Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

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Bush Administration

It seems to me that much ommentary on President Bush has already taken on a retrospective tone, as if his Administration were already over. It is over, in the sense that most Americans have had it with the Bushies. Eugene Robinson writes,

It’s official: Bush Derangement Syndrome is now a full-blown epidemic. George W. Bush apparently has reduced more of his fellow citizens to frustrated, sputtering rage than any president since opinion polling began, with the possible exception of Richard Nixon. …

… A Gallup Poll released this week showed that 64 percent of Americans disapprove of how the Decider is doing his job. That sounds bad enough — nearly two-thirds of the country thinks its leader is incompetent. But when you look more closely at the numbers, you see that Bush’s abysmal report card — only 31 percent of respondents approve of the job he’s doing — actually overstates our regard for his performance.

According to Gallup, if you lump together the Americans who “strongly” approve of Bush as president with those who only “moderately” feel one way or the other about him, you end up with about half the population. That leaves a full 50 percent who “strongly disapprove” of Bush — as high a level of intense repudiation as Gallup has ever recorded in its decades of polling.

Gallup has been asking the “strongly disapprove” question since the Lyndon Johnson administration. The only time the polling firm has measured such strong give-this-guy-the-hook sentiment was in February 1974, at the height of the Watergate scandal, when Nixon’s “strongly disapprove” number was measured at 48 percent. Bush beats him by a nose, but the margin of error makes the contest for “Most Reviled President, Modern Era” a statistical tie.

The shrinking Republican base still supports Bush, but Independents have joined the Dems in the Anti-Bush League.

Bush didn’t come by this distinction with help from family connections or the Supreme Court. No, he earned it.

And, you know, being President is just about the only thing the sociopathic little bleep ever did in his life without help from family connections.

What’s hard to fathom is how we’ll make it through the next 14 1/2 months.

Maybe that’s why retrospectives feel so soothing.

Sidney Blumenthal describes the Bush Administration as something like a smoking ruin:

Every aspect of George Bush’s foreign policy has now collapsed. Every dream of neoconservatism has become a nightmare. Every doctrine has turned to dust. The influence of the United States has reached a nadir, its lowest point since before the second world war, when the country was encased in isolationism.

Don’t hold back, Sidney. Tell us what you really think.

Gone are the days when the stern words of a senior US official prevented rash action by an errant foreign leader and when the power of the US served as a restraining force and promoted peaceful resolution of conflict. In the vacuum of the Bush catastrophe, nation-states pursue what they perceive to be their own interests as global conflicts proliferate. The backlash of preemptive war in Iraq gathers momentum in undermining US power and prestige.

The resignation last week of Bush’s close advisor, Karen Hughes, as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, whose mission was to restore the US image in the world, signaled not only failure but also exhaustion. The administration’s ventriloquism act of casting words into the mouth of the president’s nominee for attorney general, former federal judge Michael Mukasey, who would not declare waterboarding torture, demonstrated that Bush is less concerned with the crumbling of America’s reputation and moral authority than with preventing an attorney general from prosecuting members of his administration, including possibly him, for war crimes under US law.

The neoconservative project is crashing. The “unipolar moment,” the post-Cold War unilateralist utopia imagined by neocon pundit Charles Krauthammer; “hegemony,” the ultimate goal projected by the September 2000 manifesto of the Project for the New American Century; an “empire” over lands that “today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets,” fantasized by neocon Max Boot in the Weekly Standard a month after September 11, have instead produced unintended consequences of chaos and decline….

…The Bush administration finds itself devoid of options. Neoconservatives are left, happily at least for some of them, to defend torture. They have no explanations for the implosion of Bush’s policies or suggestions for remedy. Self-examination is too painful and in any case unfamiliar. Bush regrets Musharraf’s martial law, yet tacitly accepts that the US has no alternative but to support him in the war on terror that he is not fighting – and is using for his own political purposes.

On the rubble of neoconservatism, the Bush administration has adopted “realism” by default, though not even as a gloss on its emptiness. Bush still clings to his high-flown rhetoric as if he’s warming up for his second inaugural address. But this is not rock-bottom. There is further to fall.

Um, that last bit wasn’t so soothing.

Be sure to read Craig Unger’s piece on “How Cheney took control of Bush’s foreign policy” at Salon. Colin Powell was already being shoved out of the loop by Cheney and Rumsfeld before Bush was inaugurated. Unger also writes that Paul Wolfowitz probably would have become Director of the CIA were it not for his affair with Shaha Riza, a.k.a. the “neoconcubine.” Somehow Mrs. Wolfowitz found a way to take her marital grievances to the White House.

See also “The Battle of the Bushes” and “How George Bush Really Found Jesus,” which are taken from Unger’s new book The Fall of the House of Bush.

