Tuesday, June 29, 2004


This Dionne column is quite good, and not just because it raises the possibility of big Dem takeover. There are a lot of good nuggets in there, but I wanted to highlight this one:

But there is one last bit of evidence suggesting that Inslee and Baird are on to something. In late August 2002, at the beginning of the buildup to the Iraq war, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 37 percent of Americans felt Bush had laid out a case for military action; 52 percent felt he had not.

In other words, millions of middle-of-the-road Americans had doubts about the war before it started. Many of those doubters eventually went along with the president but now question the war and the way the administration handled it. If Inslee is right about his tidal wave, the doubters will give it its power.

One of the reasons that the media behavior in the run-up to the war was so atrocious was that its coverage really did go against overall public opinion in the country. Polls tended to show a slim majority in support for the war, and when people were given an 'option B' (increase UN involvement, let inspections take longer, whatever...) then a pretty solid majority went for it. It was clear that a pretty big chunk of war support was given very reluctantly, and right before the bombs dropped a clear majority were indeed against "this war."

As Big Media Matt has pointed out a couple of times, post 9/11 the Bushies could have gotten 98% of what they wanted (including the war) and headed into this election being unbeatable if only they'd played a more subtle game. Instead, they went the brute force route, which wouldn't have even worked without a compliant media.

But, anyway, the reason Michael Moore's movie is so popular is mostly because he's presenting a certain point of view which is almost entirely missing from mainstream media. Basically, it's 3 things - 1) Bush isn't such a great leader, 2) It's fair to question Bush's motives, and 3) The Iraq war was a really bad idea. Now, whatever the rightness or wrongness of those perspectives, they aren't being articulated in the mainstream.