Friday, March 17, 2006

Bush's Base

According to this NYT report, Republicans are treating Russ Feingold’s call for censure of the President as a “rallying cry to Bush’s Base!” This is apparently supposed to scare Democrats into backing away from their criticism for fear of stirring up a hornets’ nest of angry Bush loyalists who would otherwise stay sleeping in their hive during the upcoming mid-term elections.

First of all, whenever Bush seems to be in trouble, he tries desperately to appeal to “The Base” in order to buttress whatever political position he’s pushing. Lately, it’s been “the war on terra” nearly all the time, but whatever the issue, he's always looking to "The Base"for validation. However, I’m thinking that his frequent attempts to rally “The Base” are a huge recurring political mistake! After all, isn’t “The Base” simply American for “Al Qaeda? Why would he want to keep responding in a manner so reminiscent of Osama bin Laden?

Secondly, who are these people who currently make up “Bush’s Base?” And how many of them are left now that his approval rating is down to just 33%? Frankly, this rapidly dwindling group of oblivious, pea-brained robots doesn’t scare me much any more. Rather than sneak around quietly to avoid stirring up their hive, it seems Feingold finally realized that the time was right to go down to Home Depot and buy a big ol’ can of Raid! I’m with Russ! I say we start spraying, and if the few remaining hornets crawl out for the mid-term elections, we just keep spraying!

When I used to hear the phrase, “Bush’s Base,” back when he had approval ratings above 50%, I thought of a foundation on which one could build a sturdy structure, - like the square footprint on the Egyptian pyramids that have been able to withstand centuries of harsh sun and wind. Now when I hear the phrase, “Bush’s Base,” I think of the guys I occasionally see at the beach who are obsessed with the pastime of rock stacking. They delicately balance rocks on top of each other to create sculptures that stand only if they are left carefully untouched – like the Democrats have been willing to do to George Bush for far too long!

That is, until Russ Feingold suddenly realized that Bush is not as immovable as a pyramid! After five years of failed policies, irresponsible appointments, incompetent responses, and virtually no real accomplishments to speak of, the photo at right is “Bush’s Base,” and he’s just waiting to be toppled!

By the way, Firedoglake has a great tally of the Democrats who are supporting Feingold (The Lions) and those who are opposing him (The Lemmings). Both are short lists right now, but eventually all 44 Democrats will have to decide where they fit!

Also posted at ePluribus Media

16 comments:

  1. That is a great analogy.

    As a visual person I will now think of this whenever I see his approval numbers.

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  2. Nice post Seenos. By the way, it was good to meet you a couple weeks ago. Sorry I didn't get a chance to say good-bye before I left.

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  3. Two things...first, you take the fact that 67% of the populace doesn't approve of Bush's conduct to mean that 67% of the people would vote for a scarecrow with a McGovern pin on his lapel. A substantial percentage of the electorate that dislikes what Bush stands for f-ing hates what the far left stands for. You assume that Bush's unpopularity emphasizes your popularity when in fact it merely emphasizes Bush's unpopularity. The majority of America does not believe that we went to war for the right reasons but this does not render the Democrats somehow more trustworthy on defense, particularly not when the straw that Feingold is grasping at is the NSA wiretaps, arguably the only popular program Bush has in place right about now.

    Second, Bush's base votes. The Democratic coalition of African-Americans, blue collar workers and the young and idealistic does not show up to vote with the same regularity as do the elderly, Christians, and white males, groups that tend to lean toward Republicans. John Kerry improved significantly on Al Gore's vote total, but George Bush's vote total jumped far more. The best allies the Republicans have right now are the legions of internet and magazine pundits who are attempting with some success to convince Democratic leaders that the debate requires more, not less, vitrol.

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  4. The best allies the Republicans have right now are the legions of internet and magazine pundits who are attempting with some success to convince Democratic leaders that the debate requires more, not less, vitrol.

    Then why, may I ask, are you trying day after day, with epic, meticulously detailed comments, to convince us that we should use less vitriol? At this point, I can only conclude that you are worried that we will undermine your true goal of keeping the white elderly christian males from voting for Republicans in the mid-term elections!

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  5. As a visual person I will now think of this whenever I see his approval numbers.

    I sure hope you will be visualizing the second image and not the first!

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  6. I just enjoy the debate. I'm not saying anything that legion conservative commentators haven't made note of over the past few days.

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  7. I enjoy the debate too, but the vitriol comes when I consider the fact that I have three children whose lives will be shaped largely by the direction that George Bush has taken the country!

    I'll concede that Bush was dealt some bad cards during his Presidency - he inherited a rising terrorist threat, and he couldn't have stopped hurricanes like Katrina and Rita. But he has done nothing to make terrorism less of a problem, while bungling billions of dollars in Iraq that could have done so much to help with disaster preparedness and recovery, among other things!

    In much of my debate with conservatives, I actually find myself hoping that you are right! With global warming, the U.S. role in the world and its affect on terrorism, and the impact of massive debt on the economy, I fear that if the future shows you to be wrong, there won't be much time to gloat about having been on the right side of the debate!

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  8. Giraffe5:59 PM

    seenos, where did you get the photo of Bush's Base? I want to make a copy to keep on my refrigerator. Send it to the senate. That image needs wider coverage. It is very powerful.

