Triangulation: Bush & Clinton

It was the secret of President Clinton’s success. He annoyed Republicans by stealing their issues and frustrated left wing extremists by compromising their ideals, but compromise on welfare reform, NAFTA, NATO etc achieved goals most Americans wanted. Clinton began to triangulate when spectacular Republican victories taught him the lesson. George Bush is now a graduate of that hard-knock school.

Listen to George Bush talk about lavish CEO pay or see what the oil man has to say about energy alternatives. I listened to the President's talk to the Democratic Caucus in Williamsburg. I suggest you find it on CSPAN. Let the triangulation begin.

The best thing that ever happened to Bill Clinton was the surprising Republican win in 1994. A man has got to know his limitations. The Republicans taught Bill his limitations. In 1995, the media talked about the incredible shrinking president.

Now is the winter of Bush's discontent. Consider these polls showing that Economic recovery has little impact on American mood, how happy the public is with the election results and how even loyalists in his own party are unhappy with the President, or how support for third party candidates is growing. Oh, sorry! I got my dates mixed up. History does not repeat, but it does show patterns.

It is usually bad to get everything you want. The beauty of our democracy is that nobody ever does, at least not for very long. Republicans did too well in 2004. Many forgot the old wisdom that there are no permanent victories in politics. Bush thought he had political capital to spend. His account balance was not as high as he thought. He will now need to work in partnership with others and others will need to work with him. The presidency is a very powerful position, not matter who holds it. A president who knows how to triangulate will get a lot of what he wants, as long as he is willing to share a bit.

I expect the extreme right and left wings will both be disappointed. Most Americans will be better off in 2008 than they are today (and BTW - they are fairly well off already).

Posted by Jack at February 4, 2007 9:11 PM
Comments
Comment #206633

Clinton was triangulated to impeachment for lying about an illicit affair. At the time he had public approval rating of over 60% because the economy (the real one…the one the middle class lives in) was booming. And people felt the country was moving in the right direction.

Bush has not only spent his political capital but he has sent many men to death and permanent disability, he has given away the public treasury….the American public will be fully behind this impeachment as the new congress turns over stone after stone and the public sees just what these guys have been up to. Ousting CIA agents, policies that put all the earnings from increased productivity into the pockets of a very few, no bid cost plus contracts, corporate leaders in position of government oversight, a bursting budget and proposed cuts to programs Americans care about.

To triangulate you need at least two good vantage points…Bush has zero. He’s a dead man walking. He doesn’t even realize how pissed off the average American is and how that fury is no where near it’s zenith. I honestly think his impeachment will catch him totally off guard and will not be surprised if he does something drastic.

Posted by: muirgeo at February 4, 2007 9:40 PM
Comment #206636

Muirego - take a look at some of those links to 1994/5 opinion polls. Clinton blazed the trail; maybe Bush can follow.

You are right to point to the impeachment as perhaps another parallel. The lefty Dems, like the Righty Republicans will be mightily frustrated.

Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2007 9:46 PM
Comment #206643


The American people like NATO and welfare reform. If they could vote on it, NAFTA would be history. Good news for you jack, Nader is planning to run again to stop Hillary. Perhaps he is just trying to scare the Democrats into nominating someone else.

Posted by: jlw at February 4, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #206647

Jack

I see you are still pushing your economic success story. I do agree that most americans are probably living ok. The problem is that most of us do not have a lot of confidence that tommorow will continue to bring good tidings. Over a million american families are going to loose thier homes this year to foreclosure. From what I understand this is a 42% increase over last year. Many are obtaining and maxing out credit card after credit card in order to keep up with the Jones’s. Savings, I believe are at an all time low. Most families are working two or more jobs to make ends meet. I will grant you that it does not have to be this way. But we are a consumer society. And most have been led into the consumer trap by a money grubbing unconsionable corporate america, while our government gives them a slap on the back for taking advantage of us. In the back of their minds people are wondering just how long they can sustain this lifestyle before the floor falls out from under them. I know this all seems pessimistic, but people do realize that the gravy train has to end sometime and just a little tilt in our allready shaky world affairs could lead to disaster for many. Disaster because so many are standing just on the edge of the balance beam. And to be honest there is very little faith in or confidence that Bush and his administration will make politically intelligent decisions. And they have given us no reason to believe otherwise.

Because of this administrations lack of credibility I seriously doubt that any triangulation will be obtainable in the short time they have left. To do so would nessecitate the establishment of an image of integrity. This would require a genuine and honest attempt at attacking the problem areas you mention. Not just rhetoric and hollow promises. It will also require distancing themselves from the money powers which own them. And then there is the matter of Iraq. So long as we continue throwing away lives and money I do not believe the american people will place any trust or confidence in anything this administration attempts. Plus there is that sour taste in our mouths knowing that until their backs were against the wall, they really made no attempt at working with anyone, or for that matter even acknowledging some of the NOW important issues.

