10/31/2005

I have to say of the op ed guys at the New York Slimes, I really like and respect Paul Krugman. I like his taut, terse, no-nonsense prose, and even when I disagree with him, I respect his opinions. But in today’s op-ed piece about the Bush Administration’s impending implosion, he gets it wrong. We, outside the bubble, see the string of failures that has and will define Bush & Co’s botched regime, but inside the bubble they’re not exactly deluded as to their successes. They have been enormously effective, just not in the way we expect a truly democratic government to be. If you look at the goal of the democratization of Iraq, for example, sure it’s bound to fail, but we’re all engaging in a little doublethink when we call it a failure for the administration. Because we know the real goal is not democratization. That's the stated goal, and holding the administration to it is just a kind of game the press and the opposition play. As a means of controlling resources in the Gulf, and of enriching its patrons, the campaign has been enormously successful. If we look at it through the other end of the telescope—or through the White House looking glass—we can see easily enough that our goals—and the goals we traditionally associate with the office—are not the same as their goals.

One example cited by Krugman in today’s piece: “By a three-to-one margin, according to a Washington Post poll, the public now believes that the level of ethics and honesty in the government has declined rather than risen under Mr. Bush.” Now this seems like a failure outside the bubble, where we believe it’s a no-brainer that an American administration should strive to earn the trust of the American electorate. But when you consider that Bush, Cheney & Co.’s oft-stated goal is to destroy reliance on government and to transform it, finally, into a patronage system that serves the wealthy, it has succeeded phenomenally. They don’t want ordinary Americans to have faith in their government, really, for practical purposes. They want the ordinary pleb to disengage. And in this, I think, they've been a -- as Mr. Bush himself might say -- rip-snorting success.

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