Yes we can!

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama—as prepared for delivery
Election Night
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Barack Obama appears to have won the Presidential election.

I never thought I’d live long enough to see a black man elected President of the United States, but that appears to be what has just happened this evening as most of the networks are calling it a done deal. I have never been more proud of my country than I am at this very moment. Regardless of what happens from here on out this is a monumental step forward and the door is now open for this to happen again in the future and as it becomes normalized there will eventually come a day when people will marvel that it was ever considered remarkable at one point in time.

As good as the polls have looked over the past few weeks I was still hesitant to allow myself to imagine this possibility coming to pass. The frustration of the last election when we reelected a clearly incompetent man to the most important position in the world because we let fear rule us kept me holding my breath until I saw it with my own eyes. My hope that we might see a brighter future here in America is renewed as I truly believe Obama is the man that can restore our reputation in the world and address the tremendous issues we’re facing both at home and abroad.

I thought it was quite striking as I sat down to watch the events unfold this evening the differences between the candidates as illustrated by their choice of celebratory venues. Obama chose a huge park in Chicago and invited anyone who wanted to attend to show up whereas McCain picked a smaller indoor venue that you specifically had to be invited to. It showed how one man is inclusive and the other exclusive in how they dealt with the American public.

John McCain as just taken the stage to make his concession speech. His supporters are booing every mention of Obama’s name. McCain is handling them well and the speech is pretty well considering the circumstances. Amazing. McCain is speaking of working together with Obama and encouraging his supporters to do the same. Some of them aren’t happy with that, but most of them seem to be listening. Whoops, mentioning Biden brought more boos and chants of “Sarah, Sarah.” Overall it was a surprisingly gracious speech. Still I’m quite glad he lost.

A big surprise here in Michigan was the vote to approve a Medical Marijuana law and the possibility that we may expand stem cell research in state looks like it might pass which would be a reversal of a law from the previous election. My state looks to becoming a little more progressive and I couldn’t be happier. This has definitely been one of the best election nights in my life time and I will sleep well tonight.

Obama hasn’t made his acceptance speech yet, but I’m going to end it here for now. It won’t be long before I need to pick Anne up from work so I’ll write more about it later when I’ve had time to gather my thoughts and hear what Obama has to say.

More from the John Cleese interview on American politics.

This is a longer segment of the same interview clip I posed the other day where Cleese commented on Sarah Palin as VP. This clip includes that one along with some additional material I thought was worth seeing:

John Cleese (part 2): Obama, Biden & Fox News left top repeat-x”>

Found over at AmericaBLOG.

Hospitals in Southern USA 70% more likely to kill you.

Here’s a report that makes me feel good about living in Michigan. Sure our economy is in the toilet, but at least we have decent hospitals:

Dystopia: Hospitals in the American South 70% More Likely to Kill You –

A study released today by hospital rating organization HealthGrades shows that people in the nation’s highest-ranked hospitals (most of which are in the midwest) are 70% less likely to die than those in the lowest-ranked (most of which are in the south). The group looked at survival rates for 17 different problems or procedures, including stroke, heart attack, sepsis, and pneumonia.

The report rates hospitals on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, correcting for differences in services offered. According to the study authors:

    If all hospitals performed at the level of a 5-star rated hospital across the 17 procedures and diagnoses studied, 237,420 Medicare lives could have potentially been saved from 2005 to 2007. The region with the lowest overall risk-adjusted mortality rates was the East North Central region (IL, IN, MI, OH, and WI), while the East South Central region (AL, KY, MS, and TN) had the highest mortality rates.

[…] But there is just something so stark about a statistic showing that where you live means you’re 70 percent more likely to continue living if you go to the hospital. It brings home the reality of a crisis that’s only going to get worse.

I always figured there’d be a difference, but 70% does seem pretty high. You can read the full report at Health

Thoughts on seven years since 9/11.

It’s that day again. Seven years ago a bunch of guys deluded with fantasies of an invisible sky fairy promising them virgins in Heaven flew planes full of innocent Americans into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and an empty field. Everyone on the planes died along with over 3,000 other people in New York and Washington D.C.. But you don’t need me to recount the story. Chances are you’re already very familiar with the events that took place. It’s not like we Americans have let it stray far from our minds much since that day and we only get more obsessive about it on the day’s anniversary. We’ve politicized it, used it as rationalization for all kinds of things we never would’ve considered before, hid behind it to shield us from the criticisms we got for abandoning some of our most cherished ideals, and turned it into a big stick that we’ve used to bludgeon others into doing what we want in the name of fighting terrorism. For the Republicans in particular it’s been one hell of a windfall because not only can they use it to manipulate people with fear, but they can work up a good mock outrage when someone calls them on it.

We like to talk a lot about how we haven’t let the terrorists win, but it’s clear looking back over the past seven years that the damage they inflicted on this country went well beyond just the physical destruction of life and property on that September morning. We started off in the aftermath on a positive footing by coming together as a nation in a way not seen since we got involved in World War II. The decision to invade Afghanistan was almost universally supported not just by Americans, but by most of the rest of the world. President Bush enjoyed what was probably his highest personal approval ratings of his career and the world was not only sympathetic to our cause, but ready to join the fight. And then it all started to go wrong. Our leaders decided it was high time they made an example out of someone in the Middle East and were arrogant enough to think that they could force a regime change onto a country that they honestly believed would reward them with adoration and become a shining beacon spreading democracy to the rest of the region. They also saw an unprecedented opportunity to expand their power to new heights under the guise of National Security and they ran with it as far and as fast as they could. The damage to our civil liberties and freedoms caused by a power-hungry administration are an indirect result of the actions of those terrorists seven years ago and it has far reaching implications not just for Americans, but for the rest of the world. Most of the people sitting in indefinite detention in Guantanamo aren’t Americans, but that hasn’t saved them from the abuse of power of this administration. Perhaps the terrorists didn’t achieve total victory, America still exists after all, but they achieved far more of their aims than we like to admit. And the worst part of it all is that we helped them to achieve those goals.

As for my own viewpoint, when I look back on that day I can’t help but put part of the blame on religion for the events that occurred. President Bush kept saying that we weren’t waging a religious war, but it’s clear that the terrorists were.  It’s yet another in a long line of examples of what happens when people take their belief in books about Gods as the literal truth. While I’m sure we’d find other reasons to fight wars if all religions were to die out tomorrow, I can’t help to think that events such as 9/11 would become all but impossible if they did. In the end it’s hard to say what upsets me more: the fact that some people used their belief in God to motive themselves to commit mass murder or what America has done to itself out of fear and paranoia since that day.

Gulf War vet and professional pilot loses job because of “no fly” list. [UPDATED]

The terrorist watch list is such a fucking joke, except that no one who is on it is laughing about it. It’s not a bad idea in principle, but the fact that you aren’t allowed to know if you’re on the list (at least until you get yanked aside at an airport) and you have no means of challenging your inclusion on the list renders it ineffective and unnecessarily troublesome. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect of Soviet-era Russia and not the United States of America. All it seems to have accomplished so far is ruining the lives of innocent people.

Take, for example, this news item about an Gulf War veteran and professional pilot who’s about to lose his job because he’s on the list:

“We don’t know why they’re on the list. They don’t know why they’re on the list. The government won’t tell us why they’re on the list,” said Amy Foerster, an attorney with Saul Ewing, who is providing pro bono counsel and working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Schuylkill County couple on the case, which was filed in U.S. district court.

The suit filed against the U.S. departments of Homeland Security and Justice and the FBI, among others, is “unique” because Erich Scherfen, a New Jersey native who converted to Islam in the mid-1990s, is a commercial airline pilot whose flight privileges were revoked in April, said Witold Walczak, the legal director of the state ACLU chapter. On Sept. 1, Scherfen will be terminated by his employer, Colgan Air, despite the airline’s cooperation.

“My livelihood depends on getting off this list,” Scherfen said. What list he is on and which government entity maintains it is unclear, Walczak said. The federal government has declined to acknowledge flight restrictions placed on the pilot.

Yes, the pilot is Muslim and his wife is Pakistani and the natural assumption would be those are the only reasons why they’d be included on the list. It’s entirely possible the government feels it has a valid reason other than his religion and his wife’s country of origin, but they won’t say what their reasoning is. The whole terrorist watch list needs to be seriously overhauled and that’s not going to happen if John McCain gets into office.

After reading this I stumbled across a similar story on

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN)—James Robinson is a retired Air National Guard brigadier general and a commercial pilot for a major airline who flies passenger planes around the country.

He has even been certified by the Transportation Security Administration to carry a weapon into the cockpit as part of the government’s defense program should a terrorist try to commandeer a plane.

But there’s one problem: James Robinson, the pilot, has difficulty even getting to his plane because his name is on the government’s terrorist “watch list.”

That means he can’t use an airport kiosk to check in; he can’t do it online; he can’t do it curbside. Instead, like thousands of Americans whose names match a name or alias used by a suspected terrorist on the list, he must go to the ticket counter and have an agent verify that he is James Robinson, the pilot, and not James Robinson, the terrorist.

“Shocking’s a good word; frustrating,” Robinson—the pilot—said. “I’m carrying a weapon, flying a multimillion-dollar jet with passengers, but I’m still screened as, you know, on the terrorist watch list.”

He’s one of three people with that name that get screened all the time at airports:

[T]here’s the James Robinson who served as U.S. attorney in Detroit, Michigan, and as an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration; and James Robinson of California, who loves tennis, swimming and flying to the East Coast to see his grandmother.

He’s 8.

The third-grader has been on the watch list since he was 5 years old. Asked whether he is a terrorist, he said, “I don’t know.”

Thank goodness the government is keeping us safe from all those terrorist five-year-olds! I feel SO much safer now. Meanwhile I’ve vowed not to fly in this country until they get this shit straightened out.

The sad part is that all three of these people have found a way around the problem. Just change their name slightly:

although the list is clearly bloated with misidentifications by every official’s account, CNN has learned that it may also be ineffective. Numerous people, including all three Robinsons, have figured out that there are ways not to get flagged by the watch list.

Denise Robinson says she tells the skycaps her son is on the list, tips heavily and is given boarding passes. And booking her son as “J. Pierce Robinson” also has let the family bypass the watch list hassle.

Capt. James Robinson said he has learned that “Jim Robinson” and “J.K. Robinson” are not on the list.

And Griffin has tested its effectiveness. When he runs his first and middle name together when making a reservation online, he has no problem checking in at the airport.

So not only is the watch list making life difficult for non-terrorists, but it’s also easily bypassed by a slight change of your name. What do you think the chances are of a terrorist using his real name to get on a plane these days anyway? In the meantime the airlines and the TSA are busy blaming each other and nothing gets fixed.

Thanks President Bush! Your legacy will live on for decades I’m sure. Shame it’s not something positive.

Tom Delay says: God made America to spread the Gospel!

I’m so glad Tom Delay is no longer a member of the House of Representatives, but his retirement hasn’t stopped him from spouting off with the crazy:

I know that America was created by God and it was created by God, not for wealth, personal wealth. It wasn’t created by God so that we would have the resources that we now have. It wasn’t even created by God to have the freedom that we have now. America was created by God to spread the Gospel; to spread the word of Jesus Christ and to propagate Christianity. And the reason I know that is because my entire political career is exhibited by that. The Lord walked with me …I came to Christ in the first year in Congress and now I’ve been walking with the Lord [and] he has trained me and showed me why he created this nation: to spread the Gospel.

Yep, says so right there in the Constitution.

Wait a minute! It says no such thing. Up the dosage on your medications, Tom, I don’t think they’re working yet.

Video of John McCain arguing America is a Christian nation.

I have already written about this previously, but it takes on a new dimension when you actually see the man saying the words himself:

The man sounds like Billy Graham on Valium. I’m at the point that I’m expecting him to start claiming that God wants him to be President.

Found via ***Dave.

America! We’re number 1 in something!

It’s been said here before, but it bears repeating again:

Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’ – New York Times

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences.

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.

[…] The United States comes in first, too, on a more meaningful list from the prison studies center, the one ranked in order of the incarceration rates. It has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.)

The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England’s rate is 151; Germany’s is 88; and Japan’s is 63.

The median among all nations is about 125, roughly a sixth of the American rate.

Congrats America! We’re the best at locking our own people up! God Bless this Land of the Free!

Five years of war and Iraq is no closer to being self-sufficient than it was on day one.

Today is the fifth anniversary of Bush’s war in Iraq. An undertaking that was sold to the public with lies about the supposed threat Saddam posed to the rest of the world—because of a supposed stockpile of biological and chemical weapons—and with promises that the war would be quick, easy, and cheap. How many of you remember that at the start of the war the Bush administration predicted that the whole shebang would likely cost $50 billion to $60 billion total?

Yeah, that wasn’t even in the ballpark:

WASHINGTON — At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.

Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.

That $4 trillion estimate by Stiglitz? That’s what he considers a conservative estimate so the actual cost will likely be much higher. If ever there was a good argument not to vote for John McCain come November the above, combined with the fact that McCain has indicated he would continue on the same course as President Bush with regards to Iraq, is one of the best.

Imagine what we could have done with that kind of money back here at home. Hillary Clinton as thought about it:

On the campaign trail, the Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, often say that money for the war would be better spent at home, as Mrs. Clinton did Tuesday when she pegged the war costs at “well over $1 trillion.”

“That is enough,” she continued, “to provide health care for all 47 million uninsured Americans and quality pre-kindergarten for every American child, solve the housing crisis once and for all, make college affordable for every American student and provide tax relief to tens of millions of middle-class families.”

Whenever universal health care is brought up the Republicans whine about how much it’ll cost and how we can’t afford it yet there seems to be no limits on available cash when they need to pull money out for the Iraq war. This just shows they don’t give a shit about the average American. They’re more than happy to run up a record national debt so long as the money isn’t used to help anyone other than their defense contractor friends. Fuck you assholes that are dieing of easily curable diseases simply because you can’t afford health care, they’re not going to run up a huge debt just so you can see a doctor. That’s just silly!

Want a good laugh? Remember Lawrence B. Lindsey? No? He was President Bush’s first economic adviser until he had the audacity to publicly state back at the start of the war that he though the initial cost estimates were too low. He predicted the war would cost between $100 billion to $200 billion and that got his ass fired because the administration thought he was just crazy stupid to think it would ever cost that much money. He’s got a new I-told-you-so book coming out:

“Five years after the fact, I believe that one of the reasons the administration’s efforts are so unpopular is that they chose not to engage in an open public discussion of what the consequences of the war might be, including its economic cost,” Mr. Lindsey wrote in an excerpt in Fortune magazine.

Mr. Lindsey insists that his projections were partly right. “My hypothetical estimate got the annual cost about right,” he wrote. “But I misjudged an important factor: how long we would be involved.”

Above and beyond the issue of money though is the fact that it’s cost the lives of 4,000 U.S. military personnel along with arguably countless Iraqi lives for no good reason. As bad as things were under Saddam at least they had running water, working electricity, and relatively safe neighborhoods. Iraqi women were allowed to drive and hold jobs and wear jeans, something that is increasingly rare in Iraq today as the Islamic fundamentalists exert control through their militias.

Meanwhile President Bush is still reporting in from La La Land where his fevered delusions continue to hide reality from him. In a speech today marking the fifth anniversary he defended his war:

“The battle in Iraq has been longer and harder and more costly than we anticipated,” Bush said.

But, he added, before an audience of Pentagon brass, soldiers and diplomats: “The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory.”

The war isn’t noble, wasn’t necessary, and is far from just and no matter how many times you claim it is, Mr. President, that won’t change the reality of the situation.

Bush isn’t alone in his delusions. Vice President Cheney continues to insist not only that the war was necessary and a success, but that he doesn’t give a fuck if you don’t like it:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.


RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

The surge hasn’t worked. The stated goal of the surge was to give the Iraqi government some breathing room so they could work on reconciliation and laying the ground work for power sharing among the factions. They have yet to do so and troops are being drawn down to pre-surge levels. Based on the stated goal of the surge it is a failure. Signs are that the reduction in violence, and it’s arguable whether or not the surge had anything to do with that reduction, are starting to fade as of late.

So here we are five years later on the verge or possibly already within a recession at home, a subprime mortgage mess not helping the situation any, an ongoing war that has yet to bring any of the promised liberty, stability, and democracy to Iraq, and a President who still refuses to own up to what a colossal fuck up he is. Happy Anniversary America!