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Political Animal

Set Up to Fail

By Brian Morton | Posted 12/21/2005

After five years of the Bush administration and its cronies, it is clear by their words and deeds what they’ve decided to do. They are creating a construct in which they can assume no blame for any of their actions, but wherein anything bad that happens in or to the United States in the future is the fault of liberals.

This isn’t a “bang, pow!” revelation—I mean, come on—but given that George W. Bush has cited divine providence in his selection as president, and has yet to make any real admission of guilt, fault, or error, we know that’s got to be the game plan, right? The giant right-wing wurlitzer continues to focus on the powerless Democratic Party as the reason why the United States has yet to be turned into the free-market, small-government paradise enveloped by beams of sunshine, as envisioned by Ronald Reagan. Bill O’Reilly has to resort to fulminating about how liberals want to ban Christmas in towns across the Midwest that are stunned to hear they are keeping high-school students from wearing red and green, or something.

It’s all the liberals’ fault.

Take torture, for example. I’m against it. You, presumably (and isn’t it sad I have to qualify that?), are against it. Sen. John McCain of Arizona is against it, for the forehead-slappingly obvious reason that it was used on him in Vietnam. But this administration keeps saying that “we do not torture” in defiance of all available evidence. I’m reminded of Malcolm X’s statement that just because a cat has kittens in the oven doesn’t make them biscuits. Just because the Bush administration has redefined the word “torture” to such exacting standards that one couldn’t be surprised if it now means “bagels” doesn’t mean that the actions it has been defending aren’t torture. They are. They always have been and they always will be. Call it “waterboarding” or “stress positions”—call it whatever. It’s still torture, and that’s why the Geneva Conventions were created.

But noooooo—we call them “enhanced interrogation techniques” in that same sly way that we have decided that janitors are “sanitation engineers” and layoffs are “downsizing” or “rightsizing.” And because we—Americans, the people who brought you Freedom™—say it’s not torture, then that must be the case. Because we’re the Greatest Country in the World™.

Never mind that torture not only doesn’t work but also undermines every goal we may ever have of bringing true freedom and democracy around the world. Even if conservatives think hypocrisy is just another word in the dictionary between “hype” and “hysteria,” telling the world that you want to bring it freedom while at the same time creating secret gulags in underdeveloped countries does nothing but piss on the Bill of Rights while you wave it in everyone’s faces.

If in the future any terrorist act ever occurs on U.S. soil, no matter whether or not it happens during the remaining years of Bush’s presidency, it will not be due to the failure of the current administration to enact any meaningful reforms specified by the 9-11 Commission. They will say it is because Democrats are wimps. “We were attacked because liberals coddle terrorists,” they’ll say. “Americans died because liberals would rather be in league with Osama bin Laden,” they’ll say.

Mark my words, the Republicans will run on this in the 2006 and ’08 elections as if their political lives depend on it—because they do. If the Democrats ever get control of either body of Congress, with it will come subpoena power, and you will see a whirlwind of open government like never before, and all the GOP’s secret abuses will spill forth.

As for the economy, any downturn will be blamed on liberals. Let’s remember, Bill Clinton, as the Right spent years and millions of dollars telling us ad nauseam, gave us “the biggest tax increase in history” (even if it was primarily on the wealthy). What did we get? Unparalleled growth, low unemployment, an expansion of the middle class, and a trillion-dollar surplus. Both Reagan and Bush II cut taxes for the wealthy in the same-old, same-old trickle-down economics shell game they’ve been pushing for years, and look what we get: recessions, no real growth, no real expansion of earnings, a stock-market crash, a savings and loan fiasco (under Reagan), Sept. 11, Enron, the loss of virtually all pro-American goodwill across the globe, and more than 2,000 dead Americans in a war of convenience waged under false pretenses.

Yup, it’s the liberals’ fault.

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Political Animal archives

More from Brian Morton

The Fix (8/4/2010)

Police State (7/7/2010)

Funny Business (6/9/2010)

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