Rebranding is tricky business. Get it wrong and you’re New Coke, plunged into the middle of an expensive and disastrous rollout. Just ask Tropicana, Radio Shack or the SciFi Channel, who discovered after launching their new text-friendly alternate “SyFy” spelling that it was slang for “syphilis.”
So my hat’s off to the Defense Industrial Complex and the oil companies. Their repackaging of interventionist wars has to be the most successful rebranding campaign of all time.
It seems like just yesterday that Democrats were clawing each other’s eyes out in the 2008 primaries to prove that their candidate of choice was the most fervently committed to extricating the U.S. from expensive and immoral interventionism. Obama’s election victory was universally hailed as a national referendum to end the wars.
I can’t recall ever witnessing such a swift and dramatic turnaround in public perception. Two years ago war in the Middle East was something that only reactionary hicks, discredited neocons and those with too many X chromosomes supported. Now it’s the purview of hip technocrats and “cruise missile liberals,” having been successfully repackaged as benevolent liberal paternalism.
Anyone who predicted in 2008 that Obama and Clinton would soon join hands to launch a new foray into Libya without consulting Congress would have quickly been dismissed as a conspiracy theorist and delusional crank.
But now, it’s as if the 2008 election never happened. And the fact that once again we’re launching bombs at an oil-rich country doesn’t seem to faze the same people who were horrified at Bush’s interventionism. It’s apparently okay now that “our team” has given it kinder, gentler messaging and some snazzy new skins.
It apparently wasn’t nation-building, regime change and war-for-oil that liberals opposed – just the fact that George Bush was the one doing it.