Thursday, January 18, 2007

Notes of a Bushophobe - 1

David Seaton's News Links
As time wears on and nerves wear thin, the question keeps repeating like a cucumber salad: "how did it happen, why is Bush where he is"? To me it is the biggest question of his presidency and its answers could be potentially some of the most revealing x-ray shots of twentyfirst century America, its society and politics. I just have to get started chewing on this theme. The following is just a series of notes and in no way a finished product. As the ideas work up into shape, I will continue to post more "Notes of a Bushophobe" with their appropriate number added on. I would be happy and indeed grateful if readers tore apart my arguments or helped me to support them with their information and links. I promise to publish all comments that aren't obscene (unless they are very funny) or personally abusive. Perhaps the way I reason will reveal more about me than about my subject, but here is a rough outline of my unfolding bushology or metabushology. None of this is terribly original, but I just have to have some method developed to make sense of such a bizarre use of the US presidency. I can't continue to just content myself with ad hoc and ad hominem attacks, pleasurable as they are.

To begin with, the question is why George W. Bush?

I shall not beat around the bush (giggle). It seems to me that the prime mover in bushology is the family's unmatched skill at raising money. None of them, beginning with George H.W. Bush, right down to Jeb, is at all charismatic or even attractive, none of them speak very well or even deliver their writer's material very well. but they always show up with a lot of other people's money when campaigning starts. They have a huge network of "rangers" and "pioneers" who work very hard to raise money for them. Why do they do this? As you may have observed on intense introspection or from what the email universities call "life experience", very few people part with money without hoping for something in return... even noble charities would probably wither if they were not also tax shelters.

Let us look, then, at "exhibit-A", at what I consider one of the most, if not the most revealing thing that George W. Bush ever said in public. It was during the 2000 campaign, long before Osama bin Laden added the flavor of tragedy to American life that makes the Clinton years look in retrospect like the "Roaring Twenties"... partying before the great depression. Bush was speaking at the "Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner" on October 20th 2000. Here is the quote from CBS News:
Bush gazed around the diamond-studded $800-a-plate crowd and commented on the wealth on display. "This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores," quipped the GOP standard-bearer. "Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."
If we test everything that Bush has ever done since then against that remark, it all falls into place. With this remark in hand let us imagine what the Rangers and the Pioneers expect in return for their money? Here are some easy items:
  • Lower the taxes of the super-rich
  • Destroy expensive entitlements
  • Degrade the federal government
  • Eliminate inheritance tax
  • Tort reform
He hasn't managed all of it, but he has never flagged in his efforts to get as much of it done as he could and I imagine that the Rangers and the Pioneers feel they have gotten their money's worth. One of the most interesting examples to support my theory or "bushology" is that when he won the 2004 election against the hapless John F. Kerry and with a war going on he decided that he had "political capital" that he was going to "spend" on... trashing Social Security. His answer to war of course, was to lower those taxes for his Rangers.

If you look at him like that, as a faithful servant of wealth (especially inherited) his is in no way a "failed" presidency. When he finally leaves office I think his "legacy" will be secure among those he moves and cherishes. Even though most of humanity will consider him the worst president of the US to ever have held that office, among the one per-cent of America's people who are his true base, he will remain forever a revered icon; the anti Franklin Delano (that man) Roosevelt.

So how did he get into the war in Iraq?

They say his father, George H.W. Bush always maintains that pressuring Israel cost him his second term. The "Lobby" did him. For Dubya to escape that fate and get his real agenda completed, I believe that he and Karl Rove decided that instead of James Baker's hostile (fuck the Jews) attitude, that Bush 43 would give the Israelis everything they wanted. For a Republican satisfying the American Jewish community is not as easy as it might seem. American Jewish people are very liberal, they are not against entitlements or unions, they are concerned about poverty and racism and are not totally adverse to big government or even paying the taxes it costs to get it. As Baker also observed to complete his famous quote, "they don't vote for us". And of course among their number are some of America's most efficient and distinguished trial lawyers. Bush's real agenda, then, is not all that attractive for America's Jewish people. The only way to keep them busy and out his hair was to pander to the Jewish community's Achilles heel, Israel.

