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January 25, 2008

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Maybe there's a corollary of the Intentional Fallacy that more charitably explains Mr Bush's interpretation of the painting.

But he _does_ look like Bush.

Maybe there's a corollary of the Intentional Fallacy

the Intentional Fallacy... i like that. it describes Bush's supporters for the past 6 years: why Bush invaded Iraq is not important! it's only important that he did!

I remember years on this blog repeating "There is no incompetence" in an attempt to encourage posters to recognize actual malice or iniquity in the actions of the Bush administration and its supporters.

The difference in tone from in those past magnanimous posts and the recent Clnton criticisms is striking, and I think, revealing. But I am not surprised or disappointed.

We reveal ourselves in what we hate.

Bob, I've always believed there's plenty of malice, iniquity, *and* incompetence in the Bush administration. Probably a bit of insanity as well.

Bob: What KCinDC said. With Clinton, though, I don't tend to think incompetence is in the mix.

Exactly. HC reveals herself in what she hates, and foists it upon all of us. And yes, everybody has forgotten. That is what is so demoralizing. Otherwise insightful and perceptive people do not seem outraged, are not shouting "the empress has no clothes!" Have we been staring at this painting for too long? What if TV's were turned off across the nation. Who, by the dint of his honesty and clarity, without the protective cover of hype, hypnosis, and noise, would win in a true stump in the clearing debate?

The problem I've had with parts of your "I meant to do that" theory, Bob, is that (like many conspiracy theories) it requires evildoers with an unbelievable ability to accurately predict the future consequences of complex series of events.

"...accurately predict the future consequences of complex series of events."

Umm, isn't the predictability of the outcomes of the tax cuts or Iraq invasion very much now the accepted wisdom of the left blogosphere? If so, aren't excuses of incompetence or insanity granted the Republicans entirely too generous or an over-complicated explanation?

hilzoy, you may do what you will with Clinton. I am not arguing the primaries anymore.

I just beg for no more "stupid Bush" posts. I am exhausted after seven years.

He came to believe that the picture depicted the circuit-riders who spread Methodism across the Alleghenies in the nineteenth century. In other words, the cowboy who looked like Bush was a missionary of his own denomination.

Only that is not the title, message, or meaning of the painting.

The problem here is that Weisberg is living in what we like to call the reality based community.

He doesn't realize that Bush and his friends have magic powers. In their world, things are exactly what they imagine them to be.

Thanks -

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

I suspect this is not typical of just Bush, Republicans as a whole believe if they clap loud enough, all their dreams will come true.

I just beg for no more "stupid Bush" posts

Damn!

Sorry man, we cross-posted.

Thanks -

hilzoy: "For what it's worth: it's not even a good picture."

Maybe your linked version of the illustration is from one of the magazine copies, and not the original oil (Bush probably has that) because Koerner was a museum quality painter-artist-illustrator. More info and examples HERE

"In their world, things are exactly what they imagine them to be."

Here we go again.

Okay to rephrase my point. Since your post about the painting is comment free, I can't use it. Maybe Bush is lying about the painting, you don't speculate.

But for instance as "tax cuts pay for themselves" we do have evidence...Norquist, "starve-the-beast", actual Republican practice...to indicate that Republican Presidential candidates may not actually believe what they say about tax cuts. IOW, they are lying, not ignorant or delusional.

It just seems to me that you are more willing to speculate on Clinton's understanding of her own words than you have been for several years on Bush/Republican self-understandings of their statements.

You may believe the evidence is stronger in the Clinton case, but I would argue that a clearer understanding of elite Republican motivations is far more important.

And you may even disagree on that. Whatever.

Hi Bob. I've been with you the whole time.

1) Clinton said Obama said "X"
2) Obama did not say "X", and Clinton knows it (was this proven? I presume so, although without a confession, I am not sure how we can tell)
3) Therefore Clinton is "lying", "inarguably"
...
1) Admin official said they would be greeted with flowers, ie, the occupation would be easy
2) The occupation was not easy, and no sane or informed person could have believed the occupation would be easy
3) Yet Bush official were telling the truth, they actually believed the occupation would be easy. Or we don't have evidence enough to prove otherwise.

(Need I link to posts where Bush or Rumsfeld statements were treated in this way? The one at 6:00 PM is an example. Ricks or whomever was I am sure quoting accurately, but do I have reason to believe the person quoted was telling the truth?)
...
"With Clinton, though, I don't tend to think incompetence is in the mix."

You are more willing to attribute malice to Clinton than you were to Bush officials. As I said, I find this illuminating.

