Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mirror Man

Since speechifying hasn't gone the best for Bush of late, maybe he decided (and he's left deciding on his own since Karl is off trying to save his own butt) it was time to get back to basics. So he dug out his old high school civics textbook and it said one way to practice a speech is to deliver it in front of a mirror. That might explain some of the striking moments from his major policy speech today, if conflating the war on terror with the Cold War is policy. Of course Bush went way beyond that comparison when he got to the line about how "the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia." Somewhere in hell Pope Urban II was smiling, which isn't easy to do in a lake of fire (Bush will see, someday).

But Bush the Mirror Man actually said things like: "Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, 'what is good for them and what is not.' And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers."

Good thing Bush and the Republicans never tell us what is good for us (tax cuts for the rich, suffering to build character for the poor) and bad for us (assisted suicide, abortion, questioning the president). Even better that Bush comes from a family of subsistence farmers and all the members of the U.S. armed forces are rich.

Well, there's so many of these similarities between Bush's enemy and Bush's self that Walt Kelly is thinking about suing for copyright infringement of his most famous line. If I picked the speech apart comment by comment, I'd be here until the Bush twins came home, and it's just 11:50 and the bars don't close till 2.

It is good that Bush somewhere knows he's a tyrant, though, for here's part of his rising rhetorical flourish to cap the speech:

Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision -- and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure -- until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent -- until the day that free men and women defeat them.

War is murder. Oh, sorry, W., I forgot this is a justified war--that's part of yours and Rummy's and Dick's grand vision. Good thing the only people you alienated around the globe is most of the Islamic world and Europe, and now 69% of Americans, too. Here's to a more regimented U.S., with the poor in the Astrodome, the sick quarantined by the military. And it's not like the Republicans have ever slurred the Dems as decadent (despite their own predilections for being moral truth-tellers who gamble, family men who deliver divorce papers to first wives in hospital beds, patriots who out their own country's intelligence agents, physical ed role models who took steroids, etc.).

Of course early in the speech he offered us the brilliantly turned phrase "a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane," which clearly doesn't apply to Bush. So even the neatest comaprisons breakdown someplace.


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