Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dissonance

Few would argue with the fact that the Bush Administration has seen better days.

In fact, many would argue that its incompetence is staggering, and its arrogance without equal.

But here's a question: If they are so incompetent, how did they come this far? Why, until Harriet Miers and Katrina, did Bush's numbers not drop drastically, even when Iraq was turning out so poorly?

While there are likely several contributing factors, there is one significant contributributing factor to Bush's perceived invulnerability: Bush's critics.

While I intend to explain, let me start with several caveats:

1) I understand that Bush's critics are not a monolith. There are millions of critics, each with their own agenda (or lack thereof), and each with their own level of intelligence and integrity.
2) I also understand that Bush supporters are also not a monolith. There are similarly varying degrees of wisdom in both supporters and critics.
3) I am also not taking this opportunity to weigh in on the relative merits of each criticism. This post is just one man's perspective.

There is no question that Bush is increasingly unpopular and widely seen as one of the most incompetent Presidents ever. Hugh Hewitt, a fairly well respected conservative commentator recently stated: "It is hard to see how the GOP is not like the Titanic, except it is aiming for the iceberg."

Bush can only thank some of his critics for lasting this long.

And here's why.

Every since this President stepped in office, there have been a certain segment of critics that simply loathed him from the beginning. The Texan swagger, the lack of eloquence, the overt religiosity seemed to fly in the face of so many who considered such things both backward and offensive. I actually found myself in this camp (or a less extreme version of it) briefly during the 2000 Presidential election.

But then came the hyperbole. Bush "stole" the election. Some of his critics were never satisfied with disagreeing with the man and his agenda, they had to vilify him. And it didn't end there. After 9/11, Cynthia McKinney protested that he had in fact known of the attack in advance and only let it happen to further a power grab. Michael Moore proceeded to make a ridiculously incredible movie absent any intellectual or moral honesty. Before any facts were available, "Bush lied," we were told. There "were no links between Saddam and Osama," except when there were. Bush "lied by claiming an imminent threat," except he never did.

Of course, it appears clear that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, even if he had some ties with Al Qaeda. And he does not appear to have been an imminent threat (even if imminence were never alleged), while Bush's entire argument centered on the idea that imminence would have been too late.

And here's the thing, the idea of Bush as some nefarious conspirator did not square with the man we knew from 9/11. And after a while, people tuned the critics out, those with legitimate criticisms and those with a bone to pick looking for the evidence after the fact to back up their conspiracy theories.

Until Harriet Miers and Katrina. The idea of Bush as an unconcerned incompetent was believable. Bush was losing. Consequently, America was losing. And if nothing else, Americans do not like to lose. So, the public turned hard.

At this point, the Democrats are poised for victory. The people have had enough of losing. I almost believe that even they can't screw this up (see Russ Feingold). Unfortunately, the Democrats rarely miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

3 Comments:

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous gato negro said...

This whole "he never said imminent threat" game of semantic tail chasing is LOL-funny.

Are we to assume then that we went to war on a remote, outside chance of a threat? Please.

This is the new, far more grave "definition of is" defense. It was just lame then, it's reprehensible now.

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Dude.

The US Senate Sergeant At Arms just read your post.

*jaw drops*

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Gato Negro is the US Senate Sergeant At Arms? Interesting mental picture.

And Gato, here'e the problem with alleging that he said it was "imminent":

His whole argument (and I think I addressed it in the post) was that it would have been too late if the threat had become imminent. Right or wrong, that's the argument.

Now, the Bush administration (along with the French, Russian, and virtually every other intelligence service in the world, including major Generals in the Iraqi army) thought he was more of a threat than he turned out to be.

But claiming he said the threat was imminent fully misses the point (both factually and logically).

 

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