Friday, December 12

Friday Bush Farewell Tour Vol. II: Well, That's Settled



I DON'T suppose even the most ardent Republican hater could have imagined just how awful a Chief Executizer George W. Bush would turn out to be, seeing as how "unprecedented" only begins to cover it, but even so, for me, the "acceptance" speech that terrible December 13 eight years ago--whether God in His Infinite Crankiness could have made it Friday the 13th, and if so why He didn't, is one for the theologians--maybe He was in a snit because we'd ignored the Boil thing--still represents a nadir of sorts;. I listened--no, I'm serious--intending to give the man a chance; within a couple minutes I had vowed never to forgive or forget what he said. And though he could have made me eat those words, even by just turning out to be a moderate Republican problem-solver, I felt confident that what the man had made of this "opportunity"--facing what was unquesionably the most gravid acceptance speech in the history of the Presidency, he gave birth to a misshapen two-headed microencephalic, the mindless homilies of a State Treasurer's victory celebration with one of his own empty stump speeches growing out of its back--told just about everything you'd want to know about him. That he proved so much worse in reality is due to a combination of factors, not all driven, but none overcome, certainly, by his multi-faceted lack of talent. And if one knew even then the boundless evil that is Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney, or that informs the banality of the Bush Crime Family; even though one suspected (in fact, had seen) the capacity of the mass-market Press for puffing and fluffing a President with no discernible positive qualities; even as the cocktail proved more toxic than all these combined, a Gestalt of noxiousness, still, the cold hard slap in the face of December 13, when we fully confronted the reality that not only had a man been appointed President of The Most Powerful Nation On Earth For Some Of The Next Eight Years, but that the man in question was completely hollow.

Let's follow along, shall we? No doubt with better reading comprehension than his?
Thank you all.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Good evening, my fellow Americans. I appreciate so very much the opportunity to speak with you tonight.

Okay, so I don't want to get all nit-picky right at the start, but it's now five weeks since you lost the popular vote, and your fellow Americans have seen or heard you twice in that time, leaning on a fence while your team talked to reporters. It's not as though you didn't know where the camera trucks were parked.
Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant Governor, friends, distinguished guests, our country has been through a long and trying period, with the outcome of the presidential election not finalized for longer than any of us could ever imagine.

Though, as it turned out, not nearly long enough. Never would have been preferable. Hopeless deadlock and turmoil would have been a major improvement.
Vice President Gore and I put our hearts and hopes into our campaigns. We both gave it our all. We shared similar emotions, so I understand how difficult this moment must be for Vice President Gore and his family.

Okay, this is where I simply abandoned hope, though maybe it's just me. What th' fuck does Hallmark have to do with this? This is perhaps what might have been said between them, given that George W. Bush has no talent whatever for word usage, (unless you consider mangling a talent) but it just seemed too creepy by half to me. The man had at least seen professional athletes, right?  I mean, you say, "Wow, that 2-1 slider just hung up a little bit, and I was just trying to get my bat on it, you know?  I never thought it'd get out of the park." You do not say, "Well, my first thought was that his wife and kids were probably watching. My heart goes out to them." It's a parody of Nice, and it comes from a man who obviously thinks politics is all about entitlement, and in case of a tie, decided by a pissing contest.

And this was supposed to be an address to the public, and god knows the public had suffered, too; millions of its component parts had just seen their votes flushed down the toilet in the most jaw-droppingly partisan act ever to occur in the annals of American jurisprudence. They will wait in vain for their condolences from this jerk.

Add to it that the entire sentiment rings doubly false. It makes it sound like Gore was faced with a heart-breaking but necessary concession; he could have chosen to denounce the gang of lying bastards led by Bill "Light Opera" Rehnquist. But Gore, sadly for the rest of us, had chosen the honorable thing. The other thing, of course, is that George W. Bush had no freakin' idea in the world what Al Gore was going through; Bush had never lost anything in his life other than his dignity, his balance, and his driving and flying privileges.
He has a distinguished record of service to our country as a congressman, a senator and a vice president.

