Friday, December 19

Friday Bush Farewell Tour III: The Inauguralizationing

Together, we will reclaim America’s schools, before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives.

We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent. And we will reduce taxes, to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the effort and enterprise of working Americans.

We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge.

We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors.

--George W. Bush, Last Comic Standing First Inaugural Address

I DON'T propose to tick off a chronology of Bush administration foibles, failures, and felonies; the internets, while vast, are not infinite. But the arc of the ascension of The Man They Call Dubya, And Who Calls Them "Chief", "Stretch", or "Gonzo", seems so neatly to presage all that came after that it seems the inevitable place to begin. Besides, while so much in life is covered by the ol' Hidsight is 20/20 routine, George W. Bush, clearly, is not among those. It couldn't have been more clear that the man was unfit, ill-equipped, and all but disinterested in The Presidency, which he seemed to regard as some sort of honorific, like "Governor of Texas" or "Air National Guard Pilot". This leaves us with a single conclusion: that nearly half of the electorate, and nearly all of the Press, are blind babbling lunatics, or at least the small percentage of them who qualify as honest are. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani thanked God that George W. Bush was President on September 11. John Hinderrocket marveled that a man so intellectually superior to his fellow human beings as to almost constitute a separate species could endure their opprobrium without stooping to having them squashed. And they are both, as of this morning, still walking around free.

The American public, by the time January 20 of 2001 rolled around, had endured six weeks of hysterical Press babble about falling skies and Constitutional crises should Al Gore press the desire to count actual votes in Florida, narrowly aversion of that crisis by a quick-thinking Court. In the meantime, of course, the public hadn't panicked in the slightest, as the public actually realizes, however well it hides the recognition, that politicians, the Press, and celebrities in general are just hyperactive braggert children. Unfortunately this same public has never figured out not to give any of 'em matches and tinder.

The Bush inaugural procession, at least the part of it carrying the soon-to-be Acting President, suddenly stopped dead in the middle of the parade route--remember?--for like ten minutes, for reasons which were never explained on teevee, and which remained inexplicable to the audience, since the massive protests were barely alluded to and never shown. The public, which had recently been so concerned lest vote counting and winner announcing be delayed long enough to get them right, was now to be portrayed as a vast pacific field eager to return to what were then known as "Jobs", televised mayhem, and lap of Morpheus, a point which merely required keeping the cameras off everyone who didn't qualify in order to stress.

Sore Losermans! The Bush camp had already used the M-word the month before, right on schedule, and now Bush would exhibit his new reading skills with a speech that seemed to have been crafted in 1999, one which backhanded Bill Clinton a couple times (discreetly, with a capital-D) before inviting his political opponents to be bi-partisan or else. Jes' Lak Texas! Then off to two days of partying with a Texas twang more blatantly constructed that Bush's own. Oh, Goody! We're about to be governed by a pair of boots!

Like the country, I had survived Reagan--of the two of us I had perhaps done slightly better--so I can't say there was a serious foreboding about Bush's politics. It was, rather, that sense that nothing was right--before it had been stolen from voters (that minor irritant the Bush camp never once made any appeal to, or suggested it believed was the source of political power) the election had been stolen by pundits, turned into a referendum over whether Al Gore was too boring to be President yet, somehow, too bizarre at the same time, a man supposedly given to making wild, megalomaniacal claims about himself.

This was bullshit on the face of it; not that politicians have not been known to get away with that sort of thing on occasion, or that occasionally a politician bases his entire appeal on it, but it clearly wasn't the case with Al Gore.

And, ultimately, the people who told us horror stories about Al Gore were backing George W. Bush as a man. As a candidate, a leader, as a paradigm of Not Clinton. And that did not ring true either. In fact the downright curious thing in all of it is how--absent serious bias--one could possibly have been so completely and utterly wrong about two people. Gore may have been wooden, and dull, but he was clearly a serious man, too serious to have been flattered by Love Story or Inventing the Internet. George W. Bush, misunderestimated to the power of 16, would not yet be Presidential timber.

No, there is simply no explanation for the performance of the Press throughout campaign 2000, or the lapdog treatment of George W. Bush thereafter. Mere cupidity, simple bias, and a string of corporatist paychecks (over and under the table) stretching to the Moon cannot explain how anyone looked at George W. Bush in January 2001 without realizing we were whistling past the graveyard.


Poicephalus said... "Governor of Texas" or "Air National Guard Pilot".

Don't forget team owner (Managing Partner). That is right up there in the hierarchy of titles to be held and abused.


Anonymous said...

cannot explain how anyone looked at George W. Bush in January 2001 without realizing we were whistling past the graveyard.

National Pity Fuck. Nothing else makes sense.

Davis X. Machina

Anonymous said...

No, there is simply no explanation for the performance of the Press throughout campaign 2000, or the lapdog treatment of George W. Bush thereafter.

I see it as the result of 30 years of info-tainment news. The spokesmodels passing for DC journalists still live in junior-high mode, wondering who got invited to what and who is not speaking to whom. Easily led by the nose, even by such poor liars as Ari and Scotty and Dana.


James Stripes said...

the internets, while vast, are not infinite

The press started a whitewash that some historians will labor to maintain. As long as those that voted for him remain alive, textbooks will not be able to lead with the simple generalization that George W. Bush was the worst President of the United States ever. He wrecked the economy. He set back foreign policy decades, rendering our nation so despised that in some sectors of the world, those that do not hate us face institutionalization in mental facilities, ...

Although the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on 9-11 were less than obvious outcomes of what had gone before, there were no surprises in the consequent Bush Doctrine and the war in Iraq. Nor could anyone fully awake fail to anticipate the assault on our civil liberties, unenforcement of environmental protections, and no oversight over criminal mortgage arrangements.

map106 said...

Okay, here's my thing (and forgive my previous outburst) and whatever indications to the contrary might follow, I agree with you:

Eight years ago, to the season, I was "enjoying" the family Christmas dinner (family being my siblings and their assorted SOs--no children or lovely nieces or nephews), and the consensus was: at least he chose good advisers. Note the formulation was "at least" rather than "and".

I wasn't sure what metric was used to judge his appointees (other than prior experience in equally loathsome Republican administrations), but that's another story for another time. The whole point of the nascent Dubya administration was that his advisers would make up for the myriad of deficits he obviously possessed. This was even the consensus among pundits (prior to their becoming incensed that a reporter had asked him to name the leaders of several countries with which he would have to deal). The ADMINISTRATION, as a whole, would be pretty good, and really, how bad could things get?

Let’s forget the China/USA aircraft downing shall we, and skip to 9/11. That bullhorn at Ground Zero was really the turning point. Couple that with the homoerotic effusions describing the landing on the USS Lincoln, and the damage was irreversible.

Dubya was our MAN; let’s get behind (no pun intended) him; we can’t have someone as arid as Kerry. Who could possibly compete with the Lincolnesque, Churchillian splendor of George W. Bush?

The incompetent of 2000 suddenly became our savior in 2004, even after having proved he was asleep at the wheel for 9/11. The obvious incompetent of 2000, proved patently incompetent by 2004 was, however, given a mulligan for his first term, ‘cause he was resolute. We needed to teach those sand niggers a lesson and it didn’t matter that we’d chosen the wrong sand niggers.

Then came Katrina, and suddenly that mulligan didn’t seem like such a great idea.

And the upshot: this family Christmas, having wound its way yet again to the house of the staunch Republicans of the “family”, the family is forbidden to consider anything “political”. This Christmas, after a TORY MP hails Bush’s presidential terms as having blackened, worldwide, the concepts of both democracy and capitalism--stalwarts of the US of A and what all humans should hold near and dear--a major “accomplishment”, the family can’t discuss American ideology.

I should write a novel.

StringonaStick said...

Yeah, well, at least your family is still speaking to you; mine aren't and all because the rethugs got their asses handed to them. So much for togetherness in my pathetic excuse for a family. However I am happy to say that my husband's family treats me well and as one of their own so I've got that going for me.

The press in this country deserves almost as much blame as the Shrub himself, and will of course never have the stones to admit their culpability; too hard on the ol' paycheck dontcha know.

Brian said...

Why the surprise? The mainstream media merely fulfills its real purpose-to manufacture consent for the benefit of the owners. Its naivite to expect it to do anything else, especially in a conglomerated, M&A debt burdened world where revenues are falling.

Anonymous said...

Oh ho! Of course the press will now admit that they were not serious enough, and did not question the government sufficiently. Because, now, with a Democratic administration coming in, they will again become the public's watchdogs and press hard on every statement that comes from the White House.