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Maddow writes: "After a presidency, what comes next? Not just for the president but also for the members of the administration, the president's allies in Congress, his or her political party?"

George W. Bush at a recent Republican Governors Association meeting. (photo: Getty Images)
George W. Bush at a recent Republican Governors Association meeting. (photo: Getty Images)


How George W. Bush Failed the GOP

By Rachel Maddow, The Washington Post

12 December 13

 

fter a presidency, what comes next? Not just for the president but also for the members of the administration, the president's allies in Congress, his or her political party?

In the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, no hearty saplings were ever able to take root in the shade of that big tree. No one expected Vice President Dick Cheney to ever be a contender for the presidency - part of his effectiveness was his willingness to say and do very unpopular things. When he snapped at ABC's Martha Raddatz, "So?" as she questioned him about public disapproval of the Iraq war, he wrote the perfect epitaph for his vice presidency.

But by the time the Bush era was winding down, the whole administration, including the president, was stewed in terrible, Cheney-level disapproval ratings. And now, almost no one who played a significant role in that administration is anywhere to be found in electoral politics, beyond the tertiary orbits of Punch-and-Judy cable news and the remains of what used to be the conservative "think tank" circuit.

That's true even for former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who had no formal role in his brother's administration but will probably always find the familial association an insurmountable obstacle to his own presidential hopes.

Unlike the Reagan administration, the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration, the George W. Bush presidency elevated precisely no one to the ranks of national leadership who wasn't there before. The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were like some odd eight-year cicada hatch in which the candidates went underground in 2000 and then birthed themselves after Bush and Cheney were gone, as if the intervening years had never happened.

The 2000 second-place finisher, Sen. John McCain? You're next in line for 2008! And four years later: second-place Mitt Romney? You're next in line for 2012!

The unpopular presidency of George W. Bush has proved to be a blackball on the résumés of a generation of Republican leaders. Maybe Cheney's daughter Liz will break the pattern next year with a successful Senate bid in Wyoming, but if you made it through that sentence without spitting coffee out your nose, you're in rare company.

The fascinating turmoil in the Republican Party since 2008 is not just a personnel problem - it's also ideological. If you were putting together a legacy to inspire the next generation of conservatives, you wouldn't pick the Bush administration's trailing ends of land wars, budget deficits, torture, a crusade against gay rights and a financial collapse to rival the Great Depression. The isolationism and libertarian iconography of the Ron Paul wing of the party really does appeal to young people more than Bush-Cheney Republicanism. Social conservatives really do feel backed into a corner and ready to fight against a country that is turning against them faster than most pollsters can keep up. There really is something ripe for renewal in Republicans' self-conception as fiscal conservatives, when the clear pattern is that budget deficits grow under Republicans and shrink under Democrats. The Republican Party is a churning swirl of conflicting ideological currents, and that's going to take some time to work out.

But part of the reason it may be taking so long already is those lost years: the period from 2000 to 2008 that effectively obviated the authority and the leadership potential of all of Washington's Republican elites. The George W. Bush administration didn't just cast too much shade on the next generation of leadership - it also apparently poisoned the ground.

The Obama administration's ability to nurture and support the next round of national leadership in the Democratic Party is going to be a big part of its long-term legacy. Unless Vice President Biden's presidential hinting suddenly takes a turn for the serious, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the obvious inheritor of the party's mantle. But, as in 2008, the Beltway may be overstating her inevitability. The grass roots aren't all with her, frankly, and it's yet to be seen if she's interested in trying to win them over. Mainstream press may buy big-dollar donors (and more mainstream press), but it can't buy the passionate volunteers and activists and excitement that are the oxygen for a winning campaign and sustained, effective leadership.

The collapse of national leadership prospects for the Republican Party is one of the greatest political failures and most important legacies of George W. Bush. Barack Obama looks less likely to repeat that fate, but it depends on a strong grove of nationally viable Democrats starting to grow now. The crescendo of attention to Elizabeth Warren is a healthy part of that process, as is the growing national interest in such diverse Democrats as Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, Cory Booker, Wendy Davis, Martin O'Malley, Deval Patrick, Andrew Cuomo and Amy Klobuchar.

Inside the White House, the task of growing one's own successors must seem like one of the less pressing items on the president's long daily to-do list. But the previous administration's trail of scorched earth and exiles has curtailed the prospects for the Republican Party and governing conservatism more profoundly than almost anything that administration pursued in terms of policy. It is a cautionary tale that Democrats and the Obama White House should heed sooner rather than later. Grow your successors, nurture your legacy.


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-80 # dkonstruction 2013-12-12 13:36
Why is this piece even here at all? This passes for substantive and meaningful analysis and critique? Sad.

First of all, it can be reasonably argued that on many fronts "W" did not fail the Republican Party (at least its conservative and neo con wings) at all. To name just one: was not one of the results of the "W" Presidency to continue to move the Democratic Party further to the right such that the economic debate now e.g., (as the new budget deal shows) is not whether to cut but rather how much? And, then of course there is the ongoing "war on terror" which the Dems have embraced every bit as much as "W" to the point where I some ways Obama has outdone Bush in expanding the national security state (would "W" have ever been able to get away with a Presidential kill list where he got to decide what American citizen should be killed anywhere in the world with no formal charges, arrest, trial and conviction?).

And is Maddow seriously suggesting that Hilary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo (I'm from NY) to just take two of the Dems she mentions represent anything but more of a failure (or rather betrayal) of the old "new deal" democratic tradition which if anything needs to be revived and rebuilt?

So, again, why is this piece here at all?
 
 
+105 # bbaldwin2001 2013-12-12 16:48
The piece is written by one of the most brilliant commentators in our country. W did not only failed the Republican Party he failed the country. Unfortunately, I am under the opinion that his Dad set him up for the Presidency. Jeb Bush probably would have been a far better President then - but not now. W would have been much happier keeping his base ball team and staying in Dallas with the Frat boys. It is a sad state of affairs that Bush and Cheney were ever in the White House....
 
