When John Kerry ran for President against George Bush, one of the major issues that GOP pundits had with him was that he was "nuanced." Oh, my, they had a lovely field day about that. Nuance, hahaha. This isn't a nuanced world, they laughed. It's black and white, and George Bush knows that. John Kerry wants to nuance it. That's what's wrong with John Kerry, they tittered. Nuance.
Last week, the one man left who George Bush is relying on to protect his back in Iraq, General David Petraeus, made his latest plea for support, saying he'll come back in September with a report on the progress of the Surge. And how does he - the man George Bush is putting all his reliance on - plan to describe that report?
"People always want to get a sense of thumbs up or thumbs down," the General said. "What I'd like to provide is a nuanced paragraph. And what we'll end up with is something in between."
Gee. Go figure. Nuance.
The man - no, not just any man, but a tough-as-nails Army General, no less - right there in the middle of the Iraq War, one of George Bush's beloved "soldiers on the ground" (indeed, THE soldier on the ground), the General who supposedly knows the situation in Iraq better than anyone in the world...he says the situation in Iraq is "nuanced."
No doubt Republicans are laughing their keisters off and ridiculing the apparently Frenchified General Petraeus. No doubt GOP talk-show airwaves are heated up, ripping Monsieur le General endlessly about his dapper, high-toned outlook at the fighting. No doubt Administration officials will be making speeches deriding such an out of touch military leader whose brain has gotten not just fried, but French fried. Either than, or all their bile is choking in their throats.
Considering that former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd recently wrote an unpublished op-ed piece titled "Kerry Was Right" about withdrawal from Iraq, this ongoing post-approval of John Kerry by Administration insiders must be galling to the Radical Right. (Or "gaulling," as the French like to say.).
But this isn't about whether John Kerry was right, regularly. It's about how woefully wrong the White House and its Republican Adherents have been, and remain. Wrong and blind. Unable to see that there was 800 years of sectarian fighting in Iraq long before we went there. Unable to see there weren't any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and how that would crush American claims to be there. Unable to see that a civil war has broken out in Iraq, and that the U.S. has become an occupying force. Unable to see that the world is indeed full of nuance.
And this blindness, arrogance, incompetence - any word will do - has only worsened America's ability to keep itself safe.
Happily, Americans have begun to see it. It's taken a while, but only 31% of them are left to support this President who once had a 90% approval.
It would be easy to call laughingly hypocritical the Radical Right who blasted John Kerry's nuance, yet accept it silently with tail between their legs from General Petraeus. But hypocritical doesn't do it justice. We've reached the point where Radical Right hypocrisy is the equivalent of speech.
No doubt, Republican insiders took great pleasure at tarring John Kerry with Swift Boat ads. Just as they took equal pleasure at tarring Al Gore on global warming. And tarred Bill Clinton with implications he had Vince Foster killed.
Their lies, blindness, arrogance, incompetence - any word will do - got them two terms in the White House and into this deep hole of disaster that the GOP is in, which will break the party at the knees for a long time to come. A full two-thirds of Americans say the country is going in the wrong direction. A once-even split now has Americans calling themselves Democrats by a massive 15 points. Donors are fleeing the Republican Party and going to Democrats. Jails are filling up with convicted Republican politicians. The faux-party of morality sees the disgrace of Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Bill Bennett and now Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias - all facing humiliations from the very moral self-righteousness they railed against in others.
And in the end, it couldn't be any other way. When you've been a house of cards on top of a house of sand, all it can eventually do is collapse.
But that's the way it is when you don't see that life is nuanced. You miss the paths all around that lead to safety, as you walk with your eyes closed off the cliff.