Monday, July 19, 2004

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention: Part I

Often when pressed for a reason for my loathing of the Bush administration, I experience something akin to the paralysis of choice: where to begin when I oppose Bush policies nearly in toto entirely?  To choose one topic would place undue weight upon it; my interlocutor partner in conversation would not leave with the full sense of my disdain for this presidency. Thus I was initially at a loss for what to research and discuss in this, my first post; and so instead of articulating detailed policy differences, I will paint the administration in broader strokes, trying to capture just what it is that separates G. W. Bush from his less noisome noxious predecessors.

The relevant circumstances can be divided into those that this nation faces externally, which make the stakes much higher than before, and those peculiar to this administration.  If it were not for the former, I doubt I would consider this presidency quite as squalid -- recall those halcyon days when our greatest concerns were Gale Norton and arsenic drinking water rules, and when Bush's ratings were dipping below 50 and the Democrats seemed poised for midterm gains.   Bush had achieved (read: damaged) very little, with, for instance, his faith based initiatives program collapsing in ignominy and John DiIulio leaving bitterly.  Recall DiIulio's complaint that "Mayberry Machiavellis" ran the White House, where everything domestic is subordinated to "the political arm." 

That brings us to the character of the administration, the (we hope) final recrudescence of the long degeneration of the Republican Party.  In 1964 Goldwater, having seized the nomination from the Northeastern liberal wing, went onto lose by wide margins, but his candidacy was one early success of the long march of the elements of what Kevin Phillips called "The Emerging Republican Majority" through the Party.  Nevertheless, Goldwater, however right wing, is someone I can respect; he would lament that the fundamentalists would gain so much influence, and his closest contemporary is that other Arizonian, John McCain.  Reagan would gut social programs and bring the country further right, but he had the statesmanship to initiate arms control dialogue with the USSR; his genuine desire for disarmament I can also respect.  Bush fils, in comparison, presides over a crew of Machiavellis* and ideologues.  Republican demagoguery (as with this "Federal Marriage Act") is blatant, with domestic policy the site of cynical politicking (including the cronyism and giveaways.) 
 
How, you ask, can the administration simultaneously be accused of ideological fanaticism and cynical political opportunism?  The answer is twofold: the latter can occur quite apart from the former, even in the same policy area (underfunded and unjustified Mars program vs. neocon "full spectrum dominance") and the latter can complement the former (tax breaks for the potential donors!)  While I could easily excoriate the likes of Grover Nordquist** for fanaticism and opportunism in domestic policy, in Part II I think I will focus on the area in which ideologues have the greatest influence, foreign policy.  
 
Please excuse the problems with this post.  It seems scattershot, but it was a cathartic exercise.  Narrative flow will receive more attention in the next, hopefully.

* - though I mean no disrespect to Nicolo, a real small-r republican   

** - Might I note that Nordquist is simultaneously an ideologue and an excellent tactician and opportunist; David Brock reports that he often quotes a dictum of Lenin, "probe with bayonets for weakness!"  The Marxist-Leninist and Trotskyist influence on the current "vanguard" is an odd and interesting subject




8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

your vocabulary is way over my head man. either you're extremely pretensious and want everyone to know you're the most intellectual liberal on the block, or i'm just an idiot. actually i think it's both. and thats my 2 cents.

July 19, 2004 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger ross said...

i agree. not that he's an idiot, but that you're pretentious. then again, you are a liberal, so i suppose i shouldn't be suprised.

July 19, 2004 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

Uh, the vocabulary came naturally. It's not as if I thumbed through a thesarus, though I did stop to consider if the first paragraph is a little much. ("interlocutor," "in toto," "noisome") In the end I decided they all seemed appropriate, though perhaps I was mistaken?

However, I don't think anyone would be taken aback if, say, this vocabulary were used in the comments section of Crooked Timber. That the level of quality is what we aspire to, right?

I'm off to bed. :-P

July 19, 2004 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

And "halcyon" is used ironically..

July 19, 2004 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Peter Parker said...

word up E.W. great post/SAT lesson LOL!!!111 I love when people are offended when forced to read a word they don't normally encounter in everyday life (or in their everyday lives). Its a symptom of the anti-intellectualism this country suffers from (which may be a symptom of something more insidous). Hitherto. Vis-a-Vis. Concordantly. Ergo. And I'll stop now.

July 19, 2004 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

Well, I switched a few words in the first paragraph. Let no one say I don't respond to criticism.

July 20, 2004 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger ross said...

well done. as for being offended by words, i always thought that was a liberal thing. plus, working at a law firm for a few spare bucks before going off to college means i come into contact with words and sentences that make this look like "See Spot Run." i never like to miss an opportunity to rag on a liberal, and when someone starts busting out word combos like "ideological fanaticism" i can't help myself. but hey, my hat's off to you, at least you didn't go the easy way and make fun of the way bush talks. unless i missed that part...

July 20, 2004 at 1:29 PM  
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And the girl took up the proffered foot, to kiss the top, to lick along the length, watching the toes curl with exquisite pleasure, then to take each toe in turn between her soft, pouting lips and gently give suck. He nudged her legs even further apart He savored the warmth and inner firmness of her legs, as his hands caressed the feminine contours of those long tapering limbs sheathed in smooth black nylon, while she quivered under his touch.

December 4, 2010 at 4:13 AM  

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