 
-46 # nice2blucky 2013-12-12 18:18
Let's dkonstruct your comment:

"The piece is written by one of the most brilliant commentators in our country." ... Well then, there you have it; enough said. Except, objectively, you've contributed nothing to support your assertion here.

"W did not only failed the Republican Party he failed the country." ... ok. I happen to agree with you, here. ... Let's, then, see where you are going with this.

"Unfortunately, I am under the opinion that his Dad set him up for the Presidency." ... A bit vague; Not sure whether you mean that Daddy Bush paved the way for his Presidency, or his failure. Based upon your previous sentence, contextually, you should be implying that Daddy B set him up for failure. However, again, not sure where you are going with it, but I'll continue.

"Jeb Bush probably would have been a far better President then - but not now." ... Ok. This is neither here nor there and it is speculative to the point of irrelevance.

"W would have been much happier keeping his base ball team and staying in Dallas with the Frat boys." ... Here, I refer you to my last point.

"It is a sad state of affairs that Bush and Cheney were ever in the White House..." ... I agree. Others may not.; but what does this have to do with dk's comments, and certainly enough to garner any thumbs up as a response to anything written above by dk?

bbaldwin2001, do you -- and the non-commenting clickers of thumbs -- wear a little cheerleading outfit while you type?
 
 
-45 # nice2blucky 2013-12-12 20:24
It seems as some here don't wike what I wote.

And I keep hearing about how the Tea Party extremists and Republicans are anti-education, anti-intellectu al, anti-science, and impervious to logic... here at RSN. Isn't it ironic?

Ironic, yes. Surprising, no.

I'll keep this comment short, so maybe most of you here might read to the end before you click.

Like the saying goes, keep it simple for the stupids.
 
 
+17 # BKnowswhitt 2013-12-13 00:28
Tea Party originally was no taxation without representation. Your's is no taxation and you still don't represent anything that would be good for America! If you could think for yourself you wouldn't follow such an unscrupulously run and funded phoney organization ... fuck the fuckin Pee Party ...
 
 
+10 # Reyn 2013-12-13 18:13
Quoting nice2blucky:
It seems as some here don't wike what I wote.

And I keep hearing about how the Tea Party extremists and Republicans are anti-education, anti-intellectual, anti-science, and impervious to logic... here at RSN. Isn't it ironic?

Ironic, yes. Surprising, no.

I'll keep this comment short, so maybe most of you here might read to the end before you click.

Like the saying goes, keep it simple for the stupids.


From the Right or the Left utter arrogance and overweening pride have no place in civil discussion. Supercilious nonsense likewise garners little gravitas.

And I read everything you wrote.

Reyn
 
 
-11 # nice2blucky 2013-12-14 05:19
Well, Reyn, any time you want a substantive discussion, let's have it. Civility is over-rated. Say something interesting, logical, and true. Don't rationalize, use sophistry, take responsibility for your words. Keep the discussion in context. Pay attention to detail and don't cheerlead, and I am all for it.

The point of my original comment was that bbaldwin2001's reply -- now with 82 morons liking it more than those who didn't -- to dkonstruction, lacked any substance and was completely non-responsive, was well as typical of the (obvious) majority of the classless -- yes, classless; I consider it low class, and disrespectful, to disregard a perfectly legitimate criticism/argum ent without addressing in any serious or real way the redeeming qualities of an honest comment, just to cheerlead and make otherwise inane comments -- it is disgraceful that so many RSN sycophants behave so, as if prideful in it, while most often simply clicking the anonymous F-U red thumb.

So take issue with my crass rudeness, I don't hold it against you for recognizing it for what it is -- utter and total contempt for all those mindless, arrogant fools. Yes arrogant... to scoff and sneer at Republicans and Tea Party extremists, and have no standard of honest dialogue and decry and ridicule others for not being exactly on one's side is shameful ...

And you certainly must find the same characterizatio ns of which you accuse me used by you to me ironic, but it is what it is. Bring it, anytime.
 
 
+10 # George D 2013-12-14 19:42
I think what may have gotten you the dreaded "red thumbs down" is that you basically picked apart someone's opinion but failed to do exactly what you accused him of not doing. So let me give it a spin :-)

Rachel's point is that GWB's administration was a huge failure; For him, his family, his extended family and everyone associated with the regime. I think most people on both sides of the aisle would agree with that. She warns that Obama needs to "hatch" future players or risk becoming irrelevant, as GWB has become. But I disagree with that point; Or maybe I got it wrong too. GWB "poisoned" those people's futures but I doubt that anyone in Obama's administration will suffer the same fate, because of his policies and behavior in office.

I do agree with her notion that we need alternatives to "the next in line" and Elizabeth Warren is at the top of my pick list. I also like Howard Dean and Joe Biden.

And I agree that Tea Party people are misguided and completely wrong on almost every level. They have become the activists for the Libertarian party; A small faction that has never won on a national level. But they have a "divide and conquer" strategy of taking us over, one gerrymandered, disgruntled Republican district, at a time. That has worked for them a bit; Only to obstruct.
But can they get more members or does the "stupid" keep stopping them from expanding? We'll see.
 
 
-24 # nice2blucky 2013-12-12 21:48
Please, can any of the +36 explain how bbaldwin2001's comment in any way addresses dkonstruction's comment, to which it is attached?

It seems to me that bbaldwin2001 simply wants his comment to appear 2nd on the list.

Is that it, you appreciate his go-getter quality, his ingenuity? Is that a special quality to RSN readers to keep clicking the green thumb of pleasure?

I think the Koch brothers have the go-getter qualities, too.