Apologies for collapsing the Godwin function, but via Ran Prieur (no permalinks) here's a minor parallel with good old Uniquely Evil Person himself. (painting itself visible here)

Bush identifying with the painting is additionally weird in view of Bush reputedly being afraid of horses. When he was visiting the Saudis recently I found myself wondering whether hosting him at Abdullah's horse ranch was a not-so-subtle dig.

Bob: I have never, ever denied malice on the part of Bush officials. I just don't think malice and incompetence are mutually exclusive, and some things strike me as better explained by one than the other, when both explanations are available.

As it happens, though, I think a lot more of HRC's talents than I do of Bush's.

And Jay J: I'm more than willing to think that the artist was generally good, and/or that the reproduction I saw didn't do this particular painting justice. But the colors are awful, and there's something really off about the composition, to me.

Since your post about the painting is comment free, I can't use it. Maybe Bush is lying about the painting, you don't speculate.

Hey Bob -- I wasn't actually responding to your comments. I was just making fun of Bush for being such a narcissistic idiot.

Not "idiot" in the modern sense of lacking intellectual capacity, but in the original sense of being someone living, contentedly, in their own, private world, and thus being sort of unfit for active engagement in the polis.

I don't know if Bush was lying or not. I don't think it matters, least of all to him. The painting, in his mind, is, of course, what he wants it to be.

But I don't mind addressing your point:

I remember years on this blog repeating "There is no incompetence" in an attempt to encourage posters to recognize actual malice or iniquity in the actions of the Bush administration and its supporters.

Do we have to pick between incompetence and malice?

Thanks -

I wonder: In Bush's narrative, where the lead rider is a Methodist minister, who are the ones chasing him, overly territorial Episcopalians?

"Do we have to pick between incompetence and malice?"

Oh, I think it can be very useful indeed.

1) Incompetence, ignorance that is not willful, and insanity are all either legal or moral defenses of destructive behavior.

2) Are you seriously asking whether it is important or relevant whether the driver that hits your car is drunk or reckless...or deliberately trying to hurt you?

Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence.

Hi, bob. I guess you have been driven shrill by the malevolence, mendacity and sheer disconnection from reality, discounting the incompetence.

It hasn't been all to their benefit, though. They just manage to get soft landings. They have a lot of influential friends.

I think we can work this out. Bob, would it make you feel better if Hilzoy was willing to ascribe Bush's stonewalling on [torture/domestic surveillance/Valerie Plame/pretty much any issue begging for congressional oversight] to malice, and to likewise ascribe Sen. Clinton's Iraq War vote to incompetence?

Hilzoy?

who are the ones chasing him, overly territorial Episcopalians?

Classic.

After 9/11, there was nothing but malice, and incompetence followed.

Our President is breaking down and, as much as we may despise him, we shouldn’t take pleasure in his fall.

We pay the price in the end.

"For what it's worth: it's not even a good picture."

But damn if that horse thief doesn't look like Bush...

Were there any real proselytizing Christian Cowboys, during the 19th Century?
Does anybody have names?
I think that would be an interesting story. If they existed.

Are you seriously asking whether it is important or relevant whether the driver that hits your car is drunk or reckless...or deliberately trying to hurt you?

No. I'm pointing out that the driver can be *both* drunk and reckless, *and* deliberately trying to hurt me.

Our President is breaking down and, as much as we may despise him, we shouldn’t take pleasure in his fall.

We pay the price in the end.

We're going to pay the price either way, in spades. If we get a few laughs out of it, I don't see the harm.

Thanks -

As someone who spent a lot of time taking Bob McManus' theory to heart, I'm pleased to see him back commenting. While I don't go all the way that he does, I think it is very important to have someone raising the possibilities he does. The one small gripe I have is that his comments sometimes seem to revolve around the notion of 'I'm right, you guys were wrong', which, to me, doesn't seem like a useful outlet for energies. But this is a very minor gripe, and shouldn't overshadow the points that Bob is continuing to make.

I'd also point out that my favorite McManus comments are (if I am remembering correctly) an exegesis of Ulysses and a series of comments of Lord of the Rings, which are here. If anyone can find the former comment, I would appreciate it.

Who, by the dint of his honesty and clarity, without the protective cover of hype, hypnosis, and noise, would win in a true stump in the clearing debate?

Wishing for the return of some golden age of the past is not uncommon, but you shouldn't think it has anything to do with the real world. Consider Honest Abe, the Railsplitter, born in a log cabin, the paradigm of the "true stump in the clearing debater," who in the real world was a very successful railroad attorney. "Hype, hypnosis, and noise" were some of his secrets of success.

A metaphor within a metaphor. This whole story is representative of George Bush, his administration and today's Republican party. Horse thief - How appropriate!

You know, this is really a perfect encapsulation of the presidency of George W. Bush.

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