Inconsistency? What inconsistency?

Kevin Drum falsely accuses the President of contradicting himself.

Kevin Drum thinks there’s something self-contradictory about GWB saying in one breath that the idea of invading Iran is “ridiculous” and that it’s not “off the table.”

In fact, Mr. Bush was being entirely consistent. We’ve never in our history had a President with so little reluctance to do (and say) ridiculous things.

Update A humorless Bushite (but is there any other kind?) complains that the above is unfair.

Oh, of course; And if he’d said, “The idea is ridiculous, it’s totally off the table.”, and tomorrow the muhlahs opened up Nazi style dath camps, ans started systematically herding people into gas chambers, and we invaded to stop the genocide, lefties would be screaming, “Bush lied!”.

Your remarks are right in the spirit of Slate’s “Bushisms”, and it’s not a reasonable spirit. It’s a, “No matter how reasonable what he says is, I’ll find a way to sneer at it!” spirit. You really ought to let go of your hatred of the guy, not for his sake, but your own; It’s warping your judgement.

Putting aside for the moment the question whether someone who calls anyone who criticizes the Young Churchill a “lefty” is entitled to criticize anyone else’s reasonableness, let me acknowledge (what I thought was obvious) that Bush’s remarks did have a perfectly sensible interpretation: “It’s ridiculous to say we’re committed to an invasion now, but we might invade if conditions warranted.”

My remark (again, I thought obviously) was intended as a joke. A nasty joke, yes, about someone I truly despise, but a joke.

I’m glad to have some conservative readers, but let me issue a plea to them: Lighten up, guys. You control all three branches of the Federal government, the military, most of law enforcement, and almost all of the corporate sector. Your side is winning. Our side is allowed to criticize, and to make nasty jokes. Okay?

Another reader makes a different point:

Try a variant of Bush’s Iran line on your wife sometime and see how reassured she is: “Honey, the thought of being unfaithful to you is ridiculous, however as your husband all options are on the table.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com