I honestly do not believe there is any saving grace for Bush and his cronies. Too little too late. Too many scandals too many lies and too many mistakes. It all adds up to a loss of trust, a lack of integrity and no confidence in their abilities to govern. Trust can be lost in a moment but it takes a very long time to reestablish.

And if impeachment proceedings are initiated they will be for much more serious offenses than Clintons little lie. Good luck with your agenda Jack.

Posted by: ILdem at February 4, 2007 11:45 PM
Comment #206656

Hey everything is going to be better if you just listen to what we have to say - oh what, that didn’t work out? I mean, everything will work out better with compromise.

Whatever.

Posted by: Max at February 5, 2007 1:33 AM
Comment #206664

Triangulation requires one to exist in the present. When you spend most of your time pretending your Truman and allocating money on authors who would write “nice things” about you when you’re gone, that ain’t happening.

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at February 5, 2007 5:28 AM
Comment #206671

ILDem

The economy is good by almost all the meaures we used to use. I know Bush bashers have some sort of revealation about the true state of affairs. Those of us who rely on actual data have trouble with that.

I have been writing about this economy for a couple of years. I keep on asking how good things have to get and the economy keeps getting better.

Yes, I know. We live in abysmal times when the unemployment rate hovers around 4.5%, when median incomes are rising, when household net worth is near record levels, when the economy grows at 3.5%.

I know too that there is this malaise and fear. I think the greatest fear among liberals is of good times. Some people just like to suffer and they find ways to do it. Personally, I prefer not to suffer, so I find ways to do that. We all get what we want.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 8:47 AM
Comment #206675

Triangulation is just playing politics. I dont know that it will work for Bush. A lot of his problems have come of his “uniter not divider” stance. Look what has happened when he didnt hire cronies to run his CIA. His cowboy policies worked best, but they expend a lot of political capital. You cant go it alone, eventually you have to play poltics.
Lefties operate on feelings. No matter how many reports of good news they get, if it doesnt feel right, they wont believe it. If Bush is prez, then the economey cant be good. Maybe the next report that comes out can include little hearts and happy faces.

Posted by: JoeRWC at February 5, 2007 9:22 AM
Comment #206677

Jack,

While you talk about triangulation, I notice that you didn’t claim that Bush would actually accomplish anything.

Wise move. He’ll probably get his surge (sigh), but I don’t see him getting anything done in Congress. The only exceptions I can see is maybe immigration reform, but that’s a long shot.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 5, 2007 9:25 AM
Comment #206680

I keep hearing the “i” word thrown around on all three sites. My question is: What has Bush done that rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? Morally, this is a bankrupt administration. Many, many mistakes, mistatements of fact, outright lies, etc, etc. But where are the impeachable offenses? The opposition tried to make a big deal out of Plamegate. It turns out that the “leaker” was one of their own. And, it also appears, that legally, there was no crime. Scooter Libby is on trial for lying and obstruction of justice. IMHO, if there is no crime underlying the lies, maybe there is no need for a trial.

Bush has made some monstrous mistakes, the worst, launching an attack on Iraq without having a clear vision of the progress of the war, has cost more than 3,000 lives of American service personnel and uncounted Iraqi deaths. With the capture of Saddam, we had accomplished what we set out to do. I believe if we had begun a pullout after that, we could have truly said, “Mission accomplished”. But, for some reason, Bush could not do that and we are paying a terrible price emotionally, economically, and politically. All of this will haunt us for years to come.

Posted by: John Back at February 5, 2007 9:26 AM
Comment #206681

Jack,

“We live in abysmal times when the unemployment rate hovers around 4.5%, when median incomes are rising, when household net worth is near record levels, when the economy grows at 3.5%.”

On that word “net”.

If you intended to say “gross” household worth I might tend to believe you, but most of the folks I am acquainted with, even those “with money” are leveraged.

Posted by: Rocky at February 5, 2007 9:38 AM
Comment #206682

Rocky,

That is mostly because of their own greed and incompetence. A lot of people, including friends of mine, refinanced at low interest rates but did so with ARMs. The result is that this year when the rate adjustment kicks in they are now so behind that they can’t make their mortgage payments and are losing their houses, doing everything they can to make their bills.

It’s not BUSH’s fault, it’s their own, and they need to accept that…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 5, 2007 9:41 AM
Comment #206683

Woody

This is what I think Bush may accomplish by triangulation.

CEO pay - We all agree that CEO pay is too high in some cases. Liberals would like to make a law. Conservatives would like the market to reign it in. Bush may be able to get a mild law that lets the market reign it in instead of nothing or a draconian law that will harm the economy.

Climate change - We all agree climate change is a problem. Liberals would like to make a law. Conservatives want to let the market fix it. Bush may be able to get a market based solution that produces some caps and incentives, w/o the harsh and counter productive Kyoto style laws.

I also think we may get some movement on entitlement reform.

The sticking point is Iraq. I do not think Dems have thought through what they want on this, so triangulation is not possible. Maybe later.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 9:42 AM
Comment #206684

BTW, the good news for some of us who didn’t fall for the ‘free money ARM’ nonsense is that there are a lot of cheap forclosure houses available to make a killing flipping…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 5, 2007 9:43 AM
Comment #206685
The opposition tried to make a big deal out of Plamegate. It turns out that the “leaker” was one of their own.

First of all, there may have been more than one leaker. Secondly, what do you mean by saying that Richard Armitage (I assume that’s who you mean) was part of “the opposition”? He was the Deputy Secretary of State, under Bush. You may recall his boss Colin Powell testifying before the UN about the WMD. Are you implying that there was some sort of plot in the State Department to bring down the Bush presidency? That would be big news!

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 5, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #206686

Plamegate is such a non-story it’s not even funny. With all the facts being trickled out, it’s sad it got the kind of press that it did. I think bigger stories should be all the CIA leaks in the past years or maybe even cover the other angle of the plame story… you know, the one that the media conveniently forgets about her role in things.

Posted by: Matt at February 5, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #206687

Jack,

Re CEO pay: Based on the story you link, it sounds like Bush is just flapping his gums.

Re climate change: The key question is whether Bush will support a cap on carbon emissions.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 5, 2007 10:11 AM
Comment #206689

Rhinehold,

That would seem a rather harsh assement, as you don’t know any of the circumstances.

Oh, and BTW, where exactly did I blame Bush for this?

Posted by: Rocky at February 5, 2007 10:20 AM
Comment #206690

Woody

The whole Plamegate thing came because of Novak’s article. That revealed to all who could read and afford the price of a paper that Wilson’s wife, a CIA employee, was the one who recommended him for the trip to Niger. The source for this was Richard Armitage. That is the bottom line, although it seems like the Plame identity was fairly common knowledge.

Evidently the leak is not a crime anyway, since now that we know who did it nobody is even talking about going after him. Dems were interested in the leak only if they could catch somebody like Cheney or Rove.

re CEO pay - most of the talk about CEO pay if flapping of gums. There is really no practical legal step that can be taken that will actually work. YOu may recall that the big jump in options came as a result of a Clinton attempt to reign in CEO pay. In other words, his law gave them a pay raise.

What I hope will happen is that the attention will cause a change of what most people consider offensive behavior, even if it really is none of our business.

You may also recall that triangulation is as much PR as practical. Clinton got in front of NAFTA or welfare reform. He didn’t really “do” them, but he got credit. That is what used to annoy Republicans so much.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 10:30 AM
Comment #206700

Jack: According to the president, that will be a 2.9 trillion triangulation.

Plame recomended her husband for the Niger trip. So what, was anyone else recomended for the job? Did she make the decision to send him? Armitage is a member of the now underground PNAC and a neocon who takes orders from king Dick. Anyone who can read knows that the FBI investigation revealed that neither the Wilson’s friends nor neighbors had a clue that she was CIA.

Anyone who can read also knows that the Republic lie that Wilson said that Cheney sent him personally is just that, a lie. It might be interesting if Armitage were to be charged just to see if he will roll over on the guilty parties who authorized the leak.

On CEO pay, I kind of agree except for market forces, market forces are why they are being paid those wages primarily by shafting American workers and the communities where they worked. Until the people demand a maximum income and wage law nothing will stop the upward flow of wealth.

Clinton got out front on NAFTA and the Democratic party took the hit for it, not the Republic party.

Posted by: jlw at February 5, 2007 12:00 PM
Comment #206705

Jack:

I get the biggest kicks out of your postings. All you do is state positive things and wow do you get a response. Actually all you do is say that things are “not terrible” and wow!! You get a list of all the exceptions.

There has never been an economy that is great for every citizen. Every economy has its negative parts to it. On the whole, this is a very good economy and looking better.

I read a few comments you made on entitlements. Even the entitlement problem is caused in large part because we are living longer. (Living longer must some how be a bad thing). Obviously, the economy will reach a “tipping point” where those that live longer will have to work longer. When the “tipping point” comes we will make the adjustments. There just isn’t the political will yet. But we are getting closer!!

Keep up the good work,

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 5, 2007 1:36 PM
Comment #206706

jlw

The Plame story just is no story. There is considerable doubt about whether she was covert. If she was, why didn’t Fitz go after Armitage right when he found out, evidently early in the process. There just is nothing to the original charge.

The story as to who recommended Wilson is an interesting one. It does not necessarily mean nepostism, but it does explain why he got into the act to go as a special contractor to find out what the local CIA guys must have told him. It would be a logical question for a journalist to ask.

BTW - this happens a lot in government contracts. Wilson was probably on a personal services contract. Nepotism and favoritism play too much of a role. Of course, sometimes it happens that your buddy is the best man for the job, but not always.

Re workers and CEOs, there is a deep structural problem here. As we expanded into global markets, the scarcity of labor declined, while the supply of capital and managerial talent was squeezed. The high salaries are an overreaction to that. I agree that many are not worth the money they are getting, but that is the business of the shareholders, who can sell within a couple of minutes if they do not like the firm they own.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #206707
That would seem a rather harsh assement

The truth usually does sound harsh, especially in this situation where people might have to actually accept their own responsibility in their failures instead of trying to pass those on to ‘the economy’. It’s not the economy’s fault they tried to squeeze money out of the system and didn’t understand the repercussions or use sound financial judgement.