Is having the special quality of teamsmanship, much like the lock-step Republicans so admirable that you all wear you contempt for real meaning and intelligent discourse on your sleeves as a badge of honor.

While simply clicking on thumbs, you maintain your anonymity, and therefore, do not subject yourselves to scrutiny.

However, whether or not identified by name, face, or opinion, you do reveal yourselves -- by attaching your clicks as simple cheerleading -- as as mindless as those you often criticize for lacking intelligence.

Click away. Do it often.

But the only thing disconcerting to me, and it should be to any and all on the left, is that the left is demonstrably as imbecilic as the Tea-Party extremists on the right.

And as Maxwell Smart would say, ...

Except that we are losing.

And yes, ... I know, ... "And loving it."

Click.
 
 
-20 # RMDC 2013-12-13 08:45
Rachel Maddow Brilliant??? Don' think so. She's a shallow TV commentator. Glib but shallow. take this --

"The collapse of national leadership prospects for the Republican Party is one of the greatest political failures and most important legacies of George W. Bush. Barack Obama looks less likely to repeat that fate,"

Obama is Bush II. He's doing the work of the Bush/Cheney regime but allowing the really fascist and reactionary wing of the republican party to grow because of its hatred for his race and his party. The ruling elite in the US always alternates between a republican and a democrat regime. That gives the sheeple the feeling that there are two parties and two perspectives on government. but there is not. Government is always committed to the military-industrial-banking-Israeli-complex.

It no longer matters if the repubican party collapses in a few cases like Karl Rove. Congressional districts have been so gerrymandered that republicans will always control the House. Democrat presidents will always follow the "third way" of Clinton and Blair, doing the dirty work so that the hard right wing does not have to get its hands dirty.

Bush (I and II) could never get Free Trade deals done. Clinton and Obama will enact more Free Trade Agreements (TPP) and wall street de-regulation than any Bush could have done. That is how politics is intended to work. It is the "good cop/bad cop" routine. Maddow is only pointing to bad cop Bush. but that is the plan.
 
 
+3 # sarahblackmun 2013-12-14 21:53
Maddow got her doctorate at Oxford University in the UK. Not too shallow!
 
 
0 # sarahblackmun 2013-12-14 19:03
"The piece is written by one of the most brilliant commentators in our country." So? Does this mean Rachel can never be wrong?

"W did not only failed the Republican Party he failed the country." Rachel is specific about how W. failed his party by failing to bring along the next generation. You are not specific about how he "failed the country." By broadening Rachel's argument, you make it meaningless.

"Unfortunately, I am under the opinion that his Dad set him up for the Presidency." Meaning what, that he favored a son who would fail over a son who might succeed?

"Jeb Bush probably would have been a far better President then - but not now." Why not?

"W would have been much happier keeping his base ball team and staying in Dallas with the Frat boys." W. wasn't very successful with the Texas Rangers; the team only did well after he left in 1994. It would be interesting to know what the "frat boys" of Texas think of W. as a baseball impresario.

"It is a sad state of affairs that Bush and Cheney were ever in the White House...." That's for sure, but what does this have to do with the topic Maddow's post?
 
 
0 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-12-16 09:40
"THe most brilliant commentators in our country"? Well that just shows you how bad off we are. Maddow says we must stick with these two evil greedy corporate political parties. She does not want us to have any chance of a new administation that will be a clean break with the corrupt 'representative s' we have now. This means there will be NO CHANCE for the voice of the people to be heard in this land. We will just go on enriching the wealthy until the whole thing collapses and we extinguish all human life on the planet earth. Maybe the cockroaches that replace the low lives in power now will do a better job and live will go on. The problem is with the human beings who have not yet reached the stage of any moral code of behavior. Greed is a vice and it is that and the total lack of empathy and compassion that has brought us to this state of evil. We have a chance, slight as it is, to change things and stop putting corporate lackeys in charge of our government.
 
 
-17 # davehaze 2013-12-12 18:09
dkonstruct,

A very astute post. And why all the negative response, -18 at this moment? Must be that RSN liberals still keep the faith with the Dem party's neoliberal, right-tilt president.

Clinton and Cuomo are so Republican in action and Democrats in figure of speech.
 
 
+26 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-12-12 18:20
You don't have to be a Dimocrat to loathe Republcrumbs.
 
 
-26 # D12345 2013-12-12 18:57
Great commentary dk.

After 2008 election Maddow and her crew were chortling about how the R's were through as a party....the demographics, the polling on party identification etc. We know how that came out in 2010. But your more important point is how far Bush pushed the country to the right and what a catastrophe the Democrats have been.

And what does Corey Booker or Warren have to do with Obama? And why is Corey Booker a good thing in any way?



Keep it up. Every thumb down is a badge of honor.
 
 
+10 # bmiluski 2013-12-13 13:13
"Keep it up. Every thumb down is a badge of honor."

But of course it is. Just like every bucket of water during a flood means we won't go thirsty.
 
 
+47 # rhgreen 2013-12-12 21:24
Odd, I was just thinking that Maddow's article was perceptive. Whether one agrees with her politics or not, her point is that the Bush administration didn't nurture any successors of Presidential caliber who would want to be associated with the Bush Presidency, or with the Republican Party generally. And it seems to me that her point is valid. All they bequeathed to us was Tea Party Republican right-wing-nuts , a Democrat as President for two terms, a solid Democrat Senate majority, and a House with a Republican majority due to gerrymandering at the state level (a majority of voters in House races voted for the Democrat). That is the legacy of Bush's Presidency. And the future? I think Maddow is probably correct. Sorry that is so upsetting to "dkonstruction" and other commenters here, but that doesn't make it untrue.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2013-12-13 08:51
Quoting rhgreen:
Sorry that is so upsetting to "dkonstruction"...


rhgreen, your comments are not "upsetting" to me and in fact I appreciate the comment (as opposed to the other, as of writing this, 48 thumbs down -- which also don't upset me -- wh don't say at all what they disagree with in my comment. Serious debate and discussion is what we need not mindless thumbs ups or downs. So, thanks for your comment (even if I don't agree).

