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The Definition of Normal by George W. Bush

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normal is just a word

It’s more than a tad ironic that one of the last and most important acts of the outgoing Bush administration will be to attempt an end-run around Republicans in Congress and allow a bridge loan to the US automakers from the the $700 billion set aside all those months ago for the purchase of “toxic securities”.

The White House supported this turnaround with a fabulous piece of Bush logic. To wit; In normal times, the Bushies would have much preferred that the market decide the fate of the automakers, but these, it suggests, are not normal times, and therefore extraordinary measures are needed.

Not a bad version of the West Wing Shuffle, one might think. Except the logic has one drawback. It is as a result of years of allowing the market to take its ‘normal’ course that we are in the mess we are in now. One doesn’t test the beliefs of true free market ideologues during normal times. The only time they can be truly tested is in extremis.

You’d think that free market ideologues would be true to this logic, they are supposed to be, after all, Darwinian in their rigor. In their estimation, a company struggling in the marketplace must be allowed to die, just like a lame wildebeest must be allowed to be consumed by the cheetah on its tail. Upsetting the relationship between victor and vanquished is to deny the core of savage, brutal, evolutionary – or in other words free market principles. But the ideological unity of the free marketeers has been shattered forever. Some are still holding the line – and look silly and self serving doing it. Most have abandoned the fort, and now believe that the law of the market jungle must be tempered for the common good.

So much for the intellectual purity of the Conservative movement. It was always just a shaky front, and at the first sign of a tornado, it’s buckled like the set on a Keystone Cops movie lot. It was David Brooks who recently said the Reagan Revolution was over. Now he tells us. For years, we were subjected to a steady flow of rhetoric about the virtues of the marketplace. It was all we ever heard. It was such a simple pitch, so full of the natural justice of things we were told. Our entire legislative strategy became based on it. But the new normality those policies created was never tested until now. And even according to one of the chief footsoldiers of the Revolution, they were found to be profoundly wanting. What a total waste of time it turned out to be for one and all.

Unfortunately, it is not Thatcher, Reagan, Bush and their acolytes and puppeteers that will face the consequences.

It is our children.

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