In the adminsitration's mania to fabricate "crises" that justify the implementation of its ideological agenda, the administration actually succeeds in creating real crises. Their ill-formulated, misguided policies have invariably produced blowback far worse than the initial situations use to justify them. Just as importantly, their willingness to lie to advance their programme has created a credibility crisis that will burden the American people for generations to come.
The Iraq "crisis" was fake: there were no weapons of mass destruction there. Now, though, our military is broken and Iraq is a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists. [BBC; report text]
The credibility crisis is real. The Bush administration is not believed around the world - if we ever saw an actual wolf, international leaders would not believe us. [See the transcript of Zbigniew's remarks over at the Washingtonnote] Many Americans would not believe Bush. We have frittered away our credibility on human rights.
More on the president's "crises:"
Jim VandeHei, Washington Post:
Painting a grim picture of problems is as old as politics itself. But Democrats and some presidential scholars say there is a danger for Bush if he appears to stoke fears for political gain. The Bush administration was criticized throughout the campaign -- and before -- for its repeated prewar warnings of Saddam Hussein's deadly weapons cache, which turned out to be based on faulty intelligence and proved largely untrue. Democrats contend Bush also exaggerated the nation's economic problems to justify tax cuts, terrorist threats to convince the public of the need for restrictions on civil liberties, and John F. Kerry's record to win a second term.Harold Meyerson, Washington Post:
But when historians look back at the Bush presidency, they're more likely to note that what sets Bush apart is not the crises he managed but the crises he fabricated. The fabricated crisis is the hallmark of the Bush presidency. To attain goals that he had set for himself before he took office -- the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the privatization of Social Security -- he concocted crises where there were none.Dick Meyer, CBS News.
Rolling Stone interview with Krugman on the social security "crisis."
Chicago Sun Times on the tort "crisis."
But the American people, at least a majority, apparently have forgiven Bush for his foray into Iraq and backed his administration by re-electing him to a second term.MSNBC:
And that has apparently emboldened the administration to use the impending crisis device on the domestic front. Consider the changes Bush wants to make to the Social Security program. His rallying cry is that there’s an imminent crisis and action must be taken “now.”
But the crisis isn’t imminent. Sure, there’s fiscal trouble down the road but it’s at least a decade or more away.
Congress can take a few years to thoughtfully examine the program and make changes without gutting it.
Bush has gotten away with misleading the American public into war. But he shouldn’t try a similar “crisis” approach to ram through his proposed changes to domestic programs.
The public trust in his credibility may wear thin if he relies on this hyped-up crisis mode instead of true and reliable leadership, based on facts.
Sen. Edward Kennedy accused President Bush Wednesday of hyping concerns about the nation’s retirement program just as he did on Iraq and urged Democrats to stand up to the "politics of fear"...
"We have an administration that falsely hypes almost every issue as a crisis," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a speech prepared for delivery at the National Press Club. "They did it on Iraq, and they are doing it now on Social Security."
"They exploit the politics of fear and division, while ours is a politics of hope and unity," Kennedy said.
"In the face of their tactics, we cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices," said Kennedy, who at 72 has become an elder statesman in the Democratic Party.
"We cannot become Republican clones," he said. "If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose. As I have said on other occasions, the last thing this country needs is two Republican parties."