Monday, October 11, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist BOB HERBERT: Webs of Illusion

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist BOB HERBERT: Webs of Illusion:
"The problem for President Bush, with the election just three weeks away, is that the bad news keeps cascading in and there is very little good news to tout.

So the president and his chief supporters have resorted to the odd tactic of claiming that the bad news is good."

The double talk reached a fever pitch last week after the release of two devastating reports - the comprehensive report by Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, which destroyed any remaining doubts that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; and the Labor Department's dismal employment report for September, which heightened concerns about the strength of the economic recovery and left Mr. Bush with the dubious distinction of being the first president since Herbert Hoover to stand for re-election with fewer people working than at the beginning of his term.

Mr. Bush turned the findings of the Duelfer report upside down and inside out, telling crowds at campaign rallies that it proved Saddam Hussein had been "a gathering threat." It didn't matter that the report, ordered by the president himself, showed just the opposite. The truth would not have been helpful to the president. So with a brazenness and sleight of hand usually associated with three-card-monte players, he pulled a fast one on his cheering listeners.

Vice President Cheney had an equally peculiar response to the report, which said Iraq had destroyed its illicit weapons stockpiles in the early 1990's. Referring to the president's decision to launch the war, Mr. Cheney said, "To delay, defer, wait wasn't an option."

The September jobs report, released on the same day as Mr. Bush's second debate with Senator John Kerry, was deeply disappointing to the White House. Just 96,000 jobs were created, not even enough to keep up with the monthly expansion of the working-age population.

The somber findings forced the president's spin machine into overdrive. Reality, once again, was shoved aside. The administration's upbeat public response to the Labor Department report was described in The Times as follows: "The White House hailed it as evidence of continued employment expansion, saying that it validated Mr. Bush's strategy of pursuing tax cuts to support a recovery from the 2001 economic downturn."

In the president's parallel universe, things are always fine.

In “1984” Orwell called it Newspeak, we've come to use one of his other terms &ldquodoublespeak”

Mr. Bush sold his tax cuts as a mighty force for job creation. They weren't. The Times article that reported the sunny White House response to the disappointing job creation figures also said: "In September, an estimated 62.3 percent of the working-age population was employed, two full percentage points below the level at the beginning of the recession in March 2001. That difference represents over 4.5 million people without work."

Hyperbole is part of every politician's portfolio. But on the most serious matters facing the country, Mr. Bush's administration has often gone beyond hyperbole to deliberate misrepresentations that undermine the very idea of an informed electorate. If unpleasant realities are not acknowledged by the officials occupying the highest offices in the land, there is no chance that the full resources of the government and the people will be marshaled to meet those challenges.

I think it goes along with the docrine of infallibility of the (p)resident.
Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!
Two plus two is four, except when the state says it's five.


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/11/opinion/11herbert.html
con·cept: The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist BOB HERBERT: Webs of Illusion