Parallel Universe

Ryan Lizza of the New Republic says it all in a splendid piece describing bush on the stump.

[F]or the most part, spending time on the trail with Bush is like being transported to a parallel universe. The only music is Christian rock and country tunes about plain-talking everymen. The only people who ask the president questions are his most feverish supporters, never the press. In this alternate universe, Iraq and Afghanistan are marching effortlessly toward democracy. The economy is, in the words of former Broncos quarterback John Elway, who introduces Bush in Greenwood Village, “the best in the world.” John Kerry, whose platform is to the right of Clinton’s in 1992, is calling for a massive expansion of government. Meanwhile, Bush’s two most radical ideas, the ones that House Republicans privately insist will top the agenda in Washington next year if Bush wins–a shift toward privatizing Social Security that will cost at least a trillion dollars and a move toward a flat tax–are mentioned only in passing, buried in a laundry list of minor proposals.

And it is all working brilliantly. The key to Bush’s success is that, on the stump, he is a master at turning his simple speaking style into a political virtue. Indeed, if you listen to him carefully, much of Bush’s case for a second term rests on the idea that he speaks more clearly than John Kerry. “Now, when the American president says something, he better mean it,” Bush says at almost every stop. “When the American president says something, he’s got to speak in a way that’s easy for people to understand and mean what he says.” Bush is obsessed with his plainspoken image. If he accidentally uses what he regards as a complicated word, he catches himself and defines it for his audience. “You ask docs what it’s like to practice in a litigious society,” he tells the crowd in Muskegon. “That means there’s a lot of lawsuits. I’m not even a lawyer, and I know the word ‘litigious.'”

….In fact, the genius of Bush’s fetish with speaking clearly and plainly is that it makes it much easier for him to get away with saying things that aren’t true. In the Bush campaign, simplicity is equated with veracity. One of Bush’s favorite rhetorical devices is the straw man. When he speaks of terrorists, he pretends that there is some dangerous faction of Democrats that wants to sign a treaty with Al Qaeda. “You cannot negotiate with these people,” he defiantly tells the Muskegon Republicans. “You cannot hope for the best from them. You cannot hope they’ll change their ways.” Sometimes Bush just assumes that some argument he finds ridiculous has been made.

This is by far the best “on-the-campaign-trail” article I’ve seen this year. Be sure to read it all. I guess the most depressing aspect of Lizza’s anecdotes is how the suckers eat it up and believe the lies and fantasies.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

As far as most foreign nationals are concerned, the entire of America is a parallel universe.

America is loosing tourch with the outside world just as Bush is loosing touch with America.

This article neaty describes the way that a lot of people see the country not just the campaign

September 16, 2004 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

I want to believe it’s not all America that inhabits the parallel universe, just the 47 percent in favor of bush, the nitwits and suckers. And hopefully they’ll come back to earth as they realize how we’re totally losing in Iraq.

September 16, 2004 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.