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amd_300(Update 2: Thrilled to have been wrong! We got the veto.)
 
(Update: Looks like we won’t get that veto. Damn. Governor Dayton’s explanation, and I suppose that it does make some sense, is included in this MPR article.)
 
This passed the DFL-controlled Senate 35-30. What a load.
 

“No one should be under the impression that this buffer law will clean up our waters,” said (MEP Executive Director Steve) Morse. “It is significantly weakened from the Governor’s proposal. While it will have a modest positive impact, the waters of Southwestern Minnesota will remain unswimable and undrinkable. We have a long way to go to making the transformative change that the Governor envisions.”
 
…Raiding Dedicated Environmental Funds: Even with $1 billion on the bottom line, this bill raids funds that are to prevent old landfills from contaminating our groundwater and surface water and clean up the pollution where it occurs…
 
Surprise Sulfide Mining Amendment: The bill exempts sulfide mining waste from solid waste rules. This amendment was never introduced as a bill or heard in any committee, and its future effect is unknown. Exempting as-of-yet unknown waste streams from potential sulfide mines is an unnecessary risk to water quality and public health…
 
Polluter Amnesty: A polluter amnesty provision delays enforcement and waives penalties for regulated parties that self-report violations of environmental regulations. This provision needlessly strips the MPCA of its powers to hold polluters accountable for protecting our natural resources.
(Minnesota Environmental Partnership)

I’m not suggesting that online petitions suffice to change the world. But they certainly don’t hurt (just to cite one example, a lot of sane and rational federal judges were able to be confirmed, last year, largely because of online activism), and you can let Governor Mark Dayton know, here, that you’re with him, should he choose to veto this contemptible travesty.
 

In a related move – MN Auditor Rebecca Otto dared to suggest that Big Mining be required to put down some sort of legitimate surety, before poisoning Minnesota’s water – we had this.
 

DFL State Auditor Rebecca Otto is hoping Gov. Mark Dayton vetoes the state government finance bill that House and Senate leaders negotiated in the closing hours of the 2015 session.
 
Otto objects to language in the bill from House Republicans that would allow county officials to bypass her office and get audits from the private sector…
 
Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said the privatization of audits would be “like the fox guarding the chicken coop.”
(MPR)

 
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abandonedschool(Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 here, here, here, and here.)
 

This one’s about education. It’s not really about the current standoff, in which I of course wish Gov. Mark Dayton the best. It’s about what led to this, which is why some of the linked articles may reference conservative plans that have since been dropped or at least diminished in negotiations.

 
In outstate Minnesota, they have a lot of schools, too. And a lot of kids, and parents, and other interested parties, who profoundly desire access to higher education. Just like in the metro.
 

The center of the Republican budget plan is $2 billion in tax breaks. They have not specified exactly who would get them, but it bears mentioning that HF1 – their top priority – was largely tax cuts for big corporate interests. It is safe to say that corporate special interests will cash in with hundreds of millions of new tax breaks in the Republican budget supported by Rep. (Dave) Hancock (R-Bemidji).
 
Putting all of the eggs in the “tax breaks bucket” means that kids and students are getting a raw deal. Most striking to me is the fact that Republicans plan to give away $15 in tax cuts for every $1 they invest in Minnesota’s school kids. That’s less than a 1% increase in funding for education. This likely means our schools will face budget cuts. Our college students will see tuition increases again as well. The Republican plan stunts the progress we made over the last two years in education, from funding all-day kindergarten to freezing tuition for Minnesota college students.
(Rep. Paul Thissen, in Red Lake Nation News)

 
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Artist's conception. Not actually  a Republican primary voter

Artist’s conception. Not actually a Republican primary voter

So this is a bit scary. From a poll of likely Republican primary voters, and consider these are the people picking a major party candidate:

 

q23 Do you think that the Government is trying to
take over Texas or not?
The Government is trying to take over Texas 32%
The Government is not trying to take over Texas 40%
Not sure 28%

How nice that a plurality could recognize stupidity. However, add the believers and the undecided, and 60% of Republicans believe it’s somewhere between plausible and true that Jade Helm 15 is a cover for martial law or locking up the “patriots” in empty Walmarts. The only patriots locked up in Walmart are the workers locked in when their shifts are over but their managers want some free labor.

