Wednesday, April 26


Did you know that "the base" means, ironically, "al-Qaida" in Arabic? I didn't. There's something deeply symbolical about that, I think. Sidney Blumenthal:

Besieged by crises of his own making, plummeting to ever lower depths in the polls week after week, Bush has assigned his political general to muster dwindling forces for a heroic offensive to break out of the closing ring. If the Democrats gain control of the House or Senate they will launch a thousand subpoenas to establish the oversight that has been abdicated by the Republican Congress.
But Rove's elaborate design for Republican rule during the second term has collapsed under the strain of his grandiosity. In 2004, Rove galvanized "the base" (ironically, "al-Qaida" in Arabic) through ruthless divide-and-conquer and slash-and-burn tactics. But with Bush winning the election by a bare 50.73 percent, he failed to forge the unassailable Republican realignment that he sought.
So Rove must depend on the tricks of his trade -- arousing fear of gays and other threats (Hollywood) to traditional family values, as he did in 2004; spinning national security to cast the Democrats as weak and unpatriotic, as he did in 2002; using well-financed front groups and his regular corps of political consultants to outsource smears and produce them as television and radio commercials, as he did to destroy John McCain in the Republican primaries of 2000 and John Kerry in 2004; and conducting whispering campaigns about the personal lives of those he seeks to annihilate, as he has done since his devastating rumor-mongering about then Texas Gov. Ann Richards as a "lesbian" helped install his patron in the Lone Star Statehouse in 1994 as the springboard for the White House.
Frustrating congressional oversight is essential to preserving executive power. Checks and balances are the enemy of the Bush White House.
The more beleaguered Bush becomes, the more he is flattered by his advisors with comparisons to great men of history whose foresight and courage were not always appreciated in their own times. Abraham Lincoln is one favorite. Another is Harry Truman, who established the framework of Cold War policy but left office during the Korean War deeply unpopular with poll ratings sunk in the 20s. Lately, Bush sees himself in the reflected light of Winston Churchill, bravely standing against appeasers. "Never give in -- never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in," Churchill said in 1941 as Britain stood alone against the Nazis. "Bush tells his out-of-town visitors to think of how history will judge his administration 20 years hence and not to worry about setbacks in Iraq," conservative columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave writes.
The greater the stress the more Bush denies its cause. In his end time he has risen above his policy and is transcending politics. In his life as president he has decided his scourging is his sanctification. Bush will be a martyr resurrected. The future will unfold properly for all the wisdom of his decisions, based on fervent faith, upheld by his holy devotion. Criticism and unpopularity only confirm to him his bravery and his critics' weakness. Being reviled is proof of his righteousness. Inevitably, decades hence, people will grasp his radiant truth and glory. Such is the passion of George W. Bush.

[Emphasis mine]

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