Friday, March 28, 2008

Serial adulterer willing to run for NY governor

So the New York Post hints (without any apparent sense of irony) that Rudy Giuliani believes he's the perfect fit for the NY governor's office, now the latest occupant has become embroiled in scandal:
New York's new governor has spent his brief time in office dropping one bombshell announcement after another. He admitted that both he and his wife had affairs during a rough patch in their marriage and that he abused drugs decades ago.
Rudy, you may remember, was driven from the NYC mayor's mansion after a judge barred his mistress from the grounds.
Specifically, the judge reprimanded the mayor and his divorce lawyer, Raoul L. Felder, for three days of verbal attacks on Donna Hanover, the mayor's estranged wife, over Mother's Day weekend. Mr. Felder, who called Ms. Hanover ''an uncaring mother'' who was ''howling like a stuck pig,'' made the attacks with the mayor's support after Justice Gische sided with Ms. Hanover and lifted an order of silence she had briefly imposed on the case.

The judge ordered that for now, Ms. Nathan was never to be in the presence of the children, or ''at any event attended by the children.'' She was also barred from the Gracie Mansion grounds.
And that's not exactly the worst scandal surrounding the former mayor.

Maybe he thinks it's a job requirement.

h/t ThinkProgress

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is what a disintegrating ice shelf looks like

Formosat image courtesy Cheng-Chien Liu, © 2008 Earth Dynamic System Research Center, NCKU
In late February 2008, an ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated into a floating pile of massive ice bergs, smaller ice fragments, and slush that was trapped in place by freezing sea water over subsequent weeks. The dramatic event was first spotted in NASA satellite imagery by Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Over the following days, international collaborators used images from satellites and aircraft to track the event.

This highly detailed image from the Taiwanese Formosat-2 satellite shows the different sizes, shapes, and textures of the ice fragments on March 8, 2008. Several large icebergs float amid a mosaic of smaller pieces of ice. The level of detail in the image is so great that it can seem as though you are standing over a scale model made out of papier-mâché and foam blocks. The detail can make the bergs seem deceptively small. In reality, some of the large bergs are several hundred meters (yards) long.
NASA's Earth Observatory reports on the disintegration of the Wilkins ice shelf here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

John McCain defines success in Iraq

Give him some credit, it's more than George Bush has ever done:
Many people ask, how should we define success? Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is the establishment of peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic states that pose no threat to neighbors and contribute to the defeat of terrorists. It is the triumph of religious tolerance over violent radicalism.
Of course the war in Iraq is currently a failure by all those standards.
Those who argue that our goals in Iraq are unachievable are wrong, just as they were wrong a year ago when they declared the war in Iraq already lost. Since June 2007 sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq has been reduced by 90 percent. Overall civilian deaths have been reduced by more than 70 percent. Deaths of coalition forces have fallen by 70 percent. The dramatic reduction in violence has opened the way for a return to something approaching normal political and economic life for the average Iraqi.
Yes, compared to the worst days of the civil war - when death squads roamed the streets of Baghdad just miles from the Green Zone and millions fled their homes - things are now better in Iraq. This is about the only standard by which we're currently succeeding in Iraq.

John McCain doesn't compare Iraq today to Iraq 5 years ago because his war has made life worse in all respects. The progress he applauds is only relative to our previous failures and he insists the situation is so fragile that if we leave, there will be a genocide.

And as for life approaching normal, over 1000 Iraqis have died in political violence this March, which is up from February, which was up from January.

Update: make it about 1400 in March - nearly double January's toll.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Don't fight me in that there briar patch!

Br'er bin Laden suckers Farmer John, yet again...
"As you probably know, an audiotape ... was released where bin Laden said, and I have to quote bin Laden: 'The nearest field of jihad today to support our people in Palestine ... is the Iraqi field.' He urged Palestinians and people of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to 'help in support of their mujahideen brothers in Iraq which is the greatest opportunity and the biggest task.'"

McCain followed that with, "For the first time, I have seen Osama bin Laden and Gen. Petraeus in agreement, and that is, the central battleground in the battle against al-Qaeda is in Iraq today! That's what bin Laden is saying, and that's what Gen. Petraeus is saying, and that's what I'm saying, my friends."
Meanwhile, Osama is living a thousand miles away in Pakistan.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why did they get it right?*

Jim Henley explains why it was blindingly obvious that the Iraq war was a bad idea from the start:
You didn’t have to be all that bright to oppose the Iraq War in advance. Heck, polls suggest that most Americans were dubious about the idea until the war became obviously inevitable. Real enthusiasm was confined to the elite media, the bipartisan defense-policy establishment and a bunch of Republican quasi-intellectuals who had spent ten years casting about for different countries to have a war - any war - with. I mean, for crying out loud, at one point our rulers declared that Saddam Hussein might attack America with remote-controlled model planes. You didn’t have to wait to bounce that one off the folks at your next MENSA meeting to judge its likelihood. Nor did you have to puzzle overlong, if someone tried to put that one by you, how much stock you should put in anything else that came out of their mouths.
Typically, there is a single overriding reason to go to war. We went to war in Afghanistan because Al Qaeda had destroyed the World Trade Center and they were effectively the military arm of the Taliban. Everybody understood that and Americans overwhelmingly supported the decision to attack Afghanistan because of it. Freeing afghani women from oppression, bringing democracy to the country, ending their own brutal decades long civil war - those were all incidental to the cause and nobody argued they were casus belli in themselves.

On the other hand, we were given dozens of reasons to go to war against Iraq, some of them contradictory, some of them silly and some of them patently false. And when you know for a fact that any of the arguments for war are absurd, you don't need access to secret intelligence to realize that the rest of them are probably bogus too.

Of course, it wasn't easy to hear voices speaking against the Iraq war in 2002. Here's the Washington Post (in 2006), illustrating why.

The day after the House vote, The Washington Post recorded that 126 House Democrats voted against the final resolution. None was quoted giving a reason for his or her vote except for Rep. Joe Baca (Calif.), who said a military briefing had disclosed that U.S. soldiers did not have adequate protection against biological weapons.

"As a veteran, that's what hit me the hardest," he said.

Lee was described as giving a "fiery denunciation" of the administration's "rush to war," with only 14 colleagues in the House chamber to hear her. None of the reasons she gave to justify her concerns, nor those voiced by other Democratic opponents, was reported in the two Post stories about passage of the resolution that day.

So to acknowledge some of those who got it right from the start:

Scott Ritter (July 20, 2002):
I bear personal witness through seven years as a chief weapons inspector in Iraq for the United Nations to both the scope of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and the effectiveness of the UN weapons inspectors in ultimately eliminating them.

While we were never able to provide 100 percent certainty regarding the disposition of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, we did ascertain a 90-95 percent level of verified disarmament. This figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq.

In direct contrast to these findings, the Bush administration provides only speculation, failing to detail any factually based information to bolster its claims concerning Iraq's continued possession of or ongoing efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. To date no one has held the Bush administration accountable for its unwillingness - or inability - to provide such evidence.

Al Gore (Sept 23, 2002)

I am deeply concerned that the policy we are presently following with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

