Saturday, December 09, 2006

Did Bush Win by Losing?

By absolutely screwing the pooch in every single way, from inception to justification to execution, Bush has, perhaps inadvertently, won the domestic struggle over Iraq. In the past week he has successfully turned hardcore conservatives against a panel that included both James Baker and Al Simpson. Without lifting but a finger, he has re-mobilized the Iraq hawks (is that a term we've ever even used? If so, only for a short time...) and forced the "opposition" to fall in line behind the need to "finish the job" in Iraq.

Pragmatists find this turn of events desirable on the grounds that it's better to get out of the quagmire than place the head of its maker on a pike. Because of this, centrists will likely give Bush a free pass for a while, and cheer on the cheerleaders, and even agree with John McCain, who seems to be saying (more articulately, naturally) the same thing as the Bush White House.

Such momentum tends to take on a life of its own in this spectacle. Talking heads will call Bush's upcoming speech a success. Factions of the ruling class will compete as if they were in an essay contest..."How to Win in Iraq and Redeem American Power." Baker, Hamilton, Simpson, O'Connor and others have fallen on phantom swords to obscure real ones.

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