The Addiction Meme
The more I think about the president's use of the "addicted to oil" metaphor last night, and his proposals, the more inappropriate I think it is. A reader puts his finger on exactly what's wrong:
"Bush's Addiction Meme precisely encapsulates everything that is wrong with contemporary Republican moralizing. Bush wants to cast the essentially pragmatic problem of our dependence on middle-eastern oil as a moral issue, as if we're a bunch of crazed junkies. There's something to be said for this view, but you can't say it without taking the next step: a junky needs to be told to kick the habit.
Recovery takes guts, and hard work, and sacrifice. Is that what Bush is asking of the country? Not at all. Should we increase gas taxes, improve fuel efficiency, push for smaller cars? No way. Who then is going to solve our addiction problem? In a word: Big Government. We need a new drug, and Big Gov's going to invent it, and it'll be cheaper, all the high without the hangover. That's the miracle of government: it keeps you from having to be self-governing. This is such a neat inversion of everything conservatism is supposed to stand for you'd think the progressives must have invented it, but you'd be wrong."
It's just a reflection of how this president has all but destroyed conservatism as a governing philosophy. In that respect, it reminds me of his war-management. Energy independence could have been a rallying cry after 9/11. He could have asked for a higher gas tax to pay for the war and prompt the prviate sector to innovate for new energy resources. Instead, he tells everyone to go shopping, and that Big Daddy will deal with the enemy and don't trouble your pretty heads about anything. When we ask questions, the secrecy mantra slams the door shut. When abuses of power occur, he resorts to the us-or-them meme. You know what? I loathed Kerry. But I backed him in 2004 because I cared about conservatism - and what this president has been doing to it. He has three more years to wreak havoc on what was once a coherent tradition.