Skip to main content

Humpty DumptyIs this goodbye ek?

You wish.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."

I realize now that it doesn't matter what I write, whether my words make sense or if they move you or even if I release some personal demon by scribing them.

Nope, what's important is what I intended.

For you see Alice (may I call you Alice?  There's a song about Alice), as we learned again (and again and again) in the coverage of today's presser it doesn't matter what you say or how you say it or how down the rabbit hole your logic is, it's all about the intended audience and whether you're using the right whistle.

So, do you think he reached the conservative base?  I dunno, do you know?  I dunno, do you know?  I dunno, do you know?  It's obvious, isn't it, who he's trying to reach?  That's the way it's always been.  And it's always worked.  Yeah, it's always worked.  In the past.  You know.

Well, does it matter that we've just heard the same old pack of lies?  I don't think that's true, there were definitely some new lies.  No you're both wrong, the variations of the old lies signal new lies after the election, nothing has changed yet.  So is this staying the course?  No, there's new language involved which demonstrates a shift in rhetoric.  I think we can agree that the administration's rhetoric is evolving.  Look, are you deliberately trying to alienate the base and demotivate the electorate, using the e word?  Everything is as has been written in the book.

Benchmarks are marks you put on your philosophical workbench so you can cut stuff the same size or any random size depending on how many there are and how sharp your pencil is.  Timetables involve the use of 4th dimensional thinking and special relativity.  You know.  Hard work.  It would be easier if I were the dictator, then trains would run on time.

Certain dates are not worth having.  You can tell that they're just not that into you.  But the limo is paid for, time to hit the mini bar?

It's nice to have an audience that nods their heads and says- "Brilliant!"

Links to questions-

Originally posted to The Stars Hollow Gazette on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 06:02 PM PDT.


So tell me what you think-

100%35 votes

| 35 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  It blows my mind - I (19+ / 0-)

    Explaining Developments

    Over the past three years I have often addressed the American people to explain developments in Iraq. Some of these developments were encouraging, such as the capture of Saddam Hussein, the elections in which 12 million Iraqis defied the terrorists and voted for a free future, and the demise of the brutal terrorist Zarqawi. Other developments were not encouraging, such as the bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad, the fact that we did not find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the continued loss of some of America's finest sons and daughters.


  •  It blows my mind - II (13+ / 0-)

    Strategery and Tactics

    Our security at home depends on ensuring that Iraq is an ally in the war on terror and does not become a terrorist haven like Afghanistan under the Taliban. The enemy we face in Iraq has evolved over the past three years. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, a sophisticated and a violent insurgency took root. Early on this insurgency was made up of remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, as well as criminals released by the regime. The insurgency was fueled by al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists, who focused most of their attention on high-profile attacks against coalition forces and international institutions.


    As the enemy shifts tactics, we are shifting our tactics, as well. Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions. Our mission is to help the elected government in Iraq defeat common enemies, to bring peace and stability to Iraq, and make our nation more secure. Our goals are unchanging. We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals.


    After some initial successes, our operations to secure Baghdad have encountered greater resistance. Some of the Iraqi security forces have performed below expectations. Many have performed well and are fighting bravely in some of Baghdad's toughest neighborhoods. Once again, American troops are performing superbly under very difficult conditions. Together, with the Iraqis, they've conducted hundreds of missions throughout Baghdad. They've rounded up or killed key insurgents and death squad leaders.


    I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq. I'm not satisfied, either. And that is why we're taking new steps to help secure Baghdad, and constantly adjusting our tactics across the country to meet the changing threat. But we cannot allow our dissatisfaction to turn into disillusionment about our purpose in this war. We must not look at every success of the enemy as a mistake on our part, cause for an investigation, or a reason to call for our troops to come home. We must not fall prey to the sophisticated propaganda by the enemy, who is trying to undermine our confidence and make us believe that our presence in Iraq is the cause of all its problems

    If I did not think our mission in Iraq was vital to America's security, I'd bring our troops home tomorrow. I met too many wives and husbands who have lost their partners in life, too many children who won't ever see their mom and dad again. I owe it to them and to the families who still have loved ones in harm's way to ensure that their sacrifices are not in vain.


    Our troops are fighting a war that will set the course for this new century. The outcome will determine the destiny of millions across the world. Defeating the terrorists and extremists is the challenge of our time and the calling of this generation. I'm confident this generation will answer that call and defeat an ideology that is bent on destroying America and all that we stand for.

    And now I'll be glad to answer some of your questions.


  •  It blows my mind - III (12+ / 0-)

    World War II

    Mr. President, the war in Iraq has lasted almost as long as World War II for the United States. And as you mentioned, October was the deadliest month for American forces this year -- in a year. Do you think we're winning, and why?

    THE PRESIDENT: First of all, this is a different kind of war than a war against the fascists in World War II. We were facing a nation state -- two nation states -- three nation states in World War II. We were able to find an enemy by locating its ships, or aircraft, or soldiers on the ground. This is a war against extremists and radicals who kill innocent people to achieve political objectives. It has a multiple of fronts.

    Afghanistan was a front in this war against the terrorists. Iraq is now the central front in the war against the terrorists. This war is more than just finding people and bringing them to justice; this war is an ideological conflict between a radical ideology that can't stand freedom, and moderate, reasonable people that hope to live in a peaceful society.

    And so it's going to take a long time, Terry. I am confident we will succeed. I am confident we'll succeed in Iraq. And the reason I'm confident we'll succeed in Iraq is because the Iraqis want to succeed in Iraq. The ultimate victory in Iraq, which is a government that can sustain itself, govern itself, and defend itself, depends upon the Iraqi citizens and the Iraqi government doing the hard work necessary to protect their country. And our job is to help them achieve that objective. As a matter of fact, my view is the only way we lose in Iraq is if we leave before the job is done.

    And I'm confident we can succeed in the broader war on terror, this ideological conflict. I'm confident because I believe the power of liberty will defeat the ideology of hate every time, if given a chance. I believe that the radicals represent the few in the Middle East. I believe the majority of people want to live in a peaceful world. That's what I believe.

    And I know it's incumbent upon our government and others who enjoy the blessings of liberty to help those moderates succeed because, otherwise, we're looking at the potential of this kind of world: a world in which radical forms of Islam compete for power; a world in which moderate governments get toppled by people willing to murder the innocent; a world in which oil reserves are controlled by radicals in order to extract blackmail from the West; a world in which Iran has a nuclear weapon. And if that were to occur, people would look back at this day and age and say, what happened to those people in 2006? How come they couldn't see the threat to a future generation of people?

    Defeat will only come if the United States becomes isolationist and refuses to, one, protect ourselves, and, two, help those who desire to become -- to live in a moderate, peaceful world. And it's a hard struggle, no question about it. And it's a different struggle.


  •  It blows my mind - IV (11+ / 0-)

    Are We Winning?

    Are we winning?

    THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely, we're winning. Al Qaeda is on the run. As a matter of fact, the mastermind, or the people who they think is the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks is in our custody. We've now got a procedure for this person to go on trial, to be held for his account. Most of al Qaeda that planned the attacks on September the 11th have been brought to justice.

    Extremists have now played their hand; the world can clearly see their ambitions. You know, when a Palestinian state began to show progress, extremists attacked Israel to stop the advance of a Palestinian state. They can't stand democracies. Extremists and radicals want to undermine fragile democracy because it's a defeat for their way of life, their ideology.

    People now understand the stakes. We're winning, and we will win, unless we leave before the job is done. And the crucial battle right now is Iraq. And as I said in my statement, I understand how tough it is, really tough. It's tough for a reason; because people understand the stakes of success in Iraq. And my point to the American people is, is that we're constantly adjusting our tactics to achieve victory.


  •  It blows my mind - V (12+ / 0-)

    Stay the Course

    Mr. President, for several years you have been saying that America will stay the course in Iraq; you were committed to the policy. And now you say that, no, you're not saying, stay the course, that you're adapting to win, that you're showing flexibility. And as you mentioned, out of Baghdad we're now hearing about benchmarks and timetables from the Iraqi government, as relayed by American officials, to stop the sectarian violence.

    In the past, Democrats and other critics of the war who talked about benchmarks and timetables were labeled as defeatists, defeat-o-crats, or people who wanted to cut and run. So why shouldn't the American people conclude that this is nothing from you other than semantic, rhetorical games and all politics two weeks before an election?

    THE PRESIDENT: David, there is a significant difference between benchmarks for a government to achieve and a timetable for withdrawal. You're talking about -- when you're talking about the benchmarks, he's talking about the fact that we're working with the Iraqi government to have certain benchmarks to meet as a way to determine whether or not they're making the hard decisions necessary to achieve peace. I believe that's what you're referring to. And we're working with the Iraqi government to come up with benchmarks.

