Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Republican Chaos Theory

I know some others have begun drawing connections between McCain's reckless Palin pick and his other reckless policy choices, but I think the connection with the Bush-McCain Iraq invasion is particularly illustrative.

The basic reason why Bush I, along with Cheney and Powell, didn't press onto Baghdad in Gulf War I was the fear of miring the U.S. Army in a decades-long, perhaps brutal occupation of Iraq. When Bush II came on the scene, and with the nudging of neocons like Rumsfeld and Kristol, this fear basically became a virtue of sorts. Sure, it would have been preferable from the neocon viewpoint for Iraq to have been a "cakewalk" as was projected, but the fact that it wasn't, wasn't bad either. Heads they win, tails we lose. In this chaos theory of the world, either outcome was considered conducive to the neocon policy goals. A quick, easy win and exit from Iraq would have obviously both enhanced the neocons credibility while freeing the U.S. army for deployment elsewhere (say, Iran). But a prolonged Iraqi occupation served other goals: the emersion of the U.S. in the Middle East, and the furtherence of Permanent War either way.

The Palin pick strikes me as being very similar. Sure, it would have been much preferable for the McCain camp had the media and everyone swooned over Palin. But the fact that the Palin pick has instead unleashed a whirlwind of controversy, well, that isn't so bad, either, from the standpoint of a chaos theory driven campaign strategy. After all, as some conservatives like Bill Kristol have already claimed, if the McCain campaign was doomed anyway (and I don't see how that would have been case, but for the sake of argument...) than controversy or no, the Palin pick explodes the political dynamic, enlivens the conservative base (itself a double-edged sword for generating opposition among liberals and the public to the GOP's Christianist authoritarians), which serves the McCain team and his party just fine as well.

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