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Kaus vs. Kaus: What drives Mickey Kaus -- sincere ideology, dislike of Krugman, or egomania? All three, obviously. But which predominates? There's a near-dispositive bit of data in Saturday's column:
Krugman vs. KinsleyHe's been bashing Krugman in terms very similar for months! ... Or is that the problem? Kaus is a challenger for the same ecological niche that Krugman and Kinsley already occuppy, so Kaus has to somehow establish dominance by not-so-subtly attempting to pit Krugman against Kinsley, using a friendly throw-away joke line as a trope .... True, this is an armchair Darwinian analysis, but in my experience armchair Darwinian analysis is almost always right. .. 1:24 A.M.
George W. Bush made Kristol-clear. Weekly Standard editor William Kristol's recent exposition on Bush's new tactics - which involve misdirection and deception, much like Bush's old tactics - gives us a useful lens through which to view the utterances of Mr. Bush.
In light of Kristol's prescience, how should we interpret Bush's statement today on the occasion of his signing the resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq? Here are some excerpts from that speech, each followed by the real meaning as seen through Kristol's lens.
Bush: With this resolution, Congress has now authorized the use of force. I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary.
Bush on KristolVision: With this resolution, Congress has now authorized the use of force. I have not ordered the use of force, because saber-rattling is sufficient to maximize the Republican advantage during congressional elections. I hope the use of force will not become necessary until 2004 when my own career will be at stake.
Bush: Our goal is not merely to limit Iraq's violations of Security Council resolutions, or to slow down its weapons program. Our goal is to fully and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America. Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action.
Bush on KristolVision: Our goal is to elect a Republican Senate and House, or at least to slow down Democratic gains in Congress. Hopefully we can capitalize on the public perception of Republicans as stronger on national defense. Hopefully, rumors of war will distract everyone from the sorry state of the economy and just about everything else I'm supposed to be in charge of. Hopefully we can do this without actually starting military action too early in the presidential election cycle, like my dad did.
Bush: In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq, in accordance with U.N. Security Council demands, must end its support for terrorism.
Bush on KristolVision:The CIA has found no evidence of Saddam Hussein's support for al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens America, but that's the whole beauty of demanding that he stop providing such support. What's the point of making demands that Saddam can actually comply with?
Bush: The United States takes the resolutions of the Security Council seriously.
Bush on KristolVision: Just kidding!
Bush: America has never sought to dominate, has never sought to conquer. We've always sought to liberate and to free.
Bush on KristolVision: America has never sought to dominate any country that did not have ample supplies of oil or a large block of Florida voters. We've never sought to conquer even resource-rich countries, only to install compliant regimes. We've always sought to liberate and to free tyrants and dictators from any constraints, as long as they did business with us.
Bush: Our desire is to help Iraqi citizens find the blessings of liberty within their own culture and their own traditions.
Bush on KristolVision:Our desire is to help Iraqi citizens find the blessings of liberty within their own culture and their own traditions of thuggish dictatorship and internecine warfare, as long as they let us control their oilfields.
Bush: I thank the Congress for a thorough debate and an overwhelming
statement of support. The broad resolve of our government is now
clear to all, clear to everyone to see: We will defend our nation,
and lead others in defending the peace.
May God bless your work. (Applause.)
May God bless your work. (Applause.)
Bush on KristolVision: I thank the Democrats in Congress for rolling over and giving me the power to initiate a war with virtually no serious debate. This broad authority will enable my use of brinkmanship to keep the country and world on edge, and help obscure the fact that I have failed miserably in my commitment to smoke out what's-his-name.
I can't believe I'm getting away with this. There is a God. (Applause.)
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