Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, July 30, 2004  

The Crazies Start Spinning

It's been twelve hours--are you ready for the slime backlash? Here it comes. I listened to a few of the famous slime mongers as I drove around this morning. O'Reilly had a fill-in who was forwarding the thesis that Kerry was not a hero--he only served for four months in Vietnam. Limbaugh spent a lot of time ridiculing the hamster CPR anecdote (now that's solid political analysis) before breaking off on a rant about how "confused" the Democrats are.

Both of these hint at the talking points the right thinks it can exploit. I don't know what Rhodes scholar came up with the "he ain't no stinkin' hero" line, but I'm glad he's on their team. Veterans, who are an incredibly important demographic to the right, sure as hell aren't going to appreciate it. Swing voters, who know Bush dodged the draft and then vamped in cod-piece camo when he inappropriately declared an end to major operations, will think the right have gone barking mad. the only group I can see who will cotton to such a theory are the already-converted true believers for whom dodging service and putting in zero months in Vietnam is more manly than four months of service, three purple hearts, and a bronze and silver star. I guess it's an attempt to ensure that the insane right don't wander. You've got to worry when you're in danger of losing the insane right.

As for the "confused" argument, this will be the real weapon of choice. Here's how the Washington Times puts it (in their defense of clarity, right or wrong):

One of the central foreign-policy issues of the presidential campaign is sure to be the issue of pre-emption. Specifically, under what circumstances it is appropriate for the United States to use force against a foe that has yet to attack this country directly. The contrast between John Kerry and President Bush on this question could hardly be more stark.

This argument has the appearance of greater sanity, but only marginally so--and it's a testament to the deeply delusional nature of the right that they don't see this. The argument is twofold: Kerry's a waffler and you just can't trust him not to "Carter" a foreign policy problem. (Okay, so far so good--factually and verifiably wrong, but we haven't violated any laws of sanity.) The second argument is that you can trust Bush. And now we fall into a psychotic break.
To be fair, a good many of the Bush team realize that you have to play the cards you're dealt, and they've been dealt very bad cards. They obviously can't stand on Bush's record, so they have to make Kerry's look worse. But the loony right actually believe that Bush has the winning hand on this one. They believe 1) the justification to invade Iraq was valid, 2) the invasion and occupation have been a marvelous success, and 3) Iraq is now well on the road to functioning democracy. Clearly, with people like that, there's no arguing.

And from the left's perspective, it little matters. A ball of slime, whether it is hurled by a lunatic or a cynical plutocrat, is still a ball of slime.

posted by Jeff | 9:57 AM |
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