Cross-posted at american street.
The White House response to Clarke’s interview and book reveals a lot about their thinking. From Former Terrorism Official Criticizes White House on 9/11:
“‘If Dick Clarke had such grave concerns about the direction of the war on terror, why did he stay on the team as long as he did, and why did he wait till the beginning of a presidential campaign to speak out?’ Mr. Bartlett said. He said the book’s timing showed that it was ‘more about politics than policy.'”
1) How about he stayed because he cared about the country and wanted to try to do some good rather to leave the country in the hands of those who would do nothing but give speeches — trying to actually do something as contrasted with just making a political statement? That does not appear to be a concept that is in the thinking of this White House.
2) The timing? Since timing of activities to coincide with elections seems to be on the White House’s mind, let’s talk about timing of events to coincide with campaigns. In September of 2002 the White House rolled out what it called a “marketing campaign” to “sell” the Iraq war. They launched their campaign on Labor Day — the traditional beginning of campaign season. The Iraq War campaign was EXACTLY timed for the 2002 elections. In this White House politics is everything.
Bush’s father waited until AFTER the election to hold a vote on getting Iraq out of Kuwait because he did not want to introduce such a potentially divisive issue — a war vote — during a campaign. That would have been bad for the country, and he cared about that. But THIS Bush forced the vote DURING the campaign BECAUSE he wanted to divide the country. And he brought up the
Father Mother Homeland Security vote, after opposing it — and threw in an anti-union provision that would force some Democrats to oppose it, to further divide the country and politicize the issue of terrorism and national security.
WE, blog readers, all knew about the things Clarke talked about on 60 Minutes last night, because we are informed. But now, after last night’s 60 Minutes, this is out there in the mainstream. And the number of people who supported Bush’s war can’t go up. It can only go down. There are facts, and they are not going to change, and eventually facts can break through fog. Iraq did not attack us on 9/11 is a fact. Iraq was not working on weapons of mass destruction is a fact. Iraq was not supporting al-Queda is a fact. Iraq was not a threat to us is a fact. So there is only one direction this can go with the public. Support for the Iraq war CAN NOT increase.
But we are informed and also have seen that this Bush crowd is capable of ANYTHING and THAT is what we have to worry about between now and the election. It has become painfully obvious that this crowd cares more about politics and Party than the good of country and most of the people in it. Another fact. I have seen people like this before, in business. I’m talking about people who only understand their own desires and who have learned that PR can be a magic potion. People who believe that marketing and money can accomplish ANYthing — and who will turn to marketing and money with no consideration of actually delivering real value to the customer. It’s a game of using the power of marketing and money to change the customer — making the customer believe that what you are already delivering IS what the customer wanted.
It has become so blatant that one has to either see it for what it is or form a cognitive dissonance around it. We’re forced to choose “sides.” I have observed that those “moderates” among us informed-people-who-read-weblogs, etc. have started to change their views. One can not look at the Bush campaign ads and tactics without realizing that they are just lies and smears. Just lies and smears. It is pretty hard not to see that at this point. And I think the “moderates” are joining us hothead radicals in our view of Bush and his cronies — that the Bush people just lie, that they care about politics and power far more than they care about the good of the country. I don’t think a reasonable person can look at events in the election campaign up to this point and reach another conclusion, and I see even the “moderates” reaching this conclusion. This is happening outside the blogosphere as well. I see the “middle” breaking down.
So my question is, how far are the Bush people willing to push the divisions in the country? The current anti-Kerry campaign line is an indication, yet it is still very early in the campaign — it actually could get even worse. Today they are saying that the leader of the opposition party is “dangerous.” They are saying that he will not protect the children of “real Americans.” This kind of language is already beyond just an election — these are words that encourage a response that goes beyond just voting against the guy.
The Republican choice of PR over Policy, and Politicization of Everything has led to potential civil war in Iraq. How far will they push things here at home?