Thursday, February 03, 2005

Political Mastery

Someone on one of my email lists thinks
"maybe some of the ANTI-Bush people (like most Democrats) were secretly hoping the [Iraqi] elections would fail, so they could use that against him."
This is really a safe (though egregious) statement to make, in that it cannot be proved to be false, because after all, the alleged hopes are secret!

It's really pretty silly, though, because Bush has plenty that can be used against him already.

Bush's political mastery - and even some of us who think he is the personification of evil can recognize that he is a master - his political mastery is in re-framing any debate to advance his goals.

Economy booming? It's a great time for tax cuts. Economy tanking? Tax cuts will stimulate the economy. His real goal? Tax cuts, regardless of economic conditions.

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction? Get rid of Saddam. No WMD after all? Saddam was a bad guy, so it was a good thing to get rid of him. His real goal? Permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, control of the second largest oil reserves in the world, and lucrative reconstruction contracts for his cronies. It wasn't "you break it, you bought it," it was "you break it, you get paid to rebuild it." (Too bad that didn't work out, Mr. Cheney!)

Social Security? It's in "crisis" - we need to privatize it. Public doesn't like privatization? Give people Personal accounts instead. It's the same wolf, different cloak. (Re-frame the debate - use words that slide down easy.) His real goal? Dismantle Social Security completely. Bush has said that in ten years, Social Security will run out of money - but he first said that in 1978! In fact, the only way it will actually run out of money is if the U.S. government defaults on the loans that the Social Security "trust fund" has made to the general fund. (wonk alert!)

Bush is a master at getting his crowd to repeat the same lies over and over, until people forget they ever heard the truth. He is a master at not being caught in a lie himself - he never actually says much that can be fact-checked.

But it seems the opposition party has had a much-needed backbone delivered. Some of them have realized that talk about "bipartisanship" is just Republican-speak for a Rohypnol cocktail.

When you realize that Bush is not one to compromise on his real goals, and that he has enormous patience, you can understand that the only way to oppose him is to, well, oppose him, and not give him an inch.

The Bush crowd could not accept anything that Bill Clinton did as legitimate - including pursuing Osama bin Laden (let's not get into the Bush / bin Laden family connections just now, ok?). They could not accept Clinton's enormous positive contributions to the prosperity of this country. In the same way, those opposing Bush can be safe in assuming that if Bush proposes something, there's something wrong with it. If it seems ok, then Bush is not telling you what his real agenda is.

Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride!