Sunday, July 12, 2009

Obama's popularity declines, and the investigations begin 

Call me a cynic, but I am not in the least surprised that a couple of weeks after Barack Obama's strong approval/disapproval ratings took a turn to the unfavorable and Obamacare is looking less like a lead pipe cinch it is suddenly time to investigate the Bush administration.

UPDATE (Monday 5:30 am): This story from the morning's New York Times basically says that the pressure to investigate Bush-era intelligence and interrogation practices is indeed coming from the left, and that the Obama administration is resisting it because it believes that a Congressional or prosecutorial investigation would be a circus that will disrupt his domestic agenda. Well, if the Obamans are right, then we have a delicious double irony: Lefty Dems are going to wreck their last, best opportunity to socialize medicine out of their zeal to prosecute Bushies, and Republicans are going to get a shot at stopping the legislative juggernaut because the Democrats want to throw them in jail.


By Blogger joated, at Sun Jul 12, 07:25:00 AM:

It's become obvious they powers that be need a distraction from what they are dooing--a red herring, if you will--to divert the public from looking too closely at what they are trying to rush through congress. Hence their helpers in the media are going to put more folks in Alaska to probe even deeper into the psyche of Sarah Palin and on the trail of alleged misdeeds of the Bush administration.  

By Anonymous IndispensableDestiny, at Sun Jul 12, 07:52:00 AM:

Can show trials be far behind?  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Jul 12, 08:25:00 AM:

Let's not forget the poor fireman who was vindicated by the SCOTUS decision to overturn Sotamayer's decision.

He is now being heavily investigated for "job performance issues" according to a link on Drudge.

Do you sometimes feel that Washington regards us like kittens...and hauls out the squeaky toys everytime we need to have our attention diverted?

They may not be far off the mark.  

By Anonymous meta-4, at Sun Jul 12, 08:50:00 AM:

...I must say this administration is carrying out it's "audacity" pledge very well. btw, there's also an effort to smear Douglas Feith author of 'War and Decision' and powerful advisor to the Defense Dept in the runup to Iraq War II.

This adminstration has a deep desire to "punish" anyone and everyone who came before them, except of course, fellow travelers like the Clintons.

All I can say is if you think O' Bumble's approval ratings are dropping fast now, wait til this s**t hits the fan......new change won't wait 'til 2010.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 12, 11:18:00 AM:

The irony is that all the over-the-top accusations made against the Bush Administration (more people killed than Saddam! flushing the Koran! killed people in New Orleans--in fact he CAUSED Katrina!) have inoculated GWB et al. against just about anything. Any revelations (ooh, CIA didn't tell everything to Congress, probably because Cheney didn't want it to be on the front page of the NYT the next day) can't possibly live up to the hype.

Irony #2: these "investigations" into alleged misbehavior by a previous Administration open the door into similar investigations when the worm turns. And because there are currently no checks and balances within government or without (the courageous truth-to-power media is investigating those without power, e.g. Cheney, Palin, fireman), those investigations by a future Administration or Congress promise to be very damaging.

I'd hold off on those plans to put BHO's visage on Mount Rushmore.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 12, 11:21:00 AM:

Link ... I posted this here elsewhere yesterday:

Holder says he's making the decision on whether to further probe Bush-era torture on his own, without input from Obama. Holder also has a bridge he wants to sell you.

This is not something Holder has to pursue. He could have made this decision months ago, if he was going to make it. Now there's a puff piece in Newsweek that uses anonymous sources to say he's leaning this way. It's a setup.

It'll happen if and only if Obama needs a distraction in the next few months. If unemployment continues to climb, Obama may have to drag out the Cheney Monster once again.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 12, 12:08:00 PM:

Link folow-up,

I continue to be facscinated by how bad MSM has become. The underlying Newsweek story on Holder has a bad feel ... that Holder was actually instigating the story. The reporters are in Holder's home for the interview, for crissakes!

I've likened the New York TImes to Soviet-era Pravda ... add Newsweek to the list. Time has been hopeless. I want to believe that most Soviet-era Pravda reporters knew they were part of a big hypocrisy, but had to play along to get a decent apartment in Moscow and to put bread on the table. I expect our corrupted MSM reporters are so deluded they think they're serious journalists. Paging Peggy Noonan and Maureen Dowd ...

Link, over  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Jul 12, 08:58:00 PM:

"squeaky toys." Great image. Hold that thought, you'll be needing it again many times.  

By Anonymous MarkJ, at Sun Jul 12, 11:24:00 PM:

It'll happen if and only if Obama needs a distraction in the next few months. If unemployment continues to climb, Obama may have to drag out the Cheney Monster once again.

