Tuesday, May 04, 2004

War without cost

Sterling Newberry has an excellent diary entry on the use of imagery by the Dean campaign.

What made the Dean movement work is something very simple - something touched upon by Bill Maher's "When you ride alone, you ride with bin Laden": namely, Americans want a war. Or more exactly, we want a war effort. It is what the country demanded in the wake of 911, and what we did not get. On the contrary, what we got was a phony war, and a phony war effort.

What made the devotion to Dean work was that Howard Dean took us to war. He called on Americans to build a homefront, and Americans responded, as they continue to respond today as other campaigns, including the one I work for ask Americans to give of themselves, for the good of the country, and towards a larger victory.

The Republicans like to criticize Democrats for promising the moon while avoiding discussing the cost of getting there. Yet what is Bush's "War on Terror" but giving America a way to vent their anger after 9/11 without asking them to actually sacrifice anything to pay for it? It's the ultimate example of spoiled bratishness.

Kind of what you would expect from Bush.

War is expensive. War can not be waged "on the cheap" (ala Don Rumsfeld). If people want a war then they better well be prepared to deal with the cost of that war. And Americans, God bless them, generally have been willing to make that sacrifice.

But when our leaders try to give us war without sacrifice ultimately the phonyness and bullshit builds up until it all comes crashing around our shoulders. And Americans, God bless them, sense this in their hearts and love it when a leader comes along who appeals to this sense of sacrifice (FDR, Churchill and Dean).

To many politicians are afraid to ask their constituents to dig into their pockets and pay for the costs of whatever battle needs to be waged because they have bought into the whole notion that the voters are interested only in money and keeping as much of it as they can. So we end up with leaders who promise to give us the moon without asking us to pay the cost of the ticket to get there.

And Bush is the biggest huckster of the lot.


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