A SATURDAY MORNING MEDITATION: GEORGE W. BUSH, G. HARROLD CARSWELL AND SOME POOP FROM A SICK ANIMAL
You know how some people see images of Jesus' mom everywhere, like on burritos and bagels and cakes and oil stains on bridges and stuff like that? And I know I read something about Mother Theresa on a sticky bun recently. Well, I have to admit, I'm kind of like that with Bush. Not sticky buns or bagel sightings or that kind of stuff, but I get reminded of him in ways no one else would. I mean, did anyone esle catch a Bush reference in the new Woody Allen film, MATCH POINT? My friends Craig and Ray saw MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS with me and they thought I was a little overboard coming out of the moving talking about how the same way newsreel images of Hitler in the film caused me to have a visceral negative reaction, for millions of people throughout the world, tv images of Bush-- or even just his voice-- cause an identical visceral reaction.
Now a couple days ago I was out for my morning constitutional and there was a big orange mound of really revolting-looking animal turd in the road. Like from a sick animal of some kind. Needless to say my mind went immediately to George W. Bush. I mean I didn't see his image in the pile of turd the way people see Mother Teresa in cinanamon rolls or anything like that, but the instinctual revulsion of seeing the sick looking turd did make me think of what Bush is doing to the country I love so much-- a country I wasn't only born in, but one I chose to live in after traveling and living around the world for nearly 7 years. America is the best, but Bush is doing a helluva job (with Brownie and the rest of his cronies) to change that.
My morning meditation on Bush and the sick animal turd led me in an unexpected direction though. When I was growing up in Brooklyn, there was this old adage that "anyone could grow up to be president." Well... I had some concerns, coming from Brooklyn, that "anyone" didn't include Jews, for example. (I mean even today I have run into so many people who eagerly acknowledge that Russ Feingold would be the best President of all the people being mentioned for 2008 but... well... isn't he Jewish? And just over half the people in the country are women and they never really seemed to be part of that "anyone" who could either (even though there have been effective women heads of state in England, the Phillipines, New Zealand, India and Israel, as well as in somewhat more socially-backward places like Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh). And then there's the little teensy-weensy African-American problem.
But Bush did break down one barrier to this adage-- and this may sound like I'm being a smart-ass, but actually I'm being serious. Just like John F Kennedy broke down the barrier that kept Roman Catholics out of the presidency, George W. Bush proved that someone with an extraordinarily low IQ and a serious learning disability (both exaccerbated by excessive drug use) could also one day grow up (more or less) and become president. Now, please forget for a moment that Bush is the scion of one of the most reknowned robber-baron families of our age and that his father was a president, albeit a mediocre, one-term one, and that his brother and several other powerful and corrupt power players actually stole the election for him. Just suspend that thought for a moment. Instead focus
on Bush himself. (I didn't take a photo of the sick animal turd but Sadie from the Art Department found that picture of Bush above that she thought would help you focus on where I'm going with this.)
It doesn't matter-- in this narrative-- that Bush is a son of wealth and privilege who never accomplished anything on his own in his entire life and, in fact, by any objective examination, has always been an utter failure in anything and everything he's tried. What matters is that he is ignorant and unlearned. Here's someone who never studied in school and is as far from scholarly as one can be and still not be a proven functional illiterate. I mean, sure Clinton knows there's a difference between Sunni and Shi'a, but even that isn't the point. One of my neighbors told me her alcoholic son knows the difference between Sunni and Shi'a. But what Bush has been able to accomplish is a complete denigration of intelligence and learning and replace these once esteemed-- even required-- attributes with a completely fake, if not blasphemous, religiosity. Where we once looked for someone wise and intelligent to lead us, we have now accepted someone who claims "God" talks to him and tells him what to do.
Who would've imagined we'd have this dullard in the White House today back when Roman Hruska (R-NE)-- pathetically trying to make a last ditch defense for Nixon's appointment of G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court-- stood up on the Senate floor and actually said "there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that there." Forget the anti-semitic thrust and instead keep in mind that Hruska-- himself the least intelligent man to ever serve in the U.S. Senate until Tom Coburn was elected-- referred to Carswell as "mediocre," when he was being judged by the nation as a backward, unenlighted ignoramous. (He was later arrested, in true Republican style, in a public toilet attempting to have oral sex with an undercover agent.) But Carswell, rejected by the Senate as too dumb to sit on the Supreme Court-- and perhaps making "mediocre" people feel badly about themselves or, hopefully, isnpiring some students to study a little harder-- was far brighter and far more enlightened than George W. Bush!
No one remembers Carswell or Hruska but Bush is making more of a mark on history, one that may well be remarked on for many decades. Here is a man who makes one positively yearn for the days when Republicans actually served up merely mediocre public officials. Aside from being steeped in ignorance and darkness, a real problem for the ex oficio leader of what was once called "The Free World," Bush is clearly delusionary. He seems to believe that if he says it, it is or will be true. He'll publically promise disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina and the victims never heard another word about it. He makes promises to world leaders and they never hear anything from him again either. On January 4 Bush said "that U.S. efforts in Iraq are bearing fruit" and the promised goal for ramping down the American occupation-- the Iraqi Army being able to handle the country's security was on the way to becoming a reality.
"In January 2006, the mission is to continue to hand over more and more territory and more and more responsibility to Iraqi forces," said Bush, flanked by his top aides, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. A year ago, Bush said, "only a handful" of Iraqis were trained and equipped to fight the insurgent forces. "Today, 125 combat battalions are fighting the enemy, and 50 of those are in the lead," he said. "That's progress." Was he high? Lying? Insane? Did God-- or someone impersonating God-- tell him this nonsense? Last September, Generals John Abizaid and George Casey testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that only one Iraqi battalion was capable of conducting operations without U.S. support. Today CNN reported that that there isn't even one Iraqi division capable of fighting without American support. (Did John Murtha warn us of this a couple months ago? Why influential old-school Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden and Wesley Clark go along with this line of Bushthink is mortifying.)
CNN quoted Bush as saying "As we see more of these Iraqi forces in the lead, we will be able to continue with our stated strategy that says as Iraqi forces stand up, we will stand down." Well, even though Bush doesn't hold much stock in reality, we now have less Iraqi forces in the lead (zero) than before (one). The 125 battalions? Thin air.
MONDAY EVENING UPDATE: NO ONE LIKES BUSH ANYMORE
The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high. I can't believe he's still over a third! Cheney on the other hand has sunk from 23% to 18%.