Sunday, July 16


Same tune, different title.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says America is in World War III and President Bush should say so. In an interview in Bellevue this morning Gingrich said Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September and talk about global military conflicts in much starker terms than have been heard from the president.

"We need to have the militancy that says 'We're not going to lose a city,' " Gingrich said. He talks about the need to recognize World War III as important for military strategy and political strategy.

Gingrich said he is "very worried" about Republican's facing fall elections and says the party must have the "nerve" to nationalize the elections and make the 2006 campaigns about a liberal Democratic agenda rather than about President Bush's record.

Heavens, yes! Get those voters pumped up about the dangers posed to our nation by gay marriage and a higher minimum wage, and they'll forget all about the fact that Bush and his rubberstamp Republican Congress have led us into a costly, foolhardy adventure in Iraq that has benefited us exactly ZERO, his tax cuts for the uberwealthy have mortgaged our children's future, his tough-guy bluster and policies have contributed greatly to a decline in America's prestige and influence throughout the world and an exponential increase in violence and the threat of violence throughout the globe.

Like Arlen Specter, it is Gingrich's proposed strategy to legitimize Bush's disastrous actions by declaring retroactively that they are a reasonable reaction to a crisis largely created by those same actions.

Frank Rich get it, as he so often does, exactly right:

The Bush doctrine was a doctrine in name only, a sales strategy contrived to dress up the single mission of regime change in Iraq with philosophical grandiosity worthy of F.D.R. There was never any serious intention of militarily pre-empting either Iran or North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions were as naked then as they are now, or of striking the countries that unlike Iraq were major enablers of Islamic terrorism. Axis of Evil was merely a clever brand name from the same sloganeering folks who gave us “compassionate conservatism” and “a uniter, not a divider” — so clever that the wife of a presidential speechwriter, David Frum, sent e-mails around Washington boasting that her husband was the “Axis of Evil” author....

Since then, the administration has fiddled in Iraq while Islamic radicalism has burned brighter and the rest of the Axis of Evil, not to mention Afghanistan and the Middle East, have grown into just the gathering threat that Saddam was not. And there’s still no policy. As Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution writes on his foreign-affairs blog, Mr. Bush isn’t pursuing diplomacy in his post-cowboy phase so much as “a foreign policy of empty gestures” consisting of “strong words here; a soothing telephone call and hasty meetings there.” The ambition is not to control events but “to kick the proverbial can down the road — far enough so the next president can deal with it.”

Great new addition to the Democratic lexicon: Bush's "kick-the-can" strategy. Let's start the buzz that will get it into the media consciousness.

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