Bush Scandals Result in Predictable "Perfect Storm" Cliche

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The Wash Post has a story about the many scandals nipping away at Geo. Bush's second term. Most interesting bit? These blurbs from tenured scandal-monger Larry Sabato and former Bush flunky and current Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels:

Scandal historically has ripened in second terms, including Watergate for Richard M. Nixon, the Iran-contra affair for Ronald Reagan, and the Monica S. Lewinsky investigation for Bill Clinton. "It always comes back," said Larry J. Sabato, a University of Virginia scholar who has written on Washington scandals. "There may be a couple of dry years occasionally, but it is a style of American politics—always has been, always will be. And now it's back with a vengeance."

Some administration allies lament the return of the scandal culture. "There was essentially none of that for the first five years," said Indiana Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. (R), Bush's first budget director. "That doesn't make the current situation any easier to watch."

And the inevitable "perfect storm" cliche (let's face it, calling something the "perfect storm" is the crack cocaine of political cliches):

"It looks like a perfect storm," said Joseph E. diGenova, a Republican and former independent counsel, who noted that so many investigations can weigh on an administration. "People have no idea what happens when an investigation gets underway. It's debilitating. It's not just distracting. It's debilitating. It's like getting punched in the stomach."

Whole Post story here.

Gov. Daniels' recent shout-out [*] to former Reason editor Virginia Postrel's excellent 1998 tome The Future and Its Enemies here. The money quote:

Gov. Daniels turned to the book by Virginia Postrel: "The Future and Its
Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress
."

Daniels said that Postrel, editor of the libertarian Reason magazine, identified reactionaries which she called "stasists," people who are wont to keep things as they are, make few if any changes, and "dynamists," those who are comfortable with change, moving forward, finding new solutions.

"She made a very important point," Daniels continued. "There are two kinds of reactionaries or stasists. One kind are those who are naturally apprehensive and fearful. And that's a very human thing; we're all a little that way.

"There's another sort of stasist and those are the people who know exactly what they are doing," Daniels said. "The status quo serves them well. They organize and lobby for it. They form special interests. It puts money in their pockets, it puts power in their brief case. And these folks have very, very specific reasons for opposing change of any kind."

[*Belated tip o' the pixel to Mike Kole, who's got a good comment somewhere in the thread below, too]

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  1. The “Perfect Storm” cliche is still no where near as maudlin, over-wrought or overused as the previous big cliche….”Killing Fields”

  2. Why do I have a feeling that somebody will show up to explain that these “scandals” are the result of people who just plain hate this President?

  3. thoreau,

    Well, some of the people sniffing around for scandals probably do hate the President, but that doesn’t mean that the scandals aren’t real. So whoever this person is would likely be engaging in a genetic fallacy. 🙂

  4. And the inevitable “perfect storm” cliche…

    I perfer “Teapot Dome Moment” myself. 🙂

  5. “There was essentially none of that for the first five years,”

    Someone might want to point out to Gov. Daniels that it was during the first 5 years that the scandals were being committed. We’re only hearing about them and investigating them now.

  6. And, so far, we haven’t even got to yesterday’s scandal: The Prez’s rehearsed spontaneous pep talk to the troops.

  7. It’s not truly a cliche unless it’s also “fierce.” But it is a cliche if it changes the political landscape “forever.”

  8. Why on earth Daniels would quote that passage is beyond me — it seems obviously written about people like him and his Bush cronies.

  9. When was “Killing Fields” ever a cliche?

  10. Isn’t it elitist to be anti-cliche?
    Let’s get back to whomping Bush.

  11. Isn’t Gov Daniels one of the statists who has sent his Attorney Gen after womans private med records?

    Yes, I do believe he is. How amusing, how very, very amusing.

  12. The “Perfect Storm” cliche is still no where near as maudlin, over-wrought or overused as the previous big cliche….”Killing Fields”

    Yes it is. At least “killing fields” began as an evocative combination of words.

    Also, The Killing Fields is a better movie than The Perfect Storm. Though admittedly, that’s setting the bar a little low.

  13. I didn’t think The Perfect Storm was that bad. Man vs. Nature is a fairly untouched genre these days, if one ignores those stupid disaster movies.

  14. “Man vs. Nature”

    isn’t that a description of those 1980s Cinemax movies where no silicon was used??

