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Hullabaloo


Friday, August 10, 2007

 
Kiss of Death

by digby

Gosh, this makes me proud:

U.S. Backs Free Elections, Only to See Allies Lose

Lebanon’s political spin masters have been trying in recent days to explain the results of last Sunday’s pivotal by-election, which saw a relatively unknown candidate from the opposition narrowly beat a former president, Amin Gemayel.

There has been talk of the Christian vote and the Armenian vote, of history and betrayal, as each side sought to claim victory. There is one explanation, however, that has become common wisdom in the region: Mr. Gemayel’s doom seems to have been sealed by his support from the Bush administration and the implied agendas behind its backing.

“It’s the kiss of death,” said Turki al-Rasheed, a Saudi reformer who watched last Sunday’s elections closely. “The minute you are counted on or backed by the Americans, kiss it goodbye, you will never win.”


Hey, you can't really blame people overseas for thinking this way. I doubt that anyone overseas has been any more impressed with their commitment to democracy than I have since they launched it directly after stealing an election at home and telling everyone who raised the slightest protest to go cheney themselves. There may be people in the world less credible on the issue of democracy, but I can't think of any who have made such a fetish of insisting that other countries do as they say but not as they do.

Furthermore, the Bush administration has such a reputation for lying and incompetence, the smart bet is to do exactly the opposite of what they prescribe in any situation. You can't go wrong assuming that if they want something it's for self-serving reasons and that if they get what they want, they will screw it up so badly that even if it were well-intentioned it would come out badly anyway.

This is going to be a big problem for the US for a long time to come. People may recognize that Bush and Cheney are somewhat unique cases, but they also know that the bipartisan political establishment pretty much backed everything he did. It makes it very hard to argue that anyone else will be substantially different. It is imperative that whoever wins the presidency, whether Democrat or Republican (god forbid), makes it their first priority to distance themselves from the Bush administration's policies --- even if on the substance they don't actually do it. (Again, god forbid.) Regardless of the merits of Cheney's strategic wet dreams, which in my view are nearly non-existent, the perception of them overseas are toxic and are distorting the world's politics. And that is making everything much more unpredictable and dangerous --- exactly what we do not need.

No matter what a new administration does, the single most important rhetorical tool they must employ is Bush bashing. And I mean that seriously. Our credibility around the world is moribund until the US government repudiates George W. Cheney.


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