Jun 29, 2005

Bush Offers Fig Leaf Cover to Gullible Elephants

I couldn't get myself to watch president Bush's speech, though I've read the transcript. I don't think he was trying to convince any independent voter nor he was addressing those who have serious doubts about his Iraq policy. He was talking to his own supporters, hard-core Republicans who want to believe and need a fig leaf cover to continue to do so. In this light, there isn't much else I can say about his speech, except that he kept repeating as facts things that are generally disputed by most of the world and the thinking public. For most of the time, his political base has supported his Iraq policy by a 90% margin. Today, it's down to 70%, which, still, is a hell of a crazy number if you ask me. It means that too many Americans are either not interested in the facts, or have no way of finding out--not surprising given the poor journalistic standards of the U.S. mainstream media.

I break from the progressive fold that holds Bush as a stupid man. He is not stupid. He is definitely not a person who leads an examined life, he's not an intellectual, nor he's interested in knowledge outside a narrow framework, but he's politically savvy, and knows the language appropriate to convince & motivate his political base. Of course, he seems to have a different perception of reality, but, again, he didn't try to appeal to us. We know that Iraq had no terrorists threatening the U.S. prior to the war; it does now. We know there were no WMDs; we know the lies around it. We know that the war was sold on falsehoods and outright deception. We know that our country has paid dearly (in blood sweat & tears with no end in sight), and that we are less safe today than before the Iraq invasion.

Bush added nothing new to our understanding of his policies. If we believed him, then he's learned the wrong lessons from 9-11. In the aftermath of that attack, the whole world was behind us. French newspapers, reflecting the general mood of the old continent, proclaimed, "We Are All Americans Now!" The U.S. had a golden opportunity to lead, to bring the world community together and collectively fight terrorism everywhere. Democracy would have had a better chance to advance if America hadn't invaded Iraq--an action that divided our friends and united our enemies. Bush managed to squander the world's good will towards us. And, if someone claims that this doesn't really matter, then I'll point out a gullible Republican to you.

A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that 62% of French, 59% of Germans, and 34% of Britons have a "very" or "somewhat" unfavorable opinion of the United States. In January 2005, a poll published by the BBC showed that 54% of French, 64% of Germans, and 50% of Britons consider the United States a "negative influence!" Within a year or so after 9-11, Bush managed to piss off the world support for us! And, these polls reflect what some our allies think about America!

We are not having a serious dialogue about the important issues facing our country today. The president isn't interested in talking seriously about what's going on, and the press isn't grilling him. The system of check & balances has atrophied since the Republicans rose to such power in D.C. Bills are passed without debate and without even the members of our Congress knowing what they're voting on. Well, almost. There are a few exceptions, like yesterday, when Congress voted to give itself another pay raise. You know, to keep up with inflation. Next year, they'll get $3,100 extra reaching a total of $165, 200. Meanwhile Congress has scoffed at raising the minimum wage, which, working full-time today, gives you a whopping $10,700 a year, and in real money, less than what it got you back in 1968.

Those who watched Bush's speech were 2 to 1 Republicans, and according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, some 46% had a "very positive" reaction to it. Good. Perhaps this group will heed Bush's appeal for further [disproportional]sacrifices. Did you notice his pitch for military service? Recruitment numbers are way down in all branches of the military. I hope the Bush twins listen to their father's call and enlist to fight the war their dad started. Both girls seem very fit for service. Surely they are at least as smart as any high school dropout sought by the military recruiters.


Anonymous said...

Today, all the papers and radio are talking about the speech trying to analyze it. There is nothing to analyze. He didn't say anything new. Just repeated the same un-truths.
You're correct. Bush was appealing to his own base.

Anonymous said...

you had to squeeze the minimum wage in there, didn't you?... sneaky you!
Christy, NY

Anonymous said...

I think this post contradicts your earlier post! You said Congress was looking for cheap thrills this summer when it passed the Flag Desecration Amendment! But, giving themselves a pay raise is not a cheap thrill! That a pretty good pay for 7 months of work, and an army of staff & interns to help them out!

Come to think of it, maybe you're right after all.... this latest raise was only to keep up with inflation! Besides, most of them are rich already.... yeah, pocket change....

Andros said...

