Mudcat Café message #1387848 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1387848
Posted By: Amos
25-Jan-05 - 01:08 AM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

Inadequate information


President Bush is a "fiscal conservative" who has run up the largest federal budget deficit in American history.  And he's a "war president" who repeatedly shrugged off the military establishment's warnings, invading Iraq on the advice of neocon ideologues with more powerpoints to their names than Purple Hearts. 

If the American political process is a marketplace of ideas, in which the winner earns political capital, many aspects of Bush's re-election are comparable to the market failure that economists call inadequate information.  In short: "For competitive markets to work well, consumers need information with which to evaluate competing products.  If consumers lack important information, markets will fail." [Stephen Breyer, Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy]
According to a nationwide poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) on the eve of the election, 72% of Bush supporters believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and 57% incorrectly believed that the Duelfer report had concluded Iraq had a major WMD program.  And despite the 9/11 Commission Report's findings to the contrary, 75% of Bush supporters believed that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believed that clear evidence of this link had been found. [PIPA] 

Steven Kull, the director of PIPA, said that "the roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters--and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war." [PIPA]

I would also argue that this "resistance to information" was facilitated by broader changes in the media landscape.  During the 2004 election season, conservative commentators, blogs, and email forwards provided a 24-hour-a-day defense of the Bush administration.  When the 9/11 Commission Report was released, they ignored the section that directly contradicted the administration's claim of an Iraq-al Qaeda link.  When the Duelfer report was released, they somehow managed to spin it as supporting Bush's case for war.