Monday, September 21, 2009

Ignorant Dolt of The Day: Ross Douthat

I was surprised, to some extent, that there wasn't a big roll out.

You know, trumpets blaring, long, ego-pumping press release.

But, no, nothing.

Only his column announced that NYT columnist Russ Douthat had jumped aboard the Bush Legacy Team, earning him a spot on the ever-growing roster of The Garlic's, Ignorant Dolts.

It was a doozy today, going well beyond the "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade" kind-of-thing.

Douthat actually praises The Commander Guy for the disasters he created, in short, for the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, Bush aces it because he escalated the war, and as to the Nightmare On Wall Street, The Ek-A-Lec-Tic Reading Guy decided to let Heistin' Hank Paulson turn over the U.S. Treasury to his old cronies, bailing them out from their own greed.

Here's some gems from Douthat's "The Self-Correcting Presidency";

But if Bush is destined to go down as a failed president, come what may, he looks increasingly like an unusual sort of failure.

America has had its share of disastrous chief executives. But few have gone as far as Bush did in trying to repair their worst mistakes. Those mistakes were the Iraq war — both the decision to invade and the conduct of the occupation — and the irrational exuberance that stoked the housing bubble. The repairs were the surge, undertaken at a time when the political class was ready to abandon Iraq to the furies, and last fall’s unprecedented economic bailout.

Both fixes remain controversial. But for the moment, both look like the sort of disaster-averting interventions for which presidents get canonized. It’s just that in Bush’s case, the disasters he averted were created on his watch.


It’s true that Bush didn’t personally formulate the surge, or craft the bailout. But he was, well, the decider, and if he takes the blame — rightly — for what Donald Rumsfeld wrought, then he should get credit for Gen. David Petraeus’s successes in Iraq, and for blessing the sweeping decisions that Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke made in last September’s desperate weeks.

And if we give Bush credit on these fronts, it’s worth reassessing one of the major critiques of his presidency — that it was fatally insulated, by ideology and personality, from both the wisdom of the Washington elite and the desires of the broader public.


And perhaps his best decisions, on the surge and the bailout, were made from the bunker of a seemingly-ruined presidency — when his approval ratings had bottomed out, his credibility was exhausted and his allies had abandoned him.

This is not a blueprint that future presidents will want to follow. But the next time an Oval Office occupant sees his popularity dissolve and his ambitions turn to dust, he can take comfort from Bush’s example. It suggests that it’s possible to become a good president even — or especially — when you can no longer hope to be a great one.

You would have thought some editor at the NYT would have walked the copy back to Douthat, reminding him, that "Hey, no way, Worst-President-Ever!", and give him the choice of rewriting it, or having some advertisement run in his column space.

And, if you think The Garlic is being tough on him, that Douthat isn't deserving of the IDOTD ...

From Blue Texan, over on Firedoglake;
I never thought I'd write this, but I'm starting to miss Bill Kristol.

Put another way, if I get totally wasted on smack, pass out on the couch with a lit cigarette and set the house on fire, but am shaken out of my drug-induced stupor by the billowing smoke in time for me to pull one of my children out of the conflagration -- that makes me a "good" parent not a "great" one.

Some sliding scale! And I thought conservatives opposed affirmative action.
Brad, at Sadly No;
Yeah, OK, so Bush fucked up everything he touched, but at least he had the good sense to scramble around at the very last minute while spending lots of lives and money to avert a complete zombies-roaming-the-streets type of disaster. In conclusion, Bush was a good president.
Even Glenn Greenwald, on his Twitter, weighed in;
Ross Douthat, every week: I'll explicitly renounce right-wing myths to prove I'm reasonable, then spend the whole column justifying them

Yeah, Douthat, we know that the NYT brought you in to replace Little Billy Kristol, that you are one of the young tigers of the Right Wing Freak Show (the non-screaming division), but Jesus, were you in a coma for the past 8+ years?

One thing if you playing around with this idea, over cocktails (you could always blow it off that you were drunk).

But, to run this Bush Legacy Package as your column?

Only an Ignorant Dolt would do such, and you, Ross Douthat, are today's Ignorant Dolt.

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