A close reading of the rant

Reader Dafydd ab Hugh writes:

Two things leapt out at me immediately in Al Gore’s rant: First, he repeatedly brings up the danger of the chief executive seizing legislative power from Congress; he pointedly notes that while the president is Commander In Chief, only Congress has the power to declare war; then he accuses Bush of waging illegal warfare against Iraq… but not once does Gore bother mentioning that Congress — the legislature — actually voted to approve the very war that Gore complains about! So what is the point of all his hysteria about the imperial executive that ignores Congress’s authority? (Later, he accuses Congress of being too pliant… but this charge completely contradicts his earlier one that Bush has ignored Congress’s mandate.)
Second, I found this a pretty argument (as in “pretty demagogic”):

But right from the start, beginning very soon after the attacks of 9/11, President Bush made a decision to start mentioning Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in the same breath in a cynical mantra designed to fuse them together as one in the public’s mind. He repeatedly used this device in a highly disciplined manner to create a false impression in the minds of the American people that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.
Usually he was pretty tricky in his exact wording. Indeed, Bush’s consistent and careful artifice is itself evidence that he knew full well that he was telling an artful and important lie — visibly circumnavigating the truth over and over again as if he had practiced how to avoid encountering the truth.

I think I understand: by carefully saying only the truth and avoiding going to extra step to claim proof that Iraq was behind 9/11, Bush has thus told “an artful and important lie.” I suppose if he had just charged ahead (like Gore a few years ago) and threw in everything known, guessed, or imagined about Iraq, Gore would have breathed a loud, heavy sigh of relief, for then Bush’s lie would be neither artful nor important.
Finally, did you notice that Gore may promise —

But as I will document in a few moments, he and Vice President Cheney also sometimes departed from their tricky wording and resorted to statements were clearly outright falsehoods.

— but in the end, he forgets to deliver!

Dafydd titles his precis of the rant “Bush delenda est.”


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