 
The PPP poll asked about presidential candidates and the results will affect #ThisGuyWantsToBePresident, but first, a slight tangent related to Jade Helm 15. A different poll had an unexpected result:
 

The Rasmussen survey found that particular concern was partisan: 50 percent of conservatives believed military training exercises would lead to greater federal control of some states. By contrast, 67 percent of liberals and 58 percent of those who identified as moderates said they weren’t concerned, according to the survey.

That’s right, you’re not seeing things. Liberals trust the armed forces more than conservatives do. This is foolish when there were troops in the streets of Minneapolis just today. I saw them! Are they seizing my guns? Are they planning to lock us up? Are they … having lunch in the same restaurant I am … oh. Right, Fort Snelling is close by. Never mind.
 
OK, enough laughing at the loonies and back to how the PPP poll affects #ThisGuyWantsToBePresident. The beginning idea is that by the time we know who the Republican candidate will be, the foibles of early 2015 will have gone down the memory hole no matter how relevant. So the hashtag can be searched on Twitter (and maybe Facebook to some degree) and the hashtag or the title can be searched here. Since the candidate could be anyone being talked about in national media, the idea was to just track them all. That seemed more plausible when there were fewer of them, but Rachel Maddow the other night counted 20 that are either officially running, unofficially running, or making “look at me!” noises and are too plausible as candidates to be blown off. I won’t speak for anyone else, but I give in. I can’t follow that many. Time to cull the sprouts, much earlier than planned, but I still don’t want to rely on my own sense that “no way this guy is going to win”. I want some data, and that linked PPP poll is rich in it.
 
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In the larger context of state level anti-abortion legislation, as well as state level and federal level cuts to the funding of health care for women, (notably Planned Parenthood but also cutting funding to other clinics), and an overall domestic spending policy affecting poor women and children, there are new right wing assaults in the right wing gender and culture wars.

 

Conservatives consistently act to benefit special interests, primarily wealthy people and corporations while intentionally harming those most vulnerable.  Conservatives are not only appallingly incompetent at any form of economic policy, they do real damage in their failed attempts at governance that harm people individually and weaken the nation as a whole.

 

I think it might be a darned good idea for male legislators on the GOP side of the aisle  to undergo labor pain simulations before they vote on any legislation that adversely had an impact on women — especially on choice and reproduction.   I would point out that fairly large numbers of men, acting in solidarity with their wives or partners during pregnancy, undergo this experience voluntarily as an exercise in empathy and understanding; similarly they try on pregnancy ‘bellies’.   The overwhelmingly male body of legislators at both the state and federal levels, particularly in leadership and policy determining positions among conservatives, appear to be in dire need of better empathy in their characters to inform their votes.  Since intellect does not appear to be the hallmark of the right, a more visceral experience might better serve that purpose.  Experiencing pregnancy discomfort and labor pains would be a good start on changing hearts and minds.

 

In that context and for that purpose, in addition to the experience of simulated labor, I would argue as well that the experiences in the video below could only improve on the current deficiencies of morality and character on the right.

 

I don’t think I’m being too harsh here in my criticism of the failures of compassion and empathy among the right wingers.  Here are a few examples of what I mean.

 

From the Daily Tribune and the AP (bold face and enlarged type are my emphasis added – DG):

Republican-controlled House passes sweeping cuts to domestic programs
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jolted to action by deficit-conscious newcomers, the Republican-controlled House passed sweeping legislation early Saturday to cut $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs and shelter coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations.
The $1.2 trillion bill covers every Cabinet agency through the Sept. 30 end of the budget year, imposing severe spending cuts aimed at domestic programs and foreign aid, including aid for schools, nutrition programs, environmental protection, and heating and housing subsidies for the poor.
The measure faces a rough ride in the Democratic-controlled Senate, even before the GOP amendments adopted Thursday, Friday and early Saturday morning pushed the bill further and further to the right on health care and environmental policy. Senate Democrats promise higher spending levels and are poised to defend Obama’s health care bill, environmental policies and new efforts to overhaul regulation of the financial services industry.
Changes rammed through the House on Friday and Saturday would shield greenhouse-gas polluters and privately owned colleges from federal regulators, block a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and bar the government from shutting down mountaintop mines it believes will cause too much water pollution, siding with business groups over environmental activists and federal regulators in almost every instance.

“This is like a Cliff Notes summary of every issue that the Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce, and the (free market) CATO Institute have pushed for 30 years,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. “And they’re just going to run them through here.”

Across four long days of freewheeling debate, Republicans left their conservative stamp in other ways.
They took several swipes at the year-old health care law, including voting for a ban on federal funding for its implementation. At the behest of anti-abortion lawmakers, they called for an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Republicans awarded the Pentagon an increase of less than 2 percent increase, but domestic agencies would bear slashing cuts of about 12 percent. Such reductions would feel almost twice as deep since they would be spread over the final seven months of the budget year.
Republicans recoiled, however, from some of the most politically difficult cuts to grants to local police and fire departments, special education and economic development. Amtrak supporters easily repelled an attempt to slash its budget.

“The bill will destroy 800,000 American jobs,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., citing a study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “It will increase class sizes and take teachers out of the classrooms … It will jeopardize homeless veterans, make our communities less secure, threaten America’s innovation.”

The Environmental Protection Agency was singled out by Republicans eager to defend business and industry from numerous agency regulations they say threaten job-creation and the economy. The EPA’s budget was slashed by almost one-third, and then its regulatory powers were handcuffed in a series of floor votes.

Proposed federal regulations would be blocked on emission of greenhouse gases, blamed for climate change, and a proposed regulation on mercury emissions from cement kilns would also be stopped. Additionally, the bill also calls for a halt to proposed regulations affecting Internet service providers and privately-owned colleges, victories for the industries that would be affected.
The 359-page bill was shaped beginning to end by the first-term Republicans, many of them elected with tea party backing.

Highlights of proposals in House GOP spending bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Republicans’ $1.2 trillion bill for financing federal programs through Sept. 30, when the current budget year ends, includes many spending cuts and prohibitions that make a showdown with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats inevitable.
Among the biggest flashpoints are provisions that would:
–Cut about $60 billion in spending from last year’s levels in many domestic programs, including education, environmental protection and community services.
–Block money to implement Obama’s health care overhaul law enacted last year.
–Bar federal funds for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion and family planning services with its hundreds of clinics across the U.S. The organization says 90 percent of the $363 million a year it receives in government aid comes from Washington or the federal-state Medicaid program.
–Eliminate federal family planning and teen pregnancy prevention grants.
–Block federal aid to overseas groups that provide abortions or counsel women about them.

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Grasslands-menggu(Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here.)

 

Today it’s about energy and the environment. One doesn’t have to see much of farm country to realize how well solar could work, with panels not only on the roofs of the main house but also the barn and outbuildings. A family could even make a few extra bucks selling electricity to the utilities. But if you’re politically dependent on the Kochtopus and their ilk, who owe most of their fortune to Big Filthy Fossil Fuels, that sets your perspective. Period.
 

In summary, Rep. (Pat) Garofalo’s (R-Farmington) bill would dismantle most of Minnesota’s efforts to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by repealing the laws that support these efforts. He totally sabotages solar…
 
Six, the last thing to highlight is by no means the least. The bill comes down hard on all things solar. It would allow the solar energy standard to be met “through the use of solar energy or any other more affordable eligible energy technology” which, of course, is intended to gut the solar standard. The bill would also end the solar energy incentive program and change net metering.
 
The argument used by utilities and its fossil fuel friends against net metering is that it shifts costs to other rate payers. The anti-solar folks brought a witness from Boston to Rep. Garofalo’s committee who made that argument. However, he was very selective in the data he used and excluded the solar benefits of reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases. Our Pollution Control Agency estimates that air pollution costs Minnesota $30 billion a year. The “b” is not a typo.
(Rep. Jean Wagenius)

It looks like Governor Mark Dayton’s buffer zone proposal won’t happen, this session, except maybe in a substantially weakened version, despite:
 

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CD1 Hagedorn in Cornish out

by Eric Ferguson on May 14, 2015 · 1 comment

h/t Daily Kos Elections
 
First district Rep. Tim Walz may be getting lucky, as his hapless opponent from 2014, Jim Hagedorn, is running again. Well, maybe not completely hapless, since he did beat a party endorsee in the primary, Aaron Miller. The endorsee worked at a biotech company but denied evolution is real, and they thought this was the stronger candidate. Primary voters preferred to go with the guy saying stupid misogynist stuff in his blog.
 
State Rep. Tony Cornish, R-NRA, announced he plans to seek reelection to his state house seat rather than challenging Walz. Given that he didn’t even have a DFL opponent in 2014, hard to blame him going for the sure seat. Come on DFLers of HD23B, make him at least campaign a bit in 2016.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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imagesqtbnANd9GcRhlLTHok0fDiQpsx_IVQRQg-lVMpygkf1rEyJsns1mZT-bzjRX(Part 1 here. Part 2 here.)

 

Talking fiscal policy. Like proposed handouts for out-of-state billionaires, while rural Minnesotans apparently continue to be regarded as gullible, irrelevant rubes, after they’ve voted that is, by the House GOP majority.
 

But Democrats keyed in on carve-outs for businesses. They questioned whether the state could afford a phase-out of the business property tax that has been in place for a dozen years. At first, businesses would get an exemption on the first $500,000 in value and the tax would go away entirely in six years, a cut worth about $1.5 billion in the first four years.
 
“We don’t need to break the state budget in tax cuts in order to build a stronger Minnesota,” said Rep. Ben Lien, a Moorhead Democrat.
 
Democrats charged that big corporations would benefit most, criticizing the move to give out-of-state operators of downtown Minneapolis skyscrapers and the Mall of America, among others, millions of dollars per year in property tax savings…
 
(Governor Mark) Dayton said he won’t support $2 billion in tax cuts, saying it would be a repeat of the late-1990s givebacks that preceded nearly a decade of running budget deficits.
 
“We’ve been cleaning that up since I arrived,” the governor said. “Why they want us to walk that plank again is just beyond me.”
(St. Cloud Times)

Cutting corporate taxes is a poor tool to spur economic growth. Not only is it extremely costly to our state, it provides absolutely no guarantee it will create jobs or help Minnesota’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Small businesses are responsible for 65 percent of the new jobs created over the past 17 years, and very few will benefit from lower corporate taxes. In fact, according to the most recent data from the Department of Revenue, 96 percent of small businesses were not subject to Minnesota’s corporate income tax.
(Sen. David Tomassoni)

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not sure cartoon

But I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

“So from today forward, YOU are the language police. From today forward, these are the words NEVER to say again.” Dr. Frank Luntz, author of The Luntz Republican Playbook

 

For some time now, I’ve been advocating that Democrats and other progressive leaders take a page from the Republicans and start using more effective language when they give interviews to reporters and talk to voters. For some reason, no one seems too interested.

 

Maybe it’s because nobody much cares what I think, which is only reasonable I guess. Or maybe they don’t like the idea of copying Republicans. Or maybe they think that adapting the terminology you use in communicating with others is somehow dishonest. Although anyone with a brain routinely adapts their terminology when speaking to children, parents, spouses, bosses, cops and judges.

 

On the outside chance that they just need some concrete examples of what I’m talking about, the following ten items are Dr. Luntz’s recommendations to Republicans about words never to use, with some of his suggested alternatives, and some of my suggested alternatives.

 

1. Never say ‘capitalism.’ Instead say ‘free market economy.’

Agreed. Democrats should never say ‘capitalism’ either. At least, not without modifiers. Instead, use the term ‘zombie capitalism’ or, even better, ‘bandit capitalism’ whenever we refer to the Big banks, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Wall Street and all multinational corporations of any stripe. Everybody hates those guys anyway, so most people are happy to have you compare them to the mindless undead and criminal marauders. When the opposition refers glibly to a ‘free market economy,’ remind your audience that Republicans hate government regulation, so what they really have in mind is an unregulated free market economy, which is just another term for bandit capitalism.

 

Then use the opening to drive a wedge between the Greedheads and the Bible-toters by re-purposing the story of the loaves and fishes as a capitalist morality tale. A Capitalist Jesus would have made a killer profit selling the same loaves and fishes over and over again to the starving multitude … sort of like tranches in CDO derivatives. Then, according to Republican economic theory, otherwise known as magical thinking, His Holy Windfall Profits would miraculously trickle down to the poor. Instead, Jesus TOOK the property of successful members of the starving multitude and GAVE IT to others less thrifty and disciplined like some kind of early socialist. And, really, how Christian is that?

 

2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, say that government ‘takes from the rich.’

Agreed. Except that Democrats should say that government ‘takes from everyone‘ — not just the rich — and that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike … but it falls more on the fat man than the skinny man. Because he’s fat.

 

3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers’ instead.

Agreed. Republicans should forget about winning the battle for the middle class, because their policies since Reagan have driven more half of the middle class into the lower class and in that sense the GOP has already won that battle.

 

Democrats should point this out constantly. And Democrats should always use terms like ‘the shrinking middle class’ and ‘the middle class in crisis.’ Another good meme to use would be ‘Republican successes in their War on the Middle Class have resulted in one-third of all American children now living in poverty, one-fifth of American households are now food insecure, etc.’ All of these are good alternative constructions for the very good reason that they also happen to be true.

 

4. Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Instead, talk about ‘careers.’

Agreed. Democrats should only talk about ‘careers’ too. We need to point out that during Republican administrations and their War on the Middle Class 30 million Americans who once had ‘careers’ got ‘jobbed’ by GOP policies based on trickle-down economics and outsourcing and many were given new careers as jobless and homeless people.

 

5. Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘government waste.’

Correct. But Democrats should point out that Republicans think government waste includes mortgage-interest deductions for homeowners, income tax deductions for dependents, low-interest loans and grants for college students, veterans’ health care and education benefits, unemployment benefits for the jobless, health care and food support for children in poverty; and earned benefits like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly. Incidentally, Democrats should ALWAYS refer to the safety net programs as EARNED BENEFITS, never as entitlements, which Republicans use with robot-like consistently since it makes them sound like expensive government give-away’s that should be eliminated. Or at least privatized by their bandit capitalist friends on Wall Street.

 

Whenever someone in the media uses the term ‘entitlements,’ you should fix them with a withering glare and say, “Did you mean to say, Earned Benefits?”

 

6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’ Instead say you’re willing to ‘cooperate.’

Agreed. Democrats should never say that we are willing to compromise either. That’s chicken talk for girly men. We should say instead that we are willing to cooperate, but on the basis of mutual concessions (which is the same thing as compromise). Point out that to cooperate without making any concessions is what two tots throwing sand at each other from opposite sides of the sandbox do. Then say, “Without some concessions from Republicans, voters can expect continued polarization and gridlock.”

 

7. The three most important words you can say to a female voter is: ‘I hear you’ or ‘I get it.’

Absolutely right. But Democrats should go a bit further. First say, ‘I hear you.’ Then say, ‘I get it.’ Then — to avoid coming off as a vacuous, patronizing dink — say: “We need to work together to counter Republican policies of economic, social and gender violence in their unending War on Women.” Then cap it off with, “Count ME on YOUR side.” That’ll get ‘er done for ya.

 

8. Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job Creator.’

Right. Let’s everybody knock-off all that entrepreneur talk. It’s sounds way too brainy and French and possibly even sinful, like other things deemed “French” in American post-WWII vernacular. (Dear Lord, have those people no shame? Remember, God is always watching and sees everything you do, even when you’re sure no one is around.) Instead, Democrats should always refer to the ULTIMATE job creators — American consumers. Then use it as an opening to talk about the Republican’s successful War on the Middle Class. For example, “We know that Republicans are skilled job creators, because whenever they’re in power American wage-earners, small businesses, students and families all get thoroughly jobbed.”

 

9. Don’t ever ask anyone to ‘sacrifice.’

Correct. Terrible word that, sacrifice. We need to stop all that naughty bad talk about ‘sacrifice’ and instead talk only nice good talk about ‘succeeding’ and ‘success.’ For example, “We’re all in this together so it’s ONLY FAIR that we should all SUCCEED or fail together. That’s why we need to tax the bejeezuz out of the Investor Class, because for the last 35 years they’ve been SUCCEEDing beyond all dreams of avarice at the expense of the rest of us, who actually produce the goods and services we all use. For more than three decades there’s been a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the Investor Class. It’s long past time for the rest of us to do some SUCCEEDing too.”

 

10. Never say ‘government.’ Instead say, ‘Washington.’

Without doubt. We should say, “Republicans hate Washington. They want and expect Washington to fail. They work hard to make sure Washington fails. So sending a Republican to Washington is like giving an arsonist a gallon of gas and the keys to the Fire Station.”

 
Comments:
 
From Eric Ferguson: I found Luntz’s book online. http://www.yuricareport.com/BushSecondTerm/Luntz.pdf Apparently it had gotten around at first as just an image, and some bloggers transcribed it into a searchable PDF. Glancing through it, I noticed Luntz warning Republicans that 2006 could be as bad as 1986. At least some of his advice was ignored as I recall, and I also recall 2006 being worse for the GOP than 1986. I guess Republicans also haven’t worked out how to win midterms other than don’t be the presidential party.

