Bush was the principal author, along with his straight-shooting Vice President, and now he is hoisted by his own fear-mongering propaganda. The basic hysteria was invented from risks of terrorism, enlarged ridiculously by the President's open-ended claim that we are endangered everywhere and anywhere (he decides where). Anyone who resists that proposition is a coward or, worse, a subversive. We are enticed to believe we are fighting a new cold war. But are we? People are entitled to ask. Bush picked at their emotional wounds after 9/11 and encouraged them to imagine endless versions of even-larger danger. What if someone shipped a nuke into New York Harbor? Or poured anthrax in the drinking water? OK, a lot of Americans got scared, even people who ought to know better.
So why is the fearmonger-in-chief being so casual about this Dubai business?
Because at some level of consciousness even George Bush knows the inflated fears are bogus. So do a lot of the politicians merrily throwing spears at him. He taught them how to play this game, invented the tactics and reorganized political competition, as a demagogic dance of hysterical absurdities, endless opportunities to waste public money. Very few dare to challenge the mindset. Thousands have died for it.
Bush, for the first time, is now the victim of his own creation. The Democrats, and Republicans with re-election to consider, have seized on an opportunity to wave the flag in the face of "terrorist" intrusions onto American soil. The facts are meaningless, all that matters is the appearance of protecting the nation, no matter how absurd the claim. Karl Rove must appreciate the irony.
The Dubai Ports episode, wounding Bush aside, is hardly a positive development for the state of American politics. The Democrats have calculated that there best chance to topple the Republicans, is too out flank them on national security. There is already a co-ordinated effort to entice former military personnel to run for the Democrats, under the moniker of "Fighting Dems". Translation, Republicans aren't the only ones who take national security seriously. On the surface, it would appear to be an astute political move, however the fact that Democrats find it necessary to "militarize" their ranks speaks to a society whose paranoia has radicalized its vision. Traditional Democratic issues are now mostly afterthought, as the two parties jockey to see who is best fit to move forward on the war footing. The left is now a vacant void in American politics, to the point of taboo.
The Bush administration has masterfully changed the rules. The fact that critics have learned the playbook and now use it effectively only entrenches the initial faulty premise. Paranoia and hysteria have won the day across the spectrum.