“Sit Down, Take a Stress Pill, and Let's Talk This Out”

Friday, November 10, 2006
Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “Sit Down, Take a Stress Pill, and Let's Talk This Out”: "Conservatives went from 'we don't know enough about Harriet Miers' to 'Bush has decided to pack the Court with card-carrying liberal activists' in about ten hyperventilating breaths... but the next guy he sent up was Samuel Alito. With every setback, major or minor, conservatives have prophesied that George Walker Bush was about to abandon everything and turn into George Herbert Walker Bush; but he has shown a steadfastness and courage under fire -- which is more than can be said of many out there in conservative-land."


terrye said...

I could not agree more. I would think that the conservative blogs and pundits have screwed up enough in the past year that they would have figured out by now that sometimes it is best to shut up. Just stop going off the deep end. Freaking troublemakers.

They are going to try to do the same thing to Gates they did to Miers. Only this guy is not some shy 60 year old spinster.

Barry Dauphin said...

In fact, the conservatives are almost gleeful at the present situation. And yet... Reading George Will yesterday, he tried to distnce conservatism from the Terry Schiavo situation. He is surely thinking of a fairly intellecutalized form of conservatism, because it was the self-identified conservatives that seemed to ride that for all it was worth.

I am concerned about Gates, but am willing to see what happens. I worry this is a shift back to Bush I or the folks who helped sow the seeds to get us into this situation by not taking out Saddam and by abandoning the Shia. Yeah, at the time it was undersandable, but I thought we were supposed to learn from history not simply repeat it. But I want to hear what Gates has to say.

terrye said...


In WW2 who got the big job? Eisenhower or Patton? The Germans could not believe that the man they considered to be the best general {Patton} was passed over.

Well the fact that he was constantly having to apologize to someone for something made him a distraction.

Right now the president might feel he needs a Sec of Defence who does not spend half his time testifying before some investigative panel. I think Rumsfeld had outlived his usefulness. Sad but true. I am sure the troops respect him, but sooner or later he was gonna leave. God, the man is over 80.

Barry Dauphin said...


I understand that in many ways Rumsfeld had become a distraction and a burden. I'm not quarreling with his going (although it saddens me a bit that it happens in this way) but more of a concern with the replacement. The Bush I team did right by having the Iraq war but things slipped up after the cease fire (which wasn't a genuine surrender). Gates was part of that. The other members of Bush I have not learned any lessons as far as I can tell. I sure hope Gates has.

terrye said...


It should be remembered that when Bush1 was engaged in that conflict he could not get the support either from the UN or the US Congress to go any further. It was not just because some diplomats did not want him to.

And if I remember correctly Rumsfeld was part of that too in some respect. I know he was in Reagan's team. I also know that Gates was offered the job Negraponte got and he refused it, so Bush has shown interest in him before.

It should also be remembered that everyone thought letting Saddam stay was the thing to do. There was not this huge contingent of neocons demanding that he be removed, in fact there was no way politically to pull it off.

So the fact that Gates was there then is being overplayed I think. A lot of people were there then and a lot of them have gone on to positions in the Bush administration. Bush still calls the shots.

This is a little like that thing the left does when it brings up that canard about Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand.

Barry Dauphin said...

I understand that in 1991, you go with the information and political situation you have at hand. But in 2006, looking back at 1991, does the Baker group-hug ask themselves "were there any mistakes in that policy?" So far the signals coming out suggest no. Believe me, I want Gates to succeed and hope Bush has something in mind. The signals don't look good, but I'll be happy to be proven wrong about that. Despite the fact that members of the Baker group were part of the policy, I don't see any evidence that they are doing anything more than focusing on the here-and-now instead of considering the historical arc of many years. It was just such here-and-now thinking that grew into the problem we have.

I believe that one of the reasons the Rumsfeld handshake is/was a canard is that Rumsfeld did look over the historical context, understood the 2003 Iraq situation as a product of an historical arc, and that we should clean up the mess that we are partly (not solely) repsonsible for, even if we gave ammunition to Saddam at the time for completely understandable reasons.