Rat in a Drain Ditch, Caught on a Limb
It's been a long, dark, strange trip these past three-plus years, but rejoice, dear readers: Bush is toast! How can this be, you ask, and how can one be so sure? Read on, and be ye comforted: Find out why the Bushman goeth come November.
When Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead sang the above lyric, the audience knew it would be only a few moments before he followed with the song's title line: "He's gone." If that were to happen today, a couple of things would probably occur: 1) People would most likely say, "Hey, isn't Jerry dead?" and 2) a lot of them, upon hearing those two words, might very well think of George Bush. That's right, as much as the chances of either Jerry becoming one of the unDead or Bush being defeated come November seemed about equal a few months ago, the president's odds have taken a turn for the worse. I am stating for the record: Stick a fork in old Dubya 'cause he's about as done as an over-barbequed Texas chicken (note to Secret Service: this is known as a "simile"; I am NOT proposing that people poke the president with an eating utensil, tined or otherwise).
I'm not the first one to publicly predict Bush's kaputness; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was actually the one who reminded me of the Dead's classic when she recently said of Bush, "He's gone. He's so gone." She also strongly suggested that the emperor has no clothes when she said, "The emperor has no clothes," and referred to Bush as "an incompetent leader," a LONG overdue, accurate assessment of our chief executive's so-called abilities. (Unfortunately, her salvo, as welcome as it was, comes a teensy bit late for about 800 Americans and thousands of Iraqis). Bearing about the same surprise factor as a Bush malapropism, her comments were met with a furious fusillade of (far) righteous condemnation. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, per GOP S.O.P., was the lead dog: "Nancy Pelosi should apologize for her irresponsible, dangerous rhetoric," he intoned. "She apparently is so caught up in partisan hatred for President Bush that her words are putting American lives at risk." Yes, it is common knowledge those pesky Iraqi "insurgents" move only after combing the Congressional Record for motivational words from the San Francisco Democrat.
DeLay's remarks, while unremarkable, are still emblematic of the desperate, illogical utterances emerging more frequently from the GOP lately, whose number one job, really, is to keep its ever-more besieged all hat, no cattle cowboy in office. From David Kay, Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, and Joe Wilson confirming the war's false pretenses, to mounting casualties and costs in Iraq, to embarrassing and inept personal public appearances, to the ever-burgeoning Abu Ghraib scandal, to recently-leaked memos showing complicity in detainees' torture pointing straight to the Oval Office, each passing sunset must leave our shoot-first-ask-questions-never Texas deranger feeling increasingly under attack. As more arrows tipped with bad news find their tinhorn of a target, Bush's Republican guard frantically tries to circle the oratorical wagons even as the wheels fall off. Another small but telling indication of the GOP's growing distress comes from a recent Sacramento Bee: In response to John Kerry's suggestion of "creating a U.N. high commissioner to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq," a "senior administration official" (remember the good old days of real journalism when sources were actually named?), asserted that Kerry "doesn't appreciate the fact that Iraqis deeply distrust the United Nations" because the world body pulled out of Iraq after its Baghdad headquarters was bombed last August, killing 22 people.
Damn that trouble-making U.N. all to hell anyway for evacuating its people (the survivors, that is) just because the country that invaded Iraq (sans U.N. approval) failed to protect them from being blown to bits by a massive car bomb. Who knew it would be Iraqis' suspicions of the cowardly U.N., rather than their distaste for being attacked, tortured, killed, and occupied by big-hearted Americans, that would hinder the reconstruction of their violence-wracked, depleted uranium shell-covered, cluster bomb-laced mess of a country? Just wondering: This wouldn't be the same U.N. that Bush told to take a flying leap after it refused to endorse his neocon buddies' dream war, and from which he now seeks help while his minions still try to slam it as somehow playing a part in the whole fiasco, would it? And the GOP says Kerry flip flops. (Well, he does, but that's another column.)
Actually, this unnamed "official" should attend an appreciation appreciation class to appreciate just how truly dumb his/her/its comment is. (No name? No leeway!) It's just more evidence that the airtight message this administration has always kept more tightly wrapped than a fetishist at a Saran Wrap party is finally coming unraveled. Well not unraveled, exactly, because Saran Wrap, or any generic plastic wrap, really, doesn't actually "unravel," but rather gets loose or bunched up and won't cling, like when you try to get a piece of it to cover a bowl and, for whatever reason, it just isn't going to stick to that bowl no matter what, and then you get all frustrated and start swearing and rip off another piece really fast and it gets all torn and you end up with just this irregularly-shaped, jagged-edged piece that's no good for anything and... well, I think you get the idea.
