February 09, 2003

Latest NatPost Column From ...

Latest NatPost Column From Me – 'n!

I actually draw out the Ali-Foreman/Dubya-antiwarist analogy quite a bit ... including, importantly, where it does not apply.

Posted by at February 9, 2003 07:54 PM
Comments

Fantastic article, Matt. I loved the rope-a-dope analogy, and you're right on target. Bush (and his team) are moving the chains pretty effectively. I wonder when the Democrats will stop underestimating Republican presidents? Dismissing Bush et al as stupid was simple hubris. Agree or disagree with the ideas, but dismissing their advocates with ad hominem attacks misses the point.

Posted by: Christopher Walker at February 10, 2003 03:00 AM

Hey - this is a fun article. I've heard some mumblings along these lines from various quarters, but I'm not sure it's been articulated quite as colorfully before.

I'm of a really mixed opinion on the brilliance of the Bush admin. On the one hand, I can see some evidence of real strategy, most recently Powell's presentation (which certainly has moved the inspections along). Another possible example could be appointing Poindexter as possible head of the (now tabled) TIA project. As a colleague pointed out, it seemed as if the admin was trying to shift the debate from "should the TIA exist?" to "who should head the TIA"?

But it also seems as if this admin is still learning diplomacy. Certainly, the North Korea situation appears to be messy. And had the admin played it's cards more skillfully from the outset, the whole Powell show wouldn't be necessary in the first place.

When Bush was governor down here he was pretty passive, contrary to the Euro-Maine view. Yes, he helped to gut some pretty important social services, but his education reform and death penalty policies really weren't all that different from Ann Richards'. I think he planned to lay low as the president as well.

Since 9/11, his admin been faced with unexpected responsibility and opportunity. But they're still learning how to negotiate their own government - not to mention the world.

Furthermore, I *still* think people are confusing Bush with his aides. He's surrounded himself with some pretty clever folks. He's certainly not an automaton, but he's awfully handled. Somebody give that man an almanac.

Posted by: Andrew at February 10, 2003 08:01 AM

The "rope-a-dope" strategy works like this: "In order to persuade fence-sitters to trust me on an issue of colossal importance, I'll manipulate the flow of information in order to make cheap political points over my adversaries." Sounds like a winner to me.

Posted by: alkali at February 10, 2003 10:18 AM

And today, Iraq agreed to unconditional U2 flights. The chains have moved again.

Posted by: Howard Owens at February 10, 2003 11:41 AM

Good read.
Liked the boxing analogy.
But I think it does a disservice to Ali -- he's a pretty genuine guy.
Wrestling might have been a better choice for Bush.
Dope in the ropes.
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Or was that stumble around like a puppet and keep their eyes of the corruption and 6.4 trillion dollar national debt!
Tickets currently go about twenty plus grand each per US taxpayer for this performance.
And the big man's bellicose threats are taken seriously by the little people.
I believe that's why we are currently in code 'I've got them all pissed off again.'

Posted by: Warren Celli at February 10, 2003 07:23 PM

Great column, Matt. I have another analogy for you, one that avoids the power imbalance problem of the rope-a-dope: Good Cop/Bad Cop. Officer Powell nicely says he just wants to talk to you about the situation, and offers you some coffee. Officer Rumsfeild bursts in, knocks the coffee out of you hand, starts waving his gun around vaguely, and says he wants to rid the world of scum like you. Officer Powell admonishes Rumsfield to calm down, we're going to do this by the book, and then turns around and offers you a paper and pen to write down your confession.

The problem with my analogy (that yours doesn't share) is that Good Cop/Bad Cop is played with the criminal. Bush isn't playing these games with Sadam. He's playing them with Europe and the Democrats. Sadam is toast. The questions now are how and what comes after him.
-Decnavda

Posted by: Timothy Roscoe Carter at February 11, 2003 12:03 PM
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information in order to make cheap political points over my adversaries." Sounds like a winner to me.

Posted by: alkali at February 10, 2003 10:18 AM

And today, Iraq agreed to unconditional U2 flights. The chains have moved again.

Posted by: Howard Owens at February 10, 2003 11:41 AM

Good read.
Liked the boxing analogy.
But I think it does a disservice to Ali -- he's a pretty genuine guy.
Wrestling might have been a better choice for Bush.
Dope in the ropes.
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Or was that stumble around like a puppet and keep their eyes of the corruption and 6.4 trillion dollar national debt!
Tickets currently go about twenty plus grand each per US taxpayer for this performance.
And the big man's bellicose threats are taken seriously by the little people.
I believe that's why we are currently in code 'I've got them all pissed off again.'

Posted by: Warren Celli at February 10, 2003 07:23 PM

Great column, Matt. I have another analogy for you, one that avoids the power imbalance problem of the rope-a-dope: Good Cop/Bad Cop. Officer Powell nicely says he just wants to talk to you about the situation, and offers you some coffee. Officer Rumsfeild bursts in, knocks the coffee out of you hand, starts waving his gun around vaguely, and says he wants to rid the world of scum like you. Officer Powell admonishes Rumsfield to calm down, we're going to do this by the book, and then turns around and offers you a paper and pen to write down your confession.

The problem with my analogy (that yours doesn't share) is that Good Cop/Bad Cop is played with the criminal. Bush isn't playing these games with Sadam. He's playing them with Europe and the Democrats. Sadam is toast. The questions now are how and what comes after him.
-Decnavda

Posted by: Timothy Roscoe Carter at February 11, 2003 12:03 PM
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