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A hypothesis about Kurt Daudt

by Dan Burns on May 13, 2015 · 1 comment

daudtPer Webster’s, a hypothesis is “an unproved theory, etc. tentatively accepted to explain certain facts.” The “certain facts” include:
 
A. As a successful example of left/progressive governance (well, somewhat left/progressive, compared to most, but the righties don’t make those qualifications), Minnesota is the bane of right-wingers, including very rich ones given to buying political power, everywhere. Especially when compared to its immediate neighbor to the east.
 
B. At least some GOPers came into this legislative session – in the wake of an especially low-turnout election where they managed some wins there, in the MN House, but nowhere else – talking about “working across the aisle” and spending money to help rural Minnesota. Such talk has been steamrollered by what has turned out to be the standard (and failed) conservative agenda, for a long time now, of handouts to the rich, and screw everyone else. And the primary mover of that agenda has clearly been House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown).
 
C. Daudt is a pretty clear example of what the right-wing power brokers are looking for these days. Relatively young, vigorous, and comely, the likes of him will supposedly draw millenials by the millions to the glorious conservative cause. (Sorry if you just snorted coffee out of your nostrils; they really do believe that.) Yet, as a mildly to moderately stupid man (you can tell by his socio-political views, notable egocentrism, and general disconnect from reality), he’s easy to manipulate and will do what he’s told.
 
So, ergo, could it be that the Kochs have promised to make Kurt Daudt the next Scott Walker – that is, bring him to national prominence – if he shows what he’s got by doing all that he can to undermine Minnesota’s success?
 
Like I said, I have no proof. Not even close. Just idle musing, really.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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clowncarGuess I was wrong. I figured when Jeb Bush said, “What you need to know is that who I listen to when I need advice on the Middle East is George W. Bush,” that was as disqualifying a statement as any candidate for public office ever uttered. Forget president: were Bush a candidate for county board, or city council, or soil district commissioner said something like that, you’d assume his judgment was far too suspect to allow him to be further considered. But nope. Turns out Bush could come up with something even worse to say.
 
Oddly enough, Fox News gave him his, um, opportunity. Bush said, “I would have,” which is harmful given the question he was answering. “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Naturally, we on the Democratic side will be bringing that up more than once. Republicans will have to choose between acknowledging the reality of arguably the single biggest blunder in US foreign policy history, or playing to a base that insists in telling itself that the war went just fine until Obama screwed it up by pulling out (in compliance with the status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government, mostly negotiated under Bush’s brother, but never mind the little point that the Iraqi government wanted us out).
 
If Bush does go for the “I thought the question was given what we knew then” spin, that’s not necessarily better given how we learned too late just how much knowledge the Bush administration withheld from Congress and the press. That begs the question, just who is the “we” in “what we knew”? What the Bush administration really knew, or the parts it told us about?
 
UPDATE: Apparently, Bush is going to go for claiming he misunderstood the question. Though lest he be accused of admitting a mistake, “Yeah, I don’t know what that decision would’ve been”. And wasn’t the surge great? Chris Christie gave a sense of where BUsh’s intraparty opponents might go. Having the sense to say he wouldn’t invade knowing what we know now, Christie felt the need to bow to stupidity:
 

Christie said that he believed former President George W. Bush did make “the best decision he could at the time” given the information coming from the U.S. intelligence community and the situation on the ground in Iraq.

Sure, if you’re willing to forget Bush ignored all the information that didn’t fit the pre-determined conclusion, which unfortunately was most of the intelligence. But let’s blame the intelligence agencies for that I guess. And let’s pretend Democrats would have done the same thing: “And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.” Hillary owned up to the mistake, albeit not until well into the 2008 campaign and it cost her the presidency IMHO, and does anyone take seriously the notion she would have invaded Iraq had she been president after 911? Or any Democrat? “Almost everybody” doesn’t include most congressional Democrats, who figured it out even with the limited and often wrong information Bush provided. So no, Bush and Bush and bushies and other Republicans, you own the invasion and occupation of Iraq with all the consequences.
 
SECOND UPDATE: Bush came up with a bit of spin I hadn’t guessed at:
 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Wednesday said that he has refused to answer whether he would order the Iraq War knowing what he knows now, because it would disrespect the troops, according to CNN.

I’m starting to think I actually want the Republicans to pick this guy.
 
#ThisGuyWantsToBePresident

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