Thursday, February 23, 2006

The hypocritic method

Bush's handlers had a big problem as he prepared for his reelection run. He had hoovered so much up his nose during the early 1970's that the earth's surface in Colombia had risen a few inches due to the loss of weight of all the cocaine. This drug use meant that he was unable to risk taking drug tests, which meant that he had to go AWOL on his military service, which meant he didn't go to Vietnam. This wasn't a problem when he was running against Gore - the completely compliant press went along with the Bush cover-up of his drug use - but it was a real problem in dealing with John Kerry. How does a guy like Bush run to be Commander-in-Chief against a war hero in the same war in which he couldn't fight because he was too coked up?

The answer was to attack Kerry on the very issue that worried the Bush handlers, his war service. Swift boating. The concept is so preposterous that it worked. Normally, if you have a sensitive issue in a political campaign, the last thing you want to do is bring it up, unless you have some way to diffuse it. Bush could not explain his problem away, so his handlers acted as if there was no problem at all. By attacking Kerry on his war record, they simultaneously raised questions about Kerry while making it seem that Bush was in the clear. Everyone assumed that Bush had nothing to worry about. How else would he have the nerve to raise the issue? The bonus was when Kerry's people complained about it, suspicion fell on Kerry, as if it was Kerry who had the war problem and he was trying to cover it up by blaming Bush!

I'll call this the hypocritic method. You take your most embarrassing debating point, and deal with it by vehemently attacking your opponent on the very same issue. Everyone is so shocked by the audacity of the attack that they assume you must be telling the truth, and your opponent must have a serious problem. Your opponent's attempts to defend himself just make him look more guilty. By the miracle of PR spin you take your most politically debilitating problem and turn it into an asset. Children are very familiar with the concept ('I know you are, but what am I?').

Note that the hypocritic method only works if you have a completely controlled press that you can be certain won't ever raise the issue of how preposterous it is, for example, for Bush to attack Kerry on his war record. It would only take one question to upset the whole scheme. Fortunately for the Bush handlers, the disgusting American media is so consistently disgusting that it could be relied on to pretend that the Emperor's clothes were made of gold. It takes very special skills to be an American 'journalist'.

The hypocritic method is now being used in the Middle East. Israel pushes the Palestinians out of their homeland every day, and yet screams about Hamas having some words about destroying Israel - mere words that Hamas can't act on - in its charter. The bonus is that Israel uses these words to withhold moneys from the Palestinians to further push them into the sea! The Israelamericans complained bitterly about the Syrian occupation of Lebanon at exactly the same time that the Americans, at the behest of the Israelis, were engaged in a brutal occupation of next-door Iraq. The Israelamericans complain about non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons which would, if they existed, simply be a deterrent against the weapons that Israel actually has. They complain that Iran isn't complying with its international obligations (which it is), while they don't even admit that there are international obligations which apply to them. The attacks against Hamas and Iran and Syria are so hypocritical that nobody even seems to notice that it is Israel pushing the Palestinians into the sea, the Americans with the brutal uninvited occupation of Iraq, and Israel with the real, and completely illegal, nuclear weapons which constitute the real threat to peace in the Middle East.

Watch out for the hypocritic method. I think we're going to see a lot more of it in the future.