Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Peak Bush

It only took five years, but it appears that it's finally happened. We've reached the tipping point. The camel's back has been broken. After sailing arrogantly along virtually unimpeded and unencumbered by anything resembling a conscience or any type of oversight, Preznit Too Stupid To Live In The Real World's personal Ship of State appears to be foundering. How has this happened? He is now being regularly attacked not just by those of us on the left who have opposed him all along, but by the very people who once worshipped and adored and enshrined him. They're jumping off the bus in droves. Of course, proving that moronitude is still the near-exclusive province of the extreme right-wing, they are now in many cases calling him a "liberal" as a way of justifying their new criticisms. Apparently that's the worst epithet they can come up with, and eases their fits of lucidity and shattered cognitive dissonance when they think too much about the fact that he was their guy all along, and now they can no longer support him.

At least he was their guy until the one-two punch of Hurricane Katrina and the nomination of Harriet Miers exposed his glass jaw for all to see.

Because it would appear that those two events, in large part, are what finally turned all but the Truest of Believers against AWOL McJingo, the neo-cons' puppet Chickenhawk in Chief. Sure, the added discomfort of the ever-growing deficit, the bloody war-with-no-end in Iraq and the increasing number of indictments of Republicans already served and yet to come have played a part, but I believe most historians will point to Katrina and Harriet as the main participants in the fateful menage-a-trois that has lately brought him (and his entire maladministration) low.

With Katrina, the sheer incompetence of the man -- and nearly everyone he's surrounded himself with -- was on view for the world to see. His tin-eared, too-late response will live in the memories of this nation for generations to come -- the image of him playing a guitar while New Orleans drowned, his comments about partying at Mardi Gras in his youth and rebuilding Trent Lott's house from the "rubbles" of the one that was lost, his mother's chuckling observation about how disaster and relocation was "working out very well" for the poor of Louisiana -- these and more combined to reveal to all but the most partisanly-blinded ideologue that we had a singularly overmatched person in a position of great power at a time when we could least afford it. Simply put, he blew it. "Brownie, yer doin' a heckuva job."

The shit really hit the right-wing fan, though, with the nomination of Harriet "I (Heart) My Brilliant Georgie" Miers to the Supreme Court. Suddenly all the talk about cronyism and incompetence, about rewarding loyalty over ability, became clear, even to those who had, up to that point, defended him. Harriet Miers, the conventional wisdom goes, is even less qualified to be a Supreme Court justice than her nominator is qualified to be president. The fact that many on the fringe right (which has now become the de facto mainstream right) opposed her nomination because she wasn't conservative enough -- read: they weren't 100% convinced that she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade -- is irrelevant. What's important is that it has led to this sea change, this mass disenchantment, this peek-behind-the-curtain moment when the people who had just recently been cheering the Emperor for his stylishness and taste suddenly, as one, realize that he is wearing no clothes.

It remains to be seen what this will all mean in terms of the political landscape over the course of the next few years. With the Plame investigation about to come to a head, no one yet knows how much more trouble that will bring to an already-beleaguered White House. But unless Patrick Fitzgerald decides not to indict anyone -- not a particularly likely scenario at this point -- one would have to think that it will only cause more disillusionment among the masses who once believed that the man occupying the Oval Office is a good guy, a strong leader and someone they'd like to sit down and have a beer with. Could it be that our long national nightmare will soon be over? That enough Americans have finally come out of their stupor to realize that a significant change needs to be made, and made soon, if we and our Constitution are to survive?

George, your slip is showing.
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