Sunday, October 19, 2008

"W" and post "W"

David Seaton's News Links
Many (most?) people think that George W. Bush is stupid. I don't.

On the contrary, I think that he is highly intelligent, but I also think that he is seriously insane.

I wont indulge in psychobabble trying to diagnose his disease: crazy is as crazy does.

It is his intelligence that makes his particular insanity so perverse. If he were stupid, his insanity would have come to little, we would never even have heard of him. It is the rest of us that are stupid... certainly not Bush
.

George W. Bush is an alcoholic who has cold turkeyed the booze and then taken the implicit self destructiveness and self hatred of alcoholism and channeled and projected it universally.
Few leaders in history, drunk or sober, have had such a canvas of destruction to paint upon as he has.

Considering the power he has had and how crazily destructive he is, we have come off lightly. He hasn't used the atomic bomb... yet.


A dramatically abridged list of the damage he has done to himself, the environment and humanity follows:

He has destroyed his own reputation: from being the governor of an important state to being a universal pariah.

He has destroyed the reputation of his family name, a family that has given the United States of America senators, governors and two presidents...
Now even the humble rosebush would probably like to change its name to rosesmith or rosejones.

George W. Bush has destroyed his own political party as a instrument of power: a party that is one of the two legs on which American democracy stands. He has surpassed even Nixon in leading the party that once was the home of Abraham Lincoln,
Robert Taft and Dwight Eisenhower into the swamps of neofascist populism.

Iraq, Afghanistan, habeas corpus, Kyoto, New Orleans and the economy: what hasn't he withered with his touch?

The power and influence of the United States in in tatters. Its core skills, which are the heart of its rise to preeminence: its military, organizational and financial abilities, have been degraded out of recognition.


However, I maintain that George W. Bush himself is not a root cause of any of this. At bottom he is only a symptom of a systemic malfunction.

Bush is merely the product of a malfunction that begins with the political parties and how they finance themselves. This is a corrupt alchemy abetted and echoed by a media of tardo-Roman frivolity that permits that someone as damaged as Bush can be selected as a candidate and treated as a serious one in the first place.

But also, and perhaps most gravely, this is a malfunction that includes the American people themselves. It was they who finally elected George W. Bush President of the United States: basically because his first opponent was boring and sighed during debates and then reelected him, basically because his second opponent spoke French and enjoyed wind surfing.


Now this same corrupt system, this same defective process and this same air headed American electorate have selected and are preparing to entrust the atomic bomb and the keys to the skeleton closets containing America's darkest secrets... plus the enhanced executive powers that Cheney has procured for Bush... and his successors, either to an aging and disorganized torture victim or to the hero of a book, "Dreams From my Father", who, for all we know, may turn out to be a fictional character himself.

We shan't begin to know until the big piñata is finally broken open on January 20th, 2009.


The piñata is filled with poisoned sweets.


Bush leaves behind him a damaged, if not crippled economy, with a debt so huge, that it reduces his successor's options at precisely the moment when decisive action must be taken.


To give an idea of what is in store, here are two brief quotes from two important articles which I recommend reading in full. They are by Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman and by Phillip Stephens, associate editor of the Financial Times, who is considered close to Britain's New Labour:
Krugman: If Barack Obama becomes president, he won’t have (McCain's) knee-jerk opposition to spending. But he will face a chorus of inside-the-Beltway types telling him that he has to be responsible, that the big deficits the government will run next year if it does the right thing are unacceptable. He should ignore that chorus. The responsible thing, right now, is to give the economy the help it needs. Now is not the time to worry about the deficit.

Stephens: Mr Obama’s many tax and spending pledges can scarcely be reconciled with the grim reality of the burgeoning budget deficit. The rising protectionist tone of his pledges to protect American jobs jars with the promise to restore the nation’s standing in the world. That said, his speeches carry a professional sheen applied by a phalanx of economic advisers from the Clinton years.(...) Even before the cost of the bail-out of the banks and the stimulus programmes promised by the candidates are added to the accounts, next year’s US budget deficit is forecast to top $500bn. It could turn out to be twice that very large number. I have heard supporters of Mr Obama say “no matter”. Once he has won, he can declare that things are a lot worse than they seemed. A Democratic Congress will trim its ambitions. Even putting aside the political cynicism, this misses the scale of the challenge. Fixing the economy – persuading voters to consume less and save more and redirecting spending into investment in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure – will demand a huge reservoir of moral authority. What will voters say when Mr Obama, if he wins, tells them that his health plan is unaffordable?
The need for strong, social democratic measures is clear. What to do and how to do it no mystery. As I've said before, the plans are all there, all you have to do is translate them from Swedish.

