2004-04-04

Warum Bush trotz aufgedeckter L�gen und Fehler punktet

--- Der Economist glaubt herausgefunden zu haben, warum Bush trotz des Gegenwinds im Irak und den nicht einfach von der Hand zu weisenden Vorw�rfen des Sicherheitsberater Richard Clarke in den Meinungsumfragen wieder punktet: Most of the �lies��almost all of which are actually mistakes or misrepresentations, not deliberate falsehoods�are products of the endless spin and interpretation of America's �permanent campaign�. Message control and winning each 24-hour news cycle have usurped the place of substantive debate. The Clinton administration was accused of similar lies and half-truths. It is as much the product of a political culture as of any one president, and Mr Bush's ambition to buck the trend has failed. The administration came into office convinced that, under Mr Clinton, too much accountability to Congress had hampered effective government. Its members have therefore tried to re-assert executive privilege. Some of their attempts to keep Congress in the dark are rooted in this view, rather than in perfidy and secrecy. Lastly, many of these �lies� have a curious quality: they tend to confirm the popular view of the president's temperament and beliefs. Usually, distortions suggest that the person responsible is putting on an act or is somehow different from what he pretends to be. Yet, at least in foreign policy, the administration's errors and misrepresentations all tend to confirm the president's image as a man uncompromising in his determination to fight the war on terror as he conceives it (at least after September 2001), and willing to ride roughshod over critics and nuanced intelligence alike to get his way. And that in turn may explain one of the most surprising features of the past two weeks: that despite all the controversy over Mr Bush's honesty, credibility and competence, his position in the opinion polls has remained resilient.

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