I’m not the best person for detecting sarcasm, but Paul Begala is clearly snarking off when he says that George W. Bush is One Tough Hombre. This is obvious to some people, not always to me. And there are people in the comments there at the Huffington Post who criticize Begala for saying in this piece what he didn’t say on TV on the same subject, Libby’s pardon/commutation/get-out-of-jail-free-card.
At any rate.
Like I said, I don’t do well at detecting when someone is saying what they mean, so maybe Begala means all this stuff and maybe he doesn’t. What he said is definitely correct, though, and if I said the same things I would mean them in spades.
Along the way he does clear up one persistent mystery:
Mr. Bush is tough enough to invade a country that was no risk to America, causing tens of thousands of civilian deaths and shedding precious American blood in the process. Tough enough to sanction torture. Tough enough to order an American citizen arrested and held without trial. But if you’re rich and right-wing and Republican, George is a real softie. As George W. Bush demonstrated in giving Scooter Libby a Get Out of Jail Free Card, he is only compassionate to conservatives.
So that’s what “compassionate conservatism” means to Bush. If you’re coonservative, he’s compassionate. Otherwise, it’s “Son, you’re on your own.” With that thought in mind the last six years or so make a lot more sense.