Friday, December 01, 2006

We're All Liberals Now

For anyone on the lookout for the three exculpatory memes that Iraq war supporters unwilling to admit error are promulgating, things just got a bit more interesting. Allow me to explain. In my previous post on the subject, I observed the the all-too-predictable reality that unrehabilitated Iraq war supporters would choose to blame liberals and the media for the failures in Iraq.

First, there is the blame the media/liberals model. According to this often contradictory storyline, things aren't as bad in Iraq as the media/liberals claim, and though they are actually as bad as advertised, they wouldn't be had the media/liberals not been exaggerating/reporting the negative stories from the beginning. If not for Nancy Pelosi and the New York Times, none of the insurgencies would have emerged, nor civil wars erupted. Even if they had, we would have beaten the insurgents and sectarian warriors back with the omnipotent sound of our nation's applause in unison. We have been stabbed in the back by the traitors within.

It appears, however, that I underestimated the desperation of those suffering from Iraq war-related cognitive dissonace. Things have gotten so bad that instead of merely blaming liberals, the accountability-averse are taking to holding a much more inclusive category responsible for the war's tragic descent. From Josh Marshall, behold the blame America approach:

Stanley Kurtz's excuse: "The underlying problem with this war is that, from the outset, it has been waged under severe domestic political constraints. From the start, the administration has made an assessment of how large a military the public would support, and how much time the public would allow us to build democracy and then get out of Iraq. We then shaped our military and "nation building" plans around those political constraints, crafting a "light footprint" military strategy linked to rapid elections and a quick handover of power. Unfortunately, the constraints of domestic American public opinion do not match up to what is actually needed to bring stability and democracy to a country like Iraq."

Yes, we are all traitorous, masochistic back stabbers now. But it gets worse. Josh's next example:

It really does seem as though the cardinals of DC punditry are constitutionally incapable of believing that George W. Bush has ever -- in the real sense -- gotten anything wrong or that they, the Washington establishment, has gotten anything wrong over the last six years. [...]

Here's the lede to Mort Kondracke's new column in Roll Call (emphasis added) ...

All over the world, scoundrels are ascendant, rising on a tide of American weakness. It makes for a perilous future.

President Bush bet his presidency — and America’s world leadership — on the war in Iraq. Tragically, it looks as though he bit off more than the American people were willing to chew.

The U.S. is failing in Iraq. Bush’s policy was repudiated by the American people in the last election. And now America’s enemies and rivals are pressing their advantage, including Iran, Syria, the Taliban, Sudan, Russia and Venezuela. We have yet to hear from al-Qaida.

Let's first take note that the 'blame the American people for Bush's screw-ups' meme has definitely hit the big time. It's not Bush who bit off more than he could chew or did something incredibly stupid or screwed things up in a way that defies all imagining. Bush's 'error' here is not realizing in advance that the American people would betray him as he was marching into history. The 'tragedy' is that Bush "bit off more than the American people were willing to chew." That just takes my breath away.

Now come down to the third graf. Bush gets repudiated in the mid-term election ... "And now ..." In standard English the import of this phrasing is pretty clear: it's the repudiation of Bush's tough policies that have led to the international axis of evil states rising against us. Is he serious? The world has gone to hell in a hand basket since the election? In the last three weeks? The whole column is an open war on cause and effect.

This is noxious, risible, fetid thinking. But there it is. That's the story they want to tell. The whole place is rotten down to the very core.

As disturbing as this new, improved meme is (now with 50% more buck-passing power!), I couldn't help but think to myself, ala Digby, "Bring it on." Seriously. What Digby says:

Blaming the American people is an excellent political strategy, however, and I hope these conservatives keep it up. There's nothing that betrayed voters like more than to be called stupid, cowardly and traitorous. (I know I've been enjoying it for the last couple of decades.) I'm sure all those independents and moderates who now see through Bush and the Republicans are going to love it too. It really clarifies your thinking.

This isn't the 1970's. They aren't going to get away with blaming the cowardly public this time. There are no hippies to hate ---- just millions of average, taxpaying, middle class Americans who know damned well when they've been lied to. And if they don't, there are many of us out here who will remind them.

Yeah. I'd bring this one back to the market testing phase if I were a genius like Karl Rove.

[UPDATE: The General has a profile of the enemy. Up against the wall.]

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