I’m not stupid…but I play a stupid person on the web
Micky Kaus, who apparently can’t imagine anything that might happen beyond, oh say, lunch today, thinks that Matthew Miller is being overly “cynical”. I think that Kaus is being overly obtuse. Kaus, quoting Miller:
Many Republicans think these trends favor Democrats, too. That’s why George W. Bush, learning the lesson of Newt Gingrich, has always pretended to have a “compassionate” agenda. But Republican political consultants privately know the surest way to stem the Democratic drift is for the war on terror to become the master narrative of American politics. [Emphasis added.]
Kaus then says:
What’s interesting are the implications of this super-cynical view (which I do not necessarily share!) for the Iraq question.. Specifically, if Bush wants to use the terrorism issue to help his own reelection in 2004 (and not just to win the mid-term elections this November) will he invade Iraq in January, as many conservative commentators hope and expect? The answer is no. If a January Iraq invasion were successful, it would probably be over too soon to help Bush in 2004 — and Saddam Hussein’s fall would open up the dangerous possibility that the nation’s attention would quickly shift back to domestic issues on which Democrats have the edge. …. No, unless Bush is planning to invade Korea and Iran after Iraq, the optimal cynical strategy for maintaining anti-terrorism as the “master narrative of American politics” would seem to require Bush, once the midterms were safely over, to keep delaying the Iraq invasion for a year or two, so that the real military crisis comes closer to the next presidential election….. In other words, to the extent that Bush is the purely cynical, self-interested dog-wagger that some Democrats (not me!) charge, he can’t also be the irresponsible cowboy who is going to rush into war in January. It’s not in his political interest.
Kaus seems a little slow on the uptake, in that he disregards General Karl’s Power Point presentation (Election by War for Dummies) as well as the latest Bush doctrine which, in it’s short form, says: “we can blow up anyone who might somehow, someday be able to blow us up”. Using this as a starting point allows Bush, like a distracted child, to move from one conflict (Afghanistan) to another (Iraq) because it’s newer and shinier. At one point the goal was getting Osama (remember him?), then it was getting the Taliban which we did, more or less (although tracking down Mullah Omar has become a bit of a problem too). Now, like a child discarding a broken toy, the adminstration thinks that they have done enough in Afghanistan and wants something newer and still in the shrinkwrap. This is called lowering the bar, or in Bush’s case, “the soft bigotry of lowered expectations”. Bush gives himself a “gentleman’s C” and is ready to move on. In Bush’s world there are many “terrarists” which means that we may have actions against Iran, Libya, Sudan, oh hell pick a country. I’m sure with recent developments Bush may want to put Germany or California in play.
So President Cartman can start on Iraq sometime next year. Then at the beginning of 2004 (because an evildoer-destroyers work is never done… just ask Batman) he can pick on some other little country that Condi chooses for him (which will never, ever, ever be Saudi Arabia) and he can come up with some more “intelligence” about the evil that men do in that Country of the Month Club.
Kaus forgets that a Bush only does well politically when he is at war fighting evil. Everything else requires complex thinking and planning which just isn’t a strength of a Bush… or Kaus for that matter.