Saturday, September 02, 2006

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

From David Weigel, blogging over at Andrew Sullivan's site, a restrained, careful, and substantive defense of the president offered by a blogger at NRO (again, apologies for no hyperlinking):

"[L]ike rain on parched earth" - blog journalism's answer to panegyric verse. It almost feels right to ask if Mario Loyola is truly who he poses as, as opposed to some hacker-satirist Trojan Horse. Where to begin? When a question put to the president asks, "Do you think you're right, or do you think you're right?", it's difficult to say what a courageous response would be. But credulity is, if nothing else, comfortable. And self-sustaining - is he really meaning to contrast this president with some other one whose policies would be defined by incoherence or incompetence or arrogance? Could a White House smell much higher to heaven of these than this one? But, as Loyola suggests, do consider the president's response, and follow that by considering Loyola's response to Bush's response. All Bush said was that he isn't a poll-chaser. It's the new, propriety-driven Bush answering here. And we know this without it being said. He is as extreme opposite of a poll-chasing president as it gets - why it's worth wondering if he cares at all about what any given American voter thinks of anything he does. Or rather, worth it if you're a normal, rational person living under a representative government, as opposed to a professional partisan with a propensity to overdo it. So professional a partisan, in fact, that he easily extols Bush in ways that even his paid functionaries haven't ventured. A mere few sentences, for instance, separate the point of praise over Bush's defiance of popular whim from the point of helpful suggestion that he and the vice president should turn up "every week" in front of press cameras - "if only to strengthen the viability of his agenda." The coda to this symphony speaks for itself:

"But it was not so long ago that Americans could only wish for a president who was obviously trustworthy, upstanding, and principled. And the day is not far off when we will think ourselves lucky to have seen this President defend the honor and integrity of his office—and the American people—for eight years. The times are difficult, and nobody could have gotten through the last five years without making mistakes. But in that station to which God called him, George W. Bush has been himself honestly, and thank God for that."

The president, reading this, might thank God for restraining orders.


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