Friday, September 17, 2004

Digby: Too soft on Bush, for once

Digby writes:

You know, I don't know why Atrios is so upset about people like Woodruff and Gergen and Carlson obviously spewing RNC talking points about how Kerry has to come up with a plan for Iraq in order to win, but Bush doesn't. The logic is obvious.

Suppose you hired a contractor to put on a new roof and he ended up creating a huge hole in it instead. The contractor simply denies that a hole exists and keeps telling you to relax that your new roof is coming along just fine. The other contractor in town drives by and says he can fix that hole in your roof. You ask him how and he says, "well, I'll have to take a look at it and see how much damage is done but I have years of experience and a lot of good workers and I can get the job done for you. I'll tell you one thing, that guy you've got working on it doesn't know what he's doing. The hole's getting bigger while we stand here looking at it."

Gergen, Woodruff and Carlson would pick the first contractor because they know his work. (And he's a blast to have a beer with at the end of the workday.) The second guy refused to say exactly what he would do without looking at the damage up close so he can't be trusted.

But actually, even this analogy is too easy on Bush. Iraq didn't have anything to do with al Qaeda. Iraq didn't have nuclear weapons or even an active nuclear weapons program, and the U.N. inspection process was functioning perfectly well in preventing it from developing one. And now, because we've simultaneously damaged the international nuclear inspections process (by showing that compliance won't spare you from U.S. invasion) and tied down our military in Iraq, we're in an incalculably weaker position w.r.t. defense against nuclear proliferation, and hence nuclear terrorism.

What Bush has done is more like if you hired a contractor to put on a new roof, and the first thing he does is blast a huge hole in your basement, blowing into a nearby water main, flooding your basement, and creating dangerous water-filled cracks in your walls that are going to be a big headache when they freeze next winter.

"Oops!" he says. "My bad... wait, no, I mean, my good! It's all good!" You remember having reservations when he hauled the dynamite into the basement, but he assured you that it was necessary to fix the roof, and that it would basically pay for itself. This struck you as a non sequitur, but he went ahead anyway. After a while, the flooding damage starts to get out of hand, so he asks you for more money, which you reluctantly give him, and a few months later under continuing flooding, you find out that he hasn't even spent the money you asked for. You even find out that he took some of the money you gave him to fix the bathroom and spent it buying dynamite. Now, at this point, you get really fed up and call in an independent auditor, who estimates that it will cost three times as much money to fix the basement as Bush told you it would. You ask Bush if the roof's ever going to get done, and he says "I don't think about it much anymore." And the water in the basement just keeps rising, and the outlook just keeps getting worse.

But even this analogy isn't tough enough, because, although a flooded basement is bad, it doesn't involve killing anybody.

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