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Sunday, 09 July 2006 04:31

The Gap Between Reality-Based America and Bush's Fantasy Island Grows Greater! But Dem Leaders are Captives on the Island

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A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS Yes, the gap between what is really happening in the United States and the world as compared to the Hollywood style narrative peddled by the Rovian propaganda machine grows greater. As many critics have noted, what the Republican Party does best is sell a story about America by playing on images and themes with deep emotional resonance to a large segment of the nation. This story is no truer in terms of facts and what is happening than an episode of "The Brady Bunch" is to real life in American families. This ability to sell a fictional political "narrative" to a large chunk of Americans was exemplified by the ascent and election of Ronald Reagan, who acted his way into and through the White House. He was literally the epitome of GOP production values: an actor who performed his role of president with the support of a Hollywood-style production team who wrote his "patriotic," macho scripts -- and a literal television production team that made his presidency a series of on-location "scenes" for the movie that was his presidency. Bush wasn't an actor, but Karl Rove was his Henry Higgins. Rove molded Bush's high "affability ratings" into a fairly skilled television actor -- as long as he sticks to the script written for him. Rove provides the Hollywood style settings, the Frank Luntz focus-group tested themes and phrases, and invites the media to serve as the film production team, which they dutifully do. Rove is so bold and rightfully confident in his skills at creating a Hollywood narrative presidency that he even announces the plot line of his Bush "feature films" in advance. Awhile back, he signaled that he was going to return to his "use the al-Qaida bogeyman to scare Americans into voting Republican" playbook for the third election cycle. And so we have seen two "aspriational terrorist arrests" that should have made the back pages of the newspapers instead of ending up as "frightful" headlines on all the major media, particularly on television (which has the most emotional impact). We have seen Osama bin Laden (who the CIA is no longer pursuing with a focused unit) suddenly start appearing on tapes again. We have seen the long-time bogeyman al-Zaqarwi quickly replaced by a new bogeyman in Iraq (even though al-Qaeda is just one small player among the many gangs that oppose the U.S. occupation there.) We have seen all sorts of "terrorist scares" that have nothing to do with the continued disintegration of Iraq and the resurrection of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The latter two are realities --and Rove knows realities destroy the movie-going experience and disrupt the manipulation process. Unfortunately, the Democrats are -- for a third time -- clueless about how to counteract Rove's moves from a now eminently predictable playbook. (This is the third time he has used the same strategy for an election cycle, but the has used it countless times before to get Bush out of political jams and poll slumps.) The reality is that the Rovian Republicans -- preceded by the Reagan "brand" managers -- are just so far superior at this sort of image management and emotional manipulation than the Democrats, the Dems are just left in the dust -- and so is democracy. The Democrats on Capitol Hill just don't have a clue on how they are being routed -- as the recent Reid-Pelosi news conference on the "issues" Democrats will run on in 2006 indicated. Rove has, as columnist Jonathan Alter noted, "doubled down" on the failed Iraq War. He is betting that the can manipulate events to scare the American public, once again, into accepting the fiction that George W. Bush is a valiant leader fighting against the "evil doers." Rove has the advantage that he can control events, like the bizarre totally exaggerated story about the "aspirational terrorists" who allegedly planned to flood Manhattan by magically making water rise ABOVE sea level. (See our analysis of this impossiblity below.) The Democrats have no counterattack, except leaving Americans exposed to the manipulation of primal fear that Rove excels at. By ignoring the 800-pound guerilla in the room -- the use of terrorism and the Iraq War as a fictional political narrative that uses fear as a political weapon -- the Democrats are basically conceding the 2006 election. The rallying of even Senate progressives, like Barbara Boxer, to the side of Joe Lieberman -- the Democratic Senator the Republicans chose to speak first in opposition to a Democratic resolution to withdraw troops from Iraq -- shows you how far away from counteracting the Rovian "scare" handbook the Dems are. And no one can say the Dems haven't seen it before. By now, what Rove is doing is so transparent, even a donkey could see it coming. Unless that donkey is a Democratic leader on Capitol Hill. A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS Recruit 5 people to sign up for BuzzFlash alerts and help spread the truth: http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/subscribe.php