The problem is that Bush's insane binge of selfhating destruction and the implosion of the economy has bent the American political map out of shape. This could be a dangerous mirage.

Over decades, in election after election, the country has proven itself to be leaning to the right. Only four years ago the voters endorsed Bush's program and goals. They have turned against him because of the results of his disastrous execution of those policies, not because of some ideological epiphany. It could be fatally unwise to confuse a victory by default with a "movement".
There is going to be no mandate, only an opportunity.

Therefore in a moment that requires swift, even radical action there will be many who urge caution.

It is dangerous to do too little, it is dangerous to do too much... it is dangerous.

If, as it now appears nearly certain, Barack Obama is elected president and is given a filibuster proof Democratic majority, in great part he will have received all this solely because Bush's binge of destruction has momentarily gelded the Republican Party.

If the economy doesn't get better very fast, the same destructive and bitter forces that Nixon called up from the depths of America's psyche can quickly turn on the Democrats; in fact this may be the only path the Republican remnant can take.

No less an authority on these forces: one of the men who most contributed to creating Nixon's racist, neofascist, Southern Strategy, Pat Buchanan, gives a venom laded version of Philip Stephens' conundrum:
This center-right country is about to vastly strengthen a liberal Congress whose approval rating is 10 percent and implant in Washington a regime further to the left than any in U.S. history.(...) Headed for the White House is the most left-wing member of the Senate, according to the National Journal. To the vice president's mansion is headed Joe Biden, third most liberal as ranked by the National Journal, ahead of No. 4, Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders. What will this mean to America? An administration that is either at war with its base or at war with the nation.(...) Obama knows Middle America harbors deep suspicions of him. Thus, he has jettisoned the rhetoric about the "fierce urgency of now," and "We are the people we've been waiting for," even as he has jettisoned position after position to make himself acceptable. Flip-flopping reveals the prime meridian of presidential politics. If an analyst will collate all the positions to which all the candidates move, he will find himself close to the true center of national politics. (...) No Democrat has ever come out of the far left of his party to win the presidency. McGovern, the furthest left, stayed true to his convictions and lost 49 states.(...) One question remains: Will a President Obama, with his party in absolute control of both Houses, revert to the politics and policies of the Left that brought him the nomination, or resist his ex-comrades' demands that he seize the hour and impose the agenda ACORN, Ayers, Jesse, and Wright have long dreamed of? Whichever way he decides, he will be at war with them, or at war with us. If Barack wins, a backlash is coming.
So this campaign, no matter who wins it, is probably only the beginning of an enormous conflict... a hopefully dry, second American Civil War.

Bush in his own tortured, private hell can be content. He has left a mess that will take decades to sort out and may tear the country apart. He has taken his revenge in full. Revenge for what? What did we ever do to him to deserve such punishment?

We will probably never know. DS

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The silence is deafening. It would appear we are all shell-shocked, here in commentland.

It is, indeed, we who are the problem. I have about given up all discussion of anything pertinent because people here just do not inform themselves. The problem is always external (the media, politicians, lawyers, Wall Street, the gay/liberal/fundamentalist/neo-con agendas and on and on, ad nauseum); always someone else to vilify and carry the blame, when we are the sovereign in whom all power resides. If the economic meltdown, with its lost homes and retirements doesn't shake us out of our torpor and get us in the streets to demand change (not the ersatz brand of this election), beginning with single-payer, universal health care, nothing will and the backlash will be the least of our concerns, for we will have surrendered any shred of humanity and self-respect that might still cling to our carcasses.

Thanks for another wonderful post. It is always a pleasure to open your site.

Anonymous said...

You jest? I have heard Bush called many things, but intelligent? Never! The press has scorned Palin, but they obviously have forgotten Bush's entry onto the national scene. If you saw the debates you would have noticed the earplug, and the dumb smirk while he waited for the answer to come through from his handlers.Maybe the transparent ( to the audience)
telepromter made it seem as though he knew what he was talking about?

Lubin said...

David,

Faaaa....

No half-measures from you.

Sorry thing is you are probably right.

W's people accomplished what they set out to do,

See you after the election.

bailey alexander said...

With 300 million people there will always be some form or internal war, coming from seattle/san fran environs, I've absolutely nothing in common w/Palin, who could still win.

35 billion dollars later, 35 years later, those think tanks will make sure the rebellious 60's don't happen again, but who knows, if there was ever to be a revolution in North America it would be of the financila kind...

really great post, me thinks of many things....
bay/paris