Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:49 am

You can see from the headline how cocksure I am of my new-found freedom of action.

Truth is, for months I have swallowed many of my misgivings about this President, the party, and even conservatives in general. I did so for rather cowardly reasons. Part of it was to protect my ego (no one likes being called vile names by those whose support and approval are sought) while another reason was almost certainly the desire not to give any of my lefty friends unnecessary ammunition to use against conservatives who don’t agree with me.

Another even more cowardly reason for my reticence has been a fear that my criticisms would distance me from the rest of the conservative blogosphere. This, perhaps the most unforgivable transgression in that it involves not being true to my inner muse as well as betraying the trust of my readers, all for the sake of giving into my fears of losing much of what I have worked for these past two years. This has caused me much discomfort, at times leaving a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. And while I never lied, I pulled my punches on many of my criticisms of Iraq, the President, and other conservative personalities and issues.

No more.

All this may come as a surprise to my regular readers who are used to me bashing Republicans and the President. But the fact is, I was taking it easy on the bastards. More than one post over the past year has fallen victim to the “delete” button on my blog because I realized that my intemperate and bitter remarks about something Bush or the Republicans were doing would cause many of my long time readers (and other bloggers) to tip toe away, unable or unwilling to face the consequences of the failed policies in Iraq, the fiscal irresponsibility, the unbelievable dereliction of duty in adequately protecting our borders, our ports, our airlines, our chemical and nuclear plants, and other targets more than 5 years after the worst terrorist attack in our history.

There has been a failure of leadership too. I have pointed out on more than one occasion that this President has failed in his basic duty as a wartime President. He preferred to try and fight this war on the cheap - not raising taxes to pay for it, not abandoning some of his cherished domestic agenda, not calling upon Americans to support our efforts in any coherent or consistent manner. Is it any wonder that support for the war is so low when the Commander in Chief has allowed his political and ideological opponents an open field to define the reasons we went to war, to substitute evil intent for noble goals, and to posit the most calumnious, outrageously stupid conspiracy theories about why we fight and what we are fighting for?

I don’t blame the press for the lack of support for the war among the people. I don’t blame bad luck or the exigencies of war. I don’t blame Clinton holdovers at State, or the intelligence community, or at the Department of Defense. Other Presidents have learned to overcome or deal with the press and the backstabbing bureaucracies in Washington that have, after all, been operating in this manner for generations. I blame the President and his team. Bush has the biggest megaphone in the history of civilized man; the American Presidential bully pulpit. Every word he utters is listened to around the world. Every thought he imparts is dissected, analyzed, re-dissected and then analyzed further by friend and foe alike.

He has wasted this precious resource. His defense of the war and his policies (what defense is possible) has been marked by an inconsistency bordering on negligence. He has left this vital chore to surrogates like Tony Blair, John Howard, his Vice President and other cabinet officials while his own efforts have been haphazard and marked by long periods of almost total silence. Only the President of the United States can command the attention of the American people when he asks for it. No underling, no matter how articulate or passionate, is a substitute for a President demanding that the press carry his words. Ronald Reagan understood this. Bill Clinton even understood the uses of the bully pulpit. Bush treats it as another prop in the White House PR effort, to be used when he and his political handlers feel that it was time to bring the war front and center again.

We have seen this constantly since the 2004 election. Every once and a while, the President would embark on a highly publicized 10 day or 2 week “campaign” to raise the visibility of the war and highlight his policies. It failed miserably. While his ringing defense of the rationale for war and what we are trying to accomplish was always well thought out and fairly well delivered, the words disappeared into the cacophony of background noise that makes up the American media environment. Too little, too late, and in the end, people simply stopped listening.

The opposing narrative of the war, formed and disseminated by his enemies while the President was off doing something else, dominated the national discussion on Iraq until the President’s silence coupled with his Administration’s continuing inability to accept responsibility for mistakes and an almost pathological attempt to gloss over problems by highlighting only the positive, widened the credibility gap between what was actually happening in Iraq and what his Administration spokespeople were saying. While truth may be the first casualty of war (FDR vastly underreported the damage to our fleet at Pearl Harbor), playing public relations games while Iraqis are slaughtering each other to the tune of 20,000 dead since February does not inspire confidence that anything the Administration says about Iraq has any basis in reality.

