Monday, April 05, 2004

Another conservative get's sick of lack of Administration accountability,

Brad Delong who is a liberal I disagree with a great deal on economic and trade issues, has this post up about Broder's ire at lack of personal accountability in the Administration originally posted in the Washington Post.

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When President Bush appeared momentarily on Tuesday afternoon in the White House briefing room, he came to announce a surrender. After weeks of resistance, he had capitulated to the growing political pressure for national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to give the bipartisan commission investigating the Sept. 11 tragedy her sworn public testimony.

Bush's surrender came nine days after his former top counterterrorism aide, Richard Clarke, had fired a missile into the heart of Bush's proudest boast -- and the main plank of his reelection campaign -- by charging the president with indifference to the threat of terrorism before Sept. 11.

For nine days the White House and its allies did everything in their power to discredit Clarke, while trying to shield his old boss, Rice, from the commission's unanimous request that she give sworn public testimony in response to Clarke's stunning indictment.

When the effort to shoot the messenger failed to halt the political erosion, Bush did what he never should have done: He threw Rice to the commission. And, worse, he failed to do what he could have done long before: Offer the American people and the world a clear, coherent and detailed account of his own activities and state of mind in the months leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Instead of acting as the man in charge and saying to the commission, "No, you may not put my national security adviser on the mat, but I will answer to the public for what happened," he did just the opposite. He gave up Rice and then turned on his heel and walked out of the briefing room even as reporters were trying to ask him questions.

At a time when the American people -- and the world -- desperately need reassurance that the government was not asleep at the switch, Bush has clenched his jaw and said nothing that would ease those concerns. Instead, he has arranged that when he answers the commission's questions in a yet-to-be-scheduled private session, he will not face it alone. He and Vice President Cheney will appear together. It will be interesting to learn who furnishes most of the answers...

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My response on Brad's site was that even a conservative can only take so much. I had my fill back in 2000, other brothers in spirit like Broder just took longer to see the light - to see the profound irresponsibility, mismanagement, and neglicence of this Administration. If the Admin could only do something right, I would vote for Bush in November. But he's made some bad choices and gotten some even worse advice. I'm here to tell you that many conservatives on the ground aren't happy, perhaps even bitter, but they don't have any place to go. And you liberals aren't making it easier with your constant partisan carping. I swear, if Dem's would just stop nagging for a moment and acted statesmanlike we conservatives would get together and quietly ditch our guy - or at least lead an in-party insurrection.

However, with all the fire from the left unfair as well as fair it's the stick together and circle the wagon's instinct that rises to the fore. Republicans from Lugar, McCain, Graham, Hagel, Hastert, Olymmpia Snow, etc. have come out at various points criticizing this Administration. But they can't go too far without making it look like they're selling out the party to rabid Dem's. If we could only get some bipartisanship going I tell ya a lot of moderate Republicans have had it up to here (points to neck)would speak out about the obstinate refusal of this Administration to either admit mistakes or correct their course quietly.

The truth is that various Republican and conservative interests have been gradually becoming disaffected with Bush for some time. There was much schadenfraude on the blogosphere when conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan started becoming disenchanted with Bush stands from education to states rights, and of course when Sullivan blew his top when Bush publicly advocated the anti-gay Federal Marriage Act. Andy is of course, gay.

*Full Disclosure: The oldman was raised to be mildly homophobic, in a strongly homophobic environment. Because of this he is still somewhat uncomfortable around open homosexuals. However he's had a housemate who was (openly) gay, a work associate who was (closeted) gay, and a former boss who was (openly) lesbian and whom he admired if did not always agree with. While the oldman opposes judicial imposition of national gay marriage, as long as gay rights advocists don't try to push for full press social normalization right away the oldman could support local experimentation with civil-unions and possible eventual institution of gay marriage. In any case, he doesn't see the point of writing prejudice and bias against them specifically in the Constitution itself with an Ammendment.*

There are still some like Instapundit who continue to defend the Administration, but increasingly even a prominent neoconservative such as Robert Kagan as well as Halper who served in multiple Republican Administrations are worrying what the heck the Bush Administration is doing. Henry Kissinger one of my personal favorites of all time has also been quoted by the BBC about worrying about the decline in American legitimacy. Max Boot, a prominent up and coming star in the neo-conservative movement wrote an LAT op-ed bemoaning that our "dream team" on foreign policy was in disarray. William Kristol has strongly criticized the Administrations failure to commit proper military resources to Iraq and over their failure to manage the Taiwan crisis properly.

This isn't to neglect the Republicans in the top ranks - Lindsey Graham (said the Administration couldn't buy its way out of a "great lie"), Hagel (said that people should look straight at the Veeps office for culpability in the Plame affair), Lugar (said the President has "got to be President", and be in charge instead of allowing foreign policy disarray), Powell (said WMD evidence in retrospect was shaky at best), ONeill (said Bush was like a blind man in a room of deaf people), Hastert (said the President's people couldn't ever get their numbers straight), Whitman (resigned from office in protest of Administration environmental policy), and the list goes on ...

All of these Republicans have come out against Administration policy, counsuled it to take other alternatives, criticized its practices, or outright resigned from the Administration. These are not lightweights. Any one we could dismiss on the face of it as perhaps a personal falling out. Taken as a whole in addition to voracious criticism such as that of John DiIlulio ("It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis"), Dick Clarke (the WaPo analysis says bulk of book vindicated), many scientists who oppose Bush Administration politicization of science, and Sir Christopher Meyers (Former British Ambassador to USA confirms that Bush was intent on attacking Iraq just nine days after 911) it all amounts to a sweeping and in fact almost damning indictment.

Yes, conservatives are getting sick of this Administration betraying conservative values and ideals. For Broder it was the essence of leadership and the conservative ideal of personal accountability. Why would Rice be hung out to dry when the President, our publicly elected official, is sheltered from full cross examination and public questioning?

If Bush doesn't want to run the country himself, then he should well hire and appoint somebody to do it for him and stand behind them 100%. I repeat I would still vote for Bush in November - if and only if he acknowledged that the past wasn't optimal and changed his ways including replacing key personell and taking a different tack toward crucial issues like standards scientific objectivity, honesty in legislative bargaining instead of pressuring executive departments to give skewed numbers, and replacing flawed appointees like Wolfowitz, Feith, Ashcroft (sorry, but though he's a moral man his lack of legal aptitude has made him a piss poor Attourney General - appoint Guiliani for heaven's sake! The man was actually a prosecutor!), and Cheney. In the absence of such accountability and a clear change of course, I must stand opposed to the record of this Administration which has been nothing less than a traversty of both American and conservative values and principles.

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