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Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The double-bind could be to Bush's credit

I think it is one mark of a successful politician that even his mainstream opponents are unable to adopt a consistent line on just what is wrong with him. The language of opposition to Margaret Thatcher varies enormously, from those relaxed about accepting an enormous chunk of the Thatcherite agenda as the new political consensus to those who loathe deeply what she did and stood for. Tony Blair has also succeeded in this regard. There are many possible lines of attack on this Prime Minister, but the Conservatives took almost a decade finally to decide on it, if indeed they have yet done so.

In that spirit, I can even more fiercely recommend Rich Lowry's excellent piece in the National Review on America's 'double-bind President'. What a tour de force. Do read it all.

Sometimes a political figure becomes so hated that he can't do anything right in the eyes of his enemies. President Bush has achieved this rare and exalted status. His critics are so blinded by animus that the internal consistency of their attacks on him no longer matters. For them, Bush is the double-bind president.

If he stumbles over his words, he is an embarrassing idiot. If he manages to cut taxes or wage a war against Saddam Hussein with bipartisan support, he is a manipulative genius.

If he hasn't been able to capture Osama bin Laden, he is endangering U.S. security. If he catches bin Laden, it is only a ploy to influence the elections.

If he ignores U.N. resolutions, he is a dangerous unilateralist. If he takes U.N. resolutions on Iraq seriously, he is a dangerous unilateralist.
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