Credibility lost, policies that have failed, strategies implemented that have not dampened the enthusiasm of Iraqis to murder each other, an insurgency that refuses to either shrink in numbers or lessen the ferocity of their attacks on Americans and Iraqis - welcome to the Presidency of George W. Bush. Yes things go south during wartime on occasion. But when the arrow of progress has been pointing down for so long and we look to the future and see only more of the same, one begins to wonder when any upturn in our fortunes will be possible.

Do I sound bitter and betrayed? You betchya. I still believe that going to war in Iraq was the right course of action, the next logical step in the War on Terror. Those who point to how things have turned out as “proof” that it was an incorrect or immoral decision are idiots. That is pure Monday morning quarterbacking and I’m having none of it. My concern is whether there is anything that can realistically be done to turn things around at this point and, more importantly, whether there is any fight left in this Administration to stand behind their original decision to go to war and bring self government to the Middle East. If both questions are answered in the negative then for God’s sake tell Prime Minister Maliki to take a flying leap and start pulling our people out of there - not according to any artificial timetable but the same way they came in; fast and with purposeful intent.

No more rosy pronouncements about illusory “progress.” No more ass covering by generals and Pentagon policy wonks whose responsibility for where we are in Iraq will be carefully documented by historians and on display for future generations to criticize. No more using the lives of our troops in a futile effort to prop up a government that can’t decide whether to support the American presence or to prance and preen before the Iraqi people, demonstrating their “independence” from our occupation.

The firing of Rumsfeld is a harbinger.The President stood before the American people less than two weeks ago and assured us that the Secretary of Defense would be there when he left office. How can we now believe him when he says that he is committed to further efforts to bring about a tolerable conclusion to our mission in Iraq? And if he lacks this committment, will he live up to another statement he made about quitting Iraq if he thought there was no hope of “victory?” For if he has already decided to leave Iraq short of any outcome that could be considered advantageous to American interests, then every day that passes, every life lost, is a wasted effort in a losing cause and he should bring our people home now.

I don’t subscribe to this President being the worst or most incompetent in history. Those who make such political judgements have never heard of Millard Fillmore or James Buchanan or Ulysses Grant, or any of a half dozen other fools who occupied the White House. Bush isn’t even the worst since World War II - not as long as the chapter on Jimmy Carter’s presidency remains in the history books. But Bush has certainly demonstrated incompetence on Iraq and has failed miserably in other areas of Presidential leadership. For that, history will not remember him well.

From here on out, gentle readers, I will call ‘em as I see ‘em. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead! I will not hesitate to take on anyone and everyone. If you disagree, fine. That’s what the damn comments section is for. But there will be no more trimming here at The House.


  1. Rick,

    Let me be the first to say BRAVO!!
    Early on in my initiation to the “blogs” about six months ago, I was directed to your site, and have been an avid reader ever since. Now, after immersing myself in the blogosphere and checking out just about everything out there, I know why your words hit a nerve with me…

    I guess I would sum it up as honesty and integrity. Even when I felt that your some of your comments supporting this administration were a little over the top, I could see through the words that there was an inner struggle going on…

    Yours is the kind of honest commentary that we need on the blogs: insightful and thought provoking. Not the moronic dribble that many of the bloggers - both left and right - continually lapse into.

    “I don’t blame the press for the lack of support for the war among the people. I don’t blame bad luck or the exigencies of war. I don’t blame Clinton holdovers at State, or the intelligence community, or at the Department of Defense.”

    “I still believe that going to war in Iraq was the right course of action, the next logical step in the War on Terror. Those who point to how things have turned out as “proof” that it was an incorrect or immoral decision are idiots. That is pure Monday morning quarterbacking and I’m having none of it.”

    I couldn’t agree more with both of those statements. Let’s look forward, not backward. Let’s admit the problems and failures and fix them!

    I’m sure that you will have continued support from your regular readers, and - if you dont - new readers looking for something more will find you, as I did.

    Much continued success!

