12.14.2006

The Baker Hamilton Report : DOA

Last week I suggested that Baker-Hamilton Report was a whack-job and completely ignorable. Today, Kevin Drum makes the following observation:
Question: has a hotly anticipated blue ribbon report ever fallen into irrelevance so quickly? The Baker-Hamilton report was released only a week ago, and as near as I can tell it's now a dead letter. Within days, both left and right slagged it viciously, President Bush made it clear that he didn't think much of it, and virtually no one other than David Broder had anything nice to say about it.

Good question, but I doubt the President was ever concerned about the content of the report. This is something that had his Daddy's fingerprints all over it; it's a moderate, bipartisan diplomatic fluff job that incorporates military and energy perspectives and excludes all other viewpoints. In other words, his petulant hostility toward his father (and educated moderates, in general) rendered the report moot before it was ever printed. We might accuse Bush of ignoring reality, but this report ignored the reality of its intended audience. And ultimately, that is why this report fell into irrelevance. The right wing blogosphere mocked the suggestions, but the left wing blogsophere mocked the idea that the President might actually implement the suggestions.

So what is Bush up to? He's reviewing his Iraq strategy. Forty-five minutes at a time. His advisors "don't want to do it all in one session." I'm not sure what else has been on Bush's schedule lately, but I think I would be pulling a couple all-nighters right now if I was in his shoes. I doubt I could go to sleep at 9PM every night with this on my conciousness.

Bush has basically ignored Iraq for a whole year, because acknowledging reality might have compromised the Republican Mid-Term Elections. The public has agreed for a year that something is wrong in Iraq, but Bush and the Republicans only noted it a few weeks ago. And whatever you want to call it, 'Stay the Course' is still the strategy. If Bush doesn't make a serious course correction in 6-8 months, then I suspect that the American public will demand that Bush and Cheney must be removed from power. We can't wait for Bush to play 'catch-up' with 45-minute briefings. If he has been sleepwalking through Iraq and Katrina, there's no hope for him. We can't wait until January 2009 for new leadership. We need a reality-based leader NOW.

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