    Listen, this is a sovereign government. It was elected by the people of Iraq. What we're asking them to do is to say, when do you think you're going to get this done, when can you get this done, so the people themselves in Iraq can see that the government is moving forward with a reconciliation plan and plans necessary to unify this government.

    That is substantially different, David, from people saying, we want a time certain to get out of Iraq. As a matter of fact, the benchmarks will make it more likely we win. Withdrawing on an artificial timetable means we lose.

    Now, I'm giving the speech -- you're asking me why I'm giving this speech today -- because there's -- I think I owe an explanation to the American people, and will continue to make explanations. The people need to know that we have a plan for victory. Like I said in my opening comments, I fully understand if the people think we don't have a plan for victory, they're not going to support the effort. And so I'll continue to speak out about our way forward.


  •  It blows my mind - VI (9+ / 0-)

    Prime Minister Maliki's News Conference

    Thank you, Mr. President. Prime Minister Maliki apparently gave his own news conference this morning, where he seemed to be referring to Ambassador Khalilzad and General Casey yesterday, when he said, nobody has the right to set any timetables in Iraq -- and also, seemed to be upset about the raid in Sadr City, saying he wasn't consulted. And I believe the quote was, "It will not be repeated." Do you still have full, complete and total confidence in Prime Minister Maliki as a partner in Iraq? And what can you tell the American people about his ability to rein in the militias since he seems to derive much of his power from them?

    THE PRESIDENT: Yes. First, this is back to the question that David asked about benchmarks. You called it "timetables."

    He did, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT: Okay, he called it "timetables," excuse me. I think he was referring to the benchmarks that we're developing that show a way forward to the Iraqi people, and the American people for that matter, about how this unity government is going to solve problems and bring the people together. And if his point is, is that those benchmarks, or the way forward can't be imposed upon Iraq by an outside force, he's right. This is a sovereign government. But we're working closely with the government to be able to say, here's what's going to happen then, here's what we expect to happen now, here's what should be expected in the future.

    Second part of your question?

    I was wondering, first of all, he seemed to be pushing back with --

    THE PRESIDENT: Oh, on the sectarian -- on the militias. I heard that, and I asked to see his complete transcript of this press conference, where he made it very clear that militias harm the stability of his country. Militias -- people out -- who operate outside the law will be dealt with. That's what the Prime Minister said in his press conference. The idea that we need to coordinate with him is a -- makes sense to me. And there's a lot of operations taking place, which means that sometimes communications may not be as good as they should be. And we'll continue to work very closely with the government to make sure that the communications are solid.

    I do believe Prime Minister Maliki is the right man to achieve the goal in Iraq. He's got a hard job. He's been there for five months, a little over five months, and there's a lot of pressure on him, pressure from inside his country. He's got to deal with sectarian violence; he's got to deal with criminals; he's got to deal with al Qaeda -- all of whom are lethal. These are people that will kill. And he wants to achieve the same objective I want to achieve, and he's making tough decisions.

    I'm impressed, for example, by the way he has got religious leaders, both Sunni and Shia, to start working together. I appreciate the fact that he has made a very clear statement on militias. And, by the way, death squad members are being brought to justice in this -- during these operations in Baghdad.

    I speak to him quite frequently, and I remind him we're with him, so long as he continues to make tough decisions. That's what we expect. We expect that the Iraqi government will make the hard decisions necessary to unite the country and listen to the will of the 12 million people.


    •  The Lone Ranger and Tonto were surrounded... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, ek hornbeck, keefer55 a band of angry Indians. The Ranger said to Tonto, "Looks like we're in a heap of trouble, Tonto." His Indian side-kick replied, "What you mean WE paleface?" P.M. Maliki is Iraqi. Has anyone entertained the prospect that this man cherishs keeping his head after we Americans leave?
       After we have destroyed their nation and slaughtered 655,000 Iraqis [to date]we have long worn-out "liberator status" and evolved into "occupier status". This fact has not fallen on deaf ears to neither the Iraqi public nor on the Maliki puppet regime the "infidel" Bush [their characterization not mine]installed.
       After they "persuade" us to leave their country, look for all of Herr Bush's fingerprints on their government to be erased from their land. Indeed, it follows we should do the same-in due time.

      Change the course--change the Captain. Change the crew. But save the ship!

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 07:19:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It blows my mind - VII (11+ / 0-)

    Accountability and Rumsfeld

    When you first ran for President, sir, you talked about the importance of accountability. We learned from Bob Woodward's recent book that Secretary Card, on two occasions, suggested that you replace Secretary Rumsfeld, and both times you said, no. Given that the war in Iraq is not going as well as you want, and given that you're not satisfied as you just told us today, why hasn't anybody been held accountable? Should somebody be held accountable?

    THE PRESIDENT: Peter, you're asking me why I believe Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a good job, I think, if I might decipher through the Washington code.

    -- or someone else --

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, let's start with Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld. I've asked him to do some difficult tasks as the Secretary of Defense -- one, wage war in two different theaters of this war on terror, Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the same time, asked him to transform our military posture around the world and our military readiness here at home. In other words, the transformation effort into itself is a big project for any Secretary to handle. But to compound the job he has, he's got to do that and, at the same time, wage war. And I'm satisfied of how he's done all his jobs.

    He is a smart, tough, capable administrator. As importantly, he understands that the best way to fight this war, whether it be in Iraq or anywhere else around the world, is to make sure our troops are ready, that morale is high, that we transform the nature of our military to meet the threats, and that we give our commanders on the ground the flexibility necessary to make the tactical changes to achieve victory.

    This is a tough war in Iraq. I mean, it's a hard fight, no question about it. All you've got to do is turn on your TV. But I believe that the military strategy we have is going to work. That's what I believe, Peter. And so we've made changes throughout the war, we'll continue to make changes throughout the war. But the important thing is whether or not we have the right strategy and the tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And I believe we do.


    And from the --

    THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute, let me say -- the ultimate accountability, Peter, rests with me. That's the ultimate -- you're asking about accountability, that's -- rests right here. It's what the 2004 campaign was about. If people want to -- if people are unhappy about it, look right to the President. I believe our generals are doing the job I asked them to do. They're competent, smart, capable men and women. And this country owes them a lot of gratitude and support.


  •  It blows my mind - VIII (7+ / 0-)

    The Definition of Failure

    You've said, Mr. President, several times here this morning that the definition of failure in Iraq would be to leave before the job was done. But you also said that you have no intention of seeing our troops standing in the crossfire of a sectarian war within that country. With many observers on the ground saying that civil war in Iraq is as close as it's ever been, how do you reconcile those two statements? And what happens if a full-fledged civil war breaks out?

    THE PRESIDENT: Dick, our job is to prevent the full-scale civil war from happening in the first place. It's one of the missions, is to work with the Maliki government to make sure that there is a political way forward that says to the people of Iraq, it's not worth it. Civil war is not worth the effort -- by them. That's the whole objective, is to help this government be able to defend itself and sustain itself, so that the 12 million people that voted -- they didn't vote for civil war, they voted to live under a constitution that was passed. And so we will work to prevent that from happening. I --

    What about --

    THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish. I view that this is a struggle between radicals and extremists who are trying to prevent there to be a democracy, for a variety of reasons. And it's in our interest that the forces of moderation prevail in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. A defeat there -- in other words, if we were to withdraw before the job is done, it would embolden extremists. They would say, you know, we were right about America in the first place, that America did not have the will necessary to do the hard work. That's precisely what Osama bin Laden has said, for example. A defeat there would make it easier for people to be able to recruit extremists and kids, to be able to use their tactics to destroy innocent life. A defeat there would dispirit people throughout the Middle East who wonder whether America is genuine in our commitment to moderation and democracy.

    And I told you what the scenario, Dick, could look like, 20 or 30 years from now, if we leave before the job is done. It's a serious business. And that's why I say it's the call of this generation. And I understand how tough it is, see, but I also said in my remarks, just because the enemy has been able to make some progress doesn't mean we should leave. Quite the contrary; we ought to do everything we can to help prevent them from making progress. And that is what our strategy is.


  •  Of silent whistles (9+ / 0-)

    It's all about the intended audience and whether you're using the right whistle.

    Bang on.

    Several years back, one of Bush's speeches included the  phrase "wonder-working power." The next day, I mentioned the phrase to a political junkie and asked her what she thought about it. She hadn't noticed, and was shocked when I told her about the "wonder-working power" in the blood of the Lamb. (Thanks, "Matewan" soundtrack!)

    Since then, I've thought that everything that comes out of the WH is operating on serveral frequencies -- including one that's like a dog whistle for religious fundamentalists.

  •  It blows my mind - IX (7+ / 0-)

    Civil War

    What if there is a civil war?