    Comment by tet-vet68 — 11/9/2006 @ 9:50 am

  2. The current President seems to have a lot of “Read My Lips…..” in him.

    Bush is a bad President (because he is a liberal) but not close to Carter. I still think that had JFK won he would have been worse. We had to pick between two liberals. We picked the least liberal; I think. But like you I am having second thoughts. To say he was for Rummy before he was against Rummy in less than a month is not a confidence builder!

    Comment by Rodney A Stanton — 11/9/2006 @ 9:55 am

  3. Rick

    Great post!! You expressed my thoughts far more articulately than I seem to be able to, however, I might quibble with you on who the worst president is. There seems to be no question that Jimmy Carter was bad. The history of his administration has been written. The history of the George W. Bush administration has not been written yet. There is still time to turn this around, however, if his administration were to end today, I think he would be the worst president in the history of the Republic. In any event, I’m not optimistic that George W. Bush has the mettle to turn this around. I do not believe history will be kind to George W. Bush.

    With regards to Iraq I expect us to withdraw most of our troops soon. There will probably be a small contingent of special forces troops numbering 10,000 or fewer stationed in Kurdistan or possibly Kuwait. These troops will be backed up by air support and they will be prepared to intervene in Iraq, as necessary, to prevent the formation of terrorist bases or to provide a check on Iranian power.

    Unfortunately a complete withdrawl is probably unrealistic. At least, they will not be involved in the day to day fighting of the Iraqi civil war.

    For what its worth, I think the invasion of Iraq was the correct strategy. I also think the attempt to bring western style democracy was the correct strategy. I think the mission was doable. Unfortunately it has been horribly executed. As such, we will never know, if we could have established western style democracy in Iraq. For better or worse, we will be withdrawing in masse very soon.

    Comment by B.Poster — 11/9/2006 @ 9:57 am

  4. I know you will take a lot of flack for this. I have certainly called you out when you have appeared to be cheerleading only for the sake of cheerleading in regard to the War in Iraq. But you will keep your readership because you are thoughtful, articulate, informed and gleefully contankerous at times. Our country is now entering a phase of reflection, reduced certainty in our partisanship, and less tolerance for the artifical red state/blue state divide. The time for extremes on the right and left driving their respective parties is over for now.

    The War in Iraq was lost before it ever started. Hubris, greed and a refusal to listen to anyone that wasn’t on the out of control train to war (if you don’t know of the Abilene Paradox, look it up; Bush’s Iraq War is the perfect example) lead to extremely poor planning and execution of the invasion and particularly the nation building aspect of the mission.

    Terrorism will continue regardless of what we do in Iraq. We cannot “win” in Iraq because there is no win to be had, in the sense of controlling the terrorist threat to America. Continued tracking of terrorist plots, through financial records, communications and other forms of spying is the central battle of the War on Terror, not Iraq. This realization will allow us to execute the war on terror in a manner that best protects the United States. Let’s all work together for the funding needed and the focus needed to wage an effective war. As I have said before, if we stay in Iraq for 50 years, it will not be a democracy like the United States, as its colonial history and enmity between it arificially thrown together citizens cannot be controlled except through the brutality of a dictator such as Saddam. Let Iraq split into its natural constituencies and work out its own problems. Terrorists have plenty of places in which to plan their activities. If they don’t plan in Iraq, they will plan elsewhere. We can do nothing more for Iraq. Let’s admit our mistake and move on to a more effective War on Terror.

    Comment by ed — 11/9/2006 @ 10:10 am

  5. I agree with you, Mr. Moran, even when I disagree with you. Say what you mean and mean what you say, that’s what I say. Whether I or anyone else agrees or disagrees with you is beside the point. What matters is that you stand on what you say without fear of recrimination or reprisal. When you do that I and everyone else will respect you. Back peddling is for cyclists, and it never moves you forward.

    There are certain truths I will not deny. There are certain values I will not compromise. There are certain principles I will not concede. And I couldn’t care less what anyone else says about it. I know what I believe, and I know that what I believe is true. I worry about what other people think like I worry about stepping in a puddle of ant urine. No one else is responsible for me but me. Oh, someone doesn’t like that? Tough. What that person says, wants, believes isn’t worth a flying fart out of a baboon’s butt to me.