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  9. I think the problem with Iraq is that it was a long-term answer and the attention span of the media and to a lesser extent the viewing public is short. Mistakes were clearly made in the early going and the Administration was all too happy to declared Mission Accomplished in hopes of selling the war to skeptics at home and abroad (everyone loves a winner). Regardless, this was a long-term strategy of democratization. It may fail, but the alternative, namely bargaining with unpopular autocrats, was scarcely more palatable. 9/11 destroyed pure realism as a viable worldview. Neoconservatism (not the caricature of it that exists in the intellectual imagination today but the theory itself) is one alternative and while I personally think it by and large a viable one it requires perseverance and may not pay dividends for decades. The intellectually unsophisticated critiques are myriad (the informed critiques certainly exist but are drowned out in a chorus of cliches) but until someone devises something that does a better job of adapting to post-9/11 realities neoconservatism in its varying shades is the ONLY game in town.

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  10. 9/11 destroyed pure realism as a viable worldview

    I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean! But after watching the neoconservatives at work, I can see how it is true for them.

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  11. Realism is a view of international relations that asserts that it is no business of ours what goes on within states (human rights abuses, anti-American propaganda, etc etc) so long as their governments are friendly. Terrorism demonstrated on a large scale that what goes on within states can no longer be divorced from the outward behavior of the states.

    Neoconservatism believes in the universal appeal of Western values, namely tolerance, democratic governance and free market economics. In broad terms it is plausible, but in the context of Iraq the decision-makers based their judgments on freedom taking care of all other concerns. Fukuyama's argument for a Hegelian historical determinism was reinterpreted into an almost Leninist desire to 'push' history toward that destination. The reason that Fukuyama has 'broken' with the neoconservatives is because they interpreted his doctrine in absolutist terms, not because he repudiates what he once stood for.

    The point of this very tangential post is to demonstrate that neoconservatism's flaw is not that it is evil but that its practitioners are overly idealistic. I acknowledge it is imperfect, particularly the manner in which it has been implemented, but until someone comes up with a better alternative the only real dispute that goes on at present is between different shades of the same argument. The rest have come up with mere criticisms that propose no substantive alternatives.

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  12. Terrorism demonstrated on a large scale that what goes on within states can no longer be divorced from the outward behavior of the states

    Except when it comes to the UAE managing the ports, right?

    ...........................

    Neoconservatism believes in the universal appeal of Western values, namely tolerance, democratic governance and free market economics

    neoconservatism's flaw is not that it is evil but that its practitioners are overly idealistic

    I certainly agree that an overly idealistic view of your first statement would lead to some unusual policies - like trying to force the rest of the world to accept our idea of tolerance!

    If "western values" truly have "universal appeal," couldn't we just send out a brochure? There's no reason to treat the rest of the World like they should feel lucky that we choose to let them share our atmosphere!

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  13. 1. Most self-described neocons were disgusted with the political and media reaction to this.

    2. The premise of Fukuyama's argument was that the demise of communism removed the last serious intellectual challenge to democracy and market economics. Neither he nor anyone else of repute argues that the world will be characterized by Jeffersonian democracy or American-style capitalism. The end result and the path to the end result will vary according to traditions and cultural variety. It is not cultural arrogance but merely the presupposition that people surrounded by liberty and prosperity will prefer it to autocracy and poverty. Tolerance is a requisite of mature democracy for a number of reasons, namely the fact that relationships within countries are anything but compartmentalized. Economics, social values, culture and other issues produce strange bedfellows and democratic societies are tolerant if for no other reason than that most people will find themselves in the minority at one time or on at least one issue.

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  14. This is not a rebuttal to your last comment, but I would like to note that, with the exception of the U.S., there is also nearly universal appeal for the concept of protecting the environment - even at the expense of some economic growth and materialism.

    If we are going to spread western democracy to them, can we let them spread an environmental conscience to us?

    Oh yeah - regarding life in the U.S., can we agree that people surrounded by liberty and prosperity will prefer it to autocracy and poverty too?

    And how is the current administration promoting liberty and prosperity over autocracy and poverty?

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  15. First, just because you do not like the President does not make American autocratic. Of course people want prosperity. Republicans and Democrats offer different prescriptions for getting there.

    Second, environmentalism appeals to the well-off. Sure the poor want clean air and clean water but they do not want them at the expense of basic needs. The developing world wants us to prioritize environmentalism, but they will not compromise development to achieve it. The wealthy alone are willing to trade a measure of largesse to meet environmental goals.

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  16. Lost Wages Joe11:27 AM

    I think that the bottom line is that Neoconservatism is like any other political theory; it would be workable if it's practitioners were wise, benevolent, responsible leaders. You could make the same argument about Socialism, Communism, even Fascism or Monarchy. The problems come up when the real world leaders reveal their human weaknesses; Stalin and Lenin were lousy communists, Hitler and Mussolini were lousy Fascists, and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the gang are equally bad examples of the Political theories they espouse, for the same reasons; their real interest isn't some grand political theory, it's power.

    Liberty and Prosperity are great, but the present administration only wants those things for its true "base"; its cronies in the Defense and Extraction industries. The rest of us get autocracy (see domestic spying, extraordinary rendition, torture, unilateral military adventurism, etc.) and ultimately poverty (eliminate Social Security, defined-benefit pensions, Labor unions, etc., while continuing to block any efforts at National healthcare).

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