2003: War Is PR By Other Means
Two years of mismanagement did not convince the nation of what the world already knew. And thus Bush had a free hand to do whatever he wanted. And he did.
A partial-birth abortion bill passed. So did a prescription drug coverage bill. The tax cut theology was followed in the three preceding years, but with this new entitlement, the die was irrevocably cast in favor of back-breaking deficits for the duration. And this was the year of the worst Sixteen Words since “behind the bag, it gets through Buckner; here comes Knight and the Mets win it!” If only it were mere words that offended.
A personal story, and rumblings of a growing hope, may be found after the jump.
In rural Wisconsin one day, after a job interview, I stopped in a bar, and the news came that Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed in an ambush. A young girl behind the bar asked, “what happened, Mommy?” And the mom said, “your world became a little bit safer.” I shook my head lightly and sipped my beer. This was about three months after we (supposedly) won. Things were not going to plan (partly because there really wasn’t one). The WMD lie was being slowly and devastatingly exposed (as was, to lesser effect, the Jessica Lynch hero story). And here was this woman who thought that the death of these two twits made a damn bit of difference. Our discovery of their pop in a hole in Tikrit brought similar shouts of joy that the evidence did not really support.
For all of the bullshit, though, it seemed that change and true opposition was coming. The 2004 election had something to do with this. Howard Dean, of course, started to press the buttons that Democrats had feared to push, and others — including Al Gore, whose bland campaign permitted Dubya to exist, and a former sportscaster named Keith Olbermann, who would rise in the coming years to prophet-like status — began to take note and speak out. There was hope — a faint one, to be sure — that the Dems would start to come out of their corner and fight.