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Paul Wellstone. Dead in a plane crash.

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October 25, 2002

Sometimes, very little needs to be added. Tapped:
Bush has lied with obvious forethought and deliberation. Bush and members of his administration have openly lied about the evidence linking Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. They’ve dissembled about the consequences of Bush’s 2000 Social Security privatization plan. Most recently, the administration withheld information that North Korea had obtained nuclear weapons until after the Iraq vote—a lie of omission. The Washington media was extraordinarily antagonistic to Al Gore and treated him as almost a pathological liar for nearly any misstatement. (In fact, reporters often distorted the misstatements beyond recognition.) But Bush has lied to his country on matters far more consequential than almost anything Gore was ever accused of lying about. What, Gore once mistakenly said he and Tipper were the basis for the characters in Love Story—basing his remarks on an erroneous story in a Tennessee newspaper—when actually he was only part of the inspiration for one of the characters? Christ, we can’t have this man’s finger on the button!

Bush’s lies are Big Lies. They are important lies. The difference between his lies and Gore’s lies is the difference between saying you had a hot dog for lunch on Tuesday when you actually had one on Wednesday, and saying a tax cut is aimed at the middle class when in actuality 40 percent of it goes to the top one percent of Americans.

There was a moment in early 2000 when some of us began to suspect that George W. Bush was more than just a conservative politician, but rather the spearhead of something much more sinister in American life. Richard Cohen marks it:
Equally disturbing, we are beginning to realize that Bush’s campaign tactics in the Republican primaries against Sen. John McCain were not an aberration. When Bush’s allies and minions in New York distorted McCain’s position on breast cancer research and earlier attacked him in personal terms in South Carolina, we got a first peek at Bush’s willingness to tolerate almost any tactic on his way to a goal.
Paul Krugman will be trashed by the usual suspects for this:
It’s tempting to view all of this merely as a question of character, but it’s more than that. There’s method in this administration’s mendacity.

For the Bush administration is an extremely elitist clique trying to maintain a populist facade. Its domestic policies are designed to benefit a very small number of people—basically those who earn at least $300,000 a year, and really don’t care about either the environment or their less fortunate compatriots. True, this base is augmented by some powerful special-interest groups, notably the Christian right and the gun lobby. But while this coalition can raise vast sums, and can mobilize operatives to stage bourgeois riots when needed, the policies themselves are inherently unpopular. Hence the need to reshape those malleable facts. […]

Right now the administration is playing the war card, inventing facts as necessary, and trying to use the remnants of Mr. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 popularity to gain control of all three branches of government. But then what? There is, after all, no indication that Mr. Bush ever intends to move to the center.

So the administration’s inner circle must think that full control of the government can be used to lock in a permanent political advantage, even though the more the public learns about their policies, the less it likes them. The big question is whether the press, which is beginning to find its voice, will lose it again in the face of one-party government.

“There is, after all, no indication that Mr. Bush ever intends to move to the center.”

“A republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.” [12:53 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Sometimes,:

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2002, 02:26 PM:

"True, this base is augmented by some powerful special-interest groups, notably the Christian right and the gun lobby."

Add vast numbers of people that Talk Radio has gotten riled up about the Death Tax, Tort Reform, and other matters mainly of importance to the wealthy that by some bizarre inversion have been made into populist issues.

"Don't Blame America; we voted for Gore."

Scott ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2002, 05:10 PM:

At least some print media outlets are daring to print anything remotely antagonistic of the White House and how it operates. What ever happened to the atmosphere that surrounded the Post during Watergate?

We need papers who are brave, not afraid of the bottom line dictated via Ari Fleischer.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2002, 10:17 AM:

Did you read the article in last Sunday's NY times Magazine about the rich's control of the media? There were a lot of things in it that weren't news to me, but there were also a lot of interesting points about the widespread disinformation by Bush and his cronies. And it debunked several chronic right-wing comlaints (e.g., Sweden and its standard of living). I'm told there'll be a 2nd part this Sunday.
What I see happening these days is an endless cycle: a stranglehold of lies on the media; people reading these lies and believing them; and then the administration bowing to "popular demand" fueled by those lies.