4 comments June 26th, 2007at 09:44pm Posted by Eli
One of the side effects of my laptop’s untimely death was that I decided to go through and clean up my e-mail, which dates all the way back to 1999. Much to my surprise, I found an e-mail that I had remembered writing three years ago but assumed was gone forever, about how everything Dubya claims as a strength is actually a weakness. I would have loved to see Kerry use something similar in his campaign, but obviously that was never going to happen…
One of the things that I find most incredible & outrageous that Bush continuously gets away with is that just about every single thing that he presents as a strength is precisely the opposite:
1) CEO President/Competent Manager/Strong Decisive Courageous Leader: Bush is almost completely disengaged & incompetent, is at sea whenever he has to address anything other than tax cuts or invading Iraq (and maybe outlawing abortion or anything that could conceivably validate the pro-choice position, like stem cell research – and even that took him weeks of, ahem, intense soul searching and consultation), is unable to take responsibility or hold anyone accountable for his administration’s many failures, and is afraid to ever admit error or level with the American public about the costs or consequences of his policies.
2) Man Of Honor & Integrity: Supported the war in Vietnam but still used his privilege to weasel his way out of it (and dragged his feet about releasing records, some of which still seem to be mysteriously missing); plus a litany of lies, misdirection, and secrecy that would make Nixon blush, including starting an increasingly ugly war under false pretenses (his second justification after the first justification turned out to be false is looking increasingly unlikely as well – I also like how he clearly was not at all concerned about prisoner abuse until there were photos – the *photos* were what elevated them to atrocity status).
3) Strong On Terror/Champion Of Democracy: Ignored al Qaeda to focus on taking out Saddam, even *after* 9/11 (and didn’t break off his monthlong(!) vacation after receiving *The PDB*). No urgency to secure ports, nuclear or chemical plants, or Soviet nuclear warheads or raw matericals. Zero pressure on Saudi Arabia to cut off support for terrorists; lip service only to advancing democracy in the Middle East, Russia, or anywhere else, lots of praise & support for the usual sadistic despots. No plan or urgency on North Korea, which is a far worse dictatorship & threat to us than Iraq ever was (while I don’t think even Kim Jong Il is crazy enough to attack us, when you do the math on an amoral and insane dictatorship that is STRAPPED FOR CASH AND MANUFACTURING NUKES, the possible results are pretty scary).
4) Down To Earth Joe Six-Pack Man Of The People (unlike that rich elitist New England sissy Kerry): Bush has lived a life of privilege like few of us can even imagine, has had everything handed to him his entire life, and never made the slightest attempt to leave that comfort zone (a la Kerry volunteering for Vietnam & hazardous swift boat duty).
5) Uniter Not A Divider: Only the Clintons come close to being more opposite to this, but I don’t think they actually went out of their way to alienate conservatives (I think the only way to not alienate conservatives these days is to shamelessly kowtow to them).
6) Man Of Conviction Who Ignores The Polls: Steel tariffs & farm subsidies.
Digging in his heels & then folding on Homeland Security dep’t, 9/11 Commission, releasing documents & advisors to 9/11 Commission. Rove & Cheney running the show with no apparent thought to anything other than placating/paying off the right-wing base while throwing out enough bones & spin to keep the muddled middle happy.
I think I may have missed a few, and #5 may be a reach, since it’s not so much part of his core identity as something he just said to get himself elected (like “compassionate conservative”). But these are all pretty central to his public identity & his appeal to voters, *and* they’ve all been taking a pretty serious beating. If it gets to the point where it’s obvious to a large chunk of his supporters that he’s really not the man he pretends to be (not even close), then some of them could very well stay home (they may not be able to bring themselves to vote for Kerry, & I can’t say I blame them), and even a candidate as weak as Kerry could conceivably kick his ass. Assuming everyone who wants to vote gets to vote, and that their votes are counted correctly…
Man, do I wish Clark or Edwards had a little more political experience, they would have mopped the floor with Bush.
Some of it’s a bit dated, but overall I think it holds up pretty well. The only bit I might change is the part about shamelessly kowtowing to conservatives being the only way to not alienate them…