Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Week in Bush/GOP Apologetics, WaPo-Style

I've already published this as a Kos diary (that's where the link goes, this time), but hey, this is my blog and I'll republish it here because I want to.

The WaPo has been getting a bit of heat lately for some of its bending backwards to be kind to the Bush Administration and the GOP, and it deserves every bit of it. However, some instances of such kindness, just in the past week, have slipped under the radar. I thought I could help by furnishing a more complete accounting of the past week in Bush apologetics, WaPo-style.

So down the page, I'll say more about:

1) DeLay Parting On Own Terms (Wednesday, April 5)
2) Obstructionist Dems Block Compromise on Immigration (Saturday, April 8)
3) 'A Good Leak' (Sunday, April 9)
4) Cheney Booed for Bad Throw (Tuesday, April 11)
5) WaPo Pretends That Bush Isn't Anything Like Bush (Wednesday, April 12)

1) DeLay Parting on Own Terms
Congressman Wanted to Win GOP Primary Before Announcing Resignation

As I mentioned at the time, this was the heading and subhead on the front page of last Wednesday's WaPo print edition. No, really.

The fact that DeLay announced his upcoming resignation on Monday, April 3, the primary had been on Tuesday, March 7, and DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, had pled guilty and turned state's evidence on Friday, March 31, should have at least somewhat aroused the WaPo's skepticism. You'd think they just might've mentioned that DeLay was on the run like a man with the sheriff on his trail, which was pretty much the case. But instead, they spun it just the way Tom DeLay would have liked them to. Mighty kind of them.

2) Obstructionist Dems Block Compromise on Immigration wasn't the actual headline of the WaPo lead editorial on Saturday, but it might as well have been:

THE SENATE COULD have left town yesterday with a workable, if imperfect, immigration bill that would have let millions of people living here illegally come out of the shadows. It had before it a deal that could have attracted 70 votes; it had the backing of the White House and the support of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), despite his previous, enforcement-only stance.

But after two weeks of slogging toward compromise, the deal blew up over a procedural standoff on whether to move forward with voting for amendments, as Republicans were demanding, and if so, for how many. Republicans blamed Democratic obstructionism aimed at keeping voters' attention focused on the punitive, Republican-sponsored House bill.

"It's not gone forward because there's a political advantage for Democrats not to have an immigration bill," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Democrats blamed Republican bad faith and said Republicans refused to impose a reasonable limit on amendments. "The amendments were being offered by people who didn't want the bill," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

Both of those assertions contain elements of truth. But Democrats -- whether their motive was partisan advantage or legitimate fear of a bad bill emerging from conference with the House -- are the ones who refused, in the end, to proceed with debate on amendments, which is, after all, how legislation gets made.


The measure wasn't perfect, and certainly there are risks in going to conference with the House and its enforcement-only approach. But Democrats putting political self-interest over solving a serious policy problem ought to worry that their actions will backfire with the very people whose interests they are purporting to protect.

'Risks' in going to conference? Risks??

Excuse the fuck out of me, Washington Post, but isn't it part of your basic job description to know how politics is played these days? We know what happens in conference, because it's happened so many times already: an OK bill from the Senate and a horrid bill from the House collide; the House bill wins, plus a few nasty amendments get added in conference that were too rank to have even gotten through the House the first time.

Plus the GOP-run Senate gets to unilaterally amend the bill before it even gets to conference. First we compromise; then we get to turn the compromise bill into whatever we want.

But the Dems are somehow the bad guys here, for wanting some modest assurances that the compromise they agreed to would survive in some recognizable form.

Not only are the WaPo editors pandering to the GOP, but they apparently still think Congress works the way it did in 1986. Can anybody wake up Rip van Hiatt?

3) A Good Leak: this is the one where the WaPo said it was a good thing that Bush declassified parts of the NIE which Libby then clandestinely shared with Judith Miller. Since everyone from Jane Hamsher to DailyKos' georgia10 has already teed off on the WaPo over this one (and did they ever deserve it), I don't feel a deep need to say anything but: what they said.

4) Cheney's Muffed First Pitch Draws Boos, said the WaPo, when actually he was booed from the moment he started onto the field. Again, this one's been done; nothing to add; just wanted it in the list.

5) WaPo Pretends That Bush Isn't Anything Like Bush wasn't the title of this morning's lead editorial, but it might as well have been.

The subject of the lead editorial in this morning's WaPo was how Bush can rescue what’s left of his term in office. Before getting to the meat of it, the editorial talks about:

the poisonous partisanship in Washington, with Democrats united in their desire to see Mr. Bush fail while his erstwhile Republican allies scurry for cover.

That’s right - according to the WaPo, the Dems are viciously spouting venom, while the poor, innocent, helpless GOP runs for cover. Maybe they live in an alternate universe.

And then the piece discusses what Bush might actually do to save his Presidency. Here’s what they recommend he do:

1. Actually do something about global warming.
2. Get behind “comprehensive, generous” immigration reform.
3. Become a champion of lobbying reform.
4. Do something real about poverty in the U.S..
5. End Iraq/GWoT detainee abuse.

I know you’re ROFL by this point, but no, really - that’s what the WaPo suggested! Serious alternate universe, huh?

They’re saying, in effect, “If Bush wasn’t really Bush, but was instead some completely different person with much more reasonable goals and motivations than he actually has, he might do one or more of these five things to save what’s left of his Presidency.”

And if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his tail. Sheesh.

When you put it all together, it's a picture of a newspaper that's decided whose side they're on - and it's not ours.

The supposedly liberal Washington Post - consistently whoring for Bush and the GOP.

And this was all just in the past week.


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