The problem for Obama is that the "Cheney Monster" is eagerly looking forward to getting dragged out again. "Ya wanna talk again about what we did to protect this country again, Zero? Damn dude, haven't you had enough ass-whuppin' yet? Well, bring it on, sweet pea, and prepare to go home cryin'."

Yeah, dragging out the "Cheney Monster" will be a "distraction"...for Obama who should know by now that Dick Cheney is a political sadist. ;)  

By Anonymous Rocket Man, at Sun Jul 12, 11:36:00 PM:

This is a sure political loser for Obama. If people perceive that he is playing partisan politics instead of focusing on the economy, his popularity among all but the hard left will continue its downward trend.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 12, 11:47:00 PM:

Notice also, they keep making the claim that CIA kept congress in the dark for years.

This has to be an attempt at cover for Pelosi.  

By Anonymous Masturbatin' Pete, at Mon Jul 13, 12:07:00 AM:

Gotta disagree with you, Tigerhawk. I don't think this is part of a calculated strategy, but if it is, Obama is dumb as paint.

True, Obama hasn't had a great fortnight, and he probably needs to get some of his mojo back if he expects to get any sort of health legislation passed this summer. But I can't really see how going after Bush or low-level CIA guys is going to reverse the direction of his poll numbers.

Yeah, Bush was/is unpopular. Yes, running against Bush got Obama into the White House. But with unemployment approaching double-digits and the national debt spiraling out of control, I can't possibly imagine that the public gives a hoot that a few terrorists got slapped around in 2002. In fact, if you ranked Bush's policies, I'd have to imagine that beating the tar out of terrorists is going to poll comparatively high. I imagine that Bush would get high marks for that compared to, say:

-Katrina response
-Iraq war
-Tax cuts for the rich
-Terri Schaivo

Moreover, to the extent that Obama's numbers are eroding, they're not eroding from the left. He's losing the middle and the swooning Buckley/Noonan/Brooks/Parker right. Going after Bush is a payoff to the base, and there's no indication that Obama is losing the base.

So what the hell is Obama doing here? I don't know, but if he's trying to change the subject, he's changing it to something that doesn't help him. We've already been through this: revisiting Bush's "crimes" doesn't poll well, and last time the Democrats tried it, Nancy Pelosi looked terrible.  

By Blogger crosspatch, at Mon Jul 13, 12:10:00 AM:

"Call me a cynic, but I am not in the least surprised"

I don't think anyone else is surprised either. It pretty obvious. They dig up a dead horse and beat on it a while because they were really popular when they were beating it while alive. But somehow beating a dead horse doesn't rouse the same enthusiasm.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 13, 12:16:00 AM:


" President Obama has ordered national security officials to look into allegations that the Bush administration resisted efforts to investigate a CIA-backed Afghan warlord over the killings of hundreds of Taliban prisoners in 2001."

After reading "Horse Soldiers" I am quite sure that the Taliban killed were not native Afghans as Dostum went out of his way to let them switch sides or surrender.

But what right does Obama have to stir this crap up?  

By Blogger SH, at Mon Jul 13, 01:08:00 AM:

Can you elaborate as the reason is not obvious to non political junkies IMO.

My gut instinct is it won't help with anything but the [crazy moveon / codepink] dem far left base... it will probably even turn off moderates / hurt his approvals even more with them. Are you saying he is running to suck up to the left to entrench deeply with them since moderates are already leaving him? Or are you saying something else? It may be mainstream to bash Bush, but criminalizing policy differences probably won't go over well with many people. Throw in the Honduras affair and you could paint an ugly picture of Obama.  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Mon Jul 13, 01:40:00 AM:

The only people this could help him with at all are the ones who have become so divorced from reality that they really need professional help.

Obama is certainly setting a record on how fast his administration is getting to the Prepare Three Envelopes stage.  

By Anonymous Topsecretk9, at Mon Jul 13, 02:36:00 AM:

Get out of my head. It's uncanny how these hints of Cheney investigations emerge when the Teleprompter President falters. So, were just gonna have to endure these pretend threats whenever he fucks up?

Even Rham is going to realize THREATS of a Bush admin investigation is short term and ain't gonna work for too much longer.

I mean really, is Obama really in need of pleasing the wacko Jane Hamsher wing?  

By Blogger Peter, at Mon Jul 13, 04:44:00 AM:

The bad news is that if it comes to a trial it will be with a Washington, DC jury.
A Republican could go before a DC jury on a jaywalking charge and get the death penalty.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 13, 06:32:00 AM:

"Do you sometimes feel that Washington regards us like kittens...and hauls out the squeaky toys everytime we need to have our attention diverted?"

Can I make this my Facebook quote? This is it in a nutshell. I am beginning to think that they do this to rev up the juices of the base - keep 'em writing about Rove and Cheney and Bush and frog marches and late Friday afternoon arrest warrents. They are the boys who cried wolf and it is becoming obvious.

