Friday, June 17, 2005

Winning and losing

Thinking about Gov. Jeb "I'm next!" Bush's quest to somehow punish the husband of Terri Schiavo (by opening an inquiry into his response to her original injury fifteen years ago) reminds me of a quote attributed to Broadway impresario David Merrick. It goes like this:

It is not enough for me to win. My enemies must lose.

This explains a lot about Jeb, and his brother (George "Can You Believe I'm President?" Bush), and today's entire right-wing nutjob class. It's not so much about them winning (although winning is good), it's about making sure the other guy loses -- and feels the loss. So even when the conservatives lose on an issue (as they lost on the Schiavo case), they must make sure their opponents also lose. (Although positioning Michael Schiavo as an adversary illustrates another issue -- that the right wingnuts must also position themselves as "against" someone or something, even when no real adversarial relationship exists; that's why we have the war on "terrorism" today, just as we had the war on "Communism" during the Cold War years.)

And it's not just brother Jeb in Florida. Look at Georgie's quest to eviscerate the Social Security system. Yeah, he's losing big, but he can't help but try to paint his opponents as losers, too, by positioning them as a bunch of "do-nothing" politicians with no ideas of their own. Hey, Georgie, just because someone thinks your ideas suck doesn't mean they don't have any alternate ideas -- or that alternate ideas are necessary. Isn't it good enough to not jump off the cliff; do you really need an alternative plan?

So opponents become enemies, and enemies must lose -- and be punished. Compassionate conservative, my ass. This is old-school rough-and-tumble power-hungry politics at its worst, and sooner or later the public will notice it and drive these scoundrels out of town on a rail. I'll bring the tar if you bring the feathers!

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

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