Look, as long as we at war, I'm against tax breaks given to the rich & pay increases for the well-off. All members of Congress enjoy full medical coverage and access to the best facilities. Why can't the rest of us get universal health care?
It's crude to vote yourself a pay raise while you vote against raising the federal minimum wage. Most of the people working for MW are not students (as Rush Limbaugh lies about it) but ordinary Americans trying to support themselves and their families. Yet, working FT still puts you way below the poverty line for a family of 3.

Anonymous said...

Bush pissed away our nation's wealth, our future, and a good education at Yale. What's this "good will" you're talking about????!! He thinks it's something useless we give to the homeless!
Jason Reid, MD

Anonymous said...

what dialogue?!!! Bush avoids press conferences like the plague.... He's gets those "town hall" meetings with carefully screened Republicans.... and thus he talks to the people.....

have you heard Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice parroting nonsense? please, it's one thing not to be an intellectual but speaking intelligently should be required when you work for the upper levels of our government....

then again, failure has been rewarded by Bush...


Anonymous said...

Have you done the drinking game yet? You know, you pick a phrase, like "freedom" or "nukelar" and every time he says it you have a shot of your favorite liquor! Chose wisely cadet....

Here's the breakdown:

Bush Iraq Speech: By The Numbers
References to “September 11″: 5

References to “weapons of mass destruction”: 0

References to “freedom”: 21

References to “exit strategy”: 0

References to “Saddam Hussein”: 2

References to “Osama Bin Laden”: 2

References to “a mistake”: 1 (setting a timetable for withdrawal)

References to “mission”: 11

References to “mission accomplished”: 0

Andros said...

Every military expert, and even commanders on the field quietly say that we need lots more troops in Iraq to be effective. They say, we can go anywhere we want, but we don't have enough troops to secure the areas we clear off insurgents. This problem--of inadequate troop levels--was evident since we invaded Iraq, but Bush & Rummie wanted to paint a different picture of an easy & relatively inexpensive war.
So, the army brass is paroting Bush's mantra. They've been missing their recruitment targets. So, if you can't meet your quota, just lower it! Great!

This from DailyKos:
On Friday, the Army is expected to announce that it met only 75 percent of its recruiting goal for May, the fourth consecutive monthly shortfall in the number of new recruits sent to basic training. Just over 5,000 new recruits entered boot camp in May.

But the news could have appeared worse. Early last month, the Army, with no public notice, lowered its long-stated May goal to 6,700 recruits from 8,050. Compared with the original target, the Army achieved only 62.6 percent of its goal for the month.

Army officials defended the shift on Tuesday, saying it was not uncommon to change monthly goals at midyear. They said that the latest change reflected the reality that the Army was not going to meet its May goal, and that it made more sense to shift some of that quota to the summer months, traditionally a better season for recruiters to attract new high school graduates.

Andros said...

And, this:

They note that with only four months left in the budget year, the Army is at barely 50 percent of its goal. Recruiters would have to land more than 9,760 young men and women a month, on average, to reach the 80,000 target by the end of September.

Anonymous said...

If you're under 40 maybe you should start thinking about the ..dddddraft!

Sen. John McCain, interviewed on CBS's "The Early Show," maintained that "one of the very big mistakes early on was that he didn't have enough troops on the ground, particularly after the initial victory, and that's still the case."

Sen. John Kerry, Bush's Democratic opponent in last year's presidential election, told NBC's "Today" show that the borders of Iraq "are porous" and said "we don't have enough troops" there.

Sen. Joseph Biden Jr., appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," disputed Bush's notion that sufficient troops are in place.

"I'm going to send him the phone numbers of the very generals and flag officers that I met on Memorial Day when I was in Iraq," the Delaware Democrat said. "There's not enough force on the ground now to mount a real counterinsurgency."

Andros said...

This for zogby.com... Not only Bush didn't get any bounce from his speech (didn't convince anyone other than some GOP elephants), but more Americans support impeachment against Bush than they ever supported one against Clinton...

President Bush’s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%, in the latest Zogby International poll. And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

The Zogby America survey of 905 likely voters, conducted from June 27 through 29, 2005, has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points

Daedalus said...

All I can say is it's about time apathetic America started waking up to reality. 2008, here we come.