Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First the kiss, now the dagger.

When George Bush played smoochy-face with Joe Lieberman he sealed Lieberman's fate as the Democratic Senator from the state of Connecticut. Joe's fellow citizens are not too keen on the war mongering. Add in that Joe is a welfare statists and authoritarian on social issues and you can see why Bush was ready to exchange saliva with him. In a time when most Americans are sick unto death with Bush cuddling up to the man is one way to run into trouble electorally -- which is why so many Republicans are playing down their party affiliation or exaggerating their disagreements with King George.

So George's kiss put the end to one career for Joe Lieberman. But it looks like the White House is anxious to resurrect him even if they have to stab another Republican in the back to do it. Expediency, not principles, has really been the hallmark of this administration. They talk principles so much because they have none. If you need to lie about weapons of mass destruction you lie. If you have lie to the UN you lie. If you have to lie to the voters you lie. The one principle they bow down before is power.

Now consider the problems of Alan Schlesinger, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat in Connecticut. I presume the man is a loyal Republican but unfortunately for him the president is not. First the chairman of the Republican Party refused to say he would support Schlesinger for Senate. How odd! The man is their candidate. He was nominated by them. But power comes before principles like loyalty. And then a reporter asks Bush' mouthpiece, Tony Snow, in a press conference if the president will support Schlesinger.

Snow gives a typical Bushian evasive answer: "The President supports the democratic process in the state of Connecticut, and wishes them a successful election in November." No one asked that question. It's sort of like looking for bin Laden but finding yourself in Iraq instead. No one exactly saw the link between the start of the exchange and the finish. The reporter is obviously aware that Snow "question and answer" time was more like avoid the answer time and pressed the matter asking why wouldn't the President commit to supporting his party's own candidate. Again Snow simply evaded the question saying "I don't know. Why do you ask? Is there something about the candidate that I should know about that would lead to judgements?"

So Snow tries to make it sound like the reporter is questioning Mr. Schlesinger. The evasion shows that something is going on in the White House and apparently it means shafting Mr. Schlesinger. The reporter pressed again, which is what you do when someone tries to slither out from the question: "Why wouldn't he support a member of his own party? Is it because he's, well, behind in the polls? Is it because the President likes Joe Lieberman?"

Now the reporter is zeroing in and almost catches Snow off guard. "There may be -- there are a whole host of reasons the President -- I'm just not going to play." Did he almost say "there are a whole host of reasons the President won't support his party's candidate"? It sounds that way.

Joe Lieberman is now out on his own and he might take company no matter how odious it may be and welcome Bush's support. But then Lieberman has no loyalty to the Republican Party or it's candidates and obviously neither does Bush. Now this sort of back stabbing by the president would normally worry incumbent Republicans but then so many of them are running away from so quickly that the best assurance of their re-election is Bush endorsing their opponent.

But the question in Connecticut is whether or not the GOP will start putting money and effort behind Lieberman's campaign or simply just leave Schlesinger dangling on his own with any support from his own party. I suspect that there the Rove Republicans, Machiavellian to the core, may be trying to get Schlesinger to pull out and get the GOP to back Lieberman "for the good of the party". Of course the party doesn't matter one iota to Bush. He's just worried he won't have a rubber stamp Congress after the next election. That interferes with his power grabs and if it comes down to power for Bush or the election of candidates from his own party he'll take the power any day. It's what motivates him.