Kurt Eichenwald's concise retrospective in this morning's NY Times on the Bush administration's colossal failures in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks bizarrely connects, I would argue, to the Romney campaign's ultimate failure of 2012--one that revolves, paradoxically, around W.'s greatest success, the Big Lie.
"He kept us safe." Seldom has the Lie come any Bigger. The early Bush administration was sweating out Cold War bogeymen while its counterterrorism advisers were growing "apoplectic," as Eichenwald puts it, "about the possibility of a Qaeda attack." Fast-forward to 9/12. The official Big Lie begins: not only was the terrorist assault impossibly unpredictable, but George W. Bush would soon keep us safe throughout his entire administration.
Bush's Big Lie was a galloping success. And let us not forget that it was strategically built on the unimpaired shoulders of that preceding giant Lie, the magnificent benefits of supply-side economics--which had in fact for 20 years been corroding the nation's structural fiscal health and exploding wealth inequality. But hey, if American voters were oblivious enough to buy that, they just might buy what Bush was derivatively selling. They did.
Fast-forward to the present. Romney, Fehrnstrom & Associates looked back on the Big Lie's extraordinarily triumphant history, from Reagan to Bush II, and thought to themselves: You know, if they can do it, we can do it. It appears American voters will buy almost anything, if told to them often enough and gravely enough. They might even buy the Big Lie that we're selling, which is, fundamentally, that our American president is unAmerican.
The only thing Romney has demonstrated, though, is that the Big Lie indeed has its limits. Finally.