You'll catch your death in the fog.
In addition to a fine history lesson and some bracing prose, Brother Charles Pierce offers up a pretty shrewd guess as to what exactly President Barack Obama was trying to do last night:
Ultimately, I believe, that is what the president tried to do in his speech last night, a speech that was neither as bellicose as some people wanted, nor as isolationist as other people wanted. (Rand Paul, of course, feels strongly both ways.) He was talking directly to some of the people responsible for the derangement and asking them to take ownership of what they have done. He asked the nations of the region to take ownership of their own responsibility for creating the political and social environment from which ISIS can rise, and in which ISIS, or something like it, can thrive. And unless the countries of the region recognize that, there will be something like it again, no matter what happens to our current Hitlers du jour. The president also asked the Congress, and the political elite of this country, to take ownership of all that loose talk that has come out of our government since that day 13 years ago, the incoherent babble of our national derangement. This is now a Congress that is suing him for unilaterally delaying a portion of the Affordable Care Act, but that also is virtually begging him to make war on his own authority. For its own cheap domestic political purposes, the Congress wants it to be the president who is making war, and not the Congress, and by extension, all the rest of us. For their own cheap domestic political purposes, the satraps of the region want it to be the United States that makes the war, and that takes the inevitable blowback. There are substantial political constituencies, both here and abroad, for the national derangement that began in 2001 to continue. And I think that last night's speech was, in part, an attempt to challenge those constituencies to come out of the shadows and show themselves....
I tend to largely agree that this is the particular needle the President was reluctantly trying to thread, but implicit in his own speech and in Charlie's commentary --
"He was talking directly to some of the people responsible for the derangement and asking them to take ownership of what they have done."
-- you will find the reason why attempting to call the original architects of this disaster to account is doomed to fail.
It will fail, because it is impossible to bring people who refuse to acknowledge that history did not begin until 2009 to book for something they did in 2002. Because as far as they are concerned, there is no "2002".
There were no 2004 election. Bush/Cheney did not win with 60 million votes and change. The entire Conservative movement did not take to the streets in a giant, "Neener Neener! We Won! You Lost! So shut the fuck up!" parade that lasted until 2005, a year which also too never happened.
Just as 2006 did not happen.
And neither did 2007.
Nor most of 2008.
In fact, the entire predicate for the Teabagger Uprising (ed note: There. Is. No. Tea. Party.) is that the Bush Administration never happened or, if it did, they certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
In fact, they all seem to remember Very Clearly
that The Great Recession started when Barry Obama and Bill Ayers conspired with Fanny and Freddie and ACORN and the New Black Panther Party to destroy the US economy as part of their Master Commie Plan to create an army of welfare-dependent moochers. Period. (See "Abram, Katie")
(See also "Bush-Off Machine")
And in one of the great ironies of modern history, Republican's would have had a considerably harder time passing off their "crazy make-'em-up" (h/t Christopher Walken) version of modern history had they not found a-more-than-willing ally in our newly-elected president, Barack Obama.
It was President Obama, after all, who was so desperate not to get his freshly-minted mandate all icky with partisan spoo that he rejected out-of-hand any notion of putting members of the previous Administration on trial for their crimes, or even just convening a non-judicial Truth and Reconciliation Committee so that we as a people could set the record of the previous eight years straight once and for all.
For the benefit of those of you who are either Republican or under the age of seven, remember that Bush Administration left this country impaled on a shit-covered Conservative punji stick. And rather than carefully extracting it, cleaning out the wound and letting us heal properly, President-elect Obama -- anxious to get on with tackling many other very real and incredibly damaging problems the Bush Administration had scattered in its wake -- was content with perfuming this festering wound with a lot of happy talk about looking forward not backward and meeting with the likes of Charles Kraphammer, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol and the rest of what passes for Conservative intelligentsia for a nosh and some cheery "Both Sider" banter.
The Age of Bush left us broke, broken and deranged, but the side effects of that illness and derangement were so profitable to so many powerful interests that instead that receiving proper treated for our political PTSD, political PTSD has become our new national status quo.
Instead of listening to the god damn Dirty Hippies who were positively screaming from their pathetic little blogs and 50 watt radio stations that we desperately needed to clean out our deep national wounds (me, from May, 2005) --
Is this the face that launched a thousand ships
And burned the topless towers of Ilium?Since 9/11, that famous line by Christopher Marlowe has meant something radically different and sad to me.This was the monster that came screaming out of our collective unconscious to pull down the sky and murder three thousand of our mothers and fathers. Our brothers and sisters. Our children.So why the fuck is he walking free and easy somewhere along the Pakistani frontier, while this guy is the one washing out his underpants in an Iraqi prison sink?The answer is very simple, but the consequences of accepting the answer is the pivot on which the future of the nation turns.The President of the United States lied to the People of the United States.He lied about War and Peace, played on our raw nerves and post 9/11 damage and pain to cynically ram though an Ultra Right Wing agenda in exactly the same way an infectious disease takes advantage of a sucking chest wound...and it is absolutely okey-dokey with Republicans.It's perfectly OK with Iowa farmers and with retired WWII vets in Florida. With laid-off steel-workers in Gary. With soccer-moms in Phoenix and hardware store owners in Springfield, Illinois. It is perfectly OK with these people that we are being bled out one pint at a time in the deserts of Iraq because of a lie.Or, put it a different way:There was a moment that followed expenditure of the last Right Wing bitter breathe that shouted that all Liberals are Traitors for ever doubting that Iraq was thick with WMD’s and nearly-completed nukes. Festooned with AQ training camps and mobile weapons labs. Positively choking with direct complicity for 9/11 and imminent, drawn-dagger threat to our Nation.And then came that hovering moment of silence as it all fell apart.No weapons.No complicity.No involvement of any kind whatsoever.No “greeted as liberators”.No “cake walk”.No self-funded war.No “slam dunk.”No, not just one piece of it. Not a blowjob. Not a stained dress. Not 49 or 51 percent of it shown to be wrong.All of it.All of it wrong.All of it a lie.Every last fetid bit of it shown to be utterly, criminally false.Gasping on the last wisp of oxygen of the WMD Justification as it turned to cyanotic poison in their lungs...the Republicans drew another breath. And these same Republicans who were willing the burn the country to the ground to impeach a Democratic President over consensual sex between adults because any President must be held to the highest possible standards, began screaming at 1,000 decibels that WMD’s were now irrelevant.Nuke-talk was now inoperative.Al Qaeda links were now off-the-table...and how dare anyone suggest that anything had ever been otherwise...and whatsamatta you; you luv Saddam Hussein of somethin’?!Never blinked once.Never even an itty, bitty apology for the deaths, for the lies, for the duplicity, or even for their grotesque hypocrisy: just all of their calculatedly hatemongering demagoguery – the same fucking 20-year-old, Newt Gingrich “Anyone who ain’t with us is a Traitor” script – brazenly turned on its head and “repurposed” in front of the whole world.In that moment they chose to call treason “strength”, and treachery “staying the course”.In that moment the Republicans chose to sell out their principles, their party and their souls to the Great Lie. Decided to use their thin majority to ram it though at any price, and demonize anyone that pointed out the blindingly obvious fact that that Emperor is most definitely Naked.A naked liar.Decided to rape the Truth in broad daylight and then bitch-slap it around the block and back again, and then dare it to raise its voice in protest.In that tiny interval, in that moment all alone in the voting booths, in that long, dark night of the Conservative Soul, people with whom I might have often disagreed but before now almost always respected chose to kneel to the Lie. To offer up the heart of a free nation on the altar of the Great Liar.Everything else follows from this primal fall from grace....
-- and honestly litigating what had really happened to us during those terrible years, instead we let Conservative gangrene set in.
And then, before anyone (except the aforementioned Dirty Hippies) realized it, that gangrene started wearing tri-corner hats and waving Gadsden flags and calling itself a movement.
And because our Elite Media has permitted the GOP to become a permanently self-lobotomizing monster capable of ouchlessly forgetting tomorrow all the bullshit it slung today, elected Republican officials like Representative Jack Kingston can now openly muse about his party's repulsive strategies --
"Representative Jack Kingston, the Georgia Republican, offered a surprisingly honest, if amazingly cynical, assessment of the politics of the moment, saying that Republicans 'like the path we’re on now.'“'We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long,' Kingston told The New York Times."
-- in the sure and certain knowledge that by the time the sun rises again over the Potomac, all evidence that he ever said it will be safely hidden away in the one place our Elite media never thinks to look.