    THE PRESIDENT: You're asking me hypotheticals. Our job is to make sure there's not one, see. You been around here five-and-a-half years, you know I won't answer hypotheticals. Occasionally slip up, but --

    Thank you, Mr. President. You talk about the U.S. government and the Iraqi government working closely together on benchmarks. I'm wondering, sir, why was Prime Minister Maliki not at the news conference yesterday with General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad? Would that not have sent a strong message about there being a very close level of cooperation between the two governments?

    THE PRESIDENT: Elaine, I have no idea why he wasn't there.

    Was he invited, sir?

    THE PRESIDENT: I have no idea. I'm not the scheduler of news conferences. I do know they work very closely together, and they've got a very close working relationship, and that's important.

    May I ask you, sir, following up, when you say that you're not satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq, why should that not be interpreted by some to mean that you are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Maliki's performance?

    THE PRESIDENT: Because I know Prime Minister Maliki, I know how hard his job is, and I understand that he is working to make the decisions necessary to bring this country together. And he's -- look, we'll push him, but we're not going to push him to the point where he can't achieve the objective. And we'll continue to work with him. He represents a government formed by the people of Iraq. It's a -- and he's got a tough job. I mean, think about what his job is like. He's got to deal with political factions. He's got to deal with the hatred that is left over from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.

    There's a lot of people still furious about what happened to them during Saddam Hussein's period. You can imagine that. What happens if your brother or sister had been assassinated by Saddam Hussein and his political party? You'd be -- you wouldn't be happy about it. Reconciliation is difficult in a society that had been divided and tortured by a tyrant.

    And Prime Minister Maliki has got the difficult job of reconciling these grievances, and different political parties on top of that, plus dealing with violence. I've talked to him a lot. I like his spirit, I like his attitude. He's confident we can achieve the mission. He's not -- he's realistic about how difficult it is in Iraq.

    It's in our government's interest that we help him succeed because he wants a unified country. And I believe we will succeed. I know we're not going to succeed, however, if we set artificial timetables for withdrawal, or we get out of there, or we say to the enemy, just keep fighting, we'll leave soon. That's not going to work. What will work is a strategy that's constantly -- tactics that constantly change to meet the enemy. And that's what I was describing in my speech, we're constantly adjusting. As the enemy changes, we change. War is not a -- this war, and other wars, they're not static. They're dynamic events. And we must adjust to meet those events, and we are.


  •  Hey ek.... (8+ / 0-)

    So, do you think he reached the conservative base?  I dunno, do you know?  I dunno, do you know?  I dunno, do you know?  It's obvious, isn't it, who he's trying to reach?  That's the way it's always been.  And it's always worked.  Yeah, it's always worked.  In the past.  You know.

    I hope he DID reach his 20% base. Cause guess what? They HATE to even smell crow!  That's what they are about. Life is a big ole superbowl game or WWF tango to them.  And bush boy is 'disappointed' in the conditions in Iraq. Guess what?  The 'base' doesn't care what reality is; they want someone tell them that they are winning!

    Yeah, I hope he DID reach his base. They will not sleep well tonight.  Any hint of reality drives them bonkers.

    So there!

    **Oh yes... I voted: BRILLIANT!

    Googlebomb WA-08 - Dave Reichert

    by letsfight on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 06:09:52 PM PDT

  •  It blows my mind - X (8+ / 0-)

    Permanent Bases

    Thank you, Mr. President. Does the United States want to maintain permanent bases in Iraq? And I would follow that by asking, are you willing to renounce a claim on permanent bases in Iraq?

    THE PRESIDENT: Jim, any decisions about permanency in Iraq will be made by the Iraqi government. And, frankly, it's not in much of a position to be thinking about what the world is going to look like five or 10 years from now. They are working to make sure that we succeed in the short-term. And they need our help. And that's where our focus is.

    But remember, when you're talking about bases and troops, we're dealing with a sovereign government. Now, we entered into an agreement with the Karzai government. They weren't called permanent bases, but they were called arrangements that will help this government understand that there will be a U.S. presence so long as they want them there. And at the appropriate time, I'm confident we'll be willing to sit down and discuss the long-term security of Iraq. But right now we're discussing how to bring security to Baghdad, and what do we do in al Anbar province, where al Qaeda still uses violent methods to achieve political objectives.

    You know, it's interesting, if you -- I'm sure people who watch your TV screens think the entire country is embroiled in sectarian conflict and that there's constant killing everywhere in Iraq. Well, if you listened to General Casey yesterday, 90 percent of the action takes place in five of the 18 provinces. And around Baghdad, it's limited to a 30-mile area. And the reason I bring that up is that while it seems to our American citizens that nothing normal is taking place -- and I can understand why, it's a brutal environment there, particularly that which is on our TV screens -- that there is farmers farming, there are small businesses growing, there's a currency that's relatively stable, there's an entrepreneurial class, there's commerce. General Abizaid was describing to me what it was like to go to Baghdad markets.

    There's a lot of work to be done, don't get me wrong, but it is -- there are people living relatively normal lives who I believe -- strongly believe that they want to continue that normalcy, and it's up to Prime Minister Maliki to do everything he can to make the situation as secure as possible.

    Ann. Sorry, Rutenberg, you're through.


  •  It blows my mind - XI (8+ / 0-)

    Referendum on Iraq

    Is the coming election a referendum on Iraq? Should it be?

    THE PRESIDENT: I think the coming election is a referendum on these two things: which party has got the plan that will enable our economy continue -- to continue to grow, and which party has a plan to protect the American people. And Iraq is part of the security of the United States. If we succeed -- and when we succeed in Iraq, our country will be more secure. If we don't succeed in Iraq, the country is less secure.

    The security of this country -- and look, I understand here in Washington, some people say we're not at war. I know that. They're just wrong in my opinion.

    The enemy still wants to strike us. The enemy still wants to achieve safe haven from which to plot and plan. The enemy would like to have weapons of mass destruction in order to attack us. These are lethal, cold-blooded killers. And we must do everything we can to protect the American people, including questioning detainees, or listening to their phone calls from outside the country to inside the country. And there was -- as you know, there was some recent votes on that issue. And the Democrats voted against giving our professionals the skill -- the tools necessary to protect the American people.

    I will repeat, like I've said to you often, I do not question their patriotism; I question whether or not they understand how dangerous this world is. And this is a big issue in the campaign. Security of the country is an issue, just like taxes are an issue. If you raise taxes, it will hurt the economy. If you don't extend the tax cuts, if you don't make them -- in other words, if you let the tax cuts expire, it will be a tax increase on the American people.

    Take the child tax credit; if it is not made permanent, in other words, if it expires, and you got a family of four sitting around the breakfast table, the taxpayers can be sure that their taxes will go up by $2,000 -- $500 for that child, $500 for the one right there, $500 for this one, and $500 for that one. That is a tax increase. And taking $2,000 out of the pockets of the working people will make it harder to sustain economic growth.

    So the two issues I see in the campaign can be boiled down to who best to protect this country, and who best to keep taxes low. That's what the referendum is about.


  •  It blows my mind - XII (7+ / 0-)

    Accountability and Maliki

    Thank you, sir. You've long talked about the importance when the federal government is involved in an effort, spending money and resources, of measuring success, accountability, as Peter said. Now you've set some benchmarks on the Maliki government. You've said that you're expecting him to make tough decisions. Can you tell the American people how you plan to measure his success in reaching those benchmarks, and what happens if he doesn't hit those benchmarks?

    THE PRESIDENT: David, the first objective is to develop benchmarks that the government agrees with and that we think are important. You can't -- it's really important for the American people to understand that to say, okay, these are the benchmarks you must live with, is not going to work nearly as effectively as if we have -- when we have buy-in from the government itself, the sovereign government of Iraq.

    And so the step is to say to the Maliki government, which we're doing, let us work in concert to develop a series of benchmarks to achieve different objectives. And the purpose of that is to assure the Iraqi people that this unity government is going to work to -- for the improvement of the Iraqi people. In other words, it will be beneficial for the government to say to the Iraqi people, here is what we intend to do and here's when we intend to do it.

    It will also be beneficial for the American people to be able to see that this Iraqi government is going to make the difficult decisions necessary to move forward, to achieve the goal. And that's what we're talking about when it comes to benchmarks. It's -- again, I repeat: One should not expect our government to impose these benchmarks on a sovereign government. You'd expect us to work closely with that government to come up with a way forward that the government feels comfortable with. And there's probably going to be some bones of contention during these discussions, but, nevertheless, we'll respect the fact that the Iraq government is sovereign, and they must respect the fact that we've got patience, but not unlimited patience.

    What happens if that patience runs out?

    THE PRESIDENT: See, that's that hypothetical Keil is trying to get me to answer. Why do we work to see to it that it doesn't work out -- run out? That's the whole objective. That's what positive people do. They say, we're going to put something in place and we'll work to achieve it.


  •  It blows my mind - XIII (6+ / 0-)

    A Failure to Achieve

    Thank you, Mr. President. With a Republican Congress, you failed to achieve three major goals of your second term: Social Security reform, a tax code overhaul, and a comprehensive immigration bill. Why shouldn't Americans give Democrats a chance to work with you on those issues, especially when divided government seemed to work in the late 1990s on the budget?

    THE PRESIDENT: That's a tricky little question there. (Laughter.) First, I haven't given up on any of those issues. I've got two years left to achieve them. And I firmly believe it is more likely to achieve those three objectives with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate. And I believe I'll be working with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate.

    I understand here in Washington people have already determined the outcome of the election, like it's over even before the people actually start heading -- voting. But that's not what I see when I'm on the campaign trail. Yes, we've got some people dancing in the end zone here in Washington, D.C.; they've got them measuring their drapes; they're going over to the Capitol, and saying, my new office looks beautiful, I think I'm going to have this size drape there, or this color. But the American people are going to decide, and they're going to decide this race based upon who best to protect the American people and who best to keep the taxes low.

    Secondly, I'll tell you what I see -- you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I see there's a lot of enthusiasm amongst the grassroots activists. Our people are going out there to man the phones and to put up the yard signs. You know, they're showing up when it comes time to -- these absentee votes. We're organized. We've got a fantastic grassroots organization to turn out the vote. This campaign has obviously got national implications to it, no question about it -- the Iraq war, the security of the country, economic vitality and growth. But each of these elections turn out to be local in their scope and in their character.

    And we've got good candidates running hard. And we're going to win. Now, I know that defies conventional wisdom here. I'm not suggesting anybody in this august crowd has determined the outcome of the election already, but they're running profiles on who this person is going to be running this office, or this one that's going to be -- magazines have got all kinds of new stars emerging when they haven't won the votes yet.

    And anyway, thanks for asking about the campaign. I'm enjoying it out there. I like campaigning. It's what guys like me do in order to get here. We campaign. We shake the hands, you know, and give the speeches. And Laura is campaigning, too. From my perspective, our people are ready to go out there and vote for -- vote our candidates back into power.


  •  Sorry, but the only word for this is (7+ / 0-)


  •  It blows my mind - XIV (7+ / 0-)

    When Johnny Comes Marching Home

    Thank you, Mr. President. Your comment earlier that last spring you believed that troops would be able to come home early next year --


    -- I wonder if you could talk to us about how you came to believe that, and over what period of time, or whether it was a single development because you realized that wasn't feasible.

    THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, look, Mike, here's the way it works. I meet with our -- or talk to our generals all the time. And the security situation looked like at that point in time that beginning next year, we could reduce our troop presence. That's what we felt -- until the conditions on the ground changed. And when they changed, our generals changed their attitude. And when their attitude changed, my attitude changed.

    Look, I want to get our troops home as fast as we can. But I do not want to leave before we achieve victory. And the best way to do that is to make sure we have a strategy that works, tactics that adjust to the enemy, and commanders that feel confident making recommendations to the Secretary and to the Commander-in-Chief. And that's how that happened. In other words, they're saying it looks like things are positive, things are stepping up. The security situation is -- looks like it could be this way. And then when it change, we changed. And that's important for the American people to know, that we're constantly changing tactics to meet the situation on the ground.


    Excuse me --


    May I follow up?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, you're taking Wolffe's time. Is this your question, Wolffe?

    No, sir, it's not.

    THE PRESIDENT: Okay, okay.

    But I yield.

    THE PRESIDENT: Then it's your question.

    Only for a moment.


    I just wanted to ask you quickly, sir, if you believe that Iraq will be able to defend, sustain and govern itself by the time you leave office?

    THE PRESIDENT: Mike, I believe Iraq will be able to defend, govern and sustain itself; otherwise, I'd pull our troops out. See, you all got to understand that. And the parents of our troops must understand, that if I didn't believe we could succeed, and didn't believe it was necessary for the security of this country to succeed, I wouldn't have your loved ones there. That's what I want these parents to hear.

    And that's a backhanded way of getting me to put a timetable. My answer is, we'll work as fast as we can get the job done.


  •  It blows my mind - XV (7+ / 0-)

    We Will Bury You

    I understand why you would claim or assert that the Republicans will win the midterm elections. But if in your heart of hearts you really didn't think that, would you tell us so? (Laughter.) And are you resentful that some Republican candidates seem to be distancing themselves from you?

