Once you vote with Bush, serve in his cabinet, or spin for him in a classified briefing, you're trapped. If you change your mind, he'll dredge up your friendly vote or testimony and use it to discredit you. That's what he's doing now to all the politicians at home and abroad who fell for his exaggerations about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. "In Iraq, my administration looked at the intelligence information, and we saw a threat," he tells audiences. "Members of Congress looked at the intelligence information, and they saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence information, and it saw a threat." It's too late to admit that Bush is wrong and that you were fooled. You're on record agreeing with him. He doesn't even look dishonest when he rebukes you, because, unlike the people who run his administration's scams, he can't tell the difference between what he promised and what he delivered.
Maybe the White House will get away with this chicanery. Maybe people will believe its spin that flip-flopping is Kerry's idiosyncrasy, not the Bush administration's design. Or maybe some of the folks who voted for Bush last time around will decide they were conned and throw him out. Flip-floppers, every one of them.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.