    Call it like you see it, that’s what I say. Defend your position with uncompromising logic and truth. It’s the only way to live with self-respect and dignity. Compromising is for losers.

    Mine is purely a class distinction. Either you have it or you don’t. Class here is taken to mean the original sense of the word, which is a deeper sense of understanding. I know far too many lawyers, doctors, professors, businessmen, and politicians who earn a high salary and have no class. I don’t have any respect for the lot of them, and I never will. They think they’re all that, and they’re not. Their pretence to superiority is a masquerade for their own lack of substance. And everyone knows it but them.

    So take your stand and defend it. Don’t hold anything back. The line in the sand Travis drew at the Alamo was and is the demarcation between character and the lack thereof. You either die fighting for what you believe in or you live in ignominy. The former is for men, real men, and the latter is for fools.

    That said, I weep for your beloved Bears. Undefeated? Ha! The lowly Dolphins mopped up the field with their delusions of grandeur. Of course, my beloved Cowboys aren’t impressing anyone, me included. Oh, well. There’s always next season, and the next election cycle.

    Comment by GawainsGhost — 11/9/2006 @ 11:00 am

  6. Rick,

    I’m glad to see you professing a desire to change. The most effective bloggers I believe, are those that find fault and praise for both sides.

    Comment by PrivacyProponent — 11/9/2006 @ 11:05 am

  7. Rick,

    While I agree with the general sentiment, you’ve downplayed some critical factors that negatively impacted Bush’s leadership during the course of this war. You’re right - he’s ultimately responsible for his mistakes, but any analysis that dismisses these factors, IMHO, remains incomplete.

    1) A press that was opposed to Bush’s Presidency in the first place was bound to offer only lukewarm support immediately following the attacks. And by the end of 2001, the only allies he had in the press were FOX News, talk radio and the bloggers. Not an insignificant PR force, but, collectively, these voices don’t control the narrative of which you’ve written, especially when every other reactionary liberal journalist with an axe to grind is spinning virtually every development to cast Bush in a negative light.

    If you’ll excuse an extremely cycnical observation, war presents unique opportunities to govern for those in power. Whether or not Bush squandered those opporunties, the fact remains that pretty much everything he did pre 9/11 an post 9/11 - with a brief respite following the attacks - was either misreported or underreported by an unrelenting and unforgiving press. For all intents and purposes, the MSM appeared to acting more as the propaganda wing of the Democratic party, various “progressive” causes and the UN than as disinterested observers.

    How effective can the presidential bully pulpit be when MSM gatekeepers filter the message as they see fit and report on every opposition talking point as though it’s a legtimate story?

    2) Over the course of the last year or so, there appear to have been a number of current and former members of the IC, State, etc., who compromised various anti-terror policies by leaking classified information to the press. Were I conspiracy theorist nutcase like the loose change jackasses, I’d say it was nothing less than a concerted effort by disaffected civil servants, political appointees and the President’s political opponents to cripple his admininstration. Since I’m not, however, I’ll chalk it up to those people assuming prerogatives that were never theirs to begin with and an adminstration that lacked the will to prosecute them.

    In any event, I agree that only those completely devoid of any historical perspective really believe Bush is the worst president in American history and that, but for the grace of the Democratic party, liberals would be making nice with a pack of rabid wolverines as guests of a neocon reeducation camp somewhere in the UP.

    I do have one request. Please don’t devote all your efforts over the next two years to casting aspersions on the Bush adminsitration. You’d sound too much like every else. Besides, someone has to keep an eye on those Democrats in Congress. I mean, who else is gonna do it - CNN or the NYT?

    Comment by Sirius Familiaris — 11/9/2006 @ 11:29 am

  8. Rick,

    I wish there were more people like you out there. While I did not agree with many of the current administrations policies, I felt it would irresponsible to constantly be negative. Bush is in office until 2008 and my attitude was let’s just through his term.

    But as the years go by and the fatalies and failed policies mounted, Bush did not make the changes to right the ship. He is a stubborn mule living in his Dad’s shadow. Being American is to be adaptible and flexible. Bush is neither. At this point, the best thing he can do is to make some kind of effort to correct his wrongs in Iraq. Otherwise, the next President will steal all the glory.