The vast majority of those who sponsored, planned and implemented the cold blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans are still at large, still neither located nor apprehended, much less punished and neutralized. I do not believe that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from this urgent task simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than predicted. Great nations persevere and then prevail. They do not jump from one unfinished task to another.
Russ Feingold (Sept 25, 2002):
I remain extremely troubled by the Administration's shifting justifications for going to war in Iraq. I remain skeptical about the need to take unilateral action now and to accept all of the associated costs of that decision. I remain unconvinced that the Administration has thought through the potential costs and challenges of post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, or even thought through how to address the issue of weapons of mass destruction once an engagement begins.
Shibley Telhami (Oct 7,2002):
One of the most appealing thoughts about a possible war with Iraq is that it could help spread democracy, transforming a rotten political order in the Middle East. But more likely, such a war would render the Middle East more repressive and unstable than it is today. Democracy cannot be imposed through military force, even if force is used successfully to oust antidemocratic dictators. And our vital aims in fighting terrorism, securing oil supplies and protecting the lives of American soldiers will, in the context of the Middle East, almost certainly ensure that the spread of democracy will again take a back seat to our national priorities.
Nancy Pelosi (Oct 10, 2002):
There is no political solution on the ground in Iraq. Let us not be fooled by that. So when we go in the occupation, which is now being called the liberation, could be interminable and the amount of money it costs could be unlimited - $100 -$200 billion, we can only guess.
Barack Obama (Nov. 25, 2002):

If (the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam) has happened, what the debate's really going to be about is; what's our long term commitment there? How much is it going to cost? What does it mean for us to rebuild Iraq? How do we stabilize and make sure that this country doesn't splinter into factions between the Shias and the Kurds and the Sunnis?

What I would have been concerned about was a carte blanche to the administration for a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes that I'm not sure sets a good precedent.

David Obey (Dec. 12, 2002):
The decision to prepare for military action against Iraq forces us to make difficult choices about the use of our assets, choices that further complicate our offensive against al Qaeda. Good military strategists and planners, for instance, are always in short supply, and when we do two things at once, they are very badly stretched. Our capacity to observe and listen for enemy activity through the skies and over the airways is finite. Our skilled Arabic translators are extremely limited in number. We have shortages in a number of specific types of equipment that are needed in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In short, our growing focus on Iraq will unquestionably degrade our efforts against al Qaeda and even official sources are already acknowledging those efforts are faltering. And if you doubt that one has an impact on the other, I invite you to talk to some of the people deep in the agencies who I've talked to.
*in response to Slate's series of a similar title

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Advice for desperate homeowners

Compare this homeowner:
The lawyer, now divorced, calculated that the mortgage payments, now $6,200 a month, plus taxes consume 96 percent of his net income, which includes occasional rent from vacationers who use the house. He lives with relatives and sleeps on the floor.

“I don’t regret what I did,” he said. But a foreclosure would hurt his career and finances, he said. “And I was raised to pay back what I borrow.”
With this one:
Mr. Geller said he had heard of just one loan balance reduction won by a borrower.

That borrower, a real estate consultant in California who did not want to be identified because he feared angering his lender, said he used his understanding of state law to negotiate the refinancing. He bought a condominium two years ago for $450,000 and invested another $50,000 for improvements. His ARM had a 5.5 percent initial rate that was soon resetting to 7.25 percent. But his condo is now worth only about $350,000.

His lender agreed to give him a 6 percent fixed-rate mortgage and, he said, to knock $135,000 off the principal.

The agreement came only after he stopped paying his mortgage for two months. “I am very happy and grateful to the lender because what I owe on my condo now is in line with its worth,” he said. “I’m ecstatic.”
It's a sad fact that the banks are perfectly willing to squeeze every last penny from the first borrower and still foreclose on him. This is why people walk away from their upside-down mortgages even when they still have the ability to pay.

Lenders have to at least think you might stop paying before they'll work with you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Was putting Muqtada al Sadr in control of Basra worth $600 billion?

5 years later:
"The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable, yet some in Washington still call for retreat." - George W. Bush - explaining why Iraq "was worth it"

"Thirty years from now, when historians look back, where are they going to come out? If at the end of the day the U.S. screwed things up for four years and then in the end left Iraq a better place than they found it under Saddam, it may have still been worth it." - Iraq war advocate Ken Pollack

It is a great American myth, voiced by John Kerry last year, that the nation goes to war only when there is no question about the necessity of going to war. There's always a question. Even if the Iraqi insurgency disappeared tomorrow, George Ibrahim al Washington became president of Iraq and every liter of Saddam Hussein's onetime stockpile of chemical and biological weapons suddenly appeared in the desert, historians would still spend the next century debating whether the war was "worth it." - Robert Kagan (2005), arguing that not going in would have been even worse.

War is an expensive thing, but not the most expensive of things. A man unwilling to pay any price for the well-being of others is a sad creature indeed. - Tim Kane (2006) of the Heritage Foundation arguing "that the active American security umbrella enhances investment."

"If you look back on those five years it has been a difficult, challenging but nonetheless successful endeavor ... and it has been well worth the effort" - Dick Cheney, describing the phenomenal success that is Iraq
I'm not entirely sure which successes George Bush is talking about, but the number of times I've heard the the phrase "Iraq was worth it" going unchallenged is absurd. Bush and Cheney talk about fighting an enemy that didn't exist 5 years ago. People like Kagan, Pollack and Kane talk about a hypothetical Iraqi utopia, while the current standard of success is having fewer than 20 dead Iraqis a day.
Was redirecting American forces worth losing Osama bin Laden in the hills of Tora Bora?

Was crippling our military worth ethnically cleansing Baghdad?

Was chasing non-existent threats worth establishing Abu Ghraib?

Was defeating Iran's biggest rival worth putting ourselves in a 100-year quagmire?
Those of us against this war can rattle these questions off the top of our heads. But I've yet to see a pro-war advocate explain just what was worth it?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama just won the election

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

The biggest threat to Obama winning the nomination was that Clinton could convince superdelegates that he was unelectable, unable to win enough votes as a black man in the general election or incapable of defending himself against the Republican attack machine.

Barack was able to turn a potentially crippling scandal into an opportunity to define himself to the country and he did it by directly addressing the fears of the black and white communities.

Text of the speech here:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Southwest is about to get very thirsty

Image originally uploaded by Daniel Y. Go under Creative Commons license.

Lake Mead could be dry by 2021

There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern U.S., will be dry by 2021

The research team concludes that human demand, natural forces such as evaporation, and human-induced climate change are creating a net deficit of nearly 1 million acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River system that includes Lake Mead and Lake Powell. This amount of water can supply roughly 8 million people. The team's analysis of Federal Bureau of Reclamation records of past water demand and calculations of scheduled water allocations and climate conditions indicate that the system could run dry even if mitigation measures now being proposed are implemented.

“Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system. The alternative to reasoned solutions to this coming water crisis is a major societal and economic disruption in the desert southwest; something that will affect each of us living in the region,”

Presumably, only Americans are invited

John McCain has decided that there aren't enough donors in the United States to support his campaign, so he's headed across the pond.
WASHINGTON—Senator John McCain has been averaging a fund-raiser a day in America’s pockets of affluence – hotel ballrooms in New York, Atlanta, Chicago – but now he will expand his pursuit of campaign donations at a $1,000-a-plate lunch at the 18th century Spencer House in London.
That's London, England. And if you look at the invitation above, you'll see that tickets actually range from $1000 to $2300 which is the limit an individual can contribute to any candidate (McCain will remember that because it was part of the McCain-Feingold law). However, he's forgotten to also mention this provision of U.S. federal election law:
The Prohibition

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
Which is strange since he uses the British expression "lounge suits" instead of the American equivalent "business attire". It'd be a shame if some unfortunate Lord accepted the invitation.

Oddly, this event doesn't show up on his list of fundraising events for March, 2008.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Quit whining and just pay for the damn election

Spare Change. Image originally uploaded by bullywhippet. (under creative commons license)

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Clinton supporter, told the Detroit Free Press that Clinton's victory in Ohio changes "the landscape a bit." She said it could open the door to a caucus, if it can be privately funded and both candidates agree.

[Florida Gov. Charlie] Crist told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that he does not support having another primary at taxpayer expense. He said he discussed the option with Sen. Bill Nelson, the state's senior Democrat. "He said the only way to consider the possibility of that is to have the Democratic National Committee pay for it," Crist said. The Florida Democratic Party said the state estimates the cost would be $25 million.

A revote in Michigan and Florida would be ideal, but for God's sake the states should find public funds for the election.

This isn't a charity raffle. Running elections is a government obligation and the only reason we're in this situation is that the elected leaders of Florida and Michigan flouted party rules and scheduled their elections ahead of the Super Tuesday contest. Crist and Granholm were active participants in that process. They gambled that putting their states ahead of other delegate rich contests would allow them to be kingmakers. They wouldn't have given a damn if the election had ended on January 29th - robbing voters in over 40 other states of having any say at all in the nomination. Now they're upset that they don't count.

And when you get down to it even $20-$30 million is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else they spend money on.

Here's Florida governor Crist's budget request for 2008 - which if I'm reading correctly comes out to about $69 billion.

And here's Michigan governor Granholm's request for 2009 - which totals almost $45 billion.

If it's worth being part of the process it's worth paying for. Stop acting pathetic.

Updated: Here's the inevitable outcome of the states being cheap:
As Rendell and Corzine modestly put it, "In the interest of providing assurance that the private funds necessary to finance a publicly administered election will indeed be available should the Michigan Legislature choose to proceed in this direction, we have taken the liberty of soliciting guarantors for such an effort."

Handled deftly, this might have been seen as an act of political altruism. Instead it smacks of an inside job. Rendell is a Clinton supporter. Corzine is a Clinton supporter. Granholm is a Clinton supporter. Perhaps coincidentally, the letter guaranteeing the money arrived on the day Clinton flew into the Michigan to ratchet up pressure on Obama and the legislature to support a new primary.

He who pays the piper calls the tune and you simply can't have backers of one campaign sponsoring an election.

The elections in Florida and Michigan are off and it's their own damn fault.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I suppose this means that Texas doesn't count, either

Chatwick Matlin of Slate explains why the results of the vote in Wyoming don't matter.

I thought this point was particularly puzzling:
The delegate margin will be small. Even if Obama blows Clinton out of the water in Wyoming, his delegate haul will be minimal. To come out with a six-delegate advantage, he’s going to have to win with a margin of 41 percent...
coupled with this:
Clinton will say Ohio and Texas are a lot bigger than Wyoming
That would be this Texas win:

Clinton won the primary with 51 percent of the popular vote to Obama's 47 percent, according to the Associated Press. Those results earned her 65 delegates to Obama's 61 delegates.

So Clinton netted +4 delegates in the primaries of the great state of Texas, which by Slate standards is apparently small.

And what about the results of the Texas caucuses?

The state Democratic Party estimates that Obama will come out ahead: 37 pledged delegated to Clinton's 30 delegates. But the official tally of the Texas caucus won't be ready for months.
So apparently, Obama will win Texas +3.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Guess who's insignificant now

"Pennsylvania is the new Iowa," - Clinton spokesman Doug Hattaway.
Voters of Wyoming and Mississippi. Sorry, you didn't make the cut.

BTW there are at least 267 "second class" superdelegates representing the states Clinton has relegated to insignificance.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just so long as I'm the dictator.

Robert Farley from LGM compares Obama's call for unity with those of W in 2000:
Bush is an outstanding example of a candidate whose centrist direction (at least in 2000; I think Bowers is right about 2004) had no noticeable impact on governing strategy.
Centrist direction?

Contrary to popular opinion, George Bush never ran as a moderate and anybody who bothered to listen to the man during the 2000 election knew that he wasn't a centrist. He was running as a compassionate conservative and if the term "compassionate" confused you, well he told you exactly what he meant by that, too. Here's how Myron Magnet explained it in the WSJ in 1999:
The poor need the larger society's moral support; they need to hear the message of personal responsibility and self-reliance, the optimistic assurance that if they try – as they must – they will make it. They need to know, too, that they can't blame "the system" for their own wrongdoing.
In short, poor people need a pep squad, not a handout. Quit complaining about racism or children being born into poverty. Re-stigmatize illegitimacy, shame unwed mothers, get tough on public school teachers and show the poor how irresponsible they're being by not getting off their lazy asses.

This definition of compassionate conservatism wasn't kept secret. It was repeated again and again during the run-up to the election. Where the government was going to be involved was in "faith based" initiatives - tearing down the wall between church and state.

And if that involved tearing up anti-discrimination laws? Well whatever works:
Some religious groups do, however, follow exclusionary policies, and these point up the inherent -- and constitutional -- difficulties of church-state partnerships. A week ago Friday, Governor Bush toured the Haven of Rest Ministries, a homeless shelter in Akron, Ohio. Two years ago, ministry officials told a Jewish businessman that he couldn't join the board, citing their rule of employing only born-again Christians.

During his visit, Mr. Bush maintained that under his plan Haven of Rest's programs would be eligible for Government funds -- even though groups that accept Federal money must comply with anti-discrimination laws.
The only reason this seemed "centrist" was because the Democrats felt the need to jump on the faith-based bandwagon themselves.
Bush and Gore have enthusiastically endorsed a provision of the 1996 welfare-reform bill called charitable choice, which allows faith-based organizations to administer welfare programs with public funds, as long as there are secular alternatives. And then there is the explosive issue of publicly financed vouchers for parochial and secular private schools, which all of the Republican candidates have embraced. Although Gore opposes vouchers, his Democratic opponent, Bill Bradley, provisionally supports them.
No, George Bush was all about "tax cuts so help me God!", eliminating the right of consumers to sue corporations, and deregulation of industry (back when Enron's Ken Lay was considered the smartest kid on the block).

His solution to environmental problems? Self-policing:
Although state regulators had been considering mandatory restrictions on polluters, state documents indicate that Mr. Bush thought the approach should be voluntary and essentially asked industry leaders to draft such a proposal, which they did in private meetings with state officials two years ago. No environmental groups or other public interest groups were invited, and they only learned about the meetings early this year.
His plan to get health care to the uninsured? Tax credits.
Under the plan he introduced here, Americans who have no health care coverage and are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid could receive a tax credit of up to $1,000 an individual or $2,000 a family to cover 90 percent of the cost of insurance.
Good luck paying for insurance with that. Especially if you're one of those lazy welfare queens.

As for his views on civil liberties, "there ought to be limits to freedom" was provoked by a web site making fun of his campaign. Bush's campaign threatened legal action.

And if we hadn't been so busy chuckling that Bush failed a reporter's pop quiz, we might have worried that the one person he did recognize had just overthrown a democratically elected Prime Minister - and George Bush approved wholeheartedly.
Mr. Bush also offered an assessment of the situation in Pakistan, where Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in a coup d'etat last month.

Mr. Bush, failing to name the general, said, "It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country, and I think that's good news for the subcontinent."
So you can fault George Bush for a lot of things, but lying about his goals as president isn't one of them. He told us of his plans to privatize Social Security, to nominate Scalia type justices, to gut social services, to increase military spending and tear up pesky treaties. He was running on unity, not compromise. He intended to get Democrats to agree to his plans, not to find common ground. (And he has been quite successful getting them to sign on to every harebrained idea he had).

Hell, if you believed what the man was telling you at the time, you'd have gotten a pretty good preview of the next 8 years. He even dropped hints about the second Gulf war.
At the Republican debate here on Thursday and at a news conference in nearby Bedford this morning, George W. Bush said that if he was commander in chief, any discovery that Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, was building weapons of mass destruction would touch off a swift and punishing response.

Mr. Bush seemed to say he would "take him out," indicating that he would forcibly remove Mr. Hussein from power or worse. But Mr. Bush said in a telephone interview this afternoon that the phrase, easily misinterpreted because of his Texas drawl, was "take 'em out," meaning the weapons.
As for his idea of bipartisanship, his most famous quote:
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
...He said that to a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, one month before taking the oath of office.