The plan is deceptively simple: Hide the unpopular Bush behind the military uniform. What’s old is new again.
It’s always been a brilliant move, and this time it’s likely Karl Rove’s parting gift to the faltering Bush Administration. For weeks we patiently waited for General David Petraeus’ testimony before Congress as to whether the surge in Iraq was a success or a failure. It mattered not that it was already a forgone conclusion that the General was to state that the surge was indeed a success, even if there was information that said it was mixed at best, major programs need to be scrapped entirely, or worse, and the war proper was an ongoing financial disaster.
But, truth be told, that’s not where the real action was for the public relations obsessed Bush White House and the noise machine. For, it was also a forgone conclusion that many on the left would react against the surge being proclaimed a success. They would do this vocally and in public and were deeply preparing to do so, as John Edwards did when buying ads to counter Bush’s speech, and as Move On did with it’s “betray us” ad in the New York Times.
Since the very first days in office the public relations m.o. for the Bush White House has always been to wrap Dubya in the military uniform, and to surround him with members of the military whenever possible. But, never have they used a member of the military in uniform to take their political hits and then used that uniform to deflect those hits by saying: “You’re attacking a man in uniform! How unpatriotic!”
It’s important at this moment to remember that it was the Bush White House that placed General David Petraeus into the political waters in the first place and then had the unmitigated gall to yell “shark!” and point fingers. Of course, the plan was always to meld Petraeus into Bush. As Mark Silva put it:
Tonight, the Petraeus plan becomes the Bush plan.
Alas, the Bush speech was met with mostly disdain for its lack of stating anything new, its predictability and its total obviousness in the face of expectation. Everyone knew exactly what Bush was going to say, and he said it. Disappointing to say the least. Why? Because it was all a ruse. The hopes of the White House marketing mavens were dashed upon the rocks, their expectations of the public rallying around the man in uniform and transferring that warm and fuzzy moment onto the president lost in the smoke of the all too political atmosphere that permeated the situation once the conservative noise machine got wind of the Move On ad.
It took the White House a week to actually respond to it themselves, their minions doing such a good job of diversion, disinformation and distortion. But, in the end, when the president did speak upon it, lowering himself to do so, the true nature of it all became clear. And, as all fascists do, they pushed the fear button, and the cowards stood up to be counted, fearful of criticizing the man in uniform who is speaking for the president.
It was brilliant in that regard. A beautiful ruse. Because in the end, we’re not talking about how the Republicans in the US Congress blocked legislation that would give overworked and outstretched US soldiers a bit more leave, or how democratically elected Parliament of Iraq has asked the US to set a timetable to leave Iraq, to not occupy Iraq indefinitely, but the US has refused, or how the Prime Minister of Iraq has asked the US to remove Blackwater operatives from his country, the White House plays deaf and dumb, because the law doesn’t apply to everyone and the dispute rages on and on. We’re not talking about those issues are we?
Democracy struggles at home and abroad because democracy is not the plan. It’s a ruse.
Keith Obermann has the last word on this.