Friday, February 06, 2009

Former Bush chief of staff criticized President Obama's dress code

Sometimes I come across stories that are just so absurd that I wonder how these stories even make it into the news--or are some of these folks involved in these stories that stupid? This one from the New York Times makes me wonder who doesn't have any clothes on? From the NY Times:

At least one prominent former Bush official has the following message for President Obama: I don’t care if it’s warm enough to grow orchids in the Oval Office. Put your suit jacket on.

In an interview scheduled to run Wednesday night, Andrew H. Card Jr. told the syndicated news show Inside Edition that “there should be a dress code of respect” in the White House and that he wished Mr. Obama “would wear a suit coat and tie.”

Mr. Card, who was George W. Bush’s first chief of staff, becomes the first member of that famously buttoned-up administration to criticize the more relaxed Obama dress code.

According to Inside Edition’s Web site, Mr. Card also said:

“The Oval Office symbolizes…the Constitution, the hopes and dreams, and I’m going to say democracy. And when you have a dress code in the Supreme Court and a dress code on the floor of the Senate, floor of the House, I think it’s appropriate to have an expectation that there will be a dress code that respects the office of the President.”

Mr. Card went on to add that, while he would not criticize Mr. Obama for his appearance, “I do expect him to send the message that people who are going to be in the Oval Office should treat the office with the respect that it has earned over history.”

As the Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported last week, Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush have, among other distinctions, drastically different views on White House dress codes.

You can listen to Andrew Card's comments on President Obama's dress code here via YouTube:

Now personally, I could care less what the dress code is for President Obama, or even the dress code was for George W. Bush--I'm more concerned about how our leadership will react to the challenges, and crisis, that this country faces each day. I consider George W. Bush a failure in office--not because of what he wore in office, but rather the long-term damage he wrought upon this country with his misguided economic policies, his disastrous war in Iraq, his domestic spying on Americans, his trampling of legal rights, his politicizing the Justice Department with the firing of the U.S. attorneys, his use of torture--the list goes on. And yet here is Andrew Card claiming that a dress code symbolizes the Constitution, when Card's own boss used the Constitution as toilet paper for eight years--while wearing a suit jacket? Mr. Card, are you that much of a frickin' moron?

Of course, Andrew Card is just another in a long line of former George W. Bush employees who are coming out to attack President Obama on everything. We have already seen former Vice President Dick Cheney attack President Obama, spreading even more fear that terrorists will attack the United States under Obama's watch. Last year, former Bush adviser Karl Rove joined Fox News as a political commentator, and has engaged in plenty of attacks against Barack Obama. The Washington Post had a very interesting story today regarding these former Bush aids that are pulling the knives out to attack Obama:

The knives are already out just two weeks after Bush left the White House, as some of his closest friends and former aides begin lobbing sharp criticisms at the Obama administration.

The comments mark a departure from the general rules of decorum that held sway during the final weeks of the Bush administration, when the departing president and his aides made a point of fostering a cordial relationship with the Obama team. Bush himself has refrained from criticism so far, making no public remarks since returning to Texas.

"It's certainly unbecoming, especially for a former vice president," Thomas E. Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said in reference to the remarks by Cheney and others. "It reinforces the fact that there's a lot of bitterness about the low public standing of Bush and the administration as they left office, and the soaring standing of Barack Obama. A lot of these people are still caught up in these ideological battles and can't let go."

Now this is a very interesting analysis here. We've come off a very bitter election, where the GOP spin-machine threw the kitchen sink at Democratic candidate Barack Obama with terrorism fears, Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, character assassinations--everything they could throw at Obama, in the hope that it would stick, and force Obama's poll numbers down before the November election. Not only did the Republican Party fail to keep Obama from being elected into the White House, but they also lost seats in both the U.S. Senate, and the House. The GOP got spanked in last November's election. Instead of reflecting why the Republicans got spanked, and determining how to adjust their political policies to reflect the electorate's concerns, these former Bush aids seem more concern in lashing out against President Obama in petty bitterness. According to the WaPost:

Other historians and political experts say that, in general, former presidents and their senior aides tend to withhold public criticism during the start of a successor's term, although there have been anomalies. While a defeated Al Gore laid low in 2001, former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton -- a new senator from New York -- publicly attacked Bush in March of that year for allegedly attempting to "turn back the clock on the Clinton administration."

This year, the hard feelings among some Bush supporters began to flare immediately after Obama's inaugural address, which included some implicit criticism of Bush and his tenure. GOP consultant and former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon wrote in a blog posting after Bush's trip home Jan. 20 that some felt Obama took "unnecessary shots" and used "borrowed ideas," although he also stressed that Bush himself expressed no concerns. Longtime Bush advisers Karen Hughes and Dan Bartlett offered similar views in interviews and appearances.

Then Gonzales, who resigned as Bush's attorney general under a cloud of scandal in 2007, told National Public Radio that he disagreed with testimony from attorney general nominee Eric Holder, who said the CIA interrogation technique called waterboarding was torture.

Holder "needs to be careful in making a blanket pronouncement like that," Gonzales said, because it could affect the "morale and dedication" of intelligence officials.

There may even be more to this story, than just petty bitterness. George Bush left office with an approval rating of around 33 percent, and 66 percent disapproval. To contrast that, Barack Obama entered office with an approval rating of around 68 percent and a disapproval rating of around 12 percent--a complete opposite of Bush's approval/disapproval rating. I certainly do not have to say how constantly President Bush defended his presidential legacy before he handed the Oval Office keys to Barack Obama. So in addition to the bitterness of losing badly to the Democrats, these former Bush aids were also angry at the criticism taking place against President Bush's legacy. Continuing with the WaPost article:

Presidential historian Robert Dallek said the wave of criticism "speaks to their defensiveness," noting that Bush spent much of his last two months in office defending his rocky White House tenure.

"This was an administration that left so much under a cloud," Dallek said. "They're just continuing a pattern of aggression in defending their failed record, which is what the current judgment is among most Americans."

So in the end, what we have here is former Bush aids that are angry. They are angry at Barack Obama winning the presidency, even after all the fear-mongering and character assassinations that the GOP heaped on Obama during the presidential election. They are angry at the reversal in public opinion polls, showing their disgraced president leaving office, while their opponent enters office in a wave of positive public opinion. They are certainly angry at President Obama reversing a wide range of Bush actions and executive orders. And finally, these former Bush aids are angry at how George W. Bush's presidential legacy is being examined in critical views--views that are showing the flaws and failures of this former president. It is just pure spite and anger that is coming from these former Bush aids, and the only direction they can direct their anger is towards the presidential successor of George W. Bush.

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