October 29, 2005


George W. Bush's Not So Terrible Week: The Bush administration's second-term bear market has bottomed out (William Kristol, 11/07/2005, Weekly Standard)

LAST WEEK THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S second-term bear market bottomed out. On Monday, Bush nominated as the next Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who of all the leading candidates will be the central banker least hostile to tax cuts and least likely to direct monetary policy to any end other than combating inflation. At the end of the week, the Commerce Department announced that economic growth in the third quarter had been 3.8 percent, suggesting that, thanks in large part to Bush's supply-side tax cuts, our economy may remain strong enough to overcome the twin hurdles of high energy prices and rising interest rates.

Meanwhile, the political process in Iraq continued in a relatively promising direction, as some Sunni groups seemed increasingly reconciled to pursuing their goals through politics rather than betting on the success of the insurgency. On the military front, the joint U.S.-Iraqi effort to fight an effective counterinsurgency seemed to be making some progress. And the prospects for less troublemaking by Syria seemed to improve as well, with the Assad regime thrown back on its heels by a U.N. report implicating it in the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister.

On Thursday, Harriet Miers withdrew her candidacy for the Supreme Court, producing a massive sigh of relief from Bush supporters and conservatives throughout the nation. Now the president has the chance to pick a strong nominee and to rally his supporters for a winning fight on his or her behalf.

And then, of course, on Friday, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year investigation came to an underwhelming conclusion with the indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby--not for any underlying crime but for impeding the investigation through perjury and false statements.

Bill Kristol, like his father before him, is the only neocon who's as smart as they all think they are. He knows he needs to claw his way back into W's good graces.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 29, 2005 4:29 PM

Trade you Kristol for Card.

Posted by: ghostcat at October 29, 2005 5:02 PM

Kristol isn't half as smart as he thinks he is and I'm sure Bush sees through him.

Posted by: tefta at October 29, 2005 5:12 PM

Kristol is a McCain man through and through. If McCain runs in '08 Kristol will be lobbying hard for the Chief of Staff or other position. In the meantime he will be nice to be nice to Bush only when he thinks he has to.

Posted by: AWW at October 29, 2005 7:01 PM

I am not sure that Kristol feels the need for rehabilitation. He has always been a loyalist who selectively dissents. However, he tries too hard to be as elitist as Strauss. So does Libby, who, I suppose, thought he could blow off a special prosecutor because he was craftier than such little people. He could not, and here we are. So much for the tactics of idealistic neocons.

There is much to dislike about Bush policies -- immigration to name only one. Still, his foreign policy remains our best bet. It's a personal matter. I carry WTC dust inside me. That does not mean I'm right, but at least my biases are clear.

Kristol was right about Miers, though. I was not eager to see a Senatorial version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is to her credit that she spared us that.

Apart from his hubris, Kristol's ok.


Posted by: Ed Bush at October 29, 2005 7:01 PM

Ed - I'm not a conspiracy type but everyone says Libby is a very smart guy - too smart to make the mistakes he did. Perhaps it was hubris but perhaps there was a method behind his actions that we may never find out about.

Posted by: AWW at October 29, 2005 7:04 PM

Kristol is very smart and so are his mom (Gertrude Himmelfarb) and dad. I just finished reading Mom's The Roads to Modernity and it's fantastic - highly recommended.

Posted by: pj at October 29, 2005 7:14 PM


I hope that Fitzgerald caught Libby, fair and square. If Libby did so to hide something -- covering up the coverup -- the Columbo gumshoes could and probably would catch on eventually. All of this makes me very uncomfortable.

All best,


Posted by: Ed Bush at October 29, 2005 7:45 PM

I expect in the fullness of time GWB will have the good grace to thank those conservatives (including people like Kristol and quite a few U.S. Senators) who saved him from a legacy-killing debacle -- decades of a Justice O'Connor Lite.

Posted by: curt at October 29, 2005 9:27 PM


Until Luttig votes to uphold Roe...

Posted by: oj at October 29, 2005 9:40 PM

Curt - and if Miers was just to draw attention away from the Plame thing (as some are suggesting) he was going to pull her anyway.

Posted by: AWW at October 29, 2005 10:39 PM


"If Miers was just to draw attention away from the Plame thing (as some are suggesting) he was going to pull her anyway".

That's staggeringly Machiavellian--is anyone suggesting that seriously??

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at October 29, 2005 11:59 PM

AWW --

Is there anyone outside the Beltway who has a clue what the "Plame thing" is? Filed long ago under the category "Business as Usual."

Posted by: curt at October 30, 2005 8:44 AM

Curt, do you think Caeser thanked Brutus?

Posted by: Bob at October 30, 2005 12:58 PM