07 November 2006

A Difference Between Reagan and Bush

Bush the younger has said that he wants his presidency to be like Reagan's, not his father's. He has erred terribly in his attempt at emulation.

Perhaps more than any candidate, Reagan understood the theater of politics. When he wanted to stand tall, he invaded Grenada, one of the smallest countries in the world, and did not even allow the press to cover that invasion so intent was he on controlling image.

George bought into the myth of omnipotence, the image that Reagan projected, and decided that he, too, wanted to be strong in the world, standing up against and battling evil. The problem is, he thought there was substance behind the theater and took on a real war, the outcome of which could not be so easily managed.

Reagan was smart enough to realize that it was easier to manipulate perceptions and voters than reality. George, like a fan of magicians who doesn't understand illusion and really does try to catch the bullet with his teeth, took on the impossible task of invading and rebuilding Iraq. This has proved to be a far cry from standing tall on the shores of Grenada, a country that could have been subdued with a SWAT team.

Like Reagan, George is performing theater. Unlike Reagan, George doesn't realize it is theater.

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