Gray Flannel Dwarf


Terra Era

E.J. Dionne’s column, “End of The Bush Era” does a decent job in illustrating just how far out of touch Bush is with most of the United States. Yes, people have interests that span the political spectrum, but the battles Bush has sought and fought haven’t, for the most part, been those issues which concern many Americans as much. Likewise, when issues come along that do concern the lot of us, he’s appeared as indecisive and ineffectual.

If Bush had understood that his central task was to forge national unity, as he seemed to shortly after Sept. 11, the country would never have become so polarized. Instead, Bush put patriotism to the service of narrowly ideological policies and an extreme partisanship. He pushed for more tax cuts for his wealthiest supporters and shamelessly used relatively modest details in the bill creating a Department of Homeland Security as partisan cudgels in the 2002 elections.

He invoked our national anger over terrorism to win support for a war in Iraq. But he failed to pay heed to those who warned that the United States would need many more troops and careful planning to see the job through. The president assumed things would turn out fine, on the basis of wildly optimistic assumptions. Careful policymaking and thinking through potential flaws in your approach are not his administration’s strong suits.

And so the Bush Era ended definitively on Sept. 2, the day Bush first toured the Gulf Coast States after Hurricane Katrina. There was no magic moment with a bullhorn. The utter failure of federal relief efforts had by then penetrated the country’s consciousness. Yesterday’s resignation of FEMA Director Michael Brown put an exclamation point on the failure.

The source of Bush’s political success was his claim that he could protect Americans. Leadership, strength and security were Bush’s calling cards. Over the past two weeks, they were lost in the surging waters of New Orleans.

Meanwhile, I was flipping through the channels last night, and saw none other than Bill O’Reilly questioning just what this White House was doing. Referencing (I think) border security, Iraq, gas prices and now Katrina, he mentioned that Bush had done a pretty piss-poor job with all of these. He had Gingrich on, who mentioned that Bush had a chance to turn his legacy around if he handled things right with Katrina, to which O’Reilly responded something to the effect of, “Well, I think you’re a whole lot more optimistic than me.” Now, this isn’t to say that O’Reilly is turning into a raging blue nut, but it more evidence of the erosion of Bush support within his own ranks as seen in polls.

I don’t understand how anyone these days would continue to prop Bush up. Well, honestly I can’t figure out why anyone would’ve for the past few years anyway — but to keep doing it? Is there one thread of decency or progress that has come out of this current administration? Is there anything that this adminstration has undertaken, under good pretenses or not, that has succeeded at anything other than expanding the trenches (and pockets) of a great cronyism? Certainly not, and anyone who can still bring themselves to defend the administration and/or its actions is delusional.

cswiii @ 12:32 pm

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