Where were we? Oh, yes: the GOP's panic mode and Bush's impending political doom. Things are not quite so Grand in Republican-land as there are now open fights among the rights, something brand new for the party so rigidly controlled that it help put "anal retention" into the daily lexicon, and also something that bodes ill for its exalted Boy Wonder(ing). Apparently, some of its members, in both the House and the Senate, are now holding fast against Bush's knee-jerk panacea—more tax cuts!!—by positing the quaint notion that any such future cuts should be accompanied by equal reductions elsewhere in the budget (known as "pay-as-you-go"). This has prompted outbursts of condemnation from GOP luminaries like DeLay (who else?) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who went so far as to publicly voice reservations about the Republican worthiness of holdout Senator John McCain. In the not-so-distant good old days, Bush could just utter the magic words—"national security"—and politicos of all stripes (the yellow-hued variety being the most predominant) would immediately snap to and give him whatever he wanted. Not so anymore. According to Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times, a "senior House Republican leadership aide" (at last—an entirely credible source) said, "There's no question: If the president's poll numbers are down... it makes it harder for the White House to have influence." And just why are those poll numbers down--finally?
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote recently that though Bush obviously has not changed—he's still the same scurrilous scoundrel he's always been--the image people have of him sure is beginning to, thanks to more accurate mainstream reporting. Since 9/11, Krugman says, honest journalism has been crippled by "misplaced patriotism," "the tyranny of evenhandedness," and (right wing) "intimidation," and the press is now starting to cast off these self-imposed handicaps and finally engage in something resembling actual journalism; hence, the different (and more real) view of Bush for the many Americans who only get their news from nightly newscasts or the fewer still who read newspapers. The Times' recent mea culpa regarding its shoddy, jingoistic pre-war reporting, met by a resounding "Duh!" from many, still helps serve notice that Bush's post-9/11 media honeymoon is over.
I think Krugman's right, and I think there's another important reason, too, that you should reserve the hall now for your November "Bye-Bye, Bush" party: Without a doubt, the crew in power now is the most corrupt and dishonest in American history, permeated with a spiritual illness so all-consuming that the whole structure can't help but crumble for all its rottenness. Bush and friends are so shot through with pious decay, they have even amazingly managed to put Richard Nixon's tenure in a more favorable light (if only I'd laid a dollar on THOSE odds when I had the chance). And if the devil exists, he (or she; no demonic discrimination here) is certainly in the details of this administration's fiendish tri-horned policy, comprised of the intolerant, exclusive "Christian" fundamentalism of Bush; the brutal American empiricism of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz ( http://www.newamericancentury.org/); and the compassionless, destructive "starve the beast" philosophy of White House advisor and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist ( http://www.ndol.org/print.cfm?contentid=251788). It is simply inevitable, as history has verified throughout the ages, that such soul-stifling disease bears a crushing weight all its own, and eventually must collapse upon itself.
Granted, the final hand on such a regime can take generations or even centuries to be dealt, but, for whatever cosmic reason (perhaps even the gods can't take it anymore), we're winning the final pot early (though the antes have been painfully huge): Signs indicate that Bush's bullying bluffs are finally being called. The media's emergence from their self-induced stupor is exposing more Americans to the increasing incoherence from Republicans straining ever harder to explain Mr. War President's inexplicable policies, in turn leading to his falling poll numbers. It is apparent more and more Americans are tiring of receiving nothing but cheap values at premium prices from Bushco, and come November, will not be renewing their membership cards. George W. Bush is dust, yesterday's news, done in and done for, no longer, finished, outta here, history (perhaps someone will read his sorry part in it to him someday).
In case incontrovertible proof is STILL needed by some, here it is: My wife Ann tells me that an astrologer a few months back predicted that a) Howard Dean would not get the Democratic presidential nomination and b) Bush would not be re-elected. This was during Dean's peak popularity, too, and we all know what eventually happened to the good governor from Vermont. As I've always said (at least when my zodiacally-inclined wife is within earshot): "Hey, if you can't believe an astrologer, who the heck can you believe?"
Bush is gone. He's so gone. And, to borrow the Dead's closing line from their suddenly topical tune: "Nothing's gonna bring him back."*
* It would still be wise, however, to keep an eye out for Jeb. What a family.
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