To your point though, what does it matter if Bush didn't "nurture any successors" as far as the goals of the goals of the Republican Party is concerned? Isn't the important point (again, just to use the current budget "compromise" as an example) that Bush effectively moved both the repubs and the dems so far to the right that John Boehner and Paul Ryan now can with a straight face put themselves out there as the voices of reason, moderation and compromise against the "radical conservatives" in their own Party. If you ask me, this is a huge "success" for the Republicans and it can be traced right back to "W's" presidency. So, again, in what way was his Presidency a failure (again, from the perspective of the Republican Party and their conservative neo-con wings in particular?

As for Bush giving us a Democrat for two terms and a "solid Democrat Senate Majority" what has this yielded? A Democratic Party that is way further to the right than even Bill Clinton pushed it. This is a failure for the Republican Party? How?
 
 
0 # rhgreen 2013-12-19 09:00
There is too much truth in DKonstruction's reply to make me comfortable. It does have a flavor of special pleading (that there is some victory even in defeat), and Boehner & Ryan presenting themselves as voices of reason, moderation and compromise is sheer hypocrisy. But I genuinely regret the too real right-wing victories he describes. I wish the left (to the extent that there is one in the US) had the will to push as hard and as unpleasantly as the right-wing does and thus shift our parties and policies to the left. It is difficult when all the corporate propaganda and funding is on the other side, when the House (which has to originate budget bills) is gerrymandered to yield majorities from minorities, and with a Bush-appointed Supreme Court majority approving every rightward innovation - including corporate personhood and free-flow $$ to right-wing politics. That having been said, there are few honestly left-wing Democrats with the cojones to fight that fight. Even Bernie Sanders has mellowed, and he runs as an Independent thus has less clout within the Dem Party. Al Franken was promising but as US Senator from MN he has been pretty quiet. Elizabeth Warren and Bill Blasio? We'll have to see. All the strong voices are from outside electoral politics - e.g. Noam Chomsky, Greg Palast, Chris Hedges. Glenn Greenwald left for Britain and then Brazil. Colin Powell might have been good, I agree. So might have Howard Dean.
 
 
+15 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-12-13 10:01
Maddow IS correct when she says, in effect, "The Bush administration didn't nurture any successors of Presidential caliber who would want to be associated with the Bush Presidency." TRUE. TRUE. TRUE.

The negative commenters are misconstruing her article because they can't stay on topic. The Democratic Party rank and file have not moved further to the right, and neither has the nation, and I point to Obama's reelection, the wave of gay marriage, legislation to legalize pot and the refusal to invade Syria as just several examples. Republican control of state houses is also skewing the picture, passing legislation of which the states' electorates disapprove.
 
 
0 # Reyn 2013-12-13 18:18
Quoting Reductio Ad Absurdum:
Maddow IS correct when she says, in effect, "The Bush administration didn't nurture any successors of Presidential caliber who would want to be associated with the Bush Presidency." TRUE. TRUE. TRUE.

The negative commenters are misconstruing her article because they can't stay on topic. The Democratic Party rank and file have not moved further to the right, and neither has the nation, and I point to Obama's reelection, the wave of gay marriage, legislation to legalize pot and the refusal to invade Syria as just several examples. Republican control of state houses is also skewing the picture, passing legislation of which the states' electorates disapprove.


You know, I agree with you on ALMOST everything - but - I do not agree that pot legalization is Right or Left. I personally think its dangerous and harmful - and I'm as far to the Left as you are likely to find - my partner concurs with me - and he is even further Left if that's possible in the US. Drugs are NOT a Right Left issue. If you have kids (we have 3), work hard (we both do and are successful in our fields) and want them to do well - you don't support drugs, (we don't) To be fair, I also don't even make candy with alcohol - because we do not want to give ANY sign to our kids that alcohol is ever acceptable either. Yet we are certainly close to Democratic Socialists if you parsed our politics, and isn't that Left of most Americans?
 
 
+1 # sarahblackmun 2013-12-14 22:00
Colin Powell was a person of presidential caliber until he made a fool of himself before the United Nations General Assembly and the entire world. Too bad. He was a grownup and probably would have been a good president--bett er than Barack Obama, I suspect--had he not sold out his integrity to W. and his henchpersons.
 
 
0 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-12-15 14:09
The majority of the burgeoning rightwing-darli ng incarceration industry is funded and abetted by the perversion of drug criminalization in America. People are rotting in jail because they grew a frickin' WEED in their basements.

I'm a liberal and I've never smoked marijuana or knowingly taken drugs stronger than caffeine or alcohol, but I'm for decriminalizati on of pot, so my personal anecdote cancels your personal anecdote — neither of which is substantial evidence as to whether legalizing pot is a right or left issue.

Pot legalization has historically been a LIBERAL issue, and even though libertarians have begun to see the light, you're not going to see mainstream conservatives hoisting the banner for decriminalizing pot (hemp, maybe) - decriminalizing is not in their nature, and their rich prison-industry benefactors will have none of it. Although more late-to-the-lig ht-of-reason conservatives are mitigating their stances, they'll fall right back into hardliner mode if it's politically expedient for them. Note this article in the conservative National Review:

MARCH 12, 2013 1:00 AM
Marijuana: A Gift of the Left to America’s Youth
By Dennis Prager
 
 
+27 # rockieball 2013-12-12 23:37
What he did was fail his country, his oath of office, his responsibility. He let the corporations run amok and send the economy into chaos. He lead us into a disaster in Iraq instead of listen to his allies and their warnings. In Afghanistan he rushed in and left out Russia and others and now we are left still their and the so called coalition is sitting at home. He may not have failed the GOP but he sure as hell failed us the country and the world.
 
 
+1 # George D 2013-12-14 20:03
dK said "...To name just one: was not one of the results of the "W" Presidency to continue to move the Democratic Party further to the right such that the economic debate now e.g., (as the new budget deal shows) is not whether to cut but rather how much? And, then of course there is the ongoing "war on terror" which the Dems have embraced every bit as much as "W" to the point where I some ways Obama has outdone Bush in expanding the national security state (would "W" have ever been able to get away with a Presidential kill list where he got to decide what American citizen should be killed anywhere in the world with no formal charges, arrest, trial and conviction?)...."

No; I don't think any of the "affects" of the GWB regime were planned. If they were, there would have been no economic collapse. And the "War on Terror" happened to them, and wasn't planned on by them. But they certainly capitalized on it from the beginning and a lot of cronies got rich while Americans lost their lives and their jobs along the way.

The damage is evident on all fronts. It was a huge failure for America, even if it was a successful venture for a few. And it did poison the futures of people connected with GWB for very good reasons.
 
 
+69 # perkinsej 2013-12-12 14:06
Yes, I can easily agree that Bush's failed presidency has damaged tremendously the moderate Republican image. By the way, the same thing happened to Republicans in the 1930s and 1940s after Hoover.
 
 
+25 # dkonstruction 2013-12-12 14:10
Quoting perkinsej:
Yes, I can easily agree that Bush's failed presidency has damaged tremendously the moderate Republican image. By the way, the same thing happened to Republicans in the 1930s and 1940s after Hoover.


Just curious, but by the time Bush gets into office what "moderate Republican image" are you referring to? The days of genuinely moderate Republicans (particularly in leadership positions) such as Lowell Weicker (who was defeated by the, in almost all respects far more conservative so-called Dem Joe Lieberman) or Jacob Javits was long, long gone.
 
 
+44 # CAMUS1111 2013-12-12 15:27
"Moderate republican" nowadays, if one existed, presumably would refer to Mussolini or Franco.
 
 
+1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-12-12 14:52
One thing I find interesting, among others. That a "fund" was set up to "care for" the people of Haiti who were ravaged by a very destructive storm. Who headed the "fund" asking for public donations? Bush and Clinton. Need I say more?
 
 
+20 # bingers 2013-12-12 14:31
One thing I remember about Rachel's time on Air America was her begging the Republicans to make Sarah Palin the veep choice 6 weeks before the fact. I don't think anyone in the lower 48 was even aware she existed.
 
 
+42 # Marieke 2013-12-12 16:22
Well, Rachel accomplished her goal: making sure McCain would lose with Caribou Barbie as a suggest VP. Man, we sure had a close call with that woman!
 
 
+84 # reiverpacific 2013-12-12 14:36
Please don't post photos of Dimwits and/or his ghastly string-puled Cheyn-gang: It puts me off my lunch and drives me to the Scotch Whisky bottle well before my usual cocktail hour!
"Unpopular" presidency (quote)? -Not nearly enough, according to the numbskulls who actually voted for him even before the skullduggery in Florida, Ohio, other states and the bastard SCOTUS verdict, and who bought into his imbecile "Compassionate conservatism" film-flam, ignoring the fact that he'd screwed up everything he ever put his frat-brat hands on up until (and now during and beyond) his illegitimate terms in office.
"Disastrous"? Absolutely! Worst president in at least recent history (I can't go too far back and be relevant)!
 
 
+30 # giraffee2012 2013-12-12 17:25
Agree 100%. Any time I saw his "face" on TV since 2001, I either turned the channel quickly (anger welling up in me) or "shucks, I don't drink" -- there was no "or" -- just OFF --- and although I'd not like to look at the blood, all I can think about is "off with his head" (remind you of mad hatter?)
 
 
+13 # reiverpacific 2013-12-12 19:47
Quoting giraffee2012:
Agree 100%. Any time I saw his "face" on TV since 2001, I either turned the channel quickly (anger welling up in me) or "shucks, I don't drink" -- there was no "or" -- just OFF --- and although I'd not like to look at the blood, all I can think about is "off with his head" (remind you of mad hatter?)


Richard 111 -and the whole Tudor clan.
 
 
+32 # Rich Austin 2013-12-12 15:26
Of the top 100 things that need to be exposed, this piece doesn't make the list.

Corporatists in Congress are stealing what is left of our democracy.

The poor are being sacrificed to the frantic mantra of debt reduction! (By the way, if anyone really cares about the debt, try this on for size. Cutting $8 billion from SNAP over ten years will do what? $8 billion is only 0.0171% of the budget. Want to work on the debt? Have the uber-rich pony up a fee for every one of their stock, bond, and derivative transactions; cancel tax gifts to rich, including to corporations owned by rich investors.

Let's talk about real things, like the ongoing wars that now belong to Obama.

Bush? Bush the puppet? Wasted ink.
 
 
-30 # lorenbliss 2013-12-12 15:28
Apparently Ms. Maddow -- who had shown herself to have the skills of a real journalist by her unflinching coverage of how BP savaged the Gulf of Mexico and the people who were dependent on its ecosystem -- has now joined the Josef Goebbels school of Democratic propagandists.

Too bad such a talented reporter has surrendered self and potential to the closet Republicans who have captured the Democratic Party and are now serving the One Percent by forever eradicating all traces of the New Deal.

When one recognizes this piece as the agitation and propaganda it so clearly is, Ms. Maddow's function as a Democratic cheerleader becomes undeniable. The message here is merely a somewhat more sophisticated version of the biggest Big Lie in USian political history: “change we can believe in.”

Its purpose is to nullify the 99 Percent's growing demand for real socialism.

