Thursday, May 06, 2004

Outrage Fatigue
I think I am getting outrage fatigue. It is taking more and more energy for me to log on and hack out the usual morning rant for this blog. Good thing the rest of the world is retaining its capacity for outrage. Maureen Dowd can still get it on. (Her column echoes one storyline in last week's episode of The West Wing, in which a presidential aide realizes the happy-go-lucky speech the president gave at the correspondent's dinner was inappropriate for the times.) Dowd's Times colleague, Thomas Friedman, who's been one of the cheerleaders for the Iraq war, suggests this morning that Bush has to fire Donald Rumsfeld over the prisoner abuse case. (I would bet the house against this happening.) In describing the broad worldwide anger at the United States over Iraq, Friedman gets off the quote of the day: "It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom 'Friends' right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving."

The Arab world is no doubt still outraged. I caught some of Bush's comments to Arab TV yesterday--if another dose of his usual dishwater convinced one solitary person to change his opinion of us, it'll be a miracle. Bush spoke to two TV channels, but neither of them was Al Jazeera, the channel everybody watches over there--which is kind of like going on UPN and the WB in the States, but not bothering with CNN.

When whatever outrage I can still muster gives way, it subsides into a kind of sick fear that despite everything, Bush is going to get reelected in the fall--because of voter ignorance, Democrat incompetence, Republican shenanigans, or equal measures of all three. To that troika we can add a fourth--Ralph Nader. Last Sunday, the Washington Post provided an update on Nader's candidacy, and it bodes well not at all for Democrats. Nader is moving to position himself as a peace candidate--but his plan for Middle East peace is on the order of a famous 1969 New Yorker cartoon. Rather ironic, all in all: The deaf and blind peaceniks who vote for him will thus deliver the presidency to a candidate who promises perpetual war.

And now I'm outraged again.

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