The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Wednesday, October 27th, 2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
Digging for the lowest insult he can possibly level at Senator Kerry, Mr. Bush has taken to calling him a “liberal.”  Why accusing his opponent of believing in open-mindedness, freedom, and pluralism should be an insult is a measure of the way the word was abused by President Reagan, as Roger Cohen suggests in Wednesday’s International Herald Tribune (  Just as likely, the misuse of  “liberal” has much to do with the President’s semi-literacy At the same time, Mr. Bush proudly describes himself as a “compassionate conservative.”  While he may indeed be compassionate, at least to his family, pets, and business associates, the President is not conservative.  This seems to be another word about whose meaning he is unclear.

Conservative, says Webster, means “marked by moderation or caution… marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners.” Taken item by item, Mr. Bush fails to be conservative according to any of Webster’s definitions.

Moderation?  The Bush administration’s heedless roll-backs of regulatory restraints on drug makers, auto manufacturers, the energy industry, monopolists, and polluters of all kinds is anything but moderate.  The League of Conservation voters gives Mr. Bush an ‘F’ for his stewardship of the environment.  The Vioxx fiasco and the nation’s desperate shortage of flu vaccine are measures of the unmoderating influence of the Bush FDA.  Immoderate tax cuts for the wealthy, tax breaks for big business, hand-outs for the farm lobby – the list could be extended indefinitely.  And there’s certainly nothing moderate about the way the administration has spent taxpayer money in record-breaking amounts.  As for caution, is there an episode in our history as incautious as the way Mr. Bush has prosecuted the war in Iraq?

Mr. Bush cannot be said to adhere to “traditional norms of taste.”  Nobody who dresses in a suit and cowboy boots could possibly be considered to do that.  Elegance, style, manners?  The bumbling Bush speech patterns, and a manner that shifts from hectoring and bullying to irritated and dumbfounded depending on the situation hardly qualifies as elegant, stylish, or even well-mannered.  Perhaps he behaves differently among his family and friends, but in public Mr. Bush is nothing short of a lout and a boor.

Compassionate he may be.  That is for his friends to judge. But this immoderate, incautious, inelegant, unstylish, ill-mannered President is anything but conservative.

The Afternoon Affront

Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center monitors elections for fairness in what are often dismissively called third-world countries.  To qualify for former President Carter’s attentions, such countries have to meet minimal standards of voting fairness and electoral fair play.  The standards are basic and reasonable, things like uniform voting methods, equal access to the media for the candidates, and a vote that can be accurately recounted in the event of a dispute.  Asked in an NPR interview if the Carter Center would monitor the US election should it prove necessary, Mr. Carter replied “absolutely not.”  The reason?  The 2004 election meets not a single one of the Carter Center criteria for basic fairness.

©J.C. Nossiter, 2004
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Stop the Merry-Go-Round
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
A Bad Old Boy
Lie Fatigue
Enemies in High Places
Electoral Pieties
How to Lose Votes
Grounds for Fear