Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bush the unhinged?


We're starting to see various "could be true, might not" stories being floated from various quarters, with one thing in common: Bush is losing it, and he's alienating Republicans while doing so. And they're not coming from DailyKos or Moveon.org.

First, in a column in the Dallas Morning News, columnist Georgie Ann Geyer reports the following:

But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."

A vivid picture, and it sounds eerily similar to this one from a few weeks back (indeed, it's possible they're describing the same event):

we're hearing that some big money players up from Texas recently paid a visit to their friend in the White House. The story goes that they got out exactly one question, and the rest of the meeting consisted of The President in an extended whine, a rant, actually, about no one understands him, the critics are all messed up, if only people would see what he's doing things would be OK...etc., etc.

This is called a "bunker mentality" and it's not attractive when a friend does it. When the friend is the President of the United States, it can be downright dangerous. Apparently the Texas friends were suitably appalled, hence the story now in circulation.

Note, however, another similarity between the two: the allegations are anonymously sourced and entirely uncorroborated.

Then there's this little doozy from the Washington Times:

The Republican National Committee, hit by a grass-roots donors' rebellion over President Bush's immigration policy, has fired all 65 of its telephone solicitors....

The solicitors were indeed fired, that much is true. But take this with a huge grain of salt, because it's anonymously sourced, the RNC denies it, and the Washington Times is not above little hit jobs like this on policies it doesn't like.

Are the stories true? It's impossible to tell, so unless some confirmation pops up the rational answer is "no." But a lot of people -- not all of them Bush haters -- will readily believe them because they're plausible. Bush's immigration policy isn't popular with a significant element of his base. Bush's Iraq misadventure has left him increasingly isolated and at odds with public opinion. The stories are appealing precisely because they're plausible.

But speaking as a frequent Bush critic, let's stick to provable facts. There are enough of those to work with; no sense in trafficking in rumor on top of it. Doing so is what gives rise to conspiracy theories and urban legends, and we have quite enough of those already.

Update: Mary Katharine Ham has a friend who lived the RNC donation story -- from the donor side.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the there is some real brainstorming going on regarding the decisions on the war that need to be made in the late summer and fall. I guess anyone refreeing the sane faction(read gates, condi etc) and the insane faction (read the VP etc) will themselves go unhinged. Particularly when they themselves went with the insane faction so far with no results.
GK

6/01/2007 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most important thing you said......"the allegations are anonymously sourced and entirely uncorroborated." I doubt very seriously that anyone who would say such things are "friends" of the President's. Friends don't talk like that behind their friends' back and especially don't go to the press.

I'm one of the Republican's base. And YET I am supportive of the immigration legislation. At the SAME TIME, however, I'm really NOT thrilled with it. So, I think I'm representative of how a lot of people feel about it. IMHO, it's at least TRYING to do something to address the problem----something no administration has even tried for the past 15 or so years, when they've basically shut their eyes to all the illegals coming in.

Now we are in a situation where no plan to address the issue is going to be totally palatable. And it may still need some tweaking. But let's be realistic: no way is this country going to round up 12 million illegals and export them. NOT a Republican administration and NOT a Democrat administration. So, let's do the 3 main things we NEED to do:

1) Secure the borders now to stop the bleeding and so that we don't continue our old ways.
2) Give those here illegally a way to EARN legal status over a period of time so that they can become LEGAL, tax-paying citizens and can start to assimilate. REQUIRE that they do this or leave.
3) Send those who refuse to abide by the new legislation back to their country of origin.

BTW, I think we all should realize it's a very difficult problem. One that does not go strictly along party lines.

JP5

6/01/2007 9:33 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

GK: Yeah, like I said, it's plausible. But that's no reason to accept unsourced claims as fact.

JP5: While friends probably wouldn't go to the press, I'm sure they would discuss among themselves if the President behaved oddly in their presence. And it wouldn't take too much of that for the word to leak out from a friend of a friend, for instance.

But thus far there's no actual evidence of that occurring.

Thanks for the thoughtful points on immigration. The devil is, of course, in the details. It's not particularly easy to seal our lengthy border, and the idea of making 12 million illegals conform to a new program or get out assumes a level of knowledge and control over that population that we have never had.

In many ways it's a resource issue: is the solution worth the high cost of implementation and enforcement? And what if the cost of the cure exceeds the cost of the problem?

My more complete thoughts on the problem are, of course, here.

6/01/2007 10:19 AM  

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