Dana Perino: Spinning 'Mission Accomplished' Six Days Early

The irony is wonderful. In less than 30 seconds, Dana Perino accuses the Democrats of being cynical, not playing fair, and pulling a PR stunt in passing the latest Iraq funding bill, complete with a non-binding withdrawal timetable. Excuse me?

From this morning's Press Gaggle in the WH Briefing Room:

Helen Thomas: Do you think -- what do you think about the effort to time this with the fourth anniversary of the President's declaration of the end of major combat?

MS. PERINO: Well, I noticed that yesterday there are anonymous Democratic sources who are saying that this was their strategy and that an on-the-record quote from the Senate Majority Leader's spokesman saying that that is preposterous. I wonder which one is accurate. And I think that if it is the case that they withheld money for the troops in order to try to play some ridiculous PR stunt, that that is the height of cynicism, and absolutely so unfortunate for the men and women in uniform and their families who are watching the debate -- and you would hope that that is not true, although it does make you wonder, why did the House wait so long to appoint conferees? There were no conferees appointed during that two-week break.

So does this mean that the Democrats have stooped down to the President's level? Because no one has been more disrespectful of the troops than his administration. And cynical? Wasn't the construction of the Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch narratives a cynical use of their blood to bolster support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

So what if the Democrats did time this bill to within a week of the 'Mission Accomplished' speech anniversary? You know Keith Olbermann is going to deliver a special comment on May 1st. You know that many congressmen and senators will put out a statement on that day. Ditto with anti-war groups. Even the mainstream press will re-visit that speech on the flight deck of the USS Lincoln. In fact, they have already begun.

But Ms. Perino continues, and tries her best to re-spin that speech, just as Scott McClellan did in the fall of 2003:

And I would just remind you that I know that our opponents for years have tried -- have misconstrued that speech. I would encourage anybody who's actually going to write about this to go back and read that speech and what it was about and what the USS Abraham Lincoln was doing, how long they had been gone, way past their six-month deployment. I think they were gone nine to 10 months. They were expanded, and their mission was accomplished. The President never said "mission accomplished" in his speech.

And I would just hope that the cynicism on the Hill doesn't run that deep, but I wouldn't put it past them.

Excuse me while I chuckle. And then I get really mad.

Nice try, Ms. Perino, but fuck you.

See, this:

was a PR stunt. And it was elaborately staged in front of this:

And this is the text of the president's speech. He said:

"In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on."

I think I see the word victory above. His words, plus a vinyl banner from the white house, equals a war victory speech. Not a victory for the crew of the Lincoln. He was talking about Operation Iraqi Freedom. Stop spinning it because you will lose the argument. I'll give you credit: Scotto was a good teacher. You learned from the best.

And you will just make this May 1st more painful for the White House, and the right-wing bloggers, which I wouldn't mind at all.

Bush Increasingly Unhinged

Ever since the roast pig incident in Germany last July, Bush has been acting more and more strange. Here he is yesterday in Ohio. He was supposed to talk about the importance of the troop surge and the GWOT, but it ended up like this -

Bush muses on marriage, chicken-plucking
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Apr 19, 6:13 PM ET

Strange things sometimes come out of President Bush's mouth. "Polls just go poof." "Remember the rug?"

When Bush went to Ohio on Thursday to talk about terrorism, he ended up musing about marriage and chicken-plucking plants, the agony of death and his Oval Office rug, which resembles a sunburst.

About his legacy, Bush said historians are still assessing George Washington, the nation's first leader. "My attitude is, if they're still writing about (number) one, 43 doesn't need to worry about it."

On being married: "A good marriage is really good after serving together in Washington, D.C."

Maybe the president just felt like jabbering at the town hall-style event in Tipp City, Ohio. He began talking about terrorism and ended 90 minutes later after chattering about everything from life after the White House to Vietnam War and the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.

Some highlights:

_"Politics comes and goes, but your principles don't. And everybody wants to be loved β€” not everybody. ... You never heard anybody say, `I want to be despised, I'm running for office.'"

_"The best thing about my family is my wife. She is a great first lady. I know that sounds not very objective, but that's how I feel. And she's also patient. Putting up with me requires a lot of patience."

_"There are jobs Americans aren't doing. ... If you've got a chicken factory, a chicken-plucking factory, or whatever you call them, you know what I'm talking about."

_"There are some similarities, of course" between Iraq and Vietnam. "Death is terrible."

_"I've been in politics long enough to know that polls just go poof at times."

As he has before, Bush told the story about how his first presidential decision was to pick a rug for the Oval Office, a task he quickly cast to his wife. He told her to make sure the rug reflected optimism "because you can't make decisions unless you're optimistic that the decisions you make will lead to a better tomorrow."

Later, when he talked about his hope for succeeding in Iraq, Bush said, "Remember the rug?"

Laura and George Bush's Tax Returns Show: They Are Just Like Us

Yes, you can have a beer with him, all right.

W is a regular joe!

Almost no one in the MSM will tell you that a very distant (14th) cousin of his is the Queen of England.

Almost no one in the MSM will tell you that he is reportedly worth $20 Million (or about the same as John Kerry without his wife).

And of course, no one will remind you that his wealth has depended on his father's name and the saving grace of Saudi investors and members of the Saudi royal family.

At least the MSM will report that the salary of the President of the US is currently $400,000, which was doubled when Clinton left office. (On second thought, do we want Americans to know the worst president ever makes twice what Bill Clinton took home from US taxpayers?).

But other than that, he fucks-up the language, clears brush on his Crawford ranch, drinks beer with Condi while watching college football at Camp David (and one time fell flat on his face doing so), and that makes him just like any other American Idiot. You wanted a President made in your own image, Middle America, and you got him. He's just a little wealthier than you.

Alberto Gonzales Resignantion Watch

He will testify to the Senate Judicial Committee on Tuesday April 17th. Assuming he keeps the Bush / Wall Street tradition of taking care of bad news on a Friday evening, do we think he will resign on Friday April 20th? The pressure is mounting on him to resign earlier, but he will get the green-light after he testifies.

It must suck knowing your ass is out the door, but you have to delay it as long as possible to buy the White House a few more crisis-free weekends. I mean, he has no hope of saving his job. It's not as if his testimony will save his ass.

Now the Gonzo narrative from the White House goes like this: He is preparing for his April 17th appearance like it is a heavyweight bout (The 17th will be the 68th anniversary of Joe Lewis' defeat of Jack Roper to defend his title, by the way). The White House is going to let him go down swinging and with some dignity. But make no mistake, Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy, and Russ Feingold are going to tear his head off (Feinstein and Schumer seem to be poised to do the same, but they have to prove to me that they can bring it in the big game). Have your TIVOs ready.

Gonzo is going down. No, it is not fair. It's several senators against one. It will be a public assfuck. But these are the rules they live by and die by in the beltway. It's like wiseguys who get whacked. They knew the risks long before they entered the game.

Update, 4/20/2007, 10:19 EDT: I stand corrected. Feinstein, Schumer and former USA Sheldon Whitehouse stole the show. They get cold beers from us. I totally underestimated Whitehouse. He is a sniper. He linked the firings of the USAs to the unprecedented, expanded relationship between the White House and the DOJ. Karl Rove really did want the DOJ to serve at the pleasure of His Majesty. Whitehouse has the evidence. Amazing.

Bush Forces Sam Fox Through as Ambassador to Belgium

And then heads to Crawford for yet another vacation.

President Bush just left Washington for Crawford, where he will remain through Sunday. This is Bush's 63rd trip to Crawford since taking office in January 2001. He has spent over 365 full vacation days in Crawford.

Anyway, in a slap to the Senate and John Kerry, Bush forced the appointment of millionaire conservative businessman Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium this afternoon. John Fox was a major financer of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign against John Kerry. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee blocked his confirmation last month, leading Fox to withdraw his nomination on March 28th.

But now we know what Bush had planned. This appointment while Congress is on-break puts Fox in Brussels (and I'm sure frequent weekends in Paris) through the end of Bush's term in January 2009. So like John Bolton, Mr. Fox is an ambassador with a limited life span, but with a nice series of paychecks until the day he is finally booted out.

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake points out that Fox is friends with Joe Lieberman.

Here is Senator Kerry confronting Mr. Fox on the Swift Boat funding back in February of this year. I'm sure Mr. Fox writes 5-figure checks to strangers all the time. What's the fuss?

UPDATE: The sole Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd, is questioning the legality of this recess appointment. That's a stretch, but I applaud his reaction. He released the following statement:

β€œIt is outrageous that the President has sought to stealthily appoint Sam Fox to the position of ambassador to Belgium when the President formally requested that the Fox nomination be withdrawn from the Senate because it was facing certain defeat in the Foreign Relations Committee last week. I seriously question the legality of the President's use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and invite other Senators to join with me in that request. This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority -- sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration.”

Iran Crisis Escalating: Is "Operation Bite" Just a Rumour?

Last week, a Russian journalist reported that the Bush administration is considering a 12-hour airstrike on Iran, which will trigger a full-blown regional meltdown. I hope this was an April Fool's stunt. But the scenario seems plausible when you consider that if Bush really wanted to strike Iran, this weekend would be an excellent window of opportunity. Congress is in recess and the British hostage crisis is not being solved anytime soon.

JurassicPork might be panicking a bit too much here, but he has valid points.

So does the Operation Bite have any shread of truth? We'll be watching Reuters closely this holiday weekend.

Despirately Searching for ANY Good News in Iraq

President Bush spoke to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association yesterday. He told the audience that he was pleased to see Iraqis "returning home" and expressing themselves by maintaining blogs. Will Bunch searched for Iraqi blogs last night, and found these heartbreaking entries from our fellow Blogspot users 6,000 miles away. If the president was implying that the bloogers in Iraq were reporting good news, I can't see it.

I was impressed by 3 of the blogs mentioned in Bunch's post, and I have added them to the list of Blog links on our site.