Skip to comments.The double binds of George W. Bush
Posted on 07/19/2004 4:15:02 PM PDT by livesbygrace
Sometimes a political figure becomes so hated that he can't do anything right in the eyes of his enemies. President Bush has achieved this rare and exalted status. His critics are so blinded by animus that the internal consistency of their attacks on him no longer matters. For them, Bush is the double-bind president.
If he stumbles over his words, he is an embarrassing idiot. If he manages to cut taxes or wage a war against Saddam Hussein with bipartisan support, he is a manipulative genius.
If he hasn't been able to capture Osama bin Laden, he is endangering U.S. security. If he catches bin Laden, it is only a ploy to influence the elections.
If he ignores U.N. resolutions, he is a dangerous unilateralist. If he takes U.N. resolutions on Iraq seriously, he is a dangerous unilateralist. If he doesn't get France to agree to his Iraq policy, he is ignoring important international actors. If he supports multiparty talks on North Korea, he is not doing enough to ignore important international actors.
If he bombed Iraq, he should have bombed Saudi Arabia instead, and if he had bombed Saudi Arabia, he should have bombed Iran, and if he had bombed all three, he shouldn't have bombed anyone at all. If he imposes a U.S. occupation on Iraq, he is fomenting Iraqi resistance by making the United States seem an imperial power. If he ends the U.S. occupation, he is cutting and running.
If he warns of a terror attack, he is playing alarmist politics. If he doesn't warn of a terror attack, he is dangerously asleep at the switch. If he says we're safer, he's lying, and if he doesn't say we're safer, he's implicitly admitting that he has failed in his core duty as commander in chief.
If he adopts a doctrine of pre-emption, he is unacceptably remaking American national-security policy. If the United States suffers a terror attack on his watch, he should have pre-empted it. If he signs a far-reaching anti-terror law, he is abridging civil liberties. If the United States suffers another terror attack on his watch, he should have had a more vigorous anti-terror law.
Bush's economy hasn't created new jobs. If it has created new jobs, they aren't well-paying jobs. If they are well-paying jobs, there is still income inequality in America.
If Bush opposes a prescription-drug benefit for the elderly, he's miserly. If he supports a prescription-drug benefit for the elderly, he's lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies. If he restrains government spending, he's heartless. If he supports government spending, he's bankrupting the nation and robbing from future generations.
If he opposes campaign-finance reform, he's a tool of corporate interests. If he signs campaign-finance reform, he's abridging the First Amendment rights of Michael Moore (whose ads for "Fahrenheit 9/11" might run afoul of the law).
If he accuses John Kerry of flip-flopping, he is merely highlighting one of the Massachusetts senator's strengths -- his nuance and thoughtfulness. If he flip-flops on nation-building or testifying before the 9/11 commission, he proves his own ill-intentions, cluelessness, or both.
If he doesn't admit a mistake, he is bullheaded and detached from reality. If he admits a mistake, he is damning his own governance in shocking fashion.
If he sticks with Dick Cheney, he is saddling himself with an unpopular vice president, giving Democrats who can't wait to run against Cheney a political advantage. If he drops Cheney, he is admitting that the Democratic attacks against his vice president have hit home, thus giving Democrats who have made those charges a political advantage.
If he loses in November, the voice of the American people has spoken a devastating verdict on his presidency. If he wins, he stole the election.
What would happen if Putin offered 40,000 soldiers for Iraq? Apparently, one several financial blogs this is considered likely.
Of course there are those on the Left who would bitch with thier throats cut...
If this doesn't sum it up in a (very big) nutshell, I don't know what does.
Yes. Kudos to Lowry. He nails every one of the insane reactions to this good and brave man. I forget, did he address the fact that GW has been unable to change the "tone" in Washington? As if he could.
What would happen if Putin offered 40,000 soldiers for Iraq? Apparently, one several financial blogs this is considered likely.I would love to see that happen. I would love to see a Moscow-Washinton-Dheli axis to counter the emerging Euro-state and that other rising world hyper-power, Birkina Faso.
I think this habit became internalized and has grown to an absurd degree. It manifests mainly but not exclusively on the left.
"I think this habit became internalized and has grown to an absurd degree. It manifests mainly but not exclusively on the left."
Excellent insight. Obviously, I agree with it.
I heard Krauthammer on FoxNews Panel a few weeks ago say that the Dems were constantly moving the goal posts, just as you noted.
Birkina Faso? Facist Berkley?
To be fair, I've recently heard some Democrat partisans compliment Bush Administration on the wisdom of transferring Iraqi sovereignty early. Kudos for intellectual honesty.
This article really hits the nail on the head, BTW.
"He's damned if he do, he's damned if he don't."
The level of anti-Americanism that I read and hear, from editorials and comedians in Russia, makes me think that Russia intends to stay in the French fold. Putin may be doing a Chiraq, waiting for a formal request so he can make a big show of saying "Nee-kahg-dah!".
Check out Mikhail Zadornov sometime.
Lowry has the problem down cold. The Dems are reduced to saying that whatever Bush did, he should have done the opposite. What a program...not. Actually if you hear Kerry lately, he'll go into some sort of jeremiad about the state of the nation that Bush has led us into, but if asked about what policy decisions he'd make, most of his answers echo what Bush is doing. Kerry, naturally, wants to have it both ways. He's trying to strike a stance where he appears to be opposite of Bush, but at the same time he knows that the Dems programs are utter crap and that Bush is mostly right about national security and the economy. The Dem rank and file are too dimwitted to see what Kerry is doing.
I heard the same thing about the Russians.
Just can't remember where. I'm thinking it was on Fox News.
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