Wednesday, September 14, 2005

There And Back Again, Again 

Best line E.J. Dionne has ever written (emphasis mine):
Bush was, indeed, skilled in identifying enemies and rallying a nation already disposed to action. He failed to realize after Sept. 11 that it was not we who were lucky to have him as a leader, but he who was lucky to be president of a great country that understood the importance of standing together in the face of a grave foreign threat.
Indeed we did. But instead of being grateful to all of us for the ninety-plus percent of support we offered him, despite the deeply questionable way in which he attained the Presidency, this President and this presidency treated the citizenry of this democratic republic as a passive audience who should be grateful for the fine show, almost pageant-like, of supposed toughness and leadership they thought was all they owed to us, while we owed to them, in addition to eternal gratitude, total acceptance of anything and everything they wished to do, no questions to be asked, tolerated, and surely never answered. Not even how it was that 9/11 had happened.

If you haven't yet read Dionne's whole column, it's here.

For a fascinating gloss on our relentless quest to bring accountability to the shameless incompetence and corruption of this administration, don't miss Mark Schmitt's discussion at TMPCafe:
I think of Rove as looking at past presidencies and seeing them as weakened because they worried too much about consequences that didn't really matter, such as the judgment of history or short-term popularity. Bush 41 thought that he had to do something about the deficit, or there would be consequences. So he got drawn into the Andrews Air Force Base budget summit, which earned him a fight within his own party. But Rove recognizes that there's a lot you can get away with if you just act like you can get away with it, especially if you raise the stakes, and as a result he moves with much greater freedom. It seems to me that part of their genius is they've gotten rid of much of the "you just can't do that" mentality of politics, and stripped everything down to the bare essence of what they can get away with."
The whole post is a must-read, especially if we on the liberal/left are to succeed in taking advantage of this presidency's initial stumble in handling "Katrina," and hold them to account for the way they handle it's aftermath, not in some abstract manner, not by polls, but by convincing vast swathes of voters across the country that there is a better way to conduct democratic governance.

Julia and Sisyphus Shrugged are so excellent, so dead-on, with a style so crisp, edgy and pithy, it's sometimes difficult to link as often as I want to. Post-Katrina, her moral passion reaches the sublime. Go there and just start scrolling, and be sure not to miss this post or this one.

In a similar vein as that last post of Jullia's, don't miss Lance Mannion on what's behind the media's oddly variant takes on George W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton.

The Poor Man is playing with those Power Tools again, need I say more? Just click here.

As I warned you here, we're devoting ourselves in a series of posts to hyping Chris Mooney's just published, "THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE," except it's so good you can't really hype it. In subsequent posts we'll discuss why we think this book is so critical to organizing a cohesive movement to change control of congress in 2006, and why you'll want to read it, why you must read it, and why we all need to work to make the book a best-seller.

For now, I can report that Mooney has received a rave in Salon, and as fervent a pan at the NY Post, both require registration but both are worth a read.

Henry I. Miller, a physician and a Fellow at the Hoover Institute who established and headed the Office of Bio-Technology in the FDA from 1997 to 1994, is the attack-dog for the radical right, and his Post review is every bit as tiresome, sophomoric, and polemical as he unjustly claims Chris Mooney is being in his book.

In fact, the review fits the mold of argumentation that Mooney shows is common to much right-wing Republican rhetoric. Mooney's fundamental integrity is questioned, the evidence for which turns out to be the central thesis of his book, to wit, that though the left is not without sin in attempting to use and thereby abusing science, what has happened on the right, in the body of the Republican Party is something wholly other.
But Mooney's denials that there have been equivalent misdemeanors by the political left are wholly unconvincing. Like many critics of the Bush administration, he seems to have experienced an overnight epiphany about the importance of defensible science policy, and this raises doubt about his sincerity.
First, what Chris Mooney elucidates in his book are hardly misdemeanors, and second, after admitting exactly such minor criticisms of the Bush administration, Dr. Miller asserts that both President Clinton and Vice-President Gore were manic manipulators of the field of science in pursuit of their political goals:
Never has American government been burdened with such politically motivated, anti-science, anti-technology, anti-business, anti-social eco-babble as during the Clinton-Gore years.
In defense of that fulsome indictment, Miller offers no names, no examples, no specific incidents. Granted, this is a short review, but where, pray tell, if America suffered through eight years of such felonious folly, is the book about the "Democrat War On Science?"

Oh, and just in case you're overly impressed by that M.D and "Fellow" after Mr. Miller's name, here's an interesting discussion from The National Review online, circa June, 2004, about Al Gore's sanity, which I found genuinely revelatory:
It is now clear that Al Gore is insane," John Podhoretz wrote in his New York Post column last week, after Gore's recent anti-Bush administration tirades. "I don't mean that his policy ideas are insane, though many of them are. I mean that based on his behavior, conduct, mien and tone over the past two days, there is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely."

John is not a physician, but he's half right. Al Gore appears to suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is not treatable with medications.

Consider the diagnostic criteria for this malady:

"A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts," as indicated by the following:

"a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)." Gore demonstrated his grandiosity repeatedly. Who can forget his notorious claim that he had been responsible for creating the Internet?
Ah, the precision of science and medicine; actually that screed fails as art, as writing, and most of it fails as fact.

We're not the only bloggers excited about this book; here's Amanda at Pandagon, Kevin Drum Henry at Crooked Timber.

Worth looking at, the webpage for the book, and here it is at Amazon.

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