Why Zach Wamp Would Make a Very Scary Governor



Sunday's Tennessean had an interesting story regarding Tennessee Republicans' defense of President Bush. Over the past few weeks, the White House has launched a major offensive to recast Bush as The President Who Didn't Suck As Bad As You May Think--no easy task when he owns the lowest favorability ratings since such things were recorded.

You can't blame GOP acolytes for coming to the defense of their leading man. Though many suspect he could be the worst president in history, it's still poor form to speak ill of the figuratively dead.

But one defense stood out. Chattanooga Congressman Zach Wamp, who's eyeing a run for governor, implied that Bush's aides simply didn't provide the proper spin. We'll let Wamp do the talking:

"The way they've communicated what they've done has been miserable," Wamp said. "The way they handled the war with 'Mission Accomplished' was a low point and set them up for failure, taking away a chance to ever have momentum. The way they communicated the response to Hurricane Katrina left everyone puzzled and wondering if they could even respond. What they communicated was much worse, just showing the president flying over the damage. This is a man who would relish getting into the water and getting people out of the water. But the way they handled it made it look like he wasn't engaged. They didn't make him look like the compassionate leader he is. This is a man who loves to cut wood and sweat, and it didn't come through. People lost confidence.

"With the plan for the financial crisis, they set it up for failure. They put more fear in the marketplace and heightened the problem in the way they communicated. Communication is key. I tell young people, you better learn to communicate."

Let's break down this burst of delusion, shall we?

Reality Check #1: The President didn't blow the response to Katrina; he just didn't look very cool doing it. What the Wampster forgets to mention is that Bush appointed the Arabian Horse Guy to head FEMA, which is like Harry Reid naming me to head the Congressional Accounting Office. I can assure you I'd very much suck at that job. As anyone who works knows, this is what happens when you hire supervisors wholly inexperienced with the task at hand. Jobs are weird that way.

Reality Check #2: It wasn't Bush's fault. It was his aides. Notice how the Wampster keeps using the word "they," as if mysterious henchmen continually forced the president to screw up. In the real world, this is known as blaming one's underlings, a cowardly technique invoked by hate bosses everywhere. Doesn't the president, being the boss of the world and all, have final say over these things?

Reality Check #3: "They didn't make him look like the compassionate leader he is. This is a man who loves to cut wood and sweat, and it didn't come through." Here's where the Wampster really leaves the rails. During Bush's post-9/11 popularity, this was the image that made him popular--the down-home guy reluctantly thrust onto the national stage, when he'd really rather be clearing brush and wearing a manly cowboy hat. Forget that Bush is a third-generation Connecticut blue-blood who's likely never done a day's hard labor in his life, save for brief moments when the cameras are around. And forget that his presidency was devoid of compassionate acts. (Quick, can you name one?) The miracle is that he was able to run the down-home scam for so long before everyone discovered he was a buffoon.

Reality Check #4: The financial crisis was spurred by a lack of communication. The Wampster's clearly got a hold of some very good crack. What is he trying to say here? That if we only talked about bunnies and ice cream, there wouldn't be a global recession from Murfreesboro to China?

It all leads to a pretty clear picture of Zach Wamp's thesis on politics: Substance is way overrated, and bullshit cures all. Do we really want this guy as our governor?  

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