But, don't you know they have to be sweating it out as Cheney's silence becomes deafening? I bet they thought he would have responded by yesterday A.M. since the story was avail on the web late Saturday. And look - he is quiet - shhhhh - waiting, waiting like a spider... God I love Dick Cheney!  

By Anonymous John, at Mon Jul 13, 08:42:00 AM:

Don't think the administration speaks with just one voice -- remember, when Clinton signed the welfare reform bill in 1996 to improve his re-election chances, there were actually a few mid-level appointees who resigned their jobs in protest over Clinton destroying the hopes of poor people.

There are no doubt some true ideologues within Obama's Administration who signed on with the idea that Barack was going to throw Bush and Cheney in the slammer, pull all our troops out of Iraq within 30 days and plow under Gitmo by no later than Memorial Day. And if you look at the Obama foreign policy, when it comes to existing situations, they've taken a "Don't Rock the Boat" strategy -- i.e., don't change course radically on Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., because if any sort of terrorist-related attack after that did occur, they own it. But on "new" situations, like say Honduras, where there's no Bush/Cheney precedent, the administration lurches about as far left as possible, doing things you'd expect people who hunger to demolish the previous administration would do.

So there's a pretty good chance those are the types who might not be getting their way right now on going after Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, etc., but aren't going to give up trying through back channels. So stuff like this is going to continue coming up at various times throughout Obama's term.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 13, 09:00:00 AM:

Link again,

"Squeaky toys" is a great image.

I don't see black helicopters, but I do believe that David Axelrod is running his own Ministry of Truth. One of his methods is to think a move or two ahead and plant "contra-" stories that seem to come from independent sources, or to use people within the administration to create seeming self-criticism and debate. Thus Axelrod can instigate and manipulate the course of a story as it cycles through the media.

Look at what just happened. Do you really think Attorney General Eric Holder would be free-lancing a story about what he may or may not do -- including hosting Newsweek in his house -- without direction from above?

So why leak to Newsweek now? The key point that Axelrod wants to establish is that Holder is wrestling with this on his own ... that he's acting independently ... the complete opposite of what's actually going on. If this card gets played later, Obama can say that he didn't want it played ... that Holder did this on his own. Without this foundation, it'd be too obvious what Obama was doing.

The related New York Times story is about Feinstein and Durbin going public about programs that Cheney kept secret, and Obama saying he's asked his staff to investigate how our local Afghan allies killed prisoners years ago. Here are excerpts from the NYT story:
"That makes four fronts on which the intelligence apparatus is under siege. It is just the kind of distraction from Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities — repairing the economy, revamping the health care system, and addressing the long-term problems of energy and climate — that the White House wanted to avoid."

"The Bush national security controversies “are certainly a diversion from what he wants to do,” Professor Kumar said. “He wants to talk about the present and not the past.”

Once again, Axelrod wants us to believe that we've always been at war with Eastasia.

I've noticed this time and time again. Axelrod did this a lot during the campaign too. As but one example, Obama had a big exposure over Rezko. Axelrod addressed this by going to a couple of his friends at the Chicago Tribune and having them "grill" Obama for the "record." When enterprising MSM reporters came along later, Obama would just say "asked and answered", point to the Tribune story and then dismissively say he needed to speak to "hope and change."

You need a few co-operative MSM journalists to do this -- those who believe in the cause. Mostly you need journalists who are so inside the bubble they can't see that they're being played.

Link, over  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Mon Jul 13, 11:12:00 AM:

"Do you sometimes feel that Washington regards us like kittens...and hauls out the squeaky toys everytime we need to have our attention diverted?"

Great line JPMcT. I hereby vote this line to be the representative comment quote of the day, and humbly request our host, TH, to promote it to the message body.  

By Anonymous Nan in Can, at Mon Jul 13, 11:26:00 AM:

It seems like the opposite of a "cynical view" nowadays is really just an ignorant view. I shall call you a very wise cynic if I must call you a cynic. This administration specializes in diversions.

Love the squeaky toy analogy... this is definitely a squeaky kitten toy... a catnip infused one at that. Sadly it seems that about half the population is reveling in political catnip euphoria and is perfectly happy batting around the dangling toy.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 13, 03:09:00 PM:

It is time we shot a politician.

chris dodd must resign NOW  

By Blogger LouisAntoine, at Mon Jul 13, 05:45:00 PM:

Umm, so which is it? Either the Obama administration is digging up Bush-era dirt to distract from its flagging popularity or it is resisting the Justice department because the controversy will derail its domestic agends. It can't be both, you egregious buffoon. Pick one. Oh let me guess-- it's whatever gels better with your half-baked preconceived notions at any particular moment, right?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon Jul 13, 06:13:00 PM:

Actually, it can be both, you egregious buffoon. The 'Obama administration' consists of thousands of people, dozens of whom have the power to push or effectively make policy. Pay *any* amount of attention to national politics and you will quickly see ruptures, disagreements, and clashes. An obvious case from the Bush years was Rumsfeld/DoD v. Powell/State. A less obvious but still serious split seems to exist now between Clinton/State and the White House proper.

