By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2004, 10:36am PT  

Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head in his analysis of last week's speech by Bush.

He points out that as Bush continues to inch ever closer to Kerry's position on Iraq, he is no longer trying to sell what good may come of the mess he made there, but rather, that he is the best equipped to not fuck up too much more than what he has already so desperately fucked up:

Originally, the case for war was built on claims about the Iraqi regime's possession of weapons of mass destruction and its support for terrorist groups like al qaida. To a lesser degree, but with increasing force as these other rationales faded way, the case was made on the basis of democratizing and liberalizing Iraq.

As that prospect too has become increasingly distant and improbable, President Bush has taken a fundamentally different tack. His emphasis now is seldom on what good might come of his Iraq policy but rather the dire consequences of its unmitigated 'failure' or its premature abandonment.

In other words, the president now argues that he is best equipped to guard the country from the full brunt of the consequences of his own misguided actions, managerial incompetence and dishonesty.

Sounds about right. He closes with a wonderfully disturbing metaphor...

The president's actions, if not his words, concede that Iraq has become the geopolitical equivalent of a botched surgery --- botched through some mix of the misdiagnosis of the original malady and the incompetence of the surgeon. Achieving the original goal of the surgery is now close to an afterthought. The effort is confined to closing up as quickly as possible and preventing the patient from dying on the table. And now the 'doctor', pressed for time and desperate for insight, stands over the patient with a scalpel in one hand and the other hurriedly leafing through a first year anatomy text book.

New Bush-Cheney campaign slogan?: "Vote for us! How much worse could we possibly do?!"