay the course" over the last three years.
...follow-up on the admission that he lied to reporters. And he backtracked on it, lying again on top of admitting the lie. "I think it's wrong for decisions to be affected by politics." Meanwhile he said that the election affected his opinion of working with the Democrats.
...talking about common ground on the Democrats 100-hour agenda. He's not going to let it go without a fight. Mentioned
"compensation for small businesses" with regard to the minimum wage.
..."It was a thumpin'."
...? on will your leadership style change. He dodges. Says "we gotta work with the Democrats," but his heart isn't in it. George Bush will govern in the same exact way as he has for 6 years. He tried to make the Congress irrelevant when the Republicans were in the majority. You think it'll change now that it's the other way around?
...the backtracking is breathtaking here. Bush is claiming that Democrats support the troops, that they don't want to leave Iraq. My head is about to explode.
...Bush is going to visit VIETNAM soon? What kind of imagery do you want to show to the world with that one?
...OUCH! "I obviously was working harder in the campaign than (Karl Rove) was." It was a joke, but a joke with a hint of the truth in it. Bush is trying to keep down the anger, but it's seeping out.
...He's now not talking about Social Security, but "entitlements." Interesting turn of phrase there.
...Talk on immigration now. Let's be clear. The Republican Party believes that bipartisanship is date rape. I'm not making that up, Grover Norquist has said it. Their vision of bipartisanship is "you agree with me". Glenn Greenwald has the same thoughts.
It is vital to remember that we already have a constitutional crisis in our government. The choice is not whether to create one (since it already exists), but whether to confront and battle it, or acquiesce to it (as the Republican Congress has done). While it is nice that Democrats have taken over the Congress, it is vital to remember that we have a President who has repeatedly made clear that Congress is irrelevant in our system of government and cannot limit the President in any way. Re-establishing the rule of law -- and the principle that the President is not above it -- is still the most compelling priority for our country.
Mike Allen reports that they're not even going to try and be bipartisan in any way. They're not even going to fake it. Bipartisanship in my mind means returning the classic role of the Congress back to prominence, and working together to make compromises, but enact real legislation that the public truly wants.