You want paranoid, I've got paranoid--it's "Hide the Bush" time

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 04:11 PM

Okay, I live in 21st century America, I read and I watch television.  You bet I'm paranoid, because these are paranoid times.  And paranoia does its job well, frequently supplying the real answer to the old "Why in the hell did they do that?" question.  For example:

Why in the hell would Human Events magazine run a piece (by Bruce Bartlett++ no less) dated April 25,2006, titled Veteran Conservatives Speak Out Against Bush, and cite as its first evidence of the action in the title a criticism of Bush leveled in November of 2005 by Jeffrey Hart, a longtime editor of National Review magazine and professor of English at Dartmouth College?  "In a neglected article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Nov. 20, Hart blasted Bush. He is no conservative, Hart said, "but a right-wing ideologue who steers by abstractions in both foreign and domestic policy. ... As a conservative, I am seething with outrage at his performance."

++Bruce Bartlett served in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, served with the Heritage Foundation, and was on the staff of Ron Paul (the Texas congressman whose anti-tax stance often makes Grover Norquist appear sane) and Jack Kemp.

The second critical conservative cited by Bartlett is "Georgetown University government professor George W. Carey, long one of the leading conservative intellectuals in America."  But this also is from last year: the Fall issue of Modern Age, "the nation's most important conservative academic journal," where Carey said "To apply the word 'conservative' to Bush and his administration, as the media routinely does, not only is misleading, but also debases conservatism."

Is there a 5-month lag between a conservative saying critical things and other conservatives hearing those criticisms?

Well, pull out your paranoia and you get a pretty nifty little answer: No, there's no time lag, it's just that the conservatives really are scared shitless about the public disapproval of the man hiding in a suit in the White House.  So scared, in fact, that methinks I see a campaign to convince the public that "we hate him, too."

That's right, if you can't change the public's opinion about our fearless leader, you can always convince the public that you share that opinion.  So Bush becomes like the demented old uncle who you lock in the basement when "normal folks" come for a visit: no such person lives in this family, no sir!

Since I think this is a fairly new strategy, the problem they're having in the short run is that, while many conservatives have voiced opinions questioning a specific Bush policy or action--such as Iraq--not that many real mainstream conservatives have actually voiced Bush-negative opinions.  So for now, they have to dredge up the ones that have, time gaps be damned!

As we go along, of course, there will be plenty of deliberate and new Bush criticism to which they can point and avoid the embarrassment of a 5-month lapse.  I think I saw the early stages of this part on television last night, where Joe Scarborough beat up on little George pretty bad.  If I'm right, the 2006 elections could be one truly strange scene:

Dem Candidate:  We need to rid ourselves of the horrible legacy of George Bush, our country's most misguided president.

Rep Candidate:  A point on which we can all agree.  And I think it's clear to anyone with a brain that I can unravel these disastrous policies far better than my Democratic opponent, given that I helped to install them in the first place.

Or maybe Heritage and Hoover and American Enterprise Institute and their fat-wallet buddies can Swift Boat Bush, publishing book after book in which they find previously unknown evidence that Bush was recruited to be a secret Democrat at a lavish white wine & cheese meeting in John Kerry's rumpus room way back in 1992.

Or Bill O'Reilly can claim to have it on good authority that Bush was blackmailed by the Dems into being a secret agent of destruction, having to carry out the bidding of those liberal fiends after having been boyishly lured into a compromising position by a card carrying liberal pedophile.

Or maybe the spin machine can simply put out the story that no one named George Bush was ever elected president.  When the Dems get apoplectic and scream that this claim is nonsense, the frothing heads on television can degenerate the conversation to a debate over the meaning of the terms "George," "Bush," "ever," "elected" and "president."

Or, that's too paranoid, and it involves Coca Cola tainted with whale droppings.


In good conscience, I have to acknowledge that Bartlett may also have a more personal motive in dredging up past conservative criticism of Bush II: Bartlett is the author of the recent (2006) book Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.  But, hey, where's the paranoia in that?