  15. My survival instinct warns me not to hold my breath waiting for a saintly, scandal-free presidency. While such a presidency MIGHT have a shot at “changing the political landscape forever,” the President and his staff are always dong something that could lead to scandal.

    I don’t vote for president based on whether or not he’s going to get hit with some “-gate” scandal. I vote for the guy based on his policy stances – the fact that I never get what I vote for is what SHOULD be a scandal. Maybe we could get the Better Business Bureau in on this?

  16. My survival instinct warns me not to hold my breath waiting for a saintly, scandal-free presidency. While such a presidency MIGHT have a shot at “changing the political landscape forever,” the President and his staff are always dong something that could lead to scandal.

    I don’t vote for president based on whether or not he’s going to get hit with some “-gate” scandal. I vote for the guy based on his policy stances – the fact that I never get what I vote for is what SHOULD be a scandal. Maybe we could get the Better Business Bureau in on this?

  17. As for cliches, I’m afraid I have to disagree with all of the above. By far the worst cliche is “wake-up call.”

  18. The character development in “A Perfect Storm” is pretty much what you’d expect from a project that started out as a forensic examination.

    Good book, though.

    As for scandals, what would we be reading about in President Kerry’s second term?

    Arms for Botox?

  19. It is interesting that Daniels cites Postrel. He takes her premises about the need for individuals to be free to innovate and applies it to government- that government should be free to innovate in order to perpetuate itself. Dynamism for stasis’ sake, as it were.

  20. There’s “scandal”, there’s “scandal” and there’s “scandal”.

    I mean, let’s face it — Washington needs at least a hundred words to differentiate between the various types of scandal. There’s the “Caught fucking someone else” scandal. There’s the “Caughting fucking someone else who happens to be of the same sex” scandal. There’s the “Did X after saying you’d do Y” scandal. There’s the most deadly of all — the “Making the Press feel like they’re not important enough” scandal.

    I think the issue here with Bush is that, through some very successful stonewalling (overturning the previous conventional wisdom of “fessing up and it goes away, at least once you’re totally nailed on it”), plus that 9/11 glow, has managed to postpone all his scandals until they’re hitting at the same time.

    Which, because they’re hitting, means the press is being sarcastic and biting instead of deferential, which means it’s hard to get good press to mitigate it.

    And of course, of the various scandals nipping around Bush’s heels, we’ve got the “Burned a CIA agent for petty revenge” scandal, we’ve got the “Didn’t nominate someone wingnut enough” scandal, the “Nominated another crony” scandal, the “Bush doesn’t like black people” scandal, the “Hey, that Abramoff guy seems to have been operating a 2 decade old slush fund in totally violation of pretty much every campaign law ever, and he had someone offed too!” scandal, the “Tom Delay is dirtier than a cesspit, and owns virtually every GOP Congressmen” scandal…..

    It doesn’t really matter if any of them ever result in anything but a few days of bad press. They’re all hitting at once, and they all look bad, and there’s simple no way to fight them all — and each reinforces the others. If you look scandal ridden, people are more likely to believe in the newest scandal — no matter how unlikely.

    But still, we really could use terms to differentiate between the “Got caught screwing someone not your spouse” scandal, the “misuse of governmental power” scandal and the “Dude, I just screwed the country” scandal.

  21. The best Scandal of all was “Goodbye to You.”

    (Totally meaningless to anyone not watching MTV in the early 1980s.)

  22. When was “Killing Fields” ever a cliche?

    Come on, SR…from the late 80’s until almost now you couldn’t read, watch or hear a story on Boznia, Somalia, South Africa, Chechnya (sp?), Democratic Republic of Congo, Afganistan, Iraq or any other locale famous for wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians (or even not-so-wholesale) without hearing some no-talent-bum of a mediocre ‘journalist’ intoning “The Killing Fields of…” as his primary descriptor. It was laughable in it’s predictability.

    Jesse, you’re correct and I meant no disrespect towards Sydney Schanberg or the movie. My disrespect is leveled competely at the boobish, crappy journalists who turned that evocative combination of words into what is now (in my humble opinion) a hackneyed cliche.

  23. What is going on in this Wonderful Country…………………we need to form the truth hunters I am a born again Christain but satin wasn’t putting blinders over my eye’s. I keep my sights on JESUS feed the hungrey cloth the naked nurse the sick care for the least of those amoung us. I dont think our LORD said george take from the poor and give it to the rich

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