Presidential Progression

Our reality-challenged President in historical perspective.

Saletan and Weisberg agree that Kerry ought to attack Bush as reality-impaired rather than mendacious. I’m less persuaded than they are that “badly out of touch” is a more accurate description of GWB than “incorrigible b.s. artist,” but they may well be right that it would be an easier sell to undecided voters.

(And I entirely agree that the Democrats ought to pick a phrase — “lost in a fantasy world of spin” would do as well as any — and push it until everyone who pays attention is sick of it: which is the point at which the folks who aren’t paying attention, who after all constitute most of the remaining persuadables, will have vaguely heard of it, and at which the “objective” journalists will consider it fact rather than opinion. (“George W. Bush, often described as lost in a fantasy world of spin, said today that … ” )

But since a narrative without an image lacks punch (“What good is a book,” said Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”) I have decided — admittedly without much originality of thought — to provide one:

COULD NOT TELL A LIE:

gw.jpg

COULD NOT TELL THE TRUTH:

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CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE:

georgebush.jpg

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