Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Compare and Contrast

Rick Perlstein, courtesy Digby, reminds us of another historical parallel to the Vietnam era:
Rick Perlstein wrote me an e-mail and reminded me that it was just two weeks after the biggest peace march in American history that Dick Nixon gave his famous "Silent majority" speech on Vietnam --- November 3, 1969. He laid out his plan to "win" the war and successfully marginalized what was becoming a very mainstream anti-war movement. Perlstein thinks that the Bush people probably studied this speech very closely and I suspect he's right.
I suspect he is right to. But there is one major difference between then and now. Then Nixon had a very visible protest ("the biggest in American history") with which to contrast against his "Silent Majority". Now Bush has no similarly sized organized anti-war effort to use as a contrast (as I talked about previously). That doesn't mean Bush won't try to paint what criticism he has received as part of some unwashed, Hate-America-First, rabble. Karl Rove gave a preview of this last week. But Nixon's job was a lot easier than it will be for Bush. There really was a large unwashed rabble screaming at the gates for Nixon to point to and say, "If you don't want to be seen like that then you better support me." Bush/Rove has tried to paint MoveOn as the modern day equivalent, but the comparison is rather problematical when you have to contrast this: With this: (The latter image is of Wes Boyd and Joan Blades, the founders of MoveOn. I don't know who the hippie peacenik is.) Read all of Digby's post. He points out the many difficulties Bush will have in having a Nixonian moment tonight. That isn't to say he can't pull it off, of course. Ever vigilant.

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