We live in a immediate gratification society now, unless we accept that isn’t in our best interests as individuals we are going to keep seeing people borrow themselves into nothingness.

Oh, and BTW, where exactly did I blame Bush for this?

I didn’t say you did. I just made it clear that no one could.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 5, 2007 1:43 PM
Comment #206708

Regarding Valerie Wilson and the debate whether she was a classified CIA employee or not. The complaint that her identity was revealed was not made by partisan democrats or her husband, or michael moore, or george soros, the complaint was made to the justice department by the CIA!!
All this speculation that maybe in the past she was covert but not now is irrelevant. The fact that she was covert in the past makes her a protected employee. Why is it that I would know the name of a CIA front company that Wilson worked for (Brewster Jennings and Associates)? What about other who worked for this company? what about people whom wilson came into contact with when she was covert? There is a hierarchy of organizations and people who were revealed when her name and occupation were published.
“Scooter” stated when he was revealing this info to reporters
“I’ve really said more than I should” and “this is all hush-hush”.
He knew damn well what he was doing.

Also. Why in the world would administration officials EVER, EVER be talking to reporters (!) about who is working for the CIA and what their relationship is to anything????????

Posted by: charles Ross at February 5, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #206715

Rhinehold,

“the good news for some of us who didn’t fall for the ‘free money ARM’ nonsense is that there are a lot of cheap forclosure houses available to make a killing flipping”

Yep, that would be the “true” conservative way, wouldn’t it?

Talk about greed….

“The truth usually does sound harsh, especially in this situation where people might have to actually accept their own responsibility in their failures instead of trying to pass those on to ‘the economy’.”

You are making assumptions, and your bias is showing.

My comment was not to affix blame. It was merely an attempt to get Jack to clean his rose colored glasses.
Things are indeed good for some folks, but they ain’t groovy everywhere.

Posted by: Rocky at February 5, 2007 2:43 PM
Comment #206717

If Bush gets Congress to go along with him on anything I’ll very surprised. And if Congress gets Bush to go along with them on anything I’ll be even more surprised.
I just don’t believe that either side is in to much of mood to compromise on anything. Not when they’re already campaigning for the 08 elections.
Bush is wanting to improve on his legacy and it would serve him well to actually work with Congress and try to solve as many of the problems this country faces as possible. But I think he’s to stubborn too.
With Bush being a lame duck (in more ways than one) the Democrats (who completely hate his guts)aren’t going to want to give him any kind of legacy.
So in the end guess who loses? I’ll give ya a hint. It won’t be any of that bunch up there in DC.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 5, 2007 3:01 PM
Comment #206721

Charles

Officials have kind of lose relationships with reporters.

We have more serious breaches of security reported by the NYT etc.

Anyway it does not matter what Libby, Rove, Cheney or anybody else told anybody. We know the origin of the leak and it was not them. It doesn’t matter whether they had the motive. ability and opporunity. They are not the ones who did it.

Re why people would EVER talk about the CIA - it can be important news. Surely you would not want to make all talk re the spy agency a crime. Plame was interesting because she was Wilson’s wife and probably the reason he got the job. If that kind of information is off limits, we have trouble.

Rocky

Life is always hard for some people. I went through some hard time. You did too. It is not always because of what they did or failed to do, but often behavior and decisons contribute.

My point is not that everyone is doing fine. My point is that compared with the other 230 years of American history, this year is pretty good, one of the best. Those who are doing poorly this year are perhaps unlucky or maybe something else. They may be able to improve their personal performace, but the big picture is not what is keeping them down.


Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 3:38 PM
Comment #206722

Triangulation only works if you can bend party doctrine and not break it by taking your new positions. It also only works if people on the other side can’t reveal you as some sort of fake. Clinton could triangulate because he was not from the far left, for whom his actions were anathema, because the Right knew better than to refuse minor victories that could put the foot in the door for more, and because the Democrats could tolerate the bending of party doctrine for the sake of maintaining political presence.

Bush, unfortunately for him, could not effectively triangulate. First and foremost, there was no one to triangulate against after he won the election. Second, the Republicans are fighting the image that they compromised their values on too much. Third, nobody among the Democrats, Liberal or Leftist, seriously thinks that Bush is as good as his word. He has no problem with operating in bad faith to get what he wants.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 5, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #206727

Stephen

Many in the Republican congress hated and mistrusted Clinton as much as many in the Dem congress hate and distrust Bush.

Bush is not an extreme right wing guy. He is currently unpopular, but recall that he was elected by a majority of the voters, something Clinton never achieved. Recall also in 2000 that Gore considered Clinton a liability, despite the good economy and it is only some years after he is gone that the liberal Dems claim to have liked him all along. His wife is saying some of the same sorts of things he did. Let’s see how she really does with the lefty loonies.

Remember too that Clinton did not require the willing cooperation of Republicans. He manged to outflank them by taking their issues. This really annoyed them. They never grew to love or trust Clinton.

I am happy to see Bush doing this now. It is both a PR and a real strategy. For example, I really welcome his climate change moves BOTH because it is in line with what I think should be done AND because it steals the issue from the Dems. The same goes for his CEO pay gambit.

As with Clinton, when the president outflanks his opponents, they still get their issue, but it is more in his frame than it would otherwise be.

Triangulation is something that you do when you DO NOT have the power to get what you want with only your own power. That is why Clinton did it and that is one reason Bush did not do it until now.

I do not think Bush has the personality to pull off the big turnaround the “comeback kid” managed. But I believe that this here and now spot is the low point for him. He is never going to climb the summit, but now he is through the hollow and going back up the other side.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 4:36 PM
Comment #206737

You know I was going to argue about the economy, but after reading all these fine notes on investment I cahnged my mind.

Based on what has been said here I am absolutely certain that those who don’t have enough money don’t know how to invest.

I once again for the ‘sumpteenth’ offer to help anyone refinance their budget. Those of you who make $25,000 a year and have three or less children and only one house yet still can’t afford to be well off are clearly incapable of balancing a budget.

I would also like to restate my offer to balance the entire American economy on a $3.4 trillion a year budget and build up a $5 trillion reserve in two presidential terms for the price of one trillion dollars which I have already included into the afore-mentioned budget plan.

If you can’t sustain of $25k annually you don’t know jack about money.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 5, 2007 6:11 PM
Comment #206744

Jack,

“Life is always hard for some people. I went through some hard time. You did too. It is not always because of what they did or failed to do, but often behavior and decisons contribute.”

I agree but only to a point.
The economic circumstances for those from the middle income level, on down will always be in a state of flux, or they wouldn’t be stuck in that economic tier.
I know a few people that, while quite intelligent, don’t have the common sense to come in out of the rain, and their finances reflect that lack.
I cannot be the only person in this country that knows people like this.
They aren’t whining about the state of their economic circumstances, they are just who they are.

Posted by: Rocky at February 5, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #206756

Rocky

Yeah. I have a friend who makes around $150,000 a year and has been making good money for the past 20 years, yet he doesn’t have two nickles to rub together. He will have to rely on Social Security for his retirement. What can you do about such people? It has nothing to do with the economy.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 8:58 PM
Comment #206757

Jack,

A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place.

Posted by: Rocky at February 5, 2007 9:02 PM
Comment #206759
Plame was interesting because she was Wilson’s wife and probably the reason he got the job. If that kind of information is off limits, we have trouble.

You’ve gotta be kidding. If something sorta vague looks like nepotism, that justifies a breach of national security? Remember, Joe Wilson was not working for his wife. That would be nepotism. The allegation is that she recommended him for the job, and even that is in dispute.

We all know that this kind of thing happens all of the time in all walks of life. To use it to excuse a security breach is bulls%^t.

To put it differently, if Valerie Plame recommending her husband for a job is enough justification for outing her, than the Bush administration breaking the law should certainly justify a leak too. You can’t forgive Novak without forgiving the New York Times, because he had a much flimsier excuse.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 5, 2007 9:23 PM
Comment #206761

And Bush’s new budget underfunding childrens healthcare refects how important personal responibility is. If they had not made the decision to be poor,or children,or get sick they would not need the program. Maybe this is the only way they will learn.Tough love.

Posted by: BillS at February 5, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #206766


What if every American was fiscally responsible, only buying what they needed when they needed it and saving like crazy? What affect would that have on our economy?

The downfall of Bush and the Republicans was not a result of Iraq, that only exasperated the problem. The downfall began right after the 2004 election with Social Security reform.

Posted by: jlw at February 5, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #206769

Woody

I do not think Richard Armitage thought he was breaching national security. Evidently Fitzgerald didn’t think so either because he didn’t charge him with a crime.

You guys keep on harping on Bush. We know who leaked the name. It was not Rove, Cheney or Bush. We know who did it and you guys do not seem to care.

jlw

You are probably right about SS. That is a problem that must be addressed. Bush was couragous to bring it up. He got slapped down by the Dems. Our country will pay the price.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #206776


Jack: I do not think the Plame incident was Bush at all. It was Cheney, and Armatige seems like the kind of person that would willingly or even possibly inadvertently do his master’s bidding. I can’t believe that you don’t realize that Cheney is the boss. Bush doesn’t really know how to do anything but delegate authority. Like I said earlier, Cheney took command of the armed forces on 9/11. He gave the orders to shoot down the airliner over Pennsylvania. This was spelled out in the 9/11 Commission Report. The Commission also determined that Bush later conspired with Cheney to cover that fact up.

I can only think of three things that have been Bush initiatives. One, the tax cuts for his wealthy contributers. Two, his ill advised democracy ploy in Iraq: Cheney wanted to replace one strong man with another, Chalibi. Three, S.S redistribution for his wealthy contributers.

It was not the Democrats that slapped Bush and the Republicans over S.S., it was the American people. You are going to have to wait 10 or 20 years until many of the older generation are dead and the baby boomers are begining to die off. Many of the younger generation seem to be real suckers for the Republican propaganda and will probably let the Republicans screw them.

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 1:25 AM
Comment #206778
Listen to George Bush talk…

Sure, but Clinton actually did something.

So far, Bush hasn’t proposed a plan for dealing with CEO pay and he’s actually cut funding in this year’s budget for alternative energy.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 6, 2007 2:51 AM
Comment #206783

Rhinehold,

Flipping? Isn’t that what happened to our Savings and Loan industry? Glad Joe Q Public didn’t have to bail that mess out. Am I allowed to smile when the housing market crashes and the flipper lands on his head?

Ahh, but let’s not hold anyone to personal responsibilty. Funny how that works.

I suggest everyone run out and get 54% credit cards and run up the unsecured credit, and then default. You can then laugh up your sleeve as the Banks turn to Uncle Sam for their bailout.

Hey, it’s not greed. It’s just smart. The banks are asking for it.

Posted by: gergle at February 6, 2007 3:51 AM
Comment #206785

Jack,

Maybe it’s me, but expecting Corporate America to restrain CEO pay is sort of like expecting the Easter Bunny to leave you chocolate.

I say tie pay to long term performance. If he makes the common stock holders bundles(above what they were making before his tenure), pay him bundles…..after the stock holders make their money. Never a pay a contractor before he completes the job to your satisfaction, it’s an old and reliable saw in construction. If he loses them money….pay him the lowest wage in the company or fire him without any golden parachutes. That would close the gap real quick, and increase market efficiency.

But believing Cronies will do it of their own accord is like believing Congress will cut it’s benefits or pay.

Posted by: gergle at February 6, 2007 4:13 AM
Comment #206788
You guys keep on harping on Bush. We know who leaked the name. It was not Rove, Cheney or Bush. We know who did it and you guys do not seem to care.

You are really missing my point here. I am criticizing your logic, not Armitage, Rove, or anyone else. You wrote:

Plame was interesting because she was Wilson’s wife and probably the reason he got the job. If that kind of information is off limits, we have trouble.

This implies that the public’s right to know is so overwhelming that it’s triggered by something as trivial as a woman recommending her husband for a job. So it seems to me that you would have to defend the New York Times for publishing stories about domestic spying, because that is of far more public interest than quasi-nepotism.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 6, 2007 8:10 AM
Comment #206791

Jlw

The young people are screwed already by SS. You are right that the current crop of old guys and us boomers are in favor of SS because we are looting the system five ways from Sunday. Part of SS is the legacy costs of those who receive more in benefits than they paid in. Most current recipients up until now are falling into this category and most baby boomers hope to hop on the gravy train. Of course they are unenthusiastic about changing the system.

Baby boomers are actually in kind of a bind. They paid more than their share for the current old guys, but if the next generation pays at the same rate, they will not be able to support their growing needs.

That is the danger and opportunity of a Ponzi scheme. The first guys in do very well; others not so much.

Gergle

Shareholders own the publicly traded firms. Individuals own private ones. Owners can pay what they want. Presumably they will not want to pay someone more than he/she is worth. They are bidding up the price of managerial talent because they think it adds more value than the cost. It is the same reason we pay so much for sports stars and entertainers. At some point it becomes too much and people stop paying.

Woody

I do not think the public has the right to know lots of things. The data gathering and SWIFT stories should never have appeared in the media, for example. But the media culture is such that these things go appear in the media.

I really do blame Wilson himself. He is the guy who brought all this attention. And it was a natural question to ask why he was send to Niger. He was not an obvious choice. Usually, they would just ask the local guys to dig up that sort of information.

Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 9:54 AM
Comment #206798

Wilson was not an obvious choice to be sent to Niger ???
He had served as the american ambasador to niger. He had extensive contacts in niger and larger africa. He was the man in charge of american interests in iraq (the ambassador having left) at the time of the first gulf war. He, at the end of the day, established that, contrary to the big lie bush told, iraq was not trying to buy yellow cake from niger’s mining interests.
The cia should have asked “the local guys” (??????)
Wasn’t “curveball”, the idiot they got the original information from that a purchase was going to occur, an iraqi local guy?

bush, cheney, armitage, “scooter” et al, messed up. they talked about things they hadn’t properly verified and they improperly talked to reporters about cia personal.
blaming wilson for bush’s misstatements, armitage’s loose lips and scooters lies is ridiculous.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 6, 2007 12:40 PM
Comment #206799


Jack: The workers(80%) are looting the system To the tune of less than 15% of the rich mans wealth. They must be stopped before the World is destroyed. Oh look, there comes a crumb trickling down just like manna from heaven.

The wealthy became the substitute for the Gods who came down to Earth and made modern men to serve them and then abandoned us. The truth has been masked, hidden behind the rule of law and a false religion. Anyone who seeks the truth can find it hidden behind Monogod. The ancient history is called mythology. Those who dare seek truth there are ridiculed and called crackpots or conspiracy theorists.

Every religion needs priests, captains and the faithful, loyal followers. This religion has priests, captains of industry and although faith is somewhat weak, loyalty is secured with easy credit.

The Democrats are always in a precarious position because they try to serve both the Gods and man. They are attacked by the left that wants to overthrow the Gods and the right that wants only to serve the Gods. The Republicans don’t have that problem. The only problem they have is convincing men that crumbs are what most of them deserve for their contributions to the Gods.

Captains of industry, men of renown, creators of wealth can achieve God statis. Very few priests can.

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 12:54 PM
Comment #206804


“I really do blame Wilson himself. He is the guy who brought all this attention. And it was a natural question to ask why he was sent to Niger. He was not an obvious choice. Usually, they would just ask the the local guys to dig up that sort of information.”

Jack: Finally, in your attempt to excuse and defend this Imperial Vice Presidency, I believe you may have stumbled onto the truth. There are true patriots in the CIA. They saw that the newly elected President was a silly rich guy and that the Vice President was the power. They also must have been very resentful that Cheney was using the CIA as cover for his completely false intelligence designed to promote his ideas of a Corporate Pax Americana and that he posed a grave threat to America and our democratic form of government.

Yes, I believe they sent Wilson, someone who might be listened to in time to stop Cheney. Although they underestimated the vengefulness of Cheney and his minions, their plan would have worked if Congress had done their job and delayed Cheney until they could have verified all of his obviously false intelligence.

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 1:51 PM
Comment #206808

>>I know too that there is this malaise and fear. I think the greatest fear among liberals is of good times. Some people just like to suffer and they find ways to do it. Personally, I prefer not to suffer, so I find ways to do that. We all get what we want.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2007 08:47 AM

Jack,

Are you saying us ‘LIBERALS’ were suffering from fear of the economy during the eight years of Clinton? Are you saying there was a democratic malaise in the 90’s?

Posted by: Marysdude at February 6, 2007 2:32 PM
Comment #206813

John Kaisich, Phil Gramm and Newt Gingrich, republicans all, we’re very busy in 1994 talking down the economy, predicting recession, jobs lost, bigger deficits. They were completely wrong, of course, but the trick worked as the elections in 94 went to the republicans.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 6, 2007 3:13 PM
Comment #206816

jlw

Rich & poor alike get SS. The past group of beneficiaries got significantly more than they paid into itl The current group will probably do about as well. The future group is screwed.

YOu need not bring workers and non-workers or rich and poor into it. All people getting SS, rich and poor, are workers or their relatives, and SS covers most Americans.

Marysdude

The figures are very interesting in this respect.

This is a poll from 1997. Notice that it took from the beginning of the recover in 1991 until 1996 before people began to recognize the recovery. That is recovery plus five years. If you moved that to the current times, you would get to around 2008 (2003 recovery plus five years) before most people realize things are okay. It is true that back then Republicans were more likely to see troubles than Dems.

Now look at this study. Pay attention to the chart around half way down. You will see that Dems are partisan in the way they view the economy more than Republicans. When the economy was good in the Clinton times, Republicans recognized it at about the same rate as Dems. But when the economy picked up in 2003, Republican reacted as before, but Dems remained blind to it.

My guess is that Republicans just know more about the economy and Dems know more about partisanship.


Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 3:26 PM
Comment #206818

American Pundit,

“… dealing with CEO pay…”

HAHAHAHA and we should make it rain diamonds and the rivers flood with fine one barrel whiskey too.

Even in communist China C.E.O.s make way more than the workers.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 6, 2007 3:34 PM
Comment #206819
My guess is that Republicans just know more about the economy and Dems know more about partisanship.

Ah, savoring the irony here.

Reminds of the joke about there being two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 6, 2007 3:36 PM
Comment #206821

Woody,

Too true, that might actually hurt someone. =)

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 6, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #206822

Jack
Bush does have an opportunity I am surprised you did not go into much. He should be able to reach an accord on immigration and border security with the Dems. A guest worker program, a path to legality for the undocumented already here and truly secureing the border.
A guest worker program for industries is reachable. It would make his corporate handlers happy but he will have to give up any idea of having these workers dependant on one company as to whether they are able to stay and work. These workers will have to be able to unioniize if they choose or get pissed off and quit if they want too,or go to work for another company. The Dems will insist on this because their labor backers will insist on this.
A path toward legality and/or citisenship for the undocumented already here is a necessary part of the solution.there should be fines,background checks etc. but if the path is made to difficult they will just stay in the shadows. The rascist/xenophobic element of his party will scream and go into fits of outrage. They will call it amnesty or whatever. It is still the only realistic way to deal with the problem. Useing the military to round up 12 million people and deport them is a nearly impossible task and would ruin the economy to boot.
He would also have to start really enforceing laws against employers for this to work. His controllers would not like this but they are realist.
This is an area where triangulation would work.

Posted by: BillS at February 6, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #206843

The “republicans know more about the economy” (?)
We have run up trillions in debt with trillions more to come under these “knowledgeable” republicans. They argue that we can’t balance the budget because it would damage the economy (forget about the current bs regarding balancing the budget sometime in the future if we just stay the course.)
Look at what republicans have essentially proposed, they did this during reagan bush sr. as well as w., (a total of 20 YEARS of republican administration.) the proposal is: we can give you an expanding economy, more jobs, a rising stock market but we need to run enormous government deficits to do so.

How could that possibly be regarded as good stewardship of the economy?

Posted by: charles Ross at February 6, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #206869

Jack,

“I know too that there is this malaise and fear. I think the greatest fear among liberals is of good times. Some people just like to suffer and they find ways to do it. Personally, I prefer not to suffer, so I find ways to do that. We all get what we want.”

There are some who do seem to be happiest when they are suffering. However they are definately not a large percentile. And some are even republicans.

I have done a bit of research and came up with this link http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/book_talking_past_each_other
It seems too explain pretty well the economic anxiety many of us liberals seem to have. It seems to be just what you need to read so you can understand us better. I am guessing that you have allready seen this.

“The economy is good by almost all the meaures we used to use. I know Bush bashers have some sort of revealation about the true state of affairs. Those of us who rely on actual data have trouble with that.”

I hope you do not think that I am Bush bashing just for the sake of doing so. I will admit to having never thought much of the man from day one. However I decided to give him a chance as I do all campaign winners. As expected he quickly proved that he was nothing more than a puppet for a completely partisan right wing agenda. Unfortunately for him rampant corruption and scandal opened the doors for all americans to see the realities of this twisted administration and the less than honorable legislature they catered to. Imho these are not people deserving of any degree of respect.

I too think data has a proper place. But to rely on it too try and explain the anxieties of the individual is just not an adequate measure. There are too many variables in the human condition that can not be explained or remedied with numbers. Sure the numgbers say things are great right now. But if Bush manages to get us in a war with Iran and the whole middle east goes to hell, all those good numbers could easily turn into bad numbers. It is not the present we are concerned about. It is our future in the hands of an incompetant administration that scares the hell out of us. And none of us should be sitting idly by, reveling in our economic glory when one wrong move by this administration could put all our futures in jeopardy.


Posted by: ILdem at February 6, 2007 10:37 PM
Comment #206874

ILdem :

I appreciate the candor in your post.

What bothers me with liberal writers, is that even if Jack says things are “ok” not “great” not “fantastic” just “average”, the left attacks and seems like it cannot tolerate that the economy is just rolling along. It has to always be a partisen battle.

The simple truth that the left just can’t seem to accept is the economy is FINE. Of course there are problems. There are always problems and always will be problems.

I would encourage anyone interested in Economics to start reading Bernanke. For instance here:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Speeches/2007/20070206/default.htm, Bernanke says that the wage differential is an important social issue. He recommends strong investment in education and job skill training as the only real solution.

Here Bernanke discusses the long term budget outlook and the enourmous challenges of the future:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/testimony/2007/20070118/default.htm

Here he takes on the age wave:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2006/20061004/default.htm

He basically says that if we reduce our consumption by 4% (he is careful to not to get too legalistic here) the burden will equalize between ourselves and our children. In other words for social justice between generations if we raise our savings rate by 4%, all would be pretty much fine. (Better read the article).

When I read this stuff, it tells me that, yes there are serious problems, but there are serious answers as well. Bernanke I think is a man of his time, carefully teaching with solid research how to improve the economy.

Ok I’m off of soap box,

craig


Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 6, 2007 11:20 PM
Comment #206895
Even in communist China C.E.O.s make way more than the workers.

But not 500 times more. The government doesn’t allow it. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 7, 2007 3:03 AM
Comment #206896

Jack
Something may well come of stockholder rule changes regarding excessive CEO pay rates.That would be fair and fitting with not much government involvement except to insure transparency and of course if they get together and hang the bastard.

Posted by: BillS at February 7, 2007 3:21 AM
Comment #206901

They are bidding up the price of managerial talent because they think it adds more value than the cost. It is the same reason we pay so much for sports stars and entertainers. At some point it becomes too much and people stop paying.

Perhaps you are simply unaware of the club mentality of Corporate boards, and managed funds. Like the coziness of our Congress, they don’t vote for pay cuts. “Let them eat cake”, being the club motto.

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 7:04 AM
Comment #206948

American Pundit,

“But not 500 times more. The government doesn’t allow it. ;)”

True, true. China C.E.O. make about 8 times the working class. Our do make about 14 times the working class. Ours also get four times as much pension as any other C.E.O.s in any other country.

I fear the idea of capping one mans wages though. What happens if that ideal spreads and other get capped too.

At what point do we say ‘no’?

I think a better idea would be to limit the percent of net gain to cost.

This way they couldn’t pay any one a ridiculous amount and the money reciculates back into the corperations, probably get thrown into r&d creating better quality technologies.

That is usually where excess money goes.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 7, 2007 12:21 PM
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