Thursday, August 12, 2004

Nuance, idn’t that a French word?

William Saletan goes into Kerry’s record of statements on Iraq to find out what he means, because god knows Kerry is incapable of making it clear himself. Saletan says at length what I said in 3 sentences on Tuesday.

The frightening thing about Kerry on this issue is that he’s letting Bush run rings around him, suckering him into a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose game. Bush spent days goading him about not having said whether he’d have voted for war authorization knowing what he knows now, as if Kerry’s failure to answer a hypothetical question, something Bush always refuses to do, is a sign of wishy-washiness. When he does give an answer, Bush again attacks him, this time for finding "a new nuance." Nuance is a dirty word to the Bushies--two years ago I said that "Don’t nuance it to death," the response of an unnamed official when no one could understand a Bush comment about Israel, should be the new Bush motto.

The thing, though, about this particular nuance--that he voted to authorize war in order to give the "president" a stronger hand in negotiations--is that while the Bushies now pretend not to know the difference between voting for that authorization and voting for the actual war we got, that was their stance at the time; they kept saying that they hadn’t made any decision to go to war, remember?

If Kerry can be portrayed as agreeing with Bush, Bush wins. If Kerry can be portrayed as disagreeing with Bush, or even presenting his own position, which is what you do in an election, Bush wins, attacking Kerry for "sending mixed signals" and fucking up Bush’s glorious little war: "The mission is not going to be completed as quickly as possible if the enemy thinks we’re going to be removing a substantial number of troops in six months." Here in California, in this week’s senatorial debate, R challenger Bill Jones absolutely refused to express any opinion on the war, presumably the most important issue this election year, on these grounds.

The same heads-I-win etc logic works in the appointment of Porter Goss, forcing the D’s to give him a pass, which he does not deserve on his merits, rather than be accused of obstructionism. So the D’s acquiesced in Bush’s portrayal of any oversight, much less disagreement with his policies, as illegitimate.

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