They Meant To Do That

3 comments May 18th, 2007at 07:41am Posted by Eli

Krugman picks up where David Greenberg left off:

Mr. Bush has degraded our government and undermined the rule of law; he has led us into strategic disaster and moral squalor.

But the leading contenders for the Republican nomination have given us little reason to believe they would behave differently. Why should they? The principles Mr. Bush has betrayed are principles today’s G.O.P., dominated by movement conservatives, no longer honors. In fact, rank-and-file Republicans continue to approve strongly of Mr. Bush’s policies — and the more un-American the policy, the more they support it.

Now, Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney may have done a few things other Republicans wouldn’t. Their initial domestic surveillance program was apparently so lawless and unconstitutional that even John Ashcroft, approached on his sickbed, refused to go along. For the most part, however, Mr. Bush has done just what his party wants and expects.

There was a telling moment during the second Republican presidential debate, when Brit Hume of Fox News confronted the contenders with a hypothetical “24”-style situation in which torturing suspects is the only way to stop a terrorist attack.


[A]side from John McCain, who to his credit echoed Gen. Petraeus (and was met with stony silence), the candidates spoke enthusiastically in favor of torture and against the rule of law. Rudy Giuliani endorsed waterboarding. Mitt Romney declared that he wants accused terrorists at Guantánamo, “where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil … My view is, we ought to double Guantánamo.” His remarks were greeted with wild applause.

[Examples of Romney conflating Shia and Sunnni; McCain claiming Baghdadis safe enough for an afternoon stroll]

Finally, what about the Bush administration’s trademark incompetence? In appointing unqualified loyalists to key positions, Mr. Bush was just following the advice of the Heritage Foundation, which urged him back in 2001 to “make appointment decisions based on loyalty first and expertise second.” And the base doesn’t mind: the Bernie Kerik affair — Mr. Giuliani’s attempt to get his corrupt, possibly mob-connected business partner appointed to head the department of homeland security — hasn’t kept Mr. Giuliani from becoming the apparent front-runner for the Republican nomination.

What we need to realize is that the infamous “Bush bubble,” the administration’s no-reality zone, extends a long way beyond the White House. Millions of Americans believe that patriotic torturers are keeping us safe, that there’s a vast Islamic axis of evil, that victory in Iraq is just around the corner, that Bush appointees are doing a heckuva job — and that news reports contradicting these beliefs reflect liberal media bias.

And the Republican nomination will go either to someone who shares these beliefs, and would therefore run the country the same way Mr. Bush has, or to a very, very good liar.

It is very sobering to consider that millions of Americans are that bloodthirsty, that completely out of touch with reality, that batshit insane. And even more sobering to consider that our president and a large chunk of our government and media are just like them. And if we’re not careful, our next president could be, too.

If Dubya were not doing exactly what the GOP wanted, they would not have lent their voices and votes to all of his misguided policies. He is their creature, just as surely as Alberto Gonzales is his.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Republicans


  • 1. Donna  |  May 18th, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    They are batshit insane. My father is one of them and I have a cousin whose husband is another who sends me Republican love letters and Democratic hate mail (email forwards from his conservative friends). And yes, they absolutely hate Hillary.

  • 2. Eli  |  May 18th, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    My condolences. I got really lucky with my family, thankfully. My dad says my blog reflects his political views exactly (although I think he’s probably more pro-business than I am), and my mom is probably even more liberal than I am. Almost everyone in my extended family is similar, except for one very strange cousin.

    I think maybe they start from a very ugly place and they like the Republicans because they reinforce that ugliness, rather than being the cause of it.

  • 3. whig  |  May 19th, 2007 at 12:18 am

    I think by not nominating Hillary we can unhinge them more, because it would defeat one of their conspiracy theories.

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