Here's Paul Krugman (a noted Bush basher) on the "accountability moment." From today's NY Times, edited by me for brevity.
A charming man courts a woman, telling her that he's a wealthy independent businessman. Just after the wedding, however, she learns that he has been cooking the books, several employees have accused him of sexual harassment and his company is about to file for bankruptcy. She accuses him of deception. "The accountability moment is behind us," he replies.
Last week President Bush declared that the election was the "accountability moment" for the war in Iraq - the voters saw it his way, and that's that. But Mr. Bush didn't level with the voters during the campaign and doesn't deserve anyone's future trust.
Now that the election is over, we learn that the search for W.M.D. has been abandoned. Meanwhile, military officials have admitted that even as Mr. Bush kept asserting that we were making "good progress," the insurgency was growing in numbers and effectiveness, that the Army Reserve is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force," and oh, by the way, we'll need to spend at least another $100 billion to pay for war expenses and replace damaged equipment. But the accountability moment, says Mr. Bush, is behind us.
Maybe we can't hold Mr. Bush directly to account for misleading the public about Iraq. But Mr. Bush still has a domestic agenda, for which the lessons of Iraq are totally relevant.
White House officials themselves concede - or maybe boast - that their plan to sell Social Security privatization is modeled on their selling of the Iraq war. In fact, the parallels are remarkably exact.
Everyone has noticed the use, once again, of crisis-mongering. The mild, possibly nonexistent long-run financial problems of Social Security have somehow become more important than dealing with the huge deficit we already have, which has nothing to do with Social Security.
But there's another parallel, which I haven't seen pointed out: the politicization of the agencies and the intimidation of the analysts. Bush loyalists begin frothing at the mouth when anyone points out that the White House pressured intelligence analysts to overstate the threat from Iraq, while neocons in the Pentagon pressured the military to understate the costs and risks of war. But that is what happened, and it's happening again.
The New York Times reports employees of the Social Security Administration are being forced to disseminate dire warnings about the system's finances - warnings that the employees say are exaggerated.
How long before we start seeing the "Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry" bumper stickers?
"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance" -- HL Mencken