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10 Comments

  1. Chris Schaffer  •  Nov 9, 2007 @2:46 pm

    Love the collection of quotes. It really does put in perspective how ready many people are to simply move on and hope they can forget the last few years.

    Of course, the very early start to this round of election campaigns might also be pushing us to assume it is much latter in the presidential cycle than it is.

  2. MNPundit  •  Nov 9, 2007 @3:11 pm

    A few contrary points.

    While Bush has certainly showed the darkside of family connections, if I had the kind of connections he had I would certainly use them. Why wouldn’t you use a leg up?

    The difference here is that he used his family connections to insulate him from the negative consequences of his actions. Who you know gets you in the door, what you know and how you do things are what are supposed to keep you there.

    Also, was the Riza relationship an affair? I was under the impression both were actually unattached at the time. I thought Riza had divorced.

    Otherwise, there was a story this summer about Bush going into a little diner somewhere in a purple state, the reaction to him was no reaction at all. Everyone mostly ignored him unless he spoke to them first. Really, to me that said more clearly than ever that the country just wants him to go away now.

  3. maha  •  Nov 9, 2007 @3:18 pm

    I was under the impression both were actually unattached at the time.

    So did I, but apparently the relationship began while Wolfie was still married to somebody else.

  4. joanr16  •  Nov 9, 2007 @5:59 pm

    Craig Unger’s book sounds really interesting, but I may have to wait 14 1/2 months to read it. Otherwise panic sets in.

  5. JerseyJeffersonian  •  Nov 9, 2007 @6:54 pm

    MNPundit,

    As to W’s exploitation of the darkside of family connections, you don’t know the half of it. What follows is an email I sent to several friends concerning the rotten fruit on W’s family tree. The subject line was, “Think It’s Time for a Little Denazification?”. Follow the link included for some enlightenment about the Bush family’s past.

    I have been aware for some time of the fascist plot to overthrow FDR’s administration, a plot that was foiled by the whistleblowing of retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (author of War Is A Racket). What I wasn’t aware of was the personal involvement in this cabal of – surprise, surprise! – George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush. I had known that he had gotten crosswise of the government for continuing to trade with the Nazi regime AFTER the US was at war with them, so I guess that this can’t be too great a revelation. Nonetheless, here is a link to a brief web posting from Scott Horton’s blog, “No Comment”, over at Harpers ( a truly remarkable blog, by the way; extravagently recommended).

    http://harpers.org/archive/2007/07/hbc-90000651

    Ah, if only FDR had brought down the hammer back in 1934…

    If you will recall, George H. W. Bush fought as a pilot in the Pacific in WWII and was shot down in action. But he fought under the cloud of his father’s traitorous actions vis a vis the Nazis. You’d be tempted to say that he was trying to repudiate this legacy through his actions, but remember that he wound up as head of the CIA, an organization which cynically enlisted the aid of old Nazis and other european fascist types against the Communists during the Cold War. And George I added his own sordid chapter to the amoral family legacy through his role in the Iran-Contra affair under Saint Ronnie’s administration. So am I surprised at the fascistic propensities of George W.? That’s a rhetorical question. He clearly couldn’t invoke the “good name” of his family to advance himself, but he certainly absorbed the baleful influences in his background and internalized all of its moral depravity. At the same time his wastrel life almost appeared to be an effort to blackmail his father into covering for him. The ultimate results of this pathology are sad on a human level, but sickening in their pernicious effects on millions of fellow sentient beings who have been affected by this empty creature.

    We’ll be a long time living him down.

  6. Swami  •  Nov 9, 2007 @10:10 pm

    Let’s not forget an honorable mention for the long train of accomplishments by Condi Rice. Bush isn’t the only asswipe loser in the crowd.
    And Karen Hughes jumped ship?…I’m devastated! Gee, I had such high hopes for her Islamic blogs program…Now how are we going to win hearts and mind in the middle east?

    But most of all we still have to deal with our upcoming defeat in Iraq. It should be interesting to see who and how somebody cleans up Bush’s mess. It’ll be 10-12 billion a month until somebody pulls the plug on that debacle.

  7. k  •  Nov 10, 2007 @1:08 am

    hey- don’t make Nixon look bad by comparing him to Bush. He at least was intelligent and didn’t run the country into the ground. The Cheney foreign policy has certanily collapsed. Basically the government is limping along, people doing their jobs leader less and rudderless.

  8. uncledad  •  Nov 10, 2007 @1:52 am

    President Bush has taken on a retrospective tone!

    How dare he, him, they, has there ever been such a bunch of miscreants? Unfortunately for us: It aint over. And unfortunately the “democrats” don’t seem like they are done getting their asses kicked. It seems to me the democratic leadership is just as terrