Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rove and Tommy: Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

On a short trip to Washington D.C. this past week, we happened to come in on the same day that Karl Rove and Junior gave each other a goodbye man-hug on the White House lawn. As we tried to get within sight of the mansion that afternoon, there was little indication of any earth-shattering development earlier in the day – just a soulless, barricaded monument, still occupied (when not on vacation) by the same losers who have spent the last seven years taking us down, ever further. Rove the Architect left behind a political house of cards and toothpicks, a thin veneer of lies, poison and personal destruction that wobbled in the wind of ‘06 and will soon find itself well downstream when the GOP levee breaks in ‘08.

Like all Rove-ian schemes such as the gay-marriage hysteria of ‘06, the racist appeal to quash "illegal" immigrants of ‘08 will serve only to stem some of the damage and will ultimately further marginalize Republicans into a box of their own making. The anti-immigrant talking-point is Rove’s failed victory lap; a last, desperate effort to fire-up a base that can’t carry the party anymore. Let the increasingly-comical Mitt Romney run on a pandering platform of anti-immigrant, no stem-cell research, anti-evolution, pro-Gitmo and continued Iraq-quagmire. Does he even carry Utah with a program like that?

As they will before a storm, the dogs are howling and the rats are seeking higher ground. Even dim bulbs like former Delay-puppet Dennis Hastert know better than to stick around while the Democrats solidify their majority, bring sense and dignity back to the White House and start cleaning up the mess the elephants left in their disastrous wake. If toiling in the dark tunnels of a new permanent minority is not enough to send former power-mad congressmen on their way (are you listening, Jim Sensenbrenner?), there has never been a better time for Republicans to try to parlay their Washington connections into better paychecks. Well, I mean a better time post-Abramoff, that is – I mean, that was just too much fun, was it not?

Speaking of cashing in, our own (well, your own) Tommy Thompson was doing very well in the cashing in on his public experience in private sector before he decided to make a ridiculous run for president. I’m sure my friends in WPEC, the state-employee union I worked for in the ‘90s that represented the state’s IT workers, noticed that last year Thompson took in more than $1 million from Deloitte & Touche – the firm to which he farmed out much of the state computer work to during his mid-‘90s privatization push. No coincidence, I’m sure. Many of Thompson’s private connections involve medical companies, something he certainly had no connection with before he sat on Bush’s cabinet regulating just those companies. People like Tony Snow can complain all they want about the supposed poverty wages of government work, but they all get paid – and better – eventually.

Thompson continued to add clients and corporate board responsibilities during his quixotic run, making some wonder whether he was really a serious about running for president as he collected more potential conflicts along the way. Even former-chief-Tommy-handler Jim Klauser groused early in the so-called campaign that Thompson could not be considered serious as long as continued to carry six different cell phones to keep track of his business interests. Thompson learned the meaning of the word "loyalty" with Klauser, who had already signed up with Romney by the time he "got serious" in Iowa and didn’t give Tommy a dime for a phone call.

But run Tommy did, spinning his wheels in the gravel of all 99 counties in Iowa for months before his entirely predictable denouement last weekend at the Iowa pay-to-play circus, er, Republican straw poll. Thompson put all his eggs in this dubious basket and ended up coming in behind even anti-war protest candidate Ron Paul. It was a well-earned and just result for Wisconsin’s would-be "favorite son", who never belonged and showed himself to be clearly in over his head, even with this inept and doomed bunch of Republican candidates.

One week after the straw-poll, Journal Sentinel reporter Katherine Skiba, who was stuck on the Tommy-in-Iowa beat for most of the time, issued the obligatory obituary on the campaign, continuing the J-S’s oh-so-serious treatment of Thompson’s efforts. Amazingly declaring the straw-poll result "not predictable" (although I did), Skiba blames Thompson’s failure as a result of "too little money...too many gaffes". So, let me get this straight: if he had managed to get money out of someone other than Gerry Boyle and Mequon gas-station magnate Darshan Dhaliwal and not been such a buffoon during debate appearances, then we’d all be celebrating the Tommy Juggernaut, and he would be the one earning the privilege of being annihilated by a Democrat in November next year?