This evening I received a gracious call from the vice president. We agreed to meet early next week in Washington and we agreed to do our best to heal our country after this hard-fought contest.

And, as usual, George W. Bush was as good as his word. What, do you imagine, did Al Gore have to offer to get Bush to promise "to do his best"? Do you think "spend the first six weeks claiming Clinton trashed the White House" or "give everybody nicknames" were Gore's prescriptions for national healing?
Tonight I want to thank all the thousands of volunteers and campaign workers who worked so hard on my behalf.

And here I remember thinking, "Is this a fucking Oscar speech?" I mean, thank your supporters at the end, or on your own time, but not before you address the majority of voters, you know, the ones who voted for the other guy?
I also salute the vice president and his supports for waging a spirited campaign. And I thank him for a call that I know was difficult to make. Laura and I wish the vice president and Senator Lieberman and their families the very best.

Again with the fucking phone call! And that "spirited campaign", which is how you describe something that finished eight points back, not ahead of you.
I have a lot to be thankful for tonight.

Yeah, we know. And at our expense.
I'm thankful for America and thankful that we were able to resolve our electoral differences in a peaceful way.

Okay, it's not fair to blame George W. Bush for this, and God knows that politicians, especially Republican politicians, seem to imagine that the American public needs more reassurance than a child heading into major surgery, but then again, maybe if Bush were actually familiar with any other country on the face of the earth--and no, a lost weekend in Nuevo Laredo doesn't count--this might sound a little more convincing.
I'm thankful to the American people for the great privilege of being able to serve as your next president.

I want to thank my wife and our daughters for their love. Laura's active involvement as first lady has made Texas a better place, and she will be a wonderful first lady of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Okay, again with the tangents, which might have been appropriate if he'd been speaking to a bunch of drunken Bush Pioneers at the Houston Marriott after winning on election night. He wasn't.
I am proud to have Dick Cheney by my side, and America will be proud to have him as our next vice president.

(APPLAUSE)

Indeed. It was an historic night; the last time the name "Dick Cheney" elicited applause.
Tonight I chose to speak from the chamber of the Texas House of Representatives because it has been a home to bipartisan cooperation. Here in a place where Democrats have the majority, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to do what is right for the people we represent.

It's the fucking Texas State Legislature. Using that as an example of your bipartisan outreach is like saying you've worked with leading Civil Rights leaders because you had lunch with J.C. Watts.
Blah blah Texas, blah, Texas blah blah [snip]
(APPLAUSE)

The spirit of cooperation I have seen in this hall is what is needed in Washington, D.C. It is the challenge of our moment. After a difficult election, we must put politics behind us and work together to make the promise of America available for every one of our citizens.

I am optimistic that we can change the tone in Washington, D.C.

I believe things happen for a reason, and I hope the long wait of the last five weeks will heighten a desire to move beyond the bitterness and partisanship of the recent past.

Our nation must rise above a house divided. Americans share hopes and goals and values far more important than any political disagreements.

And with that promise began the transfer of power to the greatest collection of lying political hacks and criminal sociopaths ever assembled in a single city, an administration which would set the tone in its first hours by ginning up reports of White House vandalism and gifts to the American people unlawfully removed by the previous occupants.
Republicans want the best for our nation, and so do Democrats. Our votes may differ, but not our hopes.

"Nope, whatever our various choice of race, creed, or political philosophy, at heart we're all just lookin' to line our own pockets. And I pledge to you mine will be the most American administration in history in that regard."
I know America wants reconciliation and unity. I know Americans want progress. And we must seize this moment and deliver.

Together, guided by a spirit of common sense, common courtesy and common goals, we can unite and inspire the American citizens.

Examples? Anyone?

