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Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Inability to tell fiction from reality
I remember reading Speaker for the Dead and thinking that Orson Scott Card was a really good writer. Then I read a couple more of his books and mentally added "...for a lunatic." I haven't followed his politics, other than seeing some perplexity among some bloggers that Andrew Sullivan sometimes quotes him with approval despite his attitudes toward homosexuality. But a right-wing acquaintance pointed me toward this Opinion Journal article, which the editors there apparently failed to recognize as fiction. I suspect that the author made the same error.
Instead, their platforms range from Howard Dean's "Bush is the devil" to everybody else's "I'll make you rich, and Bush is quite similar to the devil." Since President Bush is quite plainly not the devil, one wonders why anyone in the Democratic Party thinks this ploy will play with the general public.
Card claims to be a Democrat, but certainly doesn't seem to have been paying any attention to "his" party's candidates. To describe those as "mischaracterizations" of their positions would be preposterously charitable.
But then I watch the steady campaign of the national news media to try to win this for the Democrats, and I wonder. Could this insane, self-destructive, extremist-dominated party actually win the presidency? It might--because the media are trying as hard as they can to pound home the message that the Bush presidency is a failure--even though by every rational measure it is not.
I'm not sure what "national news media" he's talking about, but it's not the one that I see blithely repeating everything coming out of the White House as though it were Holy Writ. And I wonder if Card doesn't consider the Federal deficit, the number of jobs lost, or the fact that the Administration flat-out lied about WMD as "rational measures" for considiering the Administration to be a miserable failure.
And the most vile part of this campaign against Mr. Bush is that the terrorist war is being used as a tool to try to defeat him--which means that if Mr. Bush does not win, we will certainly lose the war. Indeed, the anti-Bush campaign threatens to undermine our war effort, give encouragement to our enemies, and cost American lives during the long year of campaigning that lies ahead of us.
And, of course, opposition to Dear Leader is treason. Nicely finessed, along with the fiction that somehow it's wrong to use the war as an issue against Bush, but there's nothing wrong with him using is as a campaign backdrop.
Vietnam was a quagmire only because we fought it that way. If we had closed North Vietnam's ports and carried the war to the enemy, victory could have been relatively quick. However, the risk of Chinese involvement was too great.
I think you have to be a pretty good writer to get away with contradicting yourself completely in the space of three sentences. Really, was it "only because" of our bad choices, or was it because of "the risk of Chinese involvement"?
We lost the war when the Democrat-controlled Congress specifically banned all military aid to South Vietnam, and a beleaguered Republican president signed it into law. With Russia and China massively supplying North Vietnam, and Saigon forced to buy pathetic quantities of ammunition and spare parts on the open market because America had cut off all aid, the imbalance doomed them, and they knew it.
I'm not a Vietnam historian, but I'm immensely dubious of any formula that would put all the blame for years of bad American political and military choices on a single act.
I would not have chosen Afghanistan and Iraq to start with; Syria, Iran, Sudan and Libya were much more culpable and militarily more important to neutralize as sponsors of terror. (They say that Libya and Sudan have changed their tune lately, but I have my doubts.)
Pardon me? Now, Card is apparently either not aware or willfully ignoring that none of the Democratic candidates opposed the attack on Afghanistan. It was eminiently justified, as al Qaeda was actively involved in helping the Taliban run the country and bin Laden was operating freely there. So why on Earth would he have attacked Syria or Sudan? Don't look for answers in this article.

But then he veers off into complete fiction.

It's not just the war, of course. Notice that even though our recent recession began under President Clinton, the media invariably refer to it as if Mr. Bush had caused it; and even though by every measure, the recession is over, they still cover it as if the American economy were in desperate shape.
What can you say? The NBER disagrees that the recession began under President Clinton. And again, I don't know where he's finding this monolithic media that's not been reporting Bush's promises of new jobs at least as loudly as the truth that we're not creating jobs, or that's not been reporting Bush's promises of the wonders of tax cuts in years to come at least as loudly as the truth of huge deficits today.

Apparently even Lieberman isn't conservative, proper, and bloodthirsty enough for Card. Why is this man a Democrat? I don't ask that as an accusation, but out of confusion. He doesn't appear to like anything about the party, so why does he choose to identify with them?

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