GWB’s cognitive dissonance

2005/02/03 at 09:30

William Saletan offers a well written recap of the president’s State of the Union address:

Tonight’s State of the Union Address demonstrated again that President Bush is a man of very clear principles. He’s just flexible about when to apply them.
He’s for historical reflection when a Democratic program has lost the context that initially justified it: “Social Security was created decades ago, for a very different era. In those days, people did not live as long. Benefits were much lower … Our society has changed in ways the founders of Social Security could not have foreseen.”
He’s against historical reflection when a Republican war has lost the context that initially justified it. All that matters is the new rationale: “The victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, bring more hope and progress to a troubled region …”
He’s against scaring you if you’re 55: “I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change.”
In the next sentence, he’s for scaring you if you’re below 55: “For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious problems that will grow worse with time. … We must pass reforms that solve the financial problems.”

Now that I’ve quoted half the article, you might as well go read the other half.