Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Will Saletan has been pretty tough on Bush lately, and for good reason. Here he is again today:|
The same all-or-nothing attitude pervades the Bush team's attack on Clarke's motives. In their world, as Bush has said, you're either with us or against us. They can't fathom why a guy who worked with them for two years would openly rebuke them. He supported Bush! He lunched with Rice! He's a registered Republican! How could he turn on them? He must have been a double agent. "His best buddy is Sen. Kerry's principal foreign policy adviser," McClellan sneered Monday. Never mind that his best buddy, like Clarke, served Bush for two years after working under Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton. To the current Bush team, there's no such thing as criticism from within. If you challenge the president, you're one of the enemy.That seems about right to me. DiIulio, O'Neill, Clarke are all out-of-the-loop, even though, in many cases, those guys were the damn loop! Beers, Wilson, Clarke? Partisan Democrats and possibly even Clinton-sympathizers. Tax increases? Clinton tried that; must be wrong. Cabinet-level counter-terrorism official? Clinton had one, must be wrong. Vetoing one single bill? Clinton used the veto power, so it must be wrong. Telling the truth about things besides sex? Ok, you get the point.
Some of the resulting mistakes may be inconsequential. Some may cost 3,000 lives. Some may cost 2 million jobs. "If the Democratic policies had been pursued over the last two or three years … we would not have had the kind of job growth we've had," Cheney bragged three weeks ago. That's the way this administration thinks: We do things differently. But being different doesn't guarantee you a better result—just a different one.
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