And let me say, without giving the rest away, that by now I was thoroughly convinced that Bush had no intention whatsoever of addressing directly the millions of voters, the majority of voters, who'd voted for the other guy and seen the election swiped by a banana republic of a state run by his brother and a Supreme Court run by pimps, pickpockets, and sexual degenerates. The more the motherfucker told me he was intending to inspire our commonality the more I was convinced it was a good time to start hoarding gold.
Together, we will work to make all our public schools excellent, teaching every student of every background and every accent, so that no child is left behind.

Together we will save Social Security and renew its promise of a secure retirement for generations to come.

Together we will strengthen Medicare and offer prescription drug coverage to all of our seniors.

I gotta tell ya, when I found my copy of the speech and I saw that I was dumbfounded to learn he'd actually said something that night that proved to be close to the truth. Though of course all the rest of it proved to be worse than wrong.
Together we will give Americans the broad, fair and fiscally responsible tax relief they deserve.

Together we'll have a bipartisan foreign policy true to our values and true to our friends, and we will have a military equal to every challenge and superior to every adversary.

Together we will address some of society's deepest problems one person at a time, by encouraging and empowering the good hearts and good works of the American people.

This is the essence of compassionate conservatism and it will be a foundation of my administration.

Thus do all Americans stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and wave goodbye to the Good Ship Compassionate Conservatism, which vanished mysteriously the minute it got out of sight.
These priorities are not merely Republican concerns or Democratic concerns; they are American responsibilities.

During the fall campaign, we differed about the details of these proposals, but there was remarkable consensus about the important issues before us: excellent schools, retirement and health security, tax relief, a strong military, a more civil society.

We have discussed our differences. Now it is time to find common ground and build consensus to make America a beacon of opportunity in the 21st century.

Though in the event he only managed to make it a target of opportunity.
I'm optimistic this can happen. Our future demands it and our history proves it. Two hundred years ago, in the election of 1800, America faced another close presidential election. A tie in the Electoral College put the outcome into the hands of Congress.

After six days of voting and 36 ballots, the House of Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson the third president of the United States. That election brought the first transfer of power from one party to another in our new democracy.

Shortly after the election, Jefferson, in a letter titled "Reconciliation and Reform," wrote this. "The steady character of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely moor; unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner. We should be able to hope to do a great deal of good to the cause of freedom and harmony."

At this point I remember I had passed beyond lividity into a great pacific calm of the sort one probably experiences just before shooting up a post office.

The Election of 2000 resembled 1800 only in that the party on the losing end of the popular vote had the juice where it counted and was able to bollox things up; in all other regards it was nothing like it. Jefferson was the overwhelming winner of the popular vote and was understood by the voters to be the Republican/Democrat choice for President, with Burr for Veep. But they wound up tied, turning the thing over to the still-Federalist-controlled House. 1800 was a sea-change in Congress as well, whereas in 2000 Bush's party lost seats in both chambers. In 1800 the logjam in the Electoral College was precisely the result of the way the law was then written; in 2000 the election was decided by a Court which had no Constitutional basis for inserting itself. And, for that matter, in 1800, though somewhat delayed, the House did finally see fit to do what was understood as right. I'm sure you can compare that one with 2000 without my help.

The real precedent, of course, as frequently remarked upon at the time, was the Stolen Election of 1876, which gave the country Rutherford B. Hayes, the disastrous withdrawal of Federal troops enforcing the Reconstruction, and the first use of Federal troops to gun down striking workers. The latter two became traditions which lasted well into the 20th century; the precedent of throwing an illicitly-appointed President out on his ass after one term sadly remained a one-time, 19th century event.

Of course, it's tough to come up with a really good platitude about 1876, and comparing Bush to the great, near-great, highly-regarded, or simply fictionally competent would remain a parlor game for the Right throughout both his first and second ignominies. Jefferson, Churchill, Wilson, John Wayne, Flash Gordon, and Jesus all made appearances; later it was Truman, Hoover, Imelda Marcos, and Ham, the First Chimp in Space. That was after they'd run out of uses for him.
I have something else to ask you, to ask every American. I ask for you to pray for this great nation. I ask for your prayers for leaders from both parties. I thank you for your prayers for me and my family, and I ask you to pray for Vice President Gore and his family.

