The Bull(shit) in the China Shop
(Sigh)Â Men don't quite understand it.Â And one woman deliberately spins it.
Take a gander at this
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders is one of the less loony members of the political right. I realize that's a very low bar, but Saunders has been known to depart on occasion from the list of official Republican talking points. Today, however, Saunders spins very reliably to the right as she welcomes the Democratic renaissance in Congress. As she identifies several rhetorical points raised in past political debates, it seems that only the left exhibited any mendacity or hypocrisy; right-wingers were reliably on the side of the angels:
Ring out the old bromides, by Debra J. Saunders
There are certain arguments that partisans repeat as if they are holy and certainâ€”until the arguments are no longer convenient. Here are some bromides and political arguments that were broadly used in the last few years, but now have outlived their usefulness, so you probably won't hear them much in 2007:
The Pottery Barn Rule: You broke it, you own it. There was a time you couldn't go a day without hearing an Iraq-war opponent invoke former Secretary of State Colin Powell's famous warning about sending U.S. troops into Iraq. Apparently these folks never really believed in the rule, because they now want America to disown an Iraq mired in chaos.
We liberals should have recognized that Secretary Powell was enunciating a cosmic truth when he used the apocryphal Pottery Barn Rule as a metaphor for the danger of an invasion of Iraq. As the scope of Bush's miscalculation became apparent, we chimed in with â€œWe told you so, dammit!â€ and the war apologists snapped back with â€œYeah, we screwed the pooch, but now we're all stuck with this sorry dog!â€ I guess staying the course is supposed to make things better. Does Saunders really believe that? Does she think any anti-war protester believes that? Or ever believed it?
What most men know about the Sacred Shopping can be written on a single piece of toilet paper with a leaky Sharpie!Â Perhaps the more sensitive Colin Powell did understand the Pottery Barn Rule--but every man who parrots it hasn't a clue.Â
It's got a nice ring to it, it sounds profound (and it is a truism, a corollary to the "bull in a china shop" maxim)--but they don't see the whole picture:
You turn too quickly.Â Your purse (or briefcase or elbow) knocks a china tea pot to the floor and it shatters.Â The manager (a) goes crazy and demands you pay for it, and you do--with or without a big scene; or (b) the manager is nice about it but you still insist on paying for it, because you're nice, too.
Many men think that's the end of the story.Â Either way, the pieces are swept up.Â And thrown away...
...unless you are George Bush.Â His idea is:Â If we stay in that shop long enough, the pieces will mend themselves--if we throw enough money (and military) at it!