For Jeb Bush, Iraq is a special burden |

George W. Bush, who has taken part in countless events, public and private, for veterans, has also not tried to insulate himself from the suffering that resulted from the war. In her new book, former White House press secretary Dana Perino describes a 2005 visit to Walter Reed Hospital in which Bush met with grievously wounded servicemen and their families. Most expressed support for the war. But not all. “There were exceptions,” Perino writes:

One mom and dad of a dying soldier from the Caribbean were devastated, the mom beside herself with grief. She yelled at the president, wanting to know why it was her child and not his who lay in that hospital bed.

Her husband tried to calm her and I noticed the president wasn’t in a hurry to leave — he tried offering comfort but then just stood and took it, like he expected and needed to hear the anguish, to try to soak up some of her suffering if he could.

Later as we rode back on Marine One to the White House, no one spoke.

But as the helicopter took off, the president looked at me and said, “That mama sure was mad at me.” Then he turned to look out the window of the helicopter. “And I don’t blame her a bit.”

One tear slipped out the side of his eye and down his face. He didn’t wipe it away, and we flew back to the White House.

The war has had a hard legacy. Jeb Bush didn’t start it. But voters, especially the great majority who disapproved of the job George W. Bush was doing in his final White House years, legitimately want to know how a President Jeb Bush will be a different president from his brother. That includes answering the Iraq question — over and over.

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Errors and Lies –

Surprise! It turns out that there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.

But many influential people — not just Mr. Bush — would prefer that we not have that discussion. There’s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games — the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.

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Bruce Bartlett’s whopper of a Fox News assessment–p m carpenter

Bruce Bartlett’s 18-page pdf report, “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics,” is an avalanche of interesting reading. But if you haven’t the time, here are some highlights:

*Fox’s bias is so bad that even some conservatives can’t stomach it. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress, has said [in 2014], “There are certain shows on Fox I can’t watch. Because they’re totally not fair and totally not balanced.”

*”One of the real changes that comes when you start running for President – as opposed to being an analyst on Fox – is I have to actually know what I’m talking about.” [Newt Gingrich, 2012]

*Fox has an “enemies list” of people who are not permitted to be interviewed on the network. All proposed guests are vetted by senior executives and banned if they have criticized Fox or hold views likely to rile its conservative viewers. Media reporter Jim Romenesko has documented many cases of Fox blacklisting. I know for a fact that I am banned from Fox and blogger Andrew Sullivan and others have told me that they are, too.

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Tom Toles: Political Cartoons

Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post.

TPM: Florida Man

Rubio, more than any other current Republican presidential contender, is vying to be the candidate of the neoconservative foreign policy wing of the party. So completely jettisoning the Iraq War and President Bush is a dicey proposition.

There are so many things going on here: one is the deep, unresolved specter of the Iraq War looming over the Republican party, notwithstanding what seemed like a rapid fire consensus last week that it was a bad idea; another is the fact that Marco Rubio just doesn’t seem like the most cognitively dexterous contender for the Republican nomination. Whatever it is, after seeming to come down on the side of ‘knowing what we know now, it was a mistake’ side of the equation, Rubio went back to the other side of the debate and then stumbled and then got miffed when Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace grilled him on his flip-flop and then apparent re-flip live on this morning’s show.

One side note to observe in this unfolding debacle about the debacle is that basically every interview that propels this story forward is happening on Fox News, the media arm of the Republican party, where Republicans go to get safe haven from challenging interviews. Even on Fox, this is happening.

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Daily Kos – Timeline Photos

Daily Kos – Timeline Photos.

A gift basket for Clinton from the GOP – The Washington Post

Jeb Bush shows no sign of having given more than a passing thought to the central challenge he faces in reaching the White House: the fact that his brother got there first and made a mess of things.

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