A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues

I was thinking about a New Rule: Don’t sight Republicans that utter some mealy mouthed objection to how Bush is conducting policy in Iraq or Afghanistan as evidence in some shifting tide in support for the Whitehouse. I was considering this after BarbinMD one of the best posters at dKos wrote this entry – Suddenly, Republicans Have a Timeline

The House Republican leader said Sunday that GOP support could waver if President Bush’s Iraq war policy does not succeed by the fall. […]

…”By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn’t, what’s Plan B?”

Siting this story from NYT and this one from the WaPo. The WaPo story made this overriding point,

Thus far, Republicans have stood behind the president’s increasingly unpopular war policies, including the troop increase and an open-ended war commitment.

The fact is that hemming and hawing Republicans that shake their little pinkies in consternation at Bush’s strategies or rather lack of policy does not in any way represent a political movement that has seen the light. We’ve had year after year of Bush’s failed policies and now we’re supposed to believe that like the character in the cartoon a little light went off over his head just give him another Friedman. The last election hasn’t taught conservatives anything, they the spoiled brats of power and arrogance; despite having had their entire approach to governance rejected by the people they’re determined to keep playing games with the lives of the American troops just for spite. If they’re not being spiteful little brats that are maliciously determined to shove their hubris down America’s throat they’d stop the candy-assed little concerns and vote for what the American people want. Until then Republicans in Congress are merely creating sound bites for the inevitable weaselly political campaign where they can show voters – yea see i didn’t endorse Bush’s Grand March to Failure, I said I had reservations – never mind that I never voted to hold Bush accountable in any tangible way. If there is a disconnect between reality and Republicans outside the Whitehouse it is just an echo of the the mental disconnect within the Whitehouse, ‘People in the White House are talking only to each other’

Dowd’s assessment is shared by many Republicans in Washington. “Isolation is inevitable in any White House,” says a former Bush aide who returned to the West Wing recently to chat with former colleagues. Now that he is out of the bubble, the former aide says, he can see an isolation he didn’t recognize before. “People in the White House are talking only to each other, reconfirming each other’s and the president’s perceptions and judgments,” he says.

The groupthink is scary — but it’s also helpful in understanding why the Bush White House is so helplessly inept.

Matthew Dowd was the chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. Dowd is a little late in announcing the obvious, that the Bushies are just a group of sock puppets consulting each other, confirming that on careful consideration and consultation with each other that they are all doing a Great job Brownie. Its the Brownie administration. They’re in a car where the tires have come off, they ignore the sparks and assure each other that if they just stay the course somehow the sparks will stop and the tires will magically reattach themselves to the rims. There is a video of Dowd here Bush’s Bubble lives. The Dowd’s are a difficult case. On one hand its good they’re speaking up, but on the other hand they’re a day late and  way short on the kind of influence on policy changes that would actually count for something. Words can certainly have power, but at some point talk is just that and is not to be mistaken for substantive action.

If its a new day that means more documentation of conservatives throwing morality and honor out the window – The Haditha Killings: Rotten to the Corps

Four officers have been charged with failing to properly investigate the civilian killings at Haditha. One of them, Captain Randy Stone, is set to be put under hearings Tuesday Morning (May 8). Stone is accused of failing to investigate reports of civilian deaths at Haditha, but in an interview that mirrored frustrations expressed by attorneys for the other accused officers, Stone said that he didn’t investigate the deaths because his superiors told him not to. “The regimental judge advocate [Major Carroll Connelly] informed me that we don’t do investigations for ‘troops in contact’ situations,” Stone said. “That’s my understanding of what higher [command] wanted,” Stone said, “and that’s why there was no investigation.” Stone added “There is a certain level of disappointment that the Marine Corps decided that, in the entire chain of command, that I am the one who should be held accountable.”

Major Connelly, the regimental JAG officer who told Stone not to do an investigation, was not charged with any crime. Instead, he was granted immunity to testify at future hearings on the Haditha incident.

There is a mentality at work here that permeates many institutions. An instinct to cover your ass first. What conservatives have done is not create a new monster in that regard, but to pump it up ten times its normal size. If the Commander-Decider-Guy can lie, ignore Congress, impede investigations and think that any foreign military engagements give him the powers of an Ottoman sultan then it is inevitable that attitude passes down through the officer corps.

“A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Just about every GOP candidate in the recent debate  mentioned Ronald Reagan rather then Bush. Supposedly the Reagan years were the good old days of conservatism, “I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964” – Ronald Reagan