    Anyway…the reason I posted was to say I live on the Fox River in your neck of the woods. And the economic landscape would tend to favor Republicans. The perception being that they are more fiscally responsible and keep taxes lower. But, as evidenced ny the war in Iraq, economics go way beyond taxes. So much of the Bush’s regime has hurt economically by very poor foreign policy (and to some extent, domestic social policy).

    The bottom line is that voters can’t be selfish. Elderly shouldn’t only focus on taxes and medicare. The young have to look to the future if we are to remain the dynamic country we are. Vote for the best person, not just along party lines. Hold our politicians responsible. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading your blog in the years to come.

    PS…I can’t believe the best the Repubs could come up with for IL Governor was Judy Baar Topinka. Everyone I know who is younger than 50 yrs old could see what an old “grease the wheels” politician she is. I could imagine her drinking a Scotch and smoking a cigarette during her whole term in office. Pathetic.

    Comment by Steve — 11/9/2006 @ 12:31 pm

  9. Bush’s first term was dynamic, but after the 04 election it was as if he was trying to prove that he was as idiotic as the far lefties claimed he was.

    Rick, I’ve always liked reading this blog more than most. I always thought your perspectives on things were different and fresher than most of the blogs which are primarily copy and paste wastelands with a continuum of beaten path talking points.

    Comment by TonyR — 11/9/2006 @ 3:13 pm

  10. Rick,

    One of the best posts you’ve written in a long time, possible ever. It will only cement me as an avid reader.

    One thing you failed to mention is that there is a difference between being a Republican and/or Bush supporter and a conservative. You can still be a conservative and roundly criticize Bush and republicans. The sad fact is that so many support Bush and the Republicans simply because they are called “republican” and there is not alternative for them to support. I could launch into one of my tirades on the two-party system, but I’m sure you get the point.

    As for Iraq, we certainly need to look at other options. One imperfect option to consider is to end our supposed neutrality and take sides, probably in the form of a semi-secular military coup. I see few options to preserve American influence and interests in Iraq. I go into a little bit of detail on this particular option on my site if you want to take a look. I must say I’m envious of your writing skills. I’ve been hobbled for too long by bureaucratic government standards I fear.

    Best of luck Rick, I’m behind your “coming out.”

    Comment by Andy — 11/9/2006 @ 3:27 pm

  11. A republican form of government will always end up tanking at some point. We may be nering that point. We are moving in parallel with ancient Rome. When the Republican form of government at Rome became inept and proved unable to govern the empire, Julius Caesar put it out of its misery. Sooner or later, we’re going to veer too far off track to be able to get back on. And I fear the feckless use of our military could be our undoing. How much abuse can our soldiers take from the incompetent political class before they just say no? If and when Washington faces its Waterloo, both parties will be in the gunsights.

    Comment by Xenophon — 11/9/2006 @ 3:49 pm

  12. Mr. Moran, My vote for worst president goes to another big-spending, Texas liberal: Lyndon B. Johnson. Unfortunately, The Compassionate One still has two years to prove me wrong. Regards

    Comment by KellyS — 11/9/2006 @ 4:48 pm

  13. Welcome back to being just an American Rick

    Banned but not out.

    Comment by Larry in L.A. — 11/9/2006 @ 5:38 pm

  14. “Bush’s first term was dynamic, but after the 04 election it was as if he was trying to prove that he was as idiotic as the far lefties claimed he was”

    Partially privatizing social security was idiotic? I missed that memo. Of course, what do I know about financial matters compared to a Barbara Stresiand, a Bill Maher or a John Kerry? It’s not like I have an MBA and graduate level economic courses in my background? Or worked in gov’t and private sector finance for 20 years?

    I agree with much of what you’ve written, Rick, but some is a little unfair (we elected a guy that was not a great orator - was that really a surprise to anyone? or were we to expect a man in his 50s was going to sprout new talents?). Though I wouldn’t go as far as Sirius, who makes substantive points, but really that just means a list of excuses. Failed with a reason is worse than just failing. Not only are you a failure but you are also an excuse maker.