I was pretty certain by this time that we didn't have a prayer.
I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation.

The president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background.

Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests and I will work to earn your respect.

I will be guided by President Jefferson's sense of purpose, to stand for principle, to be reasonable in manner, and above all, to do great good for the cause of freedom and harmony.

The presidency is more than an honor. It is more than an office. It is a charge to keep, and I will give it my all.

We are, mercifully, at the end of the thing, except for his parting "Thanks, and may God show you more mercy in the future than He's shown tonight" bit. And he's never once looked me, or any other Gore voter, in the eye. He's never once acknowledged that we might have any reason to be irate about this turn of events; it's just a Tough Loss. I'd have forgiven him, really, if he'd simply acknowledged losing the popular vote. That's all I asked. I grant you the forgiveness wouldn't have survived his inaugural speech, but that, too, was ungraciousness personified. Like all that business about Gore, and his feelings, and his need for prayers: if someone with human feeling is touched by such an act he responds with genuine emotion, not with his best good wishes and an offer to do lunch. It was clear, then and there, even before the sliming of the Clintons began in earnest, what this guy was all about. I can't say that I was caught slack-jawed when the first three months of his administration was consumed by cheap attacks on his predecessor. And I sure understood the desire to keep the actual President as far away from microphones as possible.

9 comments:

Doug said...

I read about half way. I like your writing and thoughts, Doghouse. But I couldn't stomach revisiting Bush-speak. It's been a long time since I listed to or read anything he had to say, and, apparently I'm just not ready yet.

Stringonastick said...

You were initially more magnanimous than I was that night, but we both ended up being correct in our assessments.

How this bastard won again in 2004 still makes me suspicious. A poll was released today showing that far less than the actual percentage who voted for him in both elections will now admit to doing so. I suppose this is very, very small comfort on some level, or it just shows that some people will never accept responsibility for their actions. Kind of like the silver-spooned fuckwit under discussion here.

jackd said...

Bush had never lost anything in his life other than his dignity, his balance, and his driving and flying privileges.

Ahem. There is evidence that Shrub has had, at some points in his life, the latter three.

heydave said...

You're far stronger than I to toss back the tequila of Bush's pandering on an empty stomach.

I'd like to have the lad reread this oration to me while I gazed at the expression on his face, in the mirror, from behind, pants down.

Hey, your other commenters can keep the level of discourse elevated.

Christopher said...

After a difficult election, we must put politics behind us and work together to make the promise of America available for every one of our citizens.

When is America going to get tired of hearing this? We've had at least 8 years of putting politics behind us, and I really suspect that we've been doing it for several decades.

And yet here it is, post Bush, with politicians still promising to end the previous divided era and usher in a glorious epoch of post-partisanship.

How long do we have to keep putting politics behind us before it stays there?

Distributorcap said...

i still hope sandra day o connor doesnt sleep well

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

For Christ's sake 2000 and 2004 were fixed.

But you left out my favorite Gore quote from the ordeal. When he called Bush and said that he had won Florida and Bush said, "Fuck you, we did." Gore said, "Well, you don't have to get snippy about it."

I am wondering if that calm wall you hit, that state of mind that must happen before the news crews show up and someone says, "but he was such a nice fellow, so quiet, such a nice yard, poor wife," is their a drug for that? How do I get there? I can't stop being mad. I just can't. I cry all the time now. I don't give a shit about the new administration. It doesn't change anything.

I just want to stop crying and be quiet.

Sue said...

You lost me at "turning out to be a moderate Republican problem-solver". I have no idea what that means. The words just don't work together, in any way. And microencephaly runs in the family.

R V Dump said...

Like with craps and porno, it's been a hard eight.