Obviously, the victory of City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant in Seattle has terrified the One Percent -- that is, the Ruling Class -- as it has not been frightened in my lifetime.

If the Occupy Movement was revolutionary prophecy (and I believe it was), then Councilwoman Sawant is the beginning of its fulfillment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3phth27dSU (This is not a speedy sound-bite; it is an eloquent, provocative presentation of why socialism is the only alternative that can save our species and our planet from capitalist malignancy.)
 
 
+41 # Tazio 2013-12-12 16:39
The Biggest Big Lie in US political history was when Ron Reagan promised the American people that he would balance the budget, but instead he increased the debt by almost 300%.

Obama on the other hand has indeed provided at least some change we can believe in such as Health Care, ending DADT, ending the GOP war with Iraq, restoring dignity to the office, etc.

BTW would you call yourself an undeniable Socialist Cheerleader?
 
 
-8 # lorenbliss 2013-12-12 19:48
Damn right I'm a socialist cheerleader: "This is what democracy looks like!"

But I had absolutely no idea the RSN readership had suddenly become so reactionary – or has been so thoroughly infiltrated by the agents of capitalism.

And I'm astounded at this sudden sainthood for Barack the Betrayer -- whose secret-police/p ersecute-whistl eblowers/total- surveillance agenda proves him to be even worse than Richard Nixon. Which makes Obama the most tyrannical president in U. S. history.

Obviously, as we can tell by the smell, an election year approaches: another dismal charade in which the Republicans will brandish their fascist swords and the Democrats will pretend to be humanitarians – only to prove themselves Republicans when elected.

Wake up, people: the Democratic Party is nothing more than the closet-fascist half of the One Party of Two Names, the cast of players who rule the USian Empire on behalf the One Percent.
 
 
-2 # nice2blucky 2013-12-12 21:24
"I had absolutely no idea the RSN readership had suddenly become so reactionary – or has been so thoroughly infiltrated by the agents of capitalism."

Not "agents of capitalism," unprincipled, willfully blind, delusional, rationalizing cheerleaders of anti-Democratic Party/pro-corpo ritist Democratic Party facilitators of the neo-con agenda.

At least Tazio did something other than click a thumb. However, his "biggest lie" is just not, and enormous deficit spending is 100% typical of Republican administrations for over 60 years; and Democrats or not, except Obama. Hmmm.

Since all that is needed to begin the implementation of Single-Payer is to remove the age restriction for Medicare, and Obamacare codifies the insurance industry within the HEALTH CARE system, and makes it illegal for the government to negotiate for cheaper pharmaceuticals , creates an enormous and costly bureaucracy, and fails to adequately address cost cutting measures, though it may do something, it is very bad; also, Obama sold out from the beginning.

DADT partially implemented [but credit where credit due] -- excpet that, had Obama not acted in this capacity, he was not only fighting the tide of history (it is a social issue, not financial), had he not, he would have achieved almost nothing remotely progressive; it was a no brainer.

However, Obama wanted to stay in Iraq, and even in leaving, still has many thousands of contractors to this day... sorry, no credit, Tazio, to Obama on that...
 
 
-1 # Reyn 2013-12-13 18:26
I know you aren't going to believe me, but hear me out, please. The reason that socialism has so little cachet in the US is NOT the GOP and its propaganda. I guarantee this. it is the fact that like other small movements its supporters can become bitter and being bitter brittle and being brittle lash out at everyone around them - thus destroying the credibility of those who agree with them otherwise. They also become exclusionist and refuse alliances. The perfect becomes the enemy of the good.

You are demonstrating that perfectly. Don't - -you do your movement far more good as a cheerleader for everything on the Left. That is how mass is accrued and change eventually made.

Trust the old gay Leftist.
 
 
+2 # nice2blucky 2013-12-14 07:43
Principles are often what separates good from bad and, while reasoned compromise -- not capitulation cast as compromise -- can be a necessary evil, what is often characterized as political realities, are inane, disingenuous excuses, which are lapped up by the blindly-trustin g party faithful, who zealously and arrogantly spout spoon-fed, contrived rationale and talking points; these willfully blind, delusional Republican-fear ing sycophants are effectively running cover for entrenched, establishment leaders and lackeys. With sophistry as their tool, they confuse issues and facts, and waste precious opportunities and efforts of the principled left to implement better strategies, ensure a reality-based narrative, and effect real change.

What destroys the credibility of D-Party loyalists is defending the indefensible, the actions of Democratic politicians.

These loyalists are as guilty as the complicit, corrupt, and inept Democratic Party in furthering and facilitating it's corporatist/fas cist agenda.

Attacking Republicans politicians and the rest of the loony right will not ever change this fundamentally broken system. And while perfect may very well be the enemy of the good, not good enough and horribly bad are worse to the good.

Also, are you actually advocating cheerleading... for everything? Over principle, over critical and objective analysis and reflection?

I agree that change most often comes with mass movements, but you cannot be serious. Say it ain't so.
 
 
-1 # tigerlille 2013-12-13 18:48
About 4 years ago I discovered Rachel Maddow and MSNBC (don't watch much tv). At first I was excited, but quickly became disenchanted. Al Sharpton? What a hack. Rachel Maddow was a huge disappointment because she consistently skirts major issues by her failure to scrutinize President Obama. She is capable of brilliance, and can be quite entertaining. But as I became cognizant of her failures by omission, I became less and less amused. Describing her as a cheerleader for the Democratic party is quite an accurate summation. I stopped wasting my time with MSNBC some time ago; it's a corrupt channel.
 
 
-28 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-12-12 15:41
VOTER'S LAMENT #2 (final verse)

(for the original VOTER'S LAMENT, pull it up under Rita Ague on www.google.co.uk)

When it's Oh Bomb Ah's and Al Gore's time,
Then it's Oh Bomb Ah's and Al Gore's crime,
'Cause bad Bushwhacking is still in place
Droning 'n cloning with full Bush disgrace.
 
 
+16 # Marieke 2013-12-12 16:25
Errrr - what???????
 
 
+51 # Mrcead 2013-12-12 15:49
Bush was the sled dog and Cheney the musher. Cheney got what he wanted but he really should get what he deserves.
 
 
+22 # Farafalla 2013-12-12 15:50
Isn't MSNBC owned by Microsoft and mega corp media? Didn't they dump Keith Olbermann for his opposition to Bush?

I have no cable. I don't watch Maddow even though I like her commentary at times. But I can't figure out why a dyed in the wool liberal would be giving advice to conservatives as to how they can become more attractive to voters. Conservatives are morally corrupt. Give them no quarter.
 
 
+3 # soularddave 2013-12-13 09:50
Ms Maddow can say whatever to conservatives. They certainly aren't listening to her.
 
 
+29 # chuckw38 2013-12-12 16:13
GWB has failed not only the USA with his deceitful lies and heinous behavior towards innocent civilians and CHILDREN in Iran having been bombed & mutilated by his drones, he failed his office as President (or in His terms: Prezident) with his behavior and lies ad infinitum!!! He deserves to be held accountable!!! ASAP!!!
 
 
+14 # Marieke 2013-12-12 16:24
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that'll ever happen.
 
 
+10 # cy31b 2013-12-12 21:48
The blogs here are an indication of the dedicated opposition to civility that runs rampant in America. Name calling and statements unsupported by facts are commonplace. One blogger questions why Ms. Maddow's piece is even here, although it is well written and accurate in its presentation. It caused me to ask if there are any writers on the Republican side who currently write so clearly. They would be welcomed if they exist.
 
 
-3 # dkonstruction 2013-12-13 08:59
Quoting cy31b:
The blogs here are an indication of the dedicated opposition to civility that runs rampant in America. Name calling and statements unsupported by facts are commonplace. One blogger questions why Ms. Maddow's piece is even here, although it is well written and accurate in its presentation. It caused me to ask if there are any writers on the Republican side who currently write so clearly. They would be welcomed if they exist.


Yes, I questioned why it was here and that it represented serious or meaningful critique (though I agree it is well written). I welcome a diversity of views (even from conservatives) when they are serious, thoughtful and substantive. But, respectfully (see, I also agree with you about civility) I find nothing in this piece that reflects any of this. So, again, given how far this both the Republican and Democratic parties have moved to the right since "W" (and which I argue is a direct result of his Presidency though it was a process begun by Reagan, if not by Carter in some ways) how in any way is "W's" presidency a "failure" for the Republican Party? I did not say that his Presidency wasn't a failure for the country (i.e., that I think Bush was a good or "successful" President from the standpoint of the types of policies and change I would like to se in this country) but this was not what Maddow was saying.
 
 
-1 # nice2blucky 2013-12-14 08:14
Crickets, crickets.
 
 
+22 # ganymede 2013-12-12 22:25
I think some of us are getting tired of the Obama bashing from the left. Surely, he's no angel and, yes, if Romney had been elected maybe we would have had a serious social and political revolution, but I think not. Maddow, as usual, is on the ball in her deconstruction of the rightwing's demise. Obama, with all his faults will go down as one of our better presidents. he's the first to at least open the door on our eventually getting Medicare for all. He's already kept us out of a couple of wars despite his extralegal drone killings, and, guys and gals he inherited a total disaster and has had total opposition from these pathetic and idiotic Tea Partiers, Get a grip, this is 2013, this is America, and progressive values and politics are finally on the march.
 
 
+16 # Tazio 2013-12-13 00:48
Thanks Ganymede.
I was going to write a reply to the comments I drew above but your post does it pretty well for me.

And as you said, Maddow is usually on the ball. She's one of the brightest people in her field. She can keep her head, and keep track of the intellectual argument at hand, while a half dozen people around her are spouting right wing nonsense. And she can do it all with a sense of humor too.
 
 
-3 # dkonstruction 2013-12-13 09:01
Quoting ganymede:
I think some of us are getting tired of the Obama bashing from the left. Surely, he's no angel and, yes, if Romney had been elected maybe we would have had a serious social and political revolution, but I think not. Maddow, as usual, is on the ball in her deconstruction of the rightwing's demise. Obama, with all his faults will go down as one of our better presidents. he's the first to at least open the door on our eventually getting Medicare for all. He's already kept us out of a couple of wars despite his extralegal drone killings, and, guys and gals he inherited a total disaster and has had total opposition from these pathetic and idiotic Tea Partiers, Get a grip, this is 2013, this is America, and progressive values and politics are finally on the march.


If the point of Maddow's piece was to point to or talk about the "rightwing's demise" then it is even more off-base then I originally took it to be. In what sense is there any indication that there is a "rightwing demise" in this country? If anything, the rightwing has won a huge victory by moving the Democratic Party so far to the right that some Democrats appear more Republican than Democrat (at least when measured against the old New Deal Democrat.
 
 
-1 # tigerlille 2013-12-13 19:36
You're are tired of Obama bashing, and believe that Obama is doing the best he can under difficult circumstances to promote a progressive agenda. Talk about selective perception. Please explain to me what is so progressive about indefinite detention? A refusal to alter the basic foundation of the unconstitutiona l surveillance state? Unprecedented, and literally vindictive and viscious persecution of whistleblowers? His cozy relationship with Wall Street, and the utter refusal of his DOJ to hold them accountable for their crimes? His administration' s secretive participation in and support of TPP? Apparently you are willing to concede his "extralegal" drone assassination program. What about his flouting of international law and refusal to respect the rights of sovereign nations?

The mean old Republican obstructionist Congress and the Tea Party did not make him do these things! These actions are who President Obama is, and they are his agenda, and his legacy.

