Overwhelm as a Tactic

A while back I wrote a piece called Overwhelm, in which I wrote, Some days the bad news flys at you so fast … it seems like the Bush strategy is to overwhelm people by doing so many bad things that you lose track and give up… I’ve been trying to pin down what it is about this, it seems like an effective tactic.

Today I saw a piece by Ted Rall, titled Permanent Revolution, that explains it.

… Bush’s biggest cribbing from the Hitler playbook is “permanent revolution.” Developed by socialist theorist Leon Trotsky in 1915 and applied by such totalitarian masters of control as Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, permanent revolution is the pinnacle of the art of mass distraction–one continually changes the subject of debate by striving for new goals that are always just beyond reach. The idea is diabolically simple: by the time people start grumbling about the problems created by your Great Leap Forward, you’re causing new difficulties with your Cultural Revolution. Opposition takes time to materialize; taking the nation from one crisis to the next neutralizes your enemies by focusing them against initiatives you’ve already abandoned.

On the domestic front, Bush has launched so many political offensives that it’s impossible for what’s left of the left to launch a coordinated resistance. Fast-track signing authority for free trade, expanded tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations while running up the deficit, drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, rounding up detainees and depriving them of due process, unraveling environmental regulations, union-busting, curtailing privacy rights–any one of these full-scale assaults would require a full-court press by liberals to block or overturn.

In a blizzard of legislative and regulatory activity, virtually everything on the right-wing wish list is now being proposed. Previous presidents spaced out their initiatives in order to build popular support; Bush prefers to leave elected representatives out of the equation. The more legislation he throws at the wall, the more he’ll get passed–and the more people will forget that his is an illegal regime.

Please go read this piece.