Monday, January 5

Bush Farewell Tour: Great Personality, Works Out Regularly, Doesn't Overthink Things. Couldn't We Have Just Slept With Him Once And Been Done With It?

Ben Feller, A.P., "Analysis: Bush's personality shapes his legacy." January 3

WHEN the idea of a retrospective of the minor abuses and petty criminality of George W. Bush & Friends struck me a couple years ago--and I promise I'll be getting to the research any day now--the basic impetus was what the lesser lapses, the more garden-variety venality, said about the man and his minions, and how the great engines of Public Relations and the cheerful quislings of the Press facilitated them, how they worked overtime to try to convince people there was Nothing To See, Please Return to Your Homes and Places of Worship in the aftermath of the 2000 election. (There was, and is, the other consideration--it's been with us quite a while now--that the sheer weight and import of Bush disasters has rendered everything other than the major felonies unimportant and too-quickly forgotten. Thus what would have remained as headline-grabbing scandal in earlier administrations--Burt Lance, say, or Bobby Baker, or Margaret Truman's singing voice--are with this one just charges to be dropped so prosecutors can concentrate on the capital offenses. Lord knows I can't remember half the stuff these people got away with or tried to get away with.) I realized such a look back might butt up against a concerted last-ditch effort to resuscitate his presidency, or even the man himself, while he was still in office and able to issue pardons; I did not, at first, have any precedent available for a President hitting Truman-like low approval numbers and keeping them for, well, approximately the length of the entire Truman administration.

What I did not consider was the total collapse of world financial markets and the resulting desperate attempts to give the man something, anything, that could be called a Legacy and not a list of indictable offenses. And, as God is my witness, I never stopped for a moment to ponder what The End of His Presidency puff pieces, if any, were going to look like.

What they look like is that Feller piece linked above, which I stumbled upon in the Sunday Racist Star under the headline "Bush has revealed his human side". It is the salient defense of the once-proud American Economic Miracle that fish, barrels, and ammunition remain well within the average family's budget, available for the cost of the average daily and found in boxes at every major intersection. 

Digby,  understandably, found the piece unmitigated flummery. But I'm just left confused, since it makes my point for me--you have, at the end of the Bush Presidency, The Associated Press trying to construct a legacy out of the exact same nonsense it, and much of the rest of the Mass Market Press, tried to construct a President out of in 2001--but, on the other hand, it does so with an enviable efficiency I couldn't even have dreamt of.

He's a fast-moving, phrase-mangling Texan who stays upbeat! [paragraph one] He relaxes by clearing brush! He gives people nicknames! [paragraph two] He likes punctuality, and stays optimistic! [three] Demands punctuality. [six; the cupboard's damned empty already, apparently] Early to bed, early to rise! [seven] A sixth sense about other's preparation! [eight, nine] Reads the Bible! Works out! Challenges Secret Service men to keep up! Competitive! Likes to be in charge! [ten] 

Hates being interrupted by cellphones. [eleven] (Okay, so there's a little bit of good in almost everybody. Motherfucker could have banned the goddam things after 9/11, then, but did he? We ban shampoo, box cutters, and corkscrews, give duct tape and plastic a bad name, turn emergency preparedness into a sick joke, and allow the importation of children's toys built out of radioactive strontium, but free-range idiots can still stand immediately off your left shoulder in the supermarket check-out line and discourse on real estate, soccer practice, and the results of last week's Pap smear in a voice more appropriate to attracting help while trapped in an elevator, and with impunity, yet.)

I mean, this is the best they can do. Instead of being offended, we might show a little respect. After all, it's at least a comparable challenge to Hitchcock deciding to film an entire movie on a dinghy.


Brendan said...

When that aptly-named Yahoo News link breaks,* and it will, here is another one that that should be around longer.

Didn't you get the memo?

Awesome post, though. L'd mao.

* I was going to say "busts," but the artwork for this post scares me.

D. Sidhe said...

Re your title... Um, are you volunteering? 'Cause even I wouldn't.

Grace Nearing said...

The White House website offers this delightful parting gift: 100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record. No, it's not a written and signed confession.

Despite the specific quantification in the title, the document does not enumerate the items (always cheating, aren't they?). But it's the last thing listed that knocked me out of my chair and on to the floor. It's the over-the-top assertion that Bush:


KathyR said...

Grace: Well, when everything's on fire, it's pretty bright...