. . . Wednesday October 6, 2004

You Can’t Fit a Square Peg in an Oval Office

You don’t get tenure in the White House.

That’s a big problem for this president. First we’ll look at why he should be out. And then we’ll look at what he’ll do about it.

If someone had told me three years ago that there would be no terrorist attack in the U.S. between 9-11 and the next presidential election, I would have put my life savings (along with my nephew’s school lunch money) on a Bush victory. And maybe – even with all of the other terrible decisions, the shoddy domestic track record and religious leanings, the economic and jobs shortfalls, the humiliation we’ve suffered abroad, the environmental disasters, the cheap politics and all the rest – just maybe, he would’ve deserved another four years based on the fact that he succeeded at what had clearly become his number one job.

But the President took us to Iraq. And the house of cards on which that war was based have collapsed around the White House – and don’t kid yourself – around our entire nation which is now rightly held in much lower esteem.

Everything on which this war was based has turned out to be delusion, a mistake or an outright lie. No president – regardless of who agreed or disagreed with him during the course of his decision-making and actions – should be able to survive this kind of error. And the fact that this adminstration will not even acknowledge the magnitude of the debacle only adds to the sense that their inexcusable course of action may have also been malicious in intent.

Here are the plain spoken facts that should end this presidency.

- During the debate last night, Dick Cheney indicated that there was no connection between 9-11 and Saddam.

- The Veep tried to link Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with Saddam. First, Zarqawi was operating in a part of Iraq not controlled by Saddam. Second, the CIA just released a report in which they found no evidence that Saddam harbored Zarqawi.

- Even though Cheney was obviously trying to mislead the public on Zarqawi, let’s play it his way and pretend he broke his streak and was telling the whole truth. He was still only able to name one terrorist who had been in Iraq for a very short time. That is now the justification for an invasion? We have been told numerous times that we have hundreds of cells and thousands of terrorists who are operating right here in the United States. What are we going to do, invade ourselves? And this is important, so read it twice. Our invasion into Iraq strengthened Zarqawi, earned him more support, and, if anything, made his capture less likely.

- There has been no significant evidence of Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda. And consider just how hard those at the highest echelons of power want to find those links.

- Over and over, every interested party has confirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You’ll hear about another such confirmation today. You’ll also hear presidential soundbites in which he explains: “There was a risk, a real risk, that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or materials or information to terrorist networks.” Listen folks. This is not rocket science.

If you are voting for this president, then you have to believe that it is appropriate for us to go to war over the risk that a guy who doesn’t have any weapons of mass destruction will pass them on to those with whom he has no ties.

- I am a Jew with family members living in Israel. I hate thugs. I hate the fact that Saddam paid off the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (and I hate this for my family and theirs). And the world is better off with Saddam in jail and I hope he dies a painful death. But there is no way that the threat posed by Saddam reached a level that would require a war. And there’s no way that a President can send our nation’s sons and daughters to their deaths because of Saddam. No way. The world being a better place is not a strong enough reason to go to war. We all know that.

Thanks to the latest reports and the much delayed open admissions by members of the Bush administration, this is a clear cut case. Taking a country into an optional war based on false pretenses is grounds for dismissal. If it’s not, then what is? This fact will remain true even if during the next three weeks we solve healthcare, gain 5 million new jobs and put Osama’s head on a stick.

So now we move to part 2 of this post. What will the president do about it? That’s simple. You can see the strategy in this screenshot from today’s Washington Post (Update: Now there is also a shot of the same dymnamic playing out on the web front page of the NYT. See below.)

He will attack Kerry. Every which way. The attacks will be more brutal and more consistent than they have been so far. And I can see why some people would be receptive to those attacks. It’s true that Kerry could’ve been more strongly against this war from day one. The Veep’s Howard Dean comment during the debate rang a bit true to even the most ardent lefties.

But Bush launched this war. It was based on lies. And it has been managed horribly. And all the rhetoric in world isn’t going to change that fact that you can’t play in the Oval Office anymore once you’ve overseen a mistake this dramatic.

Concentration is important!