    Comment by Sweetie — 11/9/2006 @ 5:47 pm

  15. “How much abuse can our soldiers take from the incompetent political class before they just say no?”

    And yet soldiers keep re-enlisting and civilians keep signing up. I’d wonder why except I can look to my own career and I can’t seem to remember much about being at the docks of San Diego, Pearl or Subic Bay. But I remember vividly the days on Al Masirah island and supporting our carrier group.

    It’s the sense of purpose that a corporate job just can’t match.

    Comment by Sweetie — 11/9/2006 @ 5:55 pm

  16. So if the Republicans had won you’d still be whoring yourself intellectually?

    Comment by Melanie — 11/9/2006 @ 6:32 pm

  17. Interesting post, Rick. Hey, if anything one of the reasons I visit your blog is for your cool ‘24′ updates. Hey, how about doing updates on ‘Heroes’, ‘Lost’ or ‘BSG’?

    Comment by Johnny Tremaine — 11/9/2006 @ 7:32 pm

  18. I’m sorry you can’t read Melanie. I;m especailly sorry you can’t read what I write on this site.

    Anyone who would accuse me of “whoring myself intellectually” obviously has never read a word I’ve written.

    BTW - what exactly does that mean? Sounds like a 12 year old little girl trying to sound all grown up. The fact that most 12 year olds know how to read gives them a leg up on you.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 11/9/2006 @ 7:49 pm

  19. Rick, you are totally correct about Bush’s communication skills. I’ve been alarmed since the State of the Union in January of 2004 when he didn’t even get the bump that most Presidents get. People stopped listening to him. And how did they allow Cheney to be totally discredited and no use to the President politically.

    I became concerned in the spring of 2005 when Bush was absolutely not communicaing the war issues and the media was doing their “lowest approval ratings ever” and he never fought back.

    He owed that to the troops and he failed.

    Comment by Kate — 11/9/2006 @ 8:41 pm

  20. Rick,
    If you pulled any punches in the past, I missed it. At times I’ve thought your criticisms were too harsh but I read anyway. I pulled some punches of my own, mainly relating to the Congressional Republicans. No more. They screwed the pooch far more than anything Bush did or didn’t do, in my opinion. Keep on. I feel liberated as well. Conservatives need strong voices and yours is one of the best.

    Comment by Chris — 11/10/2006 @ 1:16 am

  21. Rick, I was drawn here by your ‘24′ commentaries, and although I am very liberal socialially and libertarian economically, I’ve found your main blog’s commentaries to be the only right wing voice I could even tolerate reading. You have always seemed fair in your treatment of the Republican party and the President, and thus I’ve made you the alternative voice I listen to, even though I disagree with most, if not all, of your views. This post simply confirms that belief, and you will definitely not lose me as a reader.

    Comment by Rob — 11/10/2006 @ 1:58 am

  22. “Bush has certainly demonstrated incompetence on Iraq and has failed miserably in other areas of Presidential leadership. For that, history will not remember him well.”


    You might be right. Time will tell…

    I remain an admirer of your honesty and not a little envious of your highly thoughtful writings and, in my view, very serious critiques of Left and Right sides here on your website.

    I am, however, having some sincere difficulty reconciling the above with your previous post entitled “The Myth of Incompetence” in which you conclude:

    “In the end, Bush will be judged by the totality of his Presidency not by the Six Sigma analyses that pass for serious critiques by the Presidents detractors. In fact, they are not serious at all. They represent a political tactic that seeks to undermine rather than improve. And for that, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

    Your guidance here will be highly appreciated.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Nick D. — 11/10/2006 @ 7:04 am

  23. Nick:

    Thanks for the reminder (LOL). Here’s the link to the piece you reference:


    I haven’t read the piece in a while but the point I was trying to make was that Bush was being judged by a different criteria than other presidents had been.

    Also, it might be helpful to point out that Iraq is in a helluva lot worse shape today than it was back then.

    And Bush’s incompetence is not universal as far as his presidency goes. He has managed some things well, some things very well. In that respect, while the article doesn’t stand the test of time too well, I still stand by many of my conclusions.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 11/10/2006 @ 7:13 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress