George W. Bush Is Dead To Me
Nation cringes as the worst president ever continues long, painful
slog to the end
- By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, July 7, 2006
t is like some sort of virus. It is like some sort of weird and painful rash on your face
that makes you embarrassed to walk out the door and so you sit there day after day, waiting for it to go away, slathering
on ointment and Bactine and scotch. And yet still it lingers.
Some days the pain is so searing and hot you want to cut off your own head with a nail file. Other days it is numb and
pain-free and seemingly OK, to the point where you think it might finally be all gone and you allow yourself a hint of a whisper
of a positive feeling, right up until you look in the mirror, and scream.
George W. Bush is just like that.
Everyone I know has had enough. Everyone I know is just about done. There is this threshold of happy deadened disgust,
this point where the body simply resigns itself to the pain, a point where the disease, the poison has seeped so deeply into
the bones that you just have to laugh and shrug it all off and go for a drink. Or 10.
I was having cocktails recently with a group of people, among whom were two lifetime Republicans, each in his 60s, corporate
businessmen, one admittedly slightly more moderate than the other (to the point where, after once hearing a senator read off
a long list of Bush's hideous environmental atrocities, actually let his conscience lead his choice and ended up voting for
Kerry) but nevertheless both devoted members of the party.
Bush came up, as a topic, as a cancer, as a fetid miasma in the air. They were both shaking their heads. They were sighing
heavily. They were both, in a word, disgusted. The more staunchly conservative of the two even went so far as to say he was
so embarrassed and humiliated by this president, by this administration, so appalled at all the war atrocities and the wiretapping
and the misuse of law, the fiscal irresponsibility and the abuse of the lower classes and the outright arrogance, that if
the Dems could somehow produce a decent moderate candidate with a brain, he'd have zero problem switching allegiances and
voting for him. Or her.
It may not sound like much. It may not seem like a major shift. But it is, in its way, sort of massive. For thoughtful
Repubs with a conscience (they actually exist, I have seen them), there is little left to defend. There is little this administration
has done among all categories of ostensible GOP values that they can look to with any sort of pride. Medicare? Shrinking the
budget? Smaller government? Less intervention in our lives? Reduced spending? Increased respect in the international community?
Responsible international citizen? Ha. Name your topic, BushCo has failed. Spectacularly. Intentionally.
Indeed, countless Dems were disappointed with Clinton's behavior during Monicagate. Many were ashamed that he would cheapen
the office so badly by such trashy moral behavior.
But that was just a cheap little affair (our allies never understood all the fuss anyway). This was never the attitude
toward Clinton's politics, his capacity to understand complex issues, his astounding political savvy. No one anywhere doubted
he made the country richer, more environmentally conscious, more stable, more respected and admired. Clinton was globally
adored not only for his charisma but for his contributions to world peace. Plus he could actually point to Afghanistan on
What a difference a handful of years makes. Now, overseas, we are a joke. A threat. A toxin. We are considered reckless
and arrogant and ignorant, dangerous not just to the rest of the world but to the overall health of the planet. No one anywhere
understands how a man like Bush can be the leader of the Free World, stolen election
Sure, smarter Europeans know full well that the United States is deeply divided between the pseudo-religious right-wing
warmongers who control a tiny cadre of the powerful elite, and, well, everyone else. It does not matter. America's reputation
as a powerful and respected diplomatic peacekeeper, as the nation that sets the standards for human rights and economic freedom
and choice, is hobbled. Crippled. Is very nearly dead. How quickly can we recover? How much damage has been done? History
will tell, and it will be ugly indeed.
Interesting feature interview
with Al Gore in Rolling Stone recently. Gore mentions two amazing things: one is the discussion he's had with generals regarding
Iraq, with one coming right out and admitting that Bush's disastrous Iraq war will go down as the worst invasion in American
history, our greatest misstep, our most costly and debilitating mistake. Among top brass in the know, of this there is little
The other was about the discussions Gore's had with various major corporate CEOs about Gore's pet issue, global warming,
and how obvious it is that 15 minutes after BushCo leaves office, we will have a radically new global warming policy. In other
words, Bush won't do a thing about it in the next two years, despite how obvious it shall become that we are in crisis, simply
because he can't risk finally coming out and admitting yet another enormous policy disaster. Not to mention how nearly six
years of enviro policy abuse, from air quality to water to forestry to pollution deregulation on all his industrial pals,
can't be undone with a smirk and a prayer.
Which is just another way of saying we are currently stuck. We are swirling around the bottom of the drain, clinging
on to anything that might hold us from going under for just a little while longer. We have to let the neocon disease run its
course, and just pray that at the end of it all the scarring and the pain and damage will not be so permanent, and so hideous,
that we can't be seen in public for a decade.
This is where it stands: Bush can in no way risk alienating the ultra-right-wing bonk-job contingent that put him in
office (they are, considering Bush's 32-percent approval rating, the only ones left even remotely supporting him -- even though,
according to many estimates, they're starting to abandon him, too), and hence all policy and all agenda items from here on
out will be even more vicious and desperate in an attempt to shore up the base. Hence trying to mutilate the Constitution
to ban gay marriage. Hence attacking the New York Times and claiming newspapers are endangering American lives.
In other words, Bush's latest nasty, Rove-designed salvos and upcoming attacks to save a sliver of power and pride and
sneering GOP control are just the beginning.
However -- praise Jesus and pass the scotch -- they are the beginning of the end.