For a while, it was good to be king.
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the
, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States ." United States-- George Walker Bush, January 20, 2001
Although he was born into privilege and had the advantages of access and wealth, George Bush had been a mediocrity at everything he did.
As a last resort, his father hired Karl Rove, an up and coming Republican operative, to tutor this smirking son of the oil patch on the nitty gritty of politics. Rove worked his magic, the son was elected governor of
It was so good to be king that when terrorists flew jetliners into the
It has been all downhill from there. And while the Great Unraveling of the Age of Bush should not be surprising when you understand the man, his motives, his handlers and their motives, the slow-motion collapse of his presidency has been extraordinary.
These men had three things in common: Enormous egos, a belief that they were God’s chosen leaders, and a worshipful embrace of neoconservatism. They had champed at the bit for eight long years while a most unregal Lothario by the name of William Jefferson Clinton blinded the citizenry to a cowardly foreign policy that had made a once strong
Like him or not (and he was reviled by the neocons and longtime Washington insiders alike),
Into this empty vessel went the Bush Doctrine and other ingredients from the neocon laboratory. This stew was spiced with the dogma of a Christianist right wing well along on its crusade to tear down the Republican Big Tent, and stirred mightily by Rove, whose modest title of White House deputy chief of staff belied his powerful position as the president’s consigliere.
The Bush Doctrine was nothing less than a war cry with its emphasis on unilateral military pre-emption, overarching global superiority and a commitment to extending American-style democracy – at point of gun, if necessary. Diplomacy was out; bellicosity was the coin of the realm. All that the president’s advisors needed was a war and the 9/11 attacks were the perfect cover under which to start one.
But behind this neocon cum Christianist ascendancy lurked the demon spawn of political self perpetuation – accumulating and keeping power for its own sake – a gross perversion of the notion that power can be perpetuated, as FDR was able to do, through incisive leadership, an abiding respect for American values and by simply doing good.
It was the bad karma (how else to say it?) and certainly not bad luck or lucky Democrats that suffused this ascendancy that would eventually – and I believe inevitably – trigger the Great Unraveling.
This contagion can be blamed in particular for the denouement of the neocons’ lust for war – the fundamentally deceitful, wretchedly planned and pitifully executed invasion and occupation of
– a bloodbath that has become a sucking chest wound on the Bush presidency. Iraq
The demon spawn reared its ugly head in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, in the stillborn nomination of a mediocrity by the name of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, in turf battles between the CIA, FBI and NSA, in attacks on habeas corpus and the other pillars of American jurisprudence, in the mockery of the separation of powers, in the blizzard of petulant presidential signing statements, in the obsession with secrecy, in the approval of torture and trashing of longstanding international covenants, in the yawning indifference to the environment and the growing gap between rich and poor, as well as in the ongoing U.S. attorney scandal, an undiluted example of politics over policy.
And perhaps most grotesquely, in the near collapse of the systems that care for physically and mentally wounded soldiers when they return to the king's realm from
For a while, it was good to be king. But now George Bush has reaped the whirlwind.
He has abrogated his oath of office. He has failed to make good on any of his promises of significance. He has hastened the end of the long Republican hegemony in
. He has brought neoconservatism to its knees. He has lowered the Washington ’s standing in the world. And he has even betrayed a father who saw politics as a way to keep his misanthropic son out of further trouble. What a cruel joke has been played on the American people! U.S.
At least it won’t be terribly long until the king’s successor inherits the throne, as well as the god awful mess that George Walker Bush leaves behind when he flees back to the oil patch to await the harsh judgment of history.