    THE PRESIDENT: You know, no, I'm not resentful, nor am I resentful that a lot of Democrats are using my picture. All I ask is that they pick out a good one. (Laughter.) Make me look good, at least, on the picture.

    Mark, the first part of your question, the serious part, if I thought we were going to lose, would I tell you -- we're not going to lose, in my heart of hearts. (Laughter.) No, again, I understand how -- look, I read the -- look at the newspapers around here. I can see why you would think that I'm concealing something in my heart of hearts. The race is over as far as a lot of the punditry goes. They've got it all figured out. And they just -- as I said, they're dancing in the end zone. They just haven't scored the touchdown, Mark, you know, there's a lot of time left. And these candidates are working hard out there. And my message to them is, keep talking about the security of the United States and keeping taxes low, and you'll come back here.


  •  It blows my mind - XVI (8+ / 0-)


    Thank you, Mr. President. Back in 2000, you campaigned around the country saying you wanted to usher in the responsibility era, to end the days when people said, if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else.


    Yet over the last several months, we've seen many members of your own party in Congress embroiled in one scandal or another and all too ready to blame somebody else, whether prosecutors, or Democrats, or even the media. So I'm wondering, why do you think it is so many people in your own party have failed to live up to the standards of the responsibility era?

    THE PRESIDENT: If any person in any party fails to live up to high standards, they ought to be held to account, Richard. It's important for there to be trust in the halls of Congress and in the White House, and throughout government. People got to trust elected leaders in order for democracy to work to its fullest extent. And I fully expect people to be held to account if there's wrongdoing, just like I expect corporate executives to be held to account for wrongdoing; just like I expect people throughout our society to be held to account for wrongdoing.

    People do have to take responsibility for the decisions they make in life. I take responsibility for the decisions I make. I also understand that those of us in positions of responsibility have the duty to bring honor to the offices we hold. People don't have to agree with somebody's opinion, there's all kinds of opinions here. But in order to make this country work, and to make democracy succeed, there's got to be high standards, and people must be held to account to achieve those standards.

    I thank you for your time. See you on the campaign trail.


  •  EK, can I buy you a drink (9+ / 0-)

    You earned it.

    I apologize that my sig isn't funny, deep or inspiring. But, it is in italics.

    by Ex Con on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 06:20:37 PM PDT

  •  I know it's been almost 6 years, but (8+ / 0-)

    I still can't believe this IDIOT is POTUS.

    In the beginning there was nothing...which exploded.

    by lucysdad on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 06:32:40 PM PDT

  •  Fear makes you do stupid things. (7+ / 0-)

    During the DC sniper scare, I actually ran out of gas because I was too afraid to fill up at a station.

    And as I stood there by my car with the empty a mall parking lot (they killed three people in mall parking lots...) I realized that I was the dumbest person on the face of the Earth at that very moment.

    Well, half the damn nation ditzed out in 2004.  We're slowly waking up and realized...I think sometime during the weekend of Katrina last year, that we're still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave and no one can tell us otherwise.

  •  Meant to tell you ek (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suzq, ek hornbeck, Ellicatt

    I am sitting right now in a little town called Prosser. So you can imagine my double take at your title.

  •  Dear Ek, of course you may call me Alice! :-) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, ek hornbeck, blueness

    I hope you don't mind my calling you Ek? Thanks very much for this dense if somewhat horrifying (like a train wreck) diary. How did you do it? Have the comments ready to paste as soon as you posted the diary, and then edit it quickly? A slick and useful way to handle a lot of info - thanks again for the work that went into it.

    Mike Whalen- we can do better for Iowa!

    by Wee Mama on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 07:33:18 PM PDT

  •  sorry i missed it! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck

    carry on, then! As you were!

    YELL LOUDER!!!! ........ Hey, what's NION?

    by buhdydharma on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 11:18:19 AM PDT

  •  Ek, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck

    I thought I'd thanked you for this noble effort.  Today I came back to check something, and realized I'd not so much as chirped.

    Late but loud:  THANKS.  Writing -- it's a beautiful thing.

    (And the Bushnit falsifications?  That's copywriting -- an ugly fish that never breaks the surface.)

    Bush/Republican legacy: Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Cheney's Dirty War, Black Sites, AnalPlugs&Bodybags, Rendition, Torture, Waterboards, Murder, the Disappeared.

    by Yellow Canary on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 06:26:37 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site