Taking a fucking civics course and pay attention for a while before you start speaking down to people so rudely, you incorrigible prick.

There, ya see? It's not nice is it?  

By Anonymous sirius_sir, at Mon Jul 13, 06:40:00 PM:

"It is time we shot a politician."

Only one?  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Mon Jul 13, 08:39:00 PM:

The Bard had it right: "The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers..."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 13, 10:44:00 PM:


We should stop joking about violence ... or only be clear we mean it at the polls, or in rational discourse. That said -- this usually mild-mannered apolitical guy won't stop until Obamism is destroyed, and the ground it's on is plowed over and salted.

To JPMcT -- I'm a lawyer, sort of. My mother wanted me to be a doctor -- she was right. My wife is an active lawyer -- she does good work protecting kids.

I'll give Montagne credit for being a serious contributor here. I invite him to respond to the following.

Back in April I believe, Obama & Co made waterboarding an issue. They could have brought it up in February, or not at all. The core story involves the alleged torture of only three individuals -- they're still alive with all their faculties. They're not innocent and they're not nice. We've been over this before. Just to add another point -- there are many non-violent offenders in our prisons who are subjected to worse horrors on a daily basis -- brutal rapes and the like -- and most of us don't lose sleep. Many of us back in April thought the timing of Obama & Co's interest in waterboarding was driven more by getting Cheney in public view to create a distraction when Obama & Co were flagging in the news cycle. Back then, Obama & Co had beaten on the banks so much -- thus weighing on the economy -- that they needed to get us to think about something else.

So pardon our cynicism when it looks like it's happening again. Consider the following:

1) Obama personally says he's starting an investigation over the killing of prisoners by others -- not by the US -- in Afghanistan years ago

2) Feinstein, Durbin and Panetta make issue over a program that was proposed at the height of our justifiable post 9/11 paranoia, but not implemented.

3) Attorney General Holder talks to Newsweek in his home to give color about how he's wrestling with whether to commence criminal investigation on Bush-era torture. Holder says he'll do the right thing, even if Obama doesn't want to.

These stories all hit during the Saturday - Sunday news cycle to prime the week that comes. You don't believe they were co-ordinate? Obama & Co needed to preempt that Stimulus I was failing and that unemployment was increasing. Holder will play his card in a month or two -- if Obama needs him to -- and Obama will say he's shocked at Holder's independence.

Last week Obama & Co floated Stimulus II as a trial balloon. They even had Warren Buffet primed to come in on Tuesday to endorse it. But -- to quote Keith Moon -- it went over like a Led Zeppelin.

They do this all the time

Link, over  

By Blogger Brian, at Mon Jul 13, 11:59:00 PM:

It is about time, because Bush and Cheney should be arrested for war crimes, 100's of violations of U.S. Law, and for crimes against humanity for the attempted genocide of the Iraqi and Afghani people. And the sad part about it is that they did it do they and their friends could get rich from Haliburton stock.

If Obama were 100% white, he would get a free pass like Bush and Cheney did did. But the salad days are over for Bush and Cheney and sooner or later they will be frog-marched to Leavenworth where they belong.

And, come to think of it, Sotomayor is treated just like Obama. She's not white. Even a blind man can see that coincidence.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 14, 09:36:00 AM:

These are interesting times. Demogogues can always raise a blood lust among the foolish and stupid, like Brian and others, but history teaches us that sometimes these "movements" get out of control. If the price of political power is the end of the republic, would the Obamatons pay it willingly? Sometimes I think they would.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Jul 14, 11:44:00 PM:

To Link: Sorry, man. Nothing personal. My brother is a rather prominent attorney. But, as has often been said, 95% of lawyers give the other 5% a bad name.

To Brian: I have often speculated what it must be like to have the mind of an idiot. Thanks for the insight.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 15, 01:03:00 PM:


No apology needed. I actually dislike most lawyers.

Link, over  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jul 18, 04:51:00 PM:

Brian is right and you ignorant racist pussies know it.
The boot is on our side now and you will ,in time, kissit just like you kissed bushCo's boot... and ass...like the sycophantic confused fools as you most certainly will be seen in historical retrospect.
You are all Amerikan Nazi's.
Eric K. Johnson  

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