Saturday, May 19, 2007

Is Bush Really to Blame?

Paul Krugman of The New York Times has an op-ed piece entitled "Don't Blame Bush."(you'll only be able to view the article if you have a Times Select account, which anyone with a .edu e-mail address can obtain for free). He opens with a very un-Krugman-esque line:

I’ve been looking at the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and I’ve come to a disturbing conclusion: maybe we’ve all been too hard on President Bush.

But, he goes on to explain himself. We harp on Bush for doing any number of un-American things: promoting torture, allowing domestic spying, lying about the situation in the Middle East, etc. And this is true: Bush does these things. But it isn't simply Bush. It is the New Republican Party, or the "movement conservatives," if you will. Bush is not simply a freak of nature. This is the kind of leadership we can expect from any modern Republican president.
The leading contenders for the Republican nomination have given us little reason to believe they would behave differently. Why should they? The principles Mr. Bush has betrayed are principles today’s G.O.P., dominated by movement conservatives, no longer honors.

Krugman goes on to point out that the only Republican candidate to speak out against torture was John McCain (our old pal Mitt apparently said "My view is, we ought to double Guantánamo."), but even he was far enough disconnected from reality to claim that there are areas of Baghdad where one can "walk freely."
What we need to realize is that the infamous “Bush bubble,” the administration’s no-reality zone, extends a long way beyond the White House. Millions of Americans believe that patriotic torturers are keeping us safe, that there’s a vast Islamic axis of evil, that victory in Iraq is just around the corner, that Bush appointees are doing a heckuva job — and that news reports contradicting these beliefs reflect liberal media bias.

Except for Ron Paul, I have yet to see any of the 2008 Republicans distinguish themselves in any important way from President Bush and the "movement conservatives." And that means one thing:
The Republican nomination will go either to someone who shares these beliefs, and would therefore run the country the same way Mr. Bush has, or to a very, very good liar.

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