You can write a coherent sentence, why can't you think coherently?

If our "democracy" can survive the Obama presidency, he will go down in history as one of the worst, and most corrupt presidents ever, if only for his ability to look you straight in the eye while blathering progressive jabber, and then turning around and acting in the exact opposite manner.
 
 
-5 # BKnowswhitt 2013-12-12 23:07
One thing Obama et al could gain from Bushie and Maddow too does not get is this. They don't CARE what you think!!! And they are willing to risk it all to gain their agenda. Bush/Cheney got away with it all. They don't respect an 'Other Side' that has no balls. And Obama has none compared to them even remotely. When they are back in power .. we will all regret how The Dems had it in their hands and Fumbled The Ball(s) - due to lack of ..
 
 
-4 # RLF 2013-12-13 08:19
You're right but you assume that Obama isn't achieving exactly want he wants and doesn't give a shit what the left thinks. He is a Republican in Dem. clothing.
 
 
+7 # bmiluski 2013-12-13 13:20
If you mean bush/cheney behavior during Katrina is how they had balls, I'm wondering what sort of animals you are thinking of.
 
 
-7 # RLF 2013-12-13 08:17
"almost no one who played a significant role in that administration is anywhere to be found in electoral politics"

But many of his administration can be found working for Obama...that was the first sign for me that we had elected a traitor!
 
 
+10 # RMDC 2013-12-13 08:24
THey always pick such insulting pictures of Bush. He looks like chimpanzee. In fact, he does have the intelligence of a chimp.

The fact is that Bush was never really president. Cheney was. Bush played games, rode his bike, talked about his pet goat and when Cheney needed him to make a statement he was wheeled up on stage and stumbled through a written text. It was clear he'd never seen the text and did not know what it was about.

Bush was the perfect simulacrum for his time and for the state of affairs in the repubican party. It was a party of fraud. Karl Rove was the puppet master and Cheney was the evil genius. They hated government and hated elected officials. Cheney was really never elected. He was came along with Bush and did whatever he wanted.

The complete contempt for the american people, government, democratic processes by Cheney and Rove and the whole republican leadership is the story here. The nation is not finished with this gang of psychopaths and fascists.
 
 
-7 # moafu@yahoo.com 2013-12-13 08:55
Politicians are self-serving. At one time there was an attitude of public service. There may even be altruistic entrants into Congress for the first time with a servant's approach. They soon become jaded.

Gassett in his book "The Revolt of the Masses" said it well. The masses WILL react.

MSNBC's ratings are the bell-weather for its own destiny. First Olberman, then Bashir...next Madow, Harris-Perry, Sharpton.....we ll, for that matter, MSNBC also. Blind tunnel vision.
 
 
-5 # tgemberl 2013-12-13 12:26
Don't be too hard on G.W. Bush. The Reagan years were glory days for Republicans, and he was basically just trying to follow Reagan's legacy. Actually more faithfully than his father did.

What I consider hypocritical are people who say Reagan was a great president but G.W. Bush was a bad one. Some people claim Reagan was more moderate, but I think that was only because he was just starting to push the "government is the problem" policies Republicans carried further later.

In the 80's when Reagan started to pursue those policies, the US was far richer than any other country in the world, so we could afford to be delusional for awhile. By the 2000's, we couldn't.

I don't think G.W. Bush was himself an evil person. You can tell he worked hard: the presidency aged him a lot. And his wife and daughter appear to be decent people. I think you can somewhat judge people by the others in their lives.
 
 
+7 # bmiluski 2013-12-13 13:23
Worked hard at what???!!! He spent half of his presidency on vacation. He took off on vacation knowing that a category 6 hurricane was heading for New Orleans. If this is what your idea of working hard is then what the hell do you do for a living?
 
 
-5 # tgemberl 2013-12-13 14:39
Well, scratch the last paragraph I wrote on personal qualities if you don't like it.

I think the important thing to recognize in talking about the Republicans today is the lasting influence of Reagan. They believe he was the one who "made America great again," so they're resistant to any move away from his philosophy.

I think we need to recognize there were some good things about Reagan. When he stood at the Berlin Wall and said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," you can't help but cheer. But it's doubtful the downfall of communism was really due to him to any great degree. It was already dying before he came to office. It collapsed from within.

My point is: if we recognize the centrality of Reagan for Republicans and that there were some good things about him, it gives us a better opportunity to dialog with them. If we insist on continuing to fight the battles of the Cold War, we're not going to get anywhere.
 
 
+5 # bmiluski 2013-12-13 15:27
It's hard to have a discussion with people who met in the Library of Congress and pledged to make Obama a one term president as their #1 priority. Not the welfare of this country but the welfare of their party. Every one of those people should be tried for treason.
 
 
0 # tgemberl 2013-12-13 15:42
But how do you know that isn't just a "sound byte"? Whenever someone from an opposing party is elected, don't people hope they'll be one term? I agree it was a crass thing for McConnell to say when the microphones were on.

A lot of politics is party spirit. I think we mostly choose which faction we want to belong to when we're in our 20's, and then spend the rest of our lives looking for evidence we made the right choice. It's a rare person who can change his political affiliation late in life.

If Patty Murray and Paul Ryan made an agreement, it sounds like they're "having discussions."
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2013-12-16 11:14
It wasn't just a "sound byte". It was confirmed by some of the people that were there in that library when the pledge was taken.
 
 
+2 # Saberoff 2013-12-13 20:43
The Fascists knew exactly what they were doing when they installed W. They knew damn well once Bush got through with America there would be no need for another Republican on the thrones of power for a long, long time to come. 9-11: Case closed.
 
 
+2 # luvdoc 2013-12-14 01:44
Bushie boy is a classic 'dry alcoholic', and a tragic fool. luvdoc
 

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