fact-checking is for dweebs

Eric alterman has a fantastic article on the modus operandi of the Bush White House. The main point:

Discussing this phenomenon, Michael Kinsley ruminated on the modus operandi that distinguished this White House from previous ones: �Bush II administration lies are often so laughably obvious that you wonder why they bother. Until you realize: They haven't bothered. If telling the truth was less bother, they'd try that too. The characteristic Bush II form of dishonesty is to construct an alternative reality on some topic and to regard anyone who objects to it as a sniveling dweeb obsessed with �nuance,� which the president of this class, I mean of the United States, has more important things to do than worry about.�

In his third State of the Union, Bush moved from nuance to nonsense. The president pretended that his original invasion had been inspired by something he termed �weapons of mass destruction program-related activities� instead of the weapons themselves. Not only did this contradict literally hundreds of statements by top administration officials who clamed to have clear, positive proof of actual weapons�Cheney even spoke of �reconstituted nuclear weapons��it is also rather difficult to figure out what in blazes it is supposed to mean.

"from nuance to nonsense" - well-put. The institutionalized laziness of the Administration takes almost mythic amounts of rationalization to fail to observe. The sole reason for it is because on all matters of policy, there is already a course of action inspired by simple ideological demands (generated from various sovereign ideological entities within the administration) which has been decided ahead of time. The function of people like former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is therefore not to help shape policy, but to simply generate cover for the a priori policy. This is well-illustrated in Alterman's example from O'Neills book:

One of the lesser-noticed, but most revealing incidents in Paul O�Neill�s memoir once-removed, �The Price of Loyalty,� also takes place during the first Bush State of the Union. As O�Neill tells it, he woke up on the day of the address to read on the front page of the New York Times that the president was planning on using some cockamamie calculation�provided by a mistaken midlevel OMB employee�to justify nearly $700 billion in tax cuts. Furious and nearly shaking with disbelief, O�Neill tried to head it off but was informed that since the document had already been leaked to the media by the White House political staff, it was too late to correct it. How in the world, he wondered, could Rove and company �decide to do things like this and no even consult with the people in government who know what�s true or not? Who was in charge here? This is complete bull****.��

I honestly believe that the President himself is simply weak. He isn't involved in these ideological decisions, nor in their iplementation. He's the pretty face put up with divine or warrior imagery for the cameras. The real root of the problem is Cheney. Case in point...

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