reagan limns the case against bush

Esquire, somewhere in there amid the soft porn, the inane drivel, the smelly ads, and the (seemingly) thousand pages of pretty pouting men in silly clothing (Cosmo for gay men?), manages to find a little space for interesting articles every once in a while. Ghosts of Esquire's faded excellence. The current issue features The Case Against George W. Bush by Ron Reagan. There are a couple of other decent articles this month, but this one stands out.

Whatever you might think of Reagan (the son), you have to give him credit: he's a good writer. Every time I've read his stuff, or watched an interview with him, he's been articulate, logical, and well-informed. He makes his case. I admit he's preaching to the choir here, but the article is worth reading and, even more, worth thinking about.

[Here's a hint for those of you who can't read Esquire's piss-poor attempt at web design: click the Print icon, and it will pop up a page where you can do a View > Text Size > Largest in your browser. That makes it legible.]
"Politicians will stretch the truth. They'll exaggerate their accomplishments, paper over their gaffes. Spin has long been the lingua franca of the political realm. But George W. Bush and his administration have taken "normal" mendacity to a startling new level far beyond lies of convenience. On top of the usual massaging of public perception, they traffic in big lies, indulge in any number of symptomatic small lies, and, ultimately, have come to embody dishonesty itself. They are a lie. And people, finally, have started catching on.

"None of this, needless to say, guarantees Bush a one-term presidency. The far-right wing of the countrynearly one third of us by some estimatesחcontinues to regard all who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid (liberals, rationalists, Europeans, et cetera) as agents of Satan. Bush could show up on video canoodling with Paris Hilton and still bank their vote. Right-wing talking heads continue painting anyone who fails to genuflect deeply enough as a "hater," and therefore a nut job, probably a crypto-Islamist car bomber. But these protestations have taken on a hysterical, almost comically desperate tone. It's one thing to get trashed by Michael Moore. But when Nobel laureates, a vast majority of the scientific community, and a host of current and former diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military officials line up against you, it becomes increasingly difficult to characterize the opposition as fringe wackos.

"Does anyone really favor an administration that so shamelessly lies? One that so tenaciously clings to secrecy, not to protect the American people, but to protect itself? That so willfully misrepresents its true aims and so knowingly misleads the people from whom it derives its power? I simply cannot think so. And to come to the same conclusion does not make you guilty of swallowing some liberal critique of the Bush presidency, because that's not what this is. This is the critique of a person who thinks that lying at the top levels of his government is abhorrent. Call it the honest guy's critique of George W. Bush."
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