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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bunker buster

I'll ignore the cheap shot about how the travails of the Bush administration were sandwiched on the front page of The New York Times between stories about the cluelessness of Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. OK, so maybe I won't.

The Times and the Post both look at the cranking up of John McCain's Straight Talk Express -- and that straight talk should give pause to any liberal inclined to back the maverick Arizona Republican. His strong defense of the Bush mistakes suggests either a man sucking up to the conservatives who control the primaries or someone who indeed tells the truth.

While there may be a little suck-up to the people who torpedoed him in 2000, there should be little doubt that McCain is more of a truth-teller than his GOP colleagues. He looks good only because he sits closer to the center of a party that has veered sharply to the right.

But the more intriguing Times piece is on the inside. It is downright Nixonian in portraying the increasing distance between this administration and reality. Critics are neither seen nor heard. Dubya displays his usual stubbornness in believing only he has the answers and the rabble should just take him as the fount of wisdom.

The image is brought into sharp focus by looking at the standing of Andy Card and Karl Rove, who have been there from the beginning and who -- based on the strings of political disasters going back to Katrina -- are clearly burnt out and should go.

But, nay, says W. The more folks push to dump Card and Rove (who could have honorably walked away after the first term -- although it is hard to use the words honor and Rove in the same sentence) the more W digs in and threatens to hold his breath until he turns blue.

That of course was the same attitude on display in the colossal gaffe over Dubai Ports World; the same insistence that New Orleans is just a few gazillion dollars away from recovery; you know the litany by heart.

The GOP has all the makings of a classic novel: Just imagine Bush as Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg, rolling those steel balls in his hands, searching for the strawberries. The difference between this real life drama and The Caine Mutiny is the lack of heroes willing to tell the boss he's lost his grip.

Oh yeah, that and the fact that Lt. Bush, unlike Queeg, failed to report for duty.


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