Israel is a huge subject unto itself that I often cover at length and this is not the place to go into detail. So lets treat it here with analogy and metaphor. Israel has painted itself into a terrible corner, its political life has been degraded and corrupted out of all recognition, it is moving swiftly toward pariah nation status. Keeping Israel's international reputation afloat is like flying a lead balloon and its very existence is threatened by the Islamic renaissance taking place all over the world. For many, perhaps most, American Jews, this is troubling. For some this problem is like a huge toothache, the kind of toothache that doesn't let a person think straight. Bush simply avoids problems by giving the Israelis all they want when they want it. In return they tell American Jews to "go easy" on Bush. And in support, neocon publicists have given him some of the "vision thing" his father lacked. This has been vital in confusing public opinion. Bush and those around him are desperately inarticulate. The Weekly Standard crowd has given him stirring lines to speak.

In short, the game plan is: give the Israelis Iraq/Iran and thus get the American Jewish community out of Bush's hair in order for him to complete his real program and at the same time dress up his administration's limp rhetoric. If this is really in Israel's or the American Jewish community's true interest, Bush could care less. He is like some pill dispensing, "doctor feel-good", the patient's health is not the true object of his practice. He doesn't care about the Middle East's tragedy, the death and destruction or the final fate of Israel. He keeps his eye on the ball and someday that small but hardy band of billionaires will whisper in his ear, "Thanks a million brother, for a job well done!" And he will be happy with that, he doesn't care what the rest of humanity does or feels.

Well that is the rough start of trying to build a theory of George W. Bush. Thank you for bearing with me, as I struggle to make some sense of it all. DS


GT said...

Yeah, it would be a great plot for a movie where everything is cool in the end. But in real life it just sucks.
Especially if you live there.
Course you could blame money for being so powerful. In our society (I know this from experiences of financial challenge) fame, love life, entertainment, power, education that's worth more than a damn or two, and even HEALTH of an individual is dependent on the individual having worthless pieces of paper with the all seeing eye on them. We're so used to it we don't comprehend how strange it is, but people are no longer people--they're how much money they can or can not get you, or how much money they can make you lose.
Good luck.

Anansi said...

Good question but since the situation defies any real logic it isn't going to be an easy one to answer.

When I asked my brother once if he could explain it he said that there are only two things that you have to remember about the USA. One, everything is based on money and second, everything is reduced to good and evil whether it is appropriate or not.

I have found it a good rule of thumb.

bobbywally said...

I like what you have so far. My friends and I sometimes find ourselves starring into space when we think about the last six years. How can this be?

I hope that one day justice will prevail, but I won't hold my breath...

roksob said...

What took you so long? Social security is going bankrupt and we're going to war, so we'll give the rich a big tax cut? Duh...

kelly said...

Could you add this question to your search: Why was Bush nominated to be the party's candidate at the 2000 Republican Nat'l Convention? The Republicans had candidates with better chances to win and perhaps even deeper pockets. Was it only Bushs' ability to attract money?

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to figure out for years how Bush became president, too. Ultimately, I think you're right about the money.

One thing the money bought was media networks, like Fox News and the outlets owned by Murdoch. Once the fairness doctrine was thrown out by Reagan, (the highly successful front in the class war), the billionaires bought their own networks. Together with the foundations funded by Scaife and others, they redefined the boundaries of political speech. The other corporate-owned networks chimed right in since they support Bush's agenda, too.

There is something unique about the effect of television on the human brain. It is not the same effect as speech or radio. It has the ability to substitute for reality to some degree and it is very difficult to believe anything different from what is repeated 24/7 on the news channels.

I think this has been the key factor that put someone like Bush in office, who can barely pretend to be a normal human being, let alone one competent for his office. The ruling elites don't have to work at it as hard as long as they control the media. Only when the reality of people's lives becomes materially different from what they see on television will it change. I think that partially explains the 2006 elections. In addition, I think some parts of the ruling class think Bush has done a poor job of ruling on their behalf.

Since no one but a billionaire can afford to buy a tv network, I don't know how to change this. The internet is a powerful tool; hopefully, it may help.