False dichotomies

Rant warning:

The genius of Bush II (cf. Rove, Karl) is to paint all these false dichotomies, which, in Middle America, must make him look so righteous. Take the State of the Union address re: domestic spying:

Bush: If Al Qaeda are making calls to this country, I wanna here ’em! (Implication: the Dems don’t want us to spy on Al Qaeda. Pinkoes!)

So, the Republicans roar him on (and Middle America says, “damn right, Mr. President”), civil libertarians tear out their hair and the Dems slink in their seats, looking like wussies.

But it’s not the whole point, is it? Yeah, spy on the bastards. We all support that. All we is sayin’, sir, is that we don’t mind you listening to terrorists, but please have some kind of judicial oversight, after the fact if necessary. I hate seeing Americans roll over and give up all this power to the President. This is the freest country in the world. Don’t lose that, you idiots! (And Dems, find a way of getting this message across otherwise you’re doomed. BushSpeak just sounds better in most ears.)

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7 thoughts on “False dichotomies

  1. Ronan,Do you think the US President has too much power in America? If so, how ought the power be re-aligned?I’ve often thought that the presidential “police action” use of the military is too easily abused (ala Korea, Vietnam, & Iraq); perhaps they ought to limit his “police action” use of the military to, perhaps, 6 months and then Congress votes on whether a presidentially mandated military operation ought to be extended or stopped… What do you think?

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  2. Mr. J,I have no clue about US constitutional law, so I cannot really comment. But one thing needs to be said again and again: there is potentially going to be no end to the War on Terror, and so the President’s “wartime powers” will become permanent. That bears some thought.

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  3. It seems to me that your faulting the president for expressing his views in ways that make them politically appealing. This is kind of like faulting a bear for eating someone, or at least like faulting a pig for going to trough.I’m also a bit put off by the contempt that you seem to show for middle-America. It’s not like they vote for the likes of LePenn. I mean, really. American politics is pretty tame by European standards. No communists. No fascists. No socialists. What you call middle-America has arguably among the best overall records for political judgement of any citizenry in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

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  4. Oh come on Ronan. It isn’t a GOOD thing, but don’t pretend that the play on dichotomies is a device unique to the Bush admin. Everything that comes out of Nancy Pelosi’s mouth features a false dichotomy that appeals to the equally simplistic mindset of unmiddle America.

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  5. Here’s my challenge: I am undecided on this whole controversy, partly because there seems to be so much fog. But I’d invite anyone of you (Ronan) to (a) lay out the anatomy of the post-9/11 wiretapping program (b) show me what its objectives and operating requirements were from the perspective of the people who implemented it and (c) how they would have been–as is now being claimed–hindered in no way from effectively intercepting crucial communications if they were observing all of the FISA regulation. In other words–I want a clear demonstration that circumventing FISA did not make it any easier to get the info they needed to get.Also… can anyone (anywhere?) point me to a single proven abuse of the program? Anyone actually claiming their civil liberties were violated? I’m open on this, but let’s get out of the fog.

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  6. DKL,Yes, of course the President is free to frame issues to his advantage. That’s the nature of politics. As much as anything, my post was a desire for the Dems to make a forceful “yes, but…” rather than a shrill “Bush is evil” cry. I hope, too, that you realise the difference between Europe and the UK: I think the British public also have a good track record of not voting in lunatics in the 2nd half of the 20th century.Professor,I’m not sure this is even possible. The Administration are keeping this all undercover, are they not? Just beware of precedent, my American friends. Don’t give up too much.

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  7. For Professor Truth – Come out of the fog? Are you serious? Oh yes, that’s right, yesterday White House Spokesman (Pinocchio Marionette) Scott McClellan announced that the Bush Administration is going to publish the names of the thousands of Americans whose civil liberties have been violated by the Pres. Bush’ questionable wiretapping program. Just how do you suppose that anyone, whose civil rights have been violated by this program, is going to find out about this violation?

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