Um, no. I think it was a little more that money and gaffes that doomed Thompson to the dustbin of historical trivia answers (Q: Who is the former governor of a neighboring state that finished a humiliating 6th in the Iowa straw-poll in 2007?). For one thing, Thompson’s record as governor of Wisconsin was nothing to be proud of and never would have withstood the scrutiny of a national campaign. His time in office was rife with cronyism and pay-for-play rewards. His version of "welfare reform" was a miserable failure, serving only to create more poor people. Likewise, "school choice", which has not improved the education of inner-city kids in Milwaukee one bit and has only enriched private vendors like the Catholic Church, the Edison Company and various other charlatans. Like Ronald Reagan, he has benefitted by home-state affiliation, collective amnesia and revisionist history, treated in the newspapers like his years in office were sunshine, roses and fairness for all. No, no and no.

Also, it hasn’t really been mentioned (and I’m sure some will pull this out as the main point of this post, which it isn’t), but Tommy Thompson was the most physically unattractive candidate since Steve Forbes. He seems to have had some things buffed and tweaked – badly – since he was governor and still speaks like it’s all he can do to call up the words from somewhere below his diaphragm. His smile is pained and forced. Better that, perhaps, than the phony perfection of Robot Romney, but you still have to be able to look at the guy to take him seriously. I predict this same problem will ultimately doom the other Thompson, Fred, who looks like the kind of guy who your boss would assign you to work with only if he/she wanted to punish you.

I doubt the Journal Sentinel will be apologizing any time soon for dragging us through almost 40 articles in the past year, trying to convince us how oh-so-serious a candidate Tommy Thompson was. I’m still waiting for the inevitable editorial about how "proud" they are about his run and how the nation is worse off to reject the generous offer of his services. Despite hundreds of inches of free validation from the paper, Thompson actually had the nerve to complain just before the poll that "negative stories" in the J-S had "dried up the money". I don’t know what he was reading – every damn article in the newspaper during the campaign was excruciatingly deferential and blind to the doomed nature of his campaign.

Tommy Thompson will recover easily enough – there are more corporate boards to join, more money to be made. But it will take time for the Journal Sentinel to recover from this misplaced bit of homer-ism. Its editorial and political judgement has shown itself to be, shall we say, seriously wanting. Again.


Shimmy said...

Karl Rove, unemployed, rubs his cheek against the bathtub spigot because he misses that heavy, stick-to-your-ribs Ukrainian home cooking. Karl Rove capitulated completely, offering total loyalty as he accepted the position of White House Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda: "I love him," Karl Rove wrote, rubbing his chubby little hands together, "because he has thought through everything. Such a sparkling mind can be my leader. I bow to the greater one, the political genius, the President of the War on Terror." Karl Rove rubbing his porcine body along an arm or leg of its human is not only a way in which to attract attention (and perhaps a morsel of food); it is also a way of "marking" the United States as his own.

Mike Plaisted said...

I usually let comments be, no matter how obnoxious, but some asshole has gotten a bit personal recently so I deleted his stupid personal assualts. I know who he is, too, and, believe me, you are not missing anything by not having his bullshit posted here.

Anonymous said...

Come on, you should out him Mike, just like Valerie Plaime was outed! :)

John P said...


I have read your blog many times and this is the first time I have wrote anything. I am a conservative, but I like getting the liberal perspective also. I must say, that many of your posts are rather hate filled, and full of name calling. Now, most, if not all of the individuals you call names to are public figures, but it when you do that I think it lowers your crediability.

I think it was wrong for that person who posted previously to mention your son. That was way out of bounds.

Even though I disagree with 99% of what you write, I do enjoy your blog and your humor.

Mike Plaisted said...

John P;

Thanks for the (partially) good word. I also enjoy reading well-written conservative blogs.

I'm just trying to figure out how can say my psts are sometime "hate filled" and that I relly on name-calling. I don't "hate" any of these people -- don't know them well enough and I can always find redeeming qualities in most. I do hate what they do and call them out. I do hold them personally responsible (say, for the Unnecessary Dead on both sides in Iraq, for using 9/11 as a political and power-grabbing tool, etc.), but I don't hate.

One of the wingnut talking points is that lefites are "blinded" by "hate" for Bush. Hell, I don't hate him and I don't know anyone who thinks he has anything to do with what is done in his administration's name. He's an empty suit. There is nothing there to get all that worked up about, personally.

As for name-calling, let's see...I did call Romney (the eventual nominee) a robot, but I think there is some of those inclinations there. Let's see, well, Hastert is somewhat of a dim bulb, certainly a Delay puppet...I don't know how to get around some of this, which is short-hand for longer explanations.

Regardless, I don't think there is anything like the name-calling on the right -- Kerry is "Lurch", Edwards the "Breck Girl", etc.

Anyway, thanks for the constructive criticism. I do consider myself my own worst critic, so it all works its way into the mix.

Anonymous said...

1) Name me at least one truly conservative blog that you deem as well-written and you read regularly

2) Who do you dislike more, George W Bush or Osama bin Laden?

Mike Plaisted said...

Conservative Blog: Rick Esenberg's alright some of the time. McBride for comedic value. National Review Online to track the supposedly intellectual lies of the self-appointed intellegencia.

I love this (trick) question: Do I dislike Bush or bin Laden more? No right answers -- just wrong answers to pick apart. A fun game, no?

Bin Laden is a religious thug I have absolutely no use or sympathy for. Although killing him will accomplish nothing at this point because of the strengthening of his organization through U.S. stupidity throughout the world, what the hell -- off him as far as I'm concerned.

As for Bush, I don't give him personally that much thought, so I do "dislike" him less for what that's worth. But I do hold him to a higher standard and it is an open question who has done more harm to our national interests in the past 6 years.

Let the picking-apart begin.

Anonymous said...

So you acknowledge that your life would be better if Bush were gone and not bin Laden. Perfect. Just as I suspected.

And of course you couldn't give a conservative blog a single compliment about being well-written, just slamming McBride and NR and a 50% nod to Esenberg.

Mike Plaisted said...

Yep, that's how the game goes, alright. Thanks for playing!

Other Side said...

Well, all conservative blogs are better written than yours, anonymous.

Mike, you know that you can determine where this particular anony's messages come from and delete them. There are too many who comment in good faith to worry about this putz's feelings. You can also have his/her IP address blocked. It's not difficult and there is a certain feeling of power!

I've done that with one truly obnoxious fool at my place. Everyone else is welcome.

Mike Plaisted said...

Well, ignorance is bliss, as Anony can testify. I'll just keep fending him off the old fashioned way, trying to figure out what the heck he's talking about and running rings 'round him logically. Not hard, just tedious.

Anonymous said...

That's it Mike, ignore my logic, can you actually not say that your life would be better off with Bush out off office compared to a dead bin Laden?

If you don't like anony comments, then deactivate the function, it's quite simple!

Mike Plaisted said...

Sigh. Because of Bush's incompetence, bin Laden's death would mean nothing since there are now many more thousands to take his place, if he is still running things. Yes, everyone's life is better the moment Bush and his crew hit the door. Instead of playing gotcha -- aha, Plaisted thinks Bush is more of a problem than bin Laden! -- why don't you explain why that's not true.

I'm not going to restrict the comments here just because of one person who insists on abusing the opportunity. If you don't want to be a dick, stop being one. It's quite simple.

Anonymous said...

There's no one in al-Qaida with the fame and allure that bin Laden has. He is the face of modern terrorism today. How can you possibly say that if he were to be found dead that it wouldn't be a blow to their infrastructure? He's the one with the millions and millions of dollars, he is their leader. Don't you think that someone else would have stepped up by now to take the lead since no one has definitive proof that bin Laden is currently alive? Seems like a void in leadership would give a great opportunity for someone else, especially with the help the US media would give that person in announcing his arrival on the global terror scene.

BlueBlogger said...

I dislike Bush and Osama just about the same, but for different reasons. I dislike Osama Bin Laden because he's nothing more than a religious thug who sees no problem in killing innocent people to suit his own needs. I dislike Bush for dropping the ball and shifting focus to Iraq instead of making sure we finished the job of finding and killing/capturing Bin Laden. In allowing Bin Laden to continue to operate for just about 6 years since 9/11, Bush has made this nation less safe, and that's why I dislike Bush as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

How is our nation less safe since 9/11?? Have we had another successful terrorist attack on our soil? Have we thawarted numerous attempted attacks that may not have been snuffed out had it not been for Bush's initiatives such as (gasp) the Patriot Act and/or (gasp) Terrorist Surveillance?

Bush "allowed" bin Laden to operate? Try again. That was Clinton, read the book "Losing bin Laden" to see what I'm talking about.

BlueBlogger said...

Heh...anonymous, you say Bush hasn't allowed Bin Laden to operate, but yet they still haven't caught him. Bush has had 6 years to bring Bin Laden to justice, but instead he's chosen to take the focus off the folks responsible for 9/11 and instead focus on Iraq.

As for how America's less safe, I'll just include a few links for you to peruse.

Here's One

And here's another

Anonymous said...

The New York Times, really? I'm supposed to believe they're not biased? Come on!

Clinton had 8 years to catch bin Laden and several times he was offeren bin Laden on a silver platter, but each time Clinton chose to let him go. I read your drivel, now you go and read "Losing bin Laden" to see what I'm talking about.

But just as Mike says, catching bin Laden won't do any good. So which is it? You either think it's good to catch him or you don't, you can't have it both ways. At least as a conservative I can stand on the fact that I have hoped for his capture since the Clinton regime was in power.

Again, if we're less-safe now, how have we not had a successful terrorist attack against US citzens on our soil since 2001?

Other Side said...

You're a liar. Just like all the other "good" conservatives, you had no clue who bin Laden was, especially during the Clinton administration.

It's a convenient dodge to deflect away criticism of the immense failure of this adminstration.

Anonymous said...

If you had any awareness of world politics and terrorism during the Clinton Regime, then you knew exactly who he was. My first memory of him was when he was mentioned the first time the World Trade Center was attacked.

READ THE DAMN BOOK and you'll see what I am saying. It's a convenient dodge to ignore the many truths in that book by not reading it.

I have never once said GW Bush has been the panacea for ending global terror, far from it, but he's doing a lot more to combat it than Clinton ever did in his regime.

Mike Plaisted said...


Get off of "Losing bin Laden", will ya? It's published on the notoriously right-wing, anti-Clinton Regnery Books. Richard Minter, the author, is a foriegn-based hack who takes the usual liberities with the facts to reach whatever conclusion the wing-nuts need.

Do you really want to know how seriously Clinton took the bin Laden threat? Read Richard Clarke. The before- and after-Bush difference in the White House is chilling.

The world is a more dangerous place now because Bush unilaterally charged into Iraq, destroyed relationships with our allies and friends, and generally enraged the Arab and Muslim streets into hating our guts even more. Nice job. Now, people who want to stir up anger against us don't have to do anything but point to Iraq and other boneheaded adventures of the neo-cons. It is a revolution that sells itself, all thanks to Bush and Company.

So what if there hasn't been a terrorist attack in the U.S.? The Patriot Act and the unlawful surrvailance of ALL OF US certainly hasn't stopped anything -- if it did, the Bushies would cast aside their secrecy fetish to tell us all about it.

If we continue our belligerence in the world, something will happen again, and it will have nothing to do with airplanes or shoe-bombs. And, it probably won't be directed by bin Laden, either -- people are plenty fired up and freelancing their own plots.

Imagine, if you will, Clinton or Gore being in office if 9/11 happened on their watch. We would have taken the genuine sympathy of the entire world and built it into a real anti-terrorist campaign, as well as managed not to further enrage the religious quacks who caused us harm. We certainly wouldn't be standing estranged from the rest of the world with a decimated military, 3,700 dead and 40,000 wounded in a Stupid War in Iraq.

You know all this, Anony. You are hanging by your fingernails, trying to avoid falling off the Bush-is-Right cliff. Any one with any sense has already pulled themselves up. Come on, Anony. You can do it.