Blood Without Glamour

by Scott McLemee on October 12, 2007

The secret of GWB’s success—for a while there, anyway—was that he was so comfortable playing the role that Phil Nugent nails as, “Sure, he’s a different kind of cop and he doesn’t play by the book—but he gets results!”

So what’s up with the lame duck’s recent lameness?

By now, it’s clear that “We don’t torture” is going to be George Bush’s equivalent to “I am not a crook” or “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”—an embarrassingly transparent, obviously untrue statement that the speaker never would have even made in the first place if he hadn’t been obligated to deny something that everybody had already figured out was the case. In the earlier examples, you could at least understand the emotions behind the decision to go on TV and indignantly challenge these unfounded accusations that the sun is hot. In Nixon’s case, it must have been deeply nerve-racking for a such a rigid, uptight old Quaker, one who had built his administration on promises of restoring “law and order” to a nation that had lost its moral compass, to start seeing cartoons of himself and his top aides in prison stripes in the paper every damn day. The very idea undermined everything that he wanted to believe about himself and everything his supporters wanted to believe about him. As for Clinton, for a free-wheeling, charismatic dude who had a well-documented taste for the ladies and a serious JFK complex, it must have been…well, anyway, I’m sure he didn’t want to sleep on the couch. But George Bush is supposed to be our self-styled Mr. Grim Reality, President Bauer. Why the hell is he denying that we do what he must know his most hardcore supporters worship him for having the balls to do? Why doesn’t he respond to questions about whether we torture by barking “Damn straight,” and then pulling a former Gitmo resident’s spleen out of his jacket pocket to gnaw?

Excellent question. Check out the rest of Nugent’s post for the answer. H/t Jerome Weeks.

{ 9 comments }

1

abb1 10.12.07 at 5:18 pm

He says “we don’t torture” for exactly the same reason others say “on advice of my counsel I respectfully assert my fifth amendment right against self-incrimination”.

2

Grand Moff Texan 10.12.07 at 6:12 pm

Why the hell is he denying that we do what he must know his most hardcore supporters worship him for having the balls to do?

Why do neo-Nazis insist that the holocaust didn’t happen … then turn around and talk about doing it again?
.

3

Greg 10.12.07 at 9:19 pm

Wow GMT, Godwin in only 2 posts. New record.

4

Leinad 10.13.07 at 1:38 am

Uh, my understanding of Godwin is that it doesn’t apply to neo-nazis, but comparison to Hitler or the NSDAP. It’d be hard to discuss neo-Nazis if it did apply…

5

Stuart 10.13.07 at 1:56 am

I think in practise it is supposed to only apply to inappropriate comparisions to Hitler, fascists and/or Nazis. Where inappropriate is most usually interpreted to be anything that is essentially unsubstantiated. So the fascism series at Orcinus shouldn’t be claimed as a Godwin violation – whether you agree with Neiwerts line of argument or not, it is clearly not being used as hyperbole or smear, but as a reasoned argument.

6

Leinad 10.13.07 at 2:11 am

Furthermore, the original Godwin’s Law was descriptive, not normative: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” the whole “Godwin! You lose!” thing is a more recent adaptation.

7

bi 10.13.07 at 8:02 pm

“But George Bush is supposed to be our self-styled Mr. Grim Reality, President Bauer. Why the hell is he denying that we do what he must know his most hardcore supporters worship him for having the balls to do?”

“Why do neo-Nazis insist that the holocaust didn’t happen … then turn around and talk about doing it again?”

I’d guess it’s because there are two parts to this Great War on Everything That’s Not Us. One part involves pandering to the support base; the other part involves stockpiling rhetorical missiles to launch at people outside of this support base.

8

bi 10.13.07 at 8:27 pm

…the effect of which may well feed back to the support base. If your sales pitch is based on being absolutely right, as they watch the hordes of disbelievers succumb to the force of the Anti-Idiotarian Missiles.

9

just sayin 10.15.07 at 5:06 pm

Because the only thing his hardcore supporters worship more than the torture is his willingness to lie in the face of decent society and his ability to do it with impunity.

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