Wednesday, September 14, 2005

So what's in it for me?--making political hay out of disaster

There's a world of difference between skepticism and cynicism. Skeptics doubt and question in an attempt to get at the truth. Cynics doubt because they think that, by definition, every player has bad (or at least selfish) motives.

What happens when journalists are cynics rather than skeptics? One result is that every event and every action is rated and spun as though its sole purpose is either to enhance or detract from a political party or a politician. It is assumed that whatever stands politicians may take, they are always based only on self-interest rather than even a consideration of such old-fashioned and outdated virtues as principle.

A recent New Republic features an article by Ryan Lizza that is an example of this noxious genre. Lizza manages to deal with two of the most dreadful events of recent years--9/11 and Hurricane Katrina--and evaluates them only in terms of which political party is helped/hurt by each disaster, and how both parties are using them to "position" themselves into power.

I believe that Lizza may be one of the New Republic's political writers, and if so it would be natural for him to focus on the political aspects of the disaster, I suppose. But there still seems to me to be something unusually cynical in what he has written here--dealing with 9/11 and Katrina as though they were solely opportunities for politicians to score points.

Lizza writes that the Democrats can gain from the Katrina disaster by promoting themselves as people who handle humanitarian crises properly. He then compares that to the political advantage the Republicans received post-9/11 when they were perceived as the party that could best handle a security crisis.

I don't recall any of the newspapers of my youth ever taking a Katrina-like tragedy or an attack and analyzing either of them in terms of how they affected the rise and fall of each party, and how each party was deciding to use the disaster/attack to its political advantage. It seems to be something that has cropped up in the last few decades only. When did we become so strategic in our thinking; when did journalists begin to resemble sports commentators, concentrating on ongoing play-by-play analyses of who is going to win the game?

It's been particularly in evidence in the coverage of Katrina, as anyone who's been paying even a particle of attention has no doubt noticed. And it's not that I think politicians don't use events to further their own careers. I just think that the MSM has gotten to the point where this is often the primary story, and everything else is secondary. I am not willing to ascribe to that level of cynicism, and I don't think it does our society any good for the media to constantly take such an intensely cynical point of view.

At any rate, Lizza's arguments in the New Republic article are also marred by some rather large flaws. If the Republicans are perceived as being better able to handle a security crisis, it is because they actually were engaged in handling a major security crisis post-9/11. It is logical to assume that the perception of Republicans as tough on national security was predicated at least in some part on their actual performance in a shaky situation that represented a demanding challenge-- one that many people give them credit for handling at least somewhat well--rather than on mere rhetoric and promises.

But if Democrats were to get credit for handling a humanitarian crisis better than Republicans based on Katrina, wouldn't the Democrats have had to have actually performed better than Republicans during Katrina? Can a perception of better performance simply come from criticizing the performance of others? Somehow I don't think so; I don't think most people are that naive. Merely to say "I could do it better, trust me!" isn't usually enough.

It's easier to get people's attention and trust by actually doing something effectively as opposed to criticizing someone else for not doing it. If there are Democrats who fail to realize this, perhaps it relates to differences (discussed in some previous threads here) between conservatives and liberals as to their relative focus on objects (the real) vs. abstractions (the theoretical). Democrats and liberals, because they often emphasize words over acts and the abstract over the concrete, may tend to think that one thing is just as good as the other--that saying it is just as good as doing it.

But, ordinarily, it is not. It would be much better if Democrats could point to some sort of huge humanitarian crisis that they actually handled well recently.

Oh, you say that there actually was a humanitarian crisis recently in which Democrats were involved? Which one was it?

Well, as it turns out, it was Katrina itself. Both Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin were (drum roll here) Democrats!!!

That Lizza fails to take note of this little fact in his article declaring how Democrats can position themselves, post-Katrina, as the party to turn to in a humanitarian crisis is just--well, it's just strange. He seems to believe that rhetoric can trump reality. I hope he's not correct--because, if he is, we're in even greater trouble than I think.

