Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pagegate as Metaphor

Political 'strategists' mentioned on the front-page of today's Washington Post have nailed the larger political meaning of Page-gate, as it seems to us:
"[M]any strategists in both parties believe the scandal might echo principally as a metaphor for a GOP leadership that over the past year has drawn more attention for ethical lapses and partisan turmoil than legislative achievements.
* * *
"[I]t's given people an easy way to think about everything they're unhappy about," said Democratic media consultant Anita Dunn."
The Los Angeles Times has more about the inspiration behind that metaphor in this week's review of Bob Woodward's latest book.

We've just finished reading State of Denial and can verify that the overall picture Woodward paints is a very worrisome one, indeed: an under-educated, incurious, profane, impatient, and just plain not very smart frat-boy, George W. Bush, has become the tool of two aging, bitter, and ambitious men -- Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld -- who are driven to erase three decades of personal failure and bitter resentment.
"For them, the Iraq war, the whole wrenching debate over domestic spying, the detainees and unitary executive power is all about Vietnam. * * * The Reagan era intervention in Central America was a first attempt to overturn those conclusions, but it foundered on the arms-for-hostages scandal. Once George W. Bush — for a set of Freudian family issues too tedious to belabor — put himself in their clutches, he became the instrument of a Cheney/Rumsfeld/Kissinger attempt to abolish 30 years of history and their enduring resentment that their youthful exercise of power ended in failure, death and disaster."
It may seem a long way from the Vietnam War to Dennis Hastert's cover-up of Mark Foley's behavior, but the underlying dynamics share striking similarities: incompetence, self-aggrandizement, gross illegalities, persistent prevarication, willful self-deception, febrile irresponsibility, and pathological denial. As Michiko Kakutani puts it in her New York Times review:
"As depicted by Mr. Woodward, this is an administration in which virtually no one will speak truth to power, an administration in which the traditional policy-making process involving methodical analysis and debate is routinely subverted."
As local congressional candidate Joe Roberts asks on his campaign blog, "Had enough?"

And how.

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