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Bush Managed The White House Like The Rest Of His Failed Businesses
Krugman writes (and sorry, it's dumb, registration-required Times-Select):

One way or another, the Bush administration will stagger on for three more years. But its essential fraudulence stands exposed, and it's hard to see how that exposure can be undone.

What do I mean by essential fraudulence? Basically, I mean the way an administration with an almost unbroken record of policy failure has nonetheless achieved political dominance through a carefully cultivated set of myths.

The record of policy failure is truly remarkable. It sometimes seems as if President Bush and Mr. Cheney are Midases in reverse: everything they touch - from Iraq reconstruction to hurricane relief, from prescription drug coverage to the pursuit of Osama - turns to crud. Even the few apparent successes turn out to contain failures at their core: for example, real G.D.P. may be up, but real wages are down.

The point is that this administration's political triumphs have never been based on its real-world achievements, which are few and far between. The administration has, instead, built its power on myths: the myth of presidential leadership, the ugly myth that the administration is patriotic while its critics are not. Take away those myths, and the administration has nothing left.

Well, Katrina ended the leadership myth, which was already fading as the war dragged on. There was a time when a photo of Mr. Bush looking out the window of Air Force One on 9/11 became an iconic image of leadership. Now, a similar image of Mr. Bush looking out at a flooded New Orleans has become an iconic image of his lack of connection. Pundits may try to resurrect Mr. Bush's reputation, but his cult of personality is dead - and the inscription on the tombstone reads, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

The Democrats are dimwits, but maybe it's better to have well-intentioned dimwits than a bunch of political thugs whose greatest ability is in the propaganda production department. Where, oh where, are the common-sense moderates?

Posted by aalkon at October 31, 2005 8:41 AM

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I thought the party line was that Rove & Cheny were in charge?

Posted by: nash at October 31, 2005 7:25 AM

I hate Krugman. He's a dork. He took a huge amount of money from Enron and pretended it was no big deal. I hate that guy.

> Midases in reverse: everything they
> touch - from Iraq reconstruction to
> hurricane relief, from prescription
> drug coverage to the pursuit of
> Osama - turns to crud.

That's clumsy thinking. In each cited case, there was no "gold" to be reduced in value. Each was an emergent issue, with the possible exception of the drug coverage. And it's not like people were happy with the way that was going in 1998.

> Katrina ended the leadership myth...

Only for those who ever subscribed to it anyway, i.e., Democrats. Conservatives don't want leadership from the White House, they want SERVICE. This is not a petty linguistic distinction. Try it at home! Next time someone says "Candidate Jones wants to lead our country to a better tomorrow!", see who gets inspired.

> the administration has nothing left.

Actually, they're good to go until Tuesday, January 20, 2009. That's more than three years from now.

This is a weird habit on the part of mainstream media. I watched Sunday talk shows for the first time in 20 years yesterday. Russert and friends were blubbering about how "If X & Y and then Z, then it's *OVER* for the Administration!" "I agree, Broder! Without X, the White House is DOOMED!" They never say "Golly, it will be more difficult for this-or-that initiative to be supported by the western Senators of less-populous states."

But even deeply troubled administrations continue to grind, often to great effect. Some of Reagan's deftest maneuvers to end the Cold War came after Iran-Contra.

So why do these guys talk this way? Theoretically they're in the concentric center of government intellect, so they should be capable of proportionate rhetoric.

I think they're trying to dumb it down and make it colorful and clashy to attract a larger audience, i.e., the professional wrestling crowd. Also, they're on TV, and they know that sports is was TV does best so they're trying to sound like Al Michaels and Marv Albert.

Does anyone in America think this administration --however mediocre-- has "nothing left"?

I think the big scandal is still to come.

Posted by: Crid at October 31, 2005 10:36 AM

I consider it mindless to consider any political party "well-intentioned", because the first duty of the Party is to gain power. The second duty is to hold it. The fate of the country is only of secondary concern in either case.

Though there are literally hundreds of citations in case law that show conclusively that you, the individual, are not entitled to any government service, the gravy spoon gets put out now and then by those in charge to perpetuate that myth.

When the spoon comes to you, you'll sit up and beg, then praise those wonderful leaders who had such foresight as to recognize your needs!

Posted by: Radwaste at October 31, 2005 2:54 PM

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