32 Comments:

At 1:13 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous mizpants said...

Yes, this cynicism is endemic, and the New Republic is full of it. I've been unable to bring myself to read much of their political reporting and commentary for years -- though I do read the "back of the book" arts reviewing with pleasure.
Their political writers all seem to be about 27. They combine know-it-all wonkishness with a cynicism that is not only irritating but short-sighted. If you're focussed on the self-interested back and forth of partisan interests, you miss the larger picture of the big cultural and ideological patterns against which these struggles take place. That's what the New Republic used to illuminate -- at least occasionally. But not since it's been taken over by these callow young wise guys.

 
At 3:14 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, all you former lefties who've succumbed to your nation's ptsd ...

Christopher Hitchens debates George Galloway tonight

It is being billed as the "grumble rumble", a heavyweight contest in New York between two British socialists, one a hawk and the other a dove, bitterly divided over the war in Iraq.

Read about it here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1774584,00.html

or here:
http://www.newcriterion.com/weblog/2005/09/grumble-rumble-fair-fight.html

Watch the webcast at 7pm:
http://www.democracynow.org/
or here:
http://kpftx.org/

Off topic, but noteworthy.

 
At 3:31 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Charlie (Colorado) said...

It's worth noting that "I could do better, trust me" was more or less Kerry's position on most everything.

His losing position.

 
At 5:00 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Charlie (Colorado):

I agree about Kerry, but Ryan Lizza certainly doesn't. His article contains the following truly amazing sentence: Democrats, who see before them the most incompetent presidency of their lifetimes, were mystified as to why the competence Kerry offered last year wasn't enough.

"Mystified" is a kind word for it.

 
At 5:22 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous roman said...

neo, "saying it is just as good as doing it". I would change that to saying it is EASIER than doing it.
Ask anyone who is given an assignment to complete in 20 minutes which ordinarily takes an hour. It's called getting "set up to fail". But when the opportunity presents itself naturally, why pass it up? Katrina is showing us a new MSM spin to deflect local (mayor/governor)responsibility for failing to carry out an evacuation of vulnerable New Orleans citizens on to the Feds (Bush).
Its alarming to see this increasing trend by the MSM of blaming EVERY disaster's outcome on the government. It's as if there is no such thing as personal responsibilty for one's own welfare anymore.
Does this mean that if/when the Dems take control of the government..gulp.., the MSM will be hard pressed to find blame-worthy protagonists? Will they go out of business?

 
At 5:36 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous roman said...

neo, "saying it is just as good as doing it". I would change that to saying it is EASIER than doing it.
Ask anyone who is given an assignment to complete in 20 minutes which ordinarily takes an hour. It's called getting "set up to fail". But when the opportunity presents itself naturally, why pass it up? Katrina is showing us a new MSM spin to deflect local (mayor/governor)responsibility for failing to carry out evacuation of vulnerable New Orleans citizens on to the Feds (Bush). Its alarming to see this increasing trend by the MSM of blaming EVERY disaster's outcome on the government. It's as if there is no such thing as personal resposibilty anymore. Does this mean that if/when the Dems take control of the government, the MSM will be hard pressed to find blame-worthy protagonists? Will they go out of business?

 
At 5:41 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous roman said...

Sorry about that duplication. It had someting to do whit expired time, etc.

 
At 6:39 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

roman:

Saying it is always easier than doing it.

But it used to be that people had the sense to realize that saying it, although easier than doing it, is not equal to doing it.

 
At 7:00 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Surely you're familiar with the
Myers Briggs test.

Don't you find that NF folk (abstract/ iNtuitive Feelers) are much more likely to be Dems, and be more interested in the intentions rather than all the messy results?

 
At 7:16 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Skeptic versus cynic: yes, exactly.

Seeing the political as the primary story: yes, exactly.

 
At 8:49 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous Neo said...

We got prime pilots that get the hot planes, and we got PUDKNOCKERS, who dream about getting the HOT planes. What are you two PUDKNOCKERS going to have? - "Right Stuff"

So far the Katrina story seems to have covered only the PUDKNOCKERS and the PUDKNOCKER-wannabes. I don't see just how you can jaw your way to actually accomplishing anything.

 
At 10:39 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Well, according to the Democrats' narrative, the local Dems are the victims here- overwhelmed by this huge storm, under water, doing the best they can (disregard those buses behind the curtain) etc, etc. and it was the Federal government that failed everyone, with Bush, of course, the Chief Executive of that government. Since they are not in that role, they can only appeal to the "If only we were in charge, nothing bad would have happened" line of thinking.

But as to the cynicism of it all- right on. But some of the cynicism may be warranted. How long into the disaster were people throwing out global warming as the cause (Bush didn't sign Kyoto, ergo, Bush causes hurricanes), racial discrimination, levees were purposefully blown, etc, etc to use the hurricane to further a political agenda? Which side of the political spectrum was propagating these allegations?

 
At 12:04 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous WichitaBoy said...

Tom Grey,

Absolutely. The NFs are all Democrats. Imagine John Lennon, a classic NF.

 
At 2:54 AM, September 15, 2005, Blogger camojack said...

"What happens when journalists are cynics rather than skeptics?"

I dunno nuthin' 'bout b...um, journalists, but I consider myself a cynical, jaded skeptic. Life has done this to me...

 
At 6:14 AM, September 15, 2005, Blogger Enlighten said...

Meet one INFP that doesn't fall into feeling verus doing trap - great post.

 
At 9:22 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only have I lost faith in the Democrat Party's ability to defend and protect America, as a liberalized female witnessing Gov. Blanco's hysterically inept leadership, I dare say I have faith in any female having the ability to take command in times of distress.

Really, I used to believe it possible that a female was quite capable of showing such leadership strength under dire situations but after seeing a women in such a powerful position of Governorship utterly fall into emotional hysteria, I cannot trust my own sex.

I suppose I'm being sexist against my own sex but for me actions speaks louder than words and all the rhetoric in the world is not going to change the way Gov. Blanco responded under distress. Her behavior set back the women's movement by about 70 years, and even more incredulous is that this damage has been done by the actions of our own gender which for decades has proclaimed itself ,without actual proof, to be empowered.

An empowered female leader should not be seen sobbing before the camera's crying how untenable the situation is. The damage has been done.

 
At 9:23 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous Nikolaides said...

Very interesting point about the Meyers-Briggs test, but I don't think it's necessarily true that all NFs are political liberals or that all liberals are NFs. I can imagine that a tendency to act on intuition or gut feelings rather than rationality could pull some people toward social conservatism. Similarly, a strong orientation toward judgment might make other people puritanical about political correctness.

I, for one, have tested as NF every time I've looked at versions of the test, and indeed, I used to be a liberal. I'm not liberal on most issues any more, but I still come out NF when I take the test today.

 
At 10:11 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous hg wells said...

Democrats, who see before them the most incompetent presidency of their lifetimes... -- Ryan Lizza

I hear Bush described this way by democrats and leftists but I never really get it. Bush has done many things well--the three-week success of the Iraq invasion for instance--that one can disagree with Bush's policies but I don't see how these charges of hyperbolic incompetency can stick, if one is honest.

 
At 10:59 AM, September 15, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Anonymous,

Fortunately there are many Conservatives who disagree with you and remember Thatcher fondly and see how capable Condi Rice is.

 
At 11:15 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous Equally anonymous said...

>>I suppose I'm being sexist against my own sex but for me actions speaks louder than words and all the rhetoric in the world is not going to change the way Gov. Blanco responded under distress. Her behavior set back the women's movement by about 70 years, and even more incredulous is that this damage has been done by the actions of our own gender which for decades has proclaimed itself ,without actual proof, to be empowered.>>

You are indeed being sexist - however in the world can you take the actions of a single person and attribute the abilities/inabilities of that person to the entire sex??? How about Margaret Thatcher? Elizabeth I? We are all _people_. Some are competent, some are not. It has nothing to do with sex. If you have the chance, read "Who Stole Feminism".
Affirmative action has its merits, but the truth is that only competence will change opinions that people may have about women being able to do a job. As long as affirmative action and sexism "work", women will be "excused" from the competence requirement - not a good thing, imo.

 
At 11:26 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

I guess that means that crying will no longer be allowed to "work".

 
At 11:35 AM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous telesonic said...

Appears to me that, in this crisis at least, the Republican players responded by getting the job done - albeit belatedly and imperfectly. The Democrat players responded by freaking out. Not sure how the Dems plan to spin that to their advantage.

 
At 7:07 PM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous Lugnut said...

I would add the name of Golda Meir to the list of fine female leaders that have already been mentioned.

 
At 10:04 PM, September 15, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Telesonic. It depends on the audience.

If the audience rewards carping from the cheap seats more than actual accomplishments, the dems will do okay.

I would suggest that the large number of liberals and democrats indicates that carping from the cheap seats does impress a good many people.

 
At 12:10 PM, September 16, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

At 6:22 PM, September 14, 2005, roman said...

Does this mean that if/when the Dems take control of the government..gulp.., the MSM will be hard pressed to find blame-worthy protagonists? Will they go out of business?


No, I don't think so.

That is cause the Dems control the MSM, via a couple of ways. They could do it the same way as Clinton, though not with the same flair. You know, tell journalists that if they don't get the story "right", then they ain't gonna get no exclusives. If it works for Saddam, you think the MSM will blink twice for the President on domestic news exclusives?

Then there is always the dirt/assassination technique, which is attack any newsreporter that attacks you. Bury the newsreporter in all his skeletons in his past, so that the reporter doesn't have the TIME to write anything about your government "accountability".

With the power of the executive branch, it'd be ridiculously easy to find dirt on people. Especially if the reporter has worked in Washington in the past.

Nixon might have won the media battle if he was willing to use the powers of the executive branch fully, but he wasn't. The victors write the history books. Dems would use all their powers to mend PR to their advantage, I have no doubt.

neo-neocon

But it used to be that people had the sense to realize that saying it, although easier than doing it, is not equal to doing it.
Ya, they did. But, with global communications, comes global propaganda. Which is a lot more effective than local propaganda techniques.

Really, I used to believe it possible that a female was quite capable of showing such leadership strength under dire situations but after seeing a women in such a powerful position of Governorship utterly fall into emotional hysteria, I cannot trust my own sex.

Republican women usually are more controlled, disciplined, and have better leadership than Democrat women governors, even in the Deep South. I'm sure Condi Rice would have done moderately better, to use an understated phrase.

HG WELLS

I hear Bush described this way by democrats and leftists but I never really get it. Bush has done many things well--the three-week success of the Iraq invasion for instance--that one can disagree with Bush's policies but I don't see how these charges of hyperbolic incompetency can stick, if one is honest.


It is hard to be honest when you start believing in your own propaganda.

Propaganda in this sense, is Rather's famous "fake but accurate comment". Using fake stuff, to convey a truth. Now what happens if that "truth" wasn't really true? Then you are unable to differentiate between the lies used in propaganda, to the lies propaganda is meant to further. No difference between lies and lies.

If the Democrats actually were trying to propagandize the truth using lies, like for example if it was true that racism was worse a problem now than it was 50 years ago, then they could be honest. But you can't be honest when you can't tell your own lies from your own lies.

Richard

I would suggest that the large number of liberals and democrats indicates that carping from the cheap seats does impress a good many people.


Only because the Republicans don't use propaganda to fight propaganda, big mistake. Bush has made some steps in his speech, but it's not nearly enough if he does not HAMMER the Congress when they complain and moan about his initiatives, which they will do, as a way to use voter confidence against Congress.

When the voters hear "The Whittes are laughing at the black folks trudging through contaminated water" 50 million times and they don't hear "If you don't want whittey to own you, then you'd better not depend upon the government, paid mostly by rich white people, to save your arse", they are going to vote Democrat, when they tell them to and how they tell them to.

When a person hears only one version of the truth, constantly, he will believe it after awhile. And he will have no choice, the way he sees it, except to vote Democrat.

 
At 1:19 PM, September 16, 2005, Anonymous Equally anonymous said...

>>Only because the Republicans don't use propaganda to fight propaganda, big mistake.>>

Remember the old cowboy movies? White hats and black hats? The white hats could have beat the black hats easily if they just used the black hat tactics, but then they'd be black hats. Somehow, they had to win without using black hat tactics, which of course, was the crux of the problem. Somehow, the repubs (which, obviously, I think are the white hat guys) have to convince the majority without using black hat tactics (again, obviously, democrats, imo). Otherwise they are no better than those that they hope to defeat, since, in all honesty, the reason for an awful lot of the antipathy in the conflict is due to the willingness of the black hats to use dishonest means, which raises the ire of the white hats, rather than an actual difference in the ideas presented.

 
At 11:58 PM, September 18, 2005, Blogger Steve J. said...

THE REAL LOOTING BEGINS:

Bush puts Karl Rove in charge of reconstruction.

 
At 12:10 PM, September 19, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The white hats could have beat the black hats easily if they just used the black hat tactics, but then they'd be black hats.

If Truman had followed that line of argument, there would be no American Superpower protecting Americans, Iraqis, Japanese, Europeans, Afghanistanis, Australians, or anyone else for that matter from the ravages of the human condition for misery, cruelty, and stupidity.

If Churchill had followed that line of argument, he'd have told the citizens of his own city to evacuate, given that The Allies had cracked the Enigma Code.

In war, you'd better take that neat and tidy "MORALISTIC" standard and put it in the garbage bin, because in human conflicts, it doesn't matter who's right, it matters who is mightier. Cause while you may be in the right, it don't do nobody any good if you're too dead to tell anybody about it.

Survival necessities first, then luxuries, then the yacht, simple eh?

Otherwise they are no better than those that they hope to defeat, since, in all honesty, the reason for an awful lot of the antipathy in the conflict is due to the willingness of the black hats to use dishonest means, which raises the ire of the white hats, rather than an actual difference in the ideas presented.

An "actual difference" in the ideas presented? You look at New Orleans, a Democratic Stronghold of Welfare and Corruption, and you look at Georgia, and you say you see no difference?

There's a big difference, and it's not in the tactics, it's in the goals, the means, and the philosophies involved.

The Democrats aren't wearing a hat. The terroists aren't wearing a hat. The Republicans may want to wear a hat, but if they want to make themselves a bigger target and die early, then they can go ahead. Just like the British went ahead and kept telling the Americans who their officers were at, and then started complaining when we shot at them, and then they wouldn't do the same to us. Well they lost, and I'm pretty sure King George felt very good showing the Rebels how morally correct he was compared to the low and dirty tricks the rebels used.

Tactics have never mattered in warfare, as much as logistics and strategic goals have.

The Democrats are no longer sane, and the Republicans are not just fighting the Democrats in a little local war but are fighting the terroists at the same time.

As I said before, leave your neat and tiddy ideas of fighting in the garbage. The little guy when outnumbered by big guys, needs to use dirty tricks, it doesn't make the little guy into a big guy and it doesn't make the little guy into a bully.

 
At 12:32 PM, September 19, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

An addendum comment, the "moral high ground" is a decadent Western belief, ariving out of guilt and a hodpodge of other factors I do not believe I can name.

In the real Wild West, if anyone had said hanging by vigilantes made you the same as the thieving, murderous, crazies that represented the criminal pool, they'd have taken pity on you because you were obviously in their eyes deranged.

Because in the real world, only the strongest person in existence and time can afford to be "merciful". Something you saw at the end of Mission Impossible 2, btw, and we know Tom thinks he's simply the most amazing person on earth.

But, again, in the real world, there is always someone stronger than you. Therefore, if you start getting in the habit of misunderestimating people and "pulling your punches" cause they are women and you don't want to be hated on for hitting a woman, then that terroist is going to kill you.

Just like Bush showed all those who underestimated him.

Pulling your punches for some perceived moral "highness" derives from a psychological sense that you are stronger than they are, and therefore you don't need to become "serious".

9/11 shattered that false feeling of omnipotency. Even though the Democrats are weaker than the Republicans right now, it doesn't mean that if you ignore the Democrats, they won't give you over to the terroists, who ARE strong enough to hurt you.

Propaganda is more dangerous than nuclear weapons. Like Churchill said, if you don't fight with all you got now when the chance of victory is certain, then you will in the end fight when the chance of victory is small and your strength lax. If the Republicans don't make people understand the truth now, then they will have to do so when their electorial and political powers are at an all time low, and then it'd be much much harder since everyone would perceive them to be attacking the party in power.

God has indeed blessed Bush and America, because Bush has taken so many chances that might have cost him the 2004 election. Fallujah was after the election. Veteran benefits, after the election.

A person can admire his principles, but principles do us no good if Kerry had been elected. It wasn't a landslide, 48% of the voters remember that. Iraq War confidence, all time low.

FDR put Japanese into intern-ment camps. While I didn't like that, it doesn't mean I'm going to call FDR, a cold cold man, a Nazi.

Tactics matter nothing, terror matters nothing. The goal, the manner, and the character virtues of those fighting is what matters.

 
At 6:49 PM, September 19, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Ymarsakar, I think that winning without moral superiority is better than losing.

But the US didn't lose in Vietnam; it failed to help S. Vietnam win. If it ran out on Iraq, it wouldn't lose -- it would merely fail to help pro-democracy forces win.

Even if New York gets nuked by terrorists, the US wouldn't yet "lose".

So, if it's primarily an optional "noble cause", spreading democracy, then moral superiority is a requirement to maintain its nobility.

Bush needs to point out it's a moral superiority issue, and that the US really IS morally superior. Not perfect, but superior to the alternative.

 
At 9:45 PM, September 19, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

It is a sad state of affairs if we have to remind people that Democracies are inherently morally superior to Fascist states.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident..." It has been self-evident for over 200 years.

 
At 10:23 PM, September 21, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

But the US didn't lose in Vietnam; it failed to help S. Vietnam win. If it ran out on Iraq, it wouldn't lose -- it would merely fail to help pro-democracy forces win.

That's stretching things a bit through the redefinition of the words "win" and "lose".

If you fail to accomplish your objectives, and are prevented to do so forever since the enemy accomplished theirs and their obj was mutually exclusive with yours, then there's no way you didn't lose. It wasn't a stalemate, since the enemy got what they wanted.

When either side don't win, or it is just a stalemate, the hostilities continue. Look at NK and SK. There is no military problem with Vietnam, cause we lost there, and the communists won, so we didn't have anything left to do there except look stupid. We won in the Gulf War, but the Gulf War never ended, simply because there was a bit of stalemate going on there.

There's no point in saying that we didn't lose in Vietnam, if you haven't lost something, and the enemy hasn't won something, then you keep fighting over something. And I'd rather not fight over Vietnam again, there'd be no point. So it's a lot simpler to admit that we lost in Vietnam and not try and change the definitions of words for ulterior motives.

Even if New York gets nuked by terrorists, the US wouldn't yet "lose".

That's because the objectives in war is to survive until such a time as your enemy no longer exist, those are the objectives in a war to the knife, which is the War on Terror. All other wars before WWII, were not wars to the knife.

Therefore having one of our cities go away may be regretable and can hurt our capacity to make war, it does not destroy our ability to achieve our Ultimate Goals.

So, if it's primarily an optional "noble cause", spreading democracy, then moral superiority is a requirement to maintain its nobility.

Far as I see it, it is about as noble as not slaughtering off all the Navajo Indians cause we didn't like them and they were weak. You see, it is a strategic means to an end, the "nobility" is actually just a propaganda que. A good and true one, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

Democratizing the ME, if it was a good, would also mean democratizing Sudan would also be a good. One has to ask why we do nothing in Sudan but we do a lot in the ME. And the answer is not that the goal in Iraq is more "noble" than Sudan and helping the North Korean peasants. No, the answer is that it serves our strategic interests better, and since if we aren't around then we can't help the Sudanese or the North Koreans, therefore we concentrate on saving ourselves first and providing for our own people first, then others.

People first, then money, then things, only finally do you get to save other people from themselves.

I don't blame people for not getting it, Bush hasn't done even a mediocre job of explaining the strategic end goals or even intermediate goals.

You could say Bush is pure out of propaganda.

If people have not realized already that our actions are more morally superior to others, then no "splaining" will help.

Only propaganda, persuasion of the ultimate caliber and with the highest skill, will ever do anything. And that ain't ever gonna come from Bush, and a Democrat believes his own propaganda so that wouldn't work either.

A Democrat, even though he has better propaganda skills than Bush, actually doesn't do very effective propaganda namely because Democrats use propaganda to convine THEMSELVES that what they are doing is for the good. They can no longer separate means from the ends anymore, and that is a big big problem in using propaganda to tell people the truth.

The truth is that America IS superior to all other nations. But you try convincing Arabs of that without propaganda. Bush sucks at propaganda, that is why he has to count on his Special FOrces, and the Imperial Soldiers that we have in Iraq. And nobody hears about the SF unless they screw up and die or something, which isn't that often. And the media controls the news out of Iraq, for the most part, so that doesn't make us look good either, morally or realistically. I mean, come on, the soldier's job is to fight, not try and convince people that they should be supported politically, that's the President's job, but he don't want to do it and we can't make him.

America doesn't spread our Empire by the usual expansionistic practices, like the Romans, you realize. We do it via culture and economics, regretably that culture is very very decadent and unregretably our economics piss off the power mongers in corrupt countries since it gives the little man too much power over things.

That is why American soldiers are the Imperial arm of America, it is the best arm, and it does a lot of things usual Empires does, education, reconstruction, politics, protection, and so on.

There's a big difference, if you are starving in Sudan being chased by Janjaweed, to seeing Jane Fonda riding in a bus towards you and seeing a M1A2 Abrahams Main Battle Tank racing for the Janjaweed.

And the difference is not a "moral" difference, but one of decadence.

The best way to convince people that we are better than they are, and that we can protect them, is not to tell them this unless you're really to manipulate them psychology, which Americans tend not to look. No, the best way to LOOK good, is to BE good. And the only way you can be good is you have representatives willing to DO THINGS on the ground.

Bush isn't a person that toots his own horn, you'd have to get Kerry on the job for that.

Bush isn't interested in looking good, he is interested in being good. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with that. Except that LOOKING BAD, is seriously making doing goods things HARDER than necessary.

Bush doesn't like propaganda, he doesn't recognize, and he won't hire people like Dick Morris to do it for him. That's just reality. This means we have to get the news that make America morally superior and good, from the soldiers and actions in Iraq. And that is exceedingly more complicated than necessary.

I suggest that Bush, instead of trying to make America look morally superior cause his own principles get in the way, that he try to make Americal look BETtER and stronger.

This "let's make everyone in the UN love America" thing is a waste of time, money, and blood. If they don't love us, they can fear us, that's fine with me. You don't need propaganda to make people afraid of you, not when you got the power of the Americans. Bush can start with by issuing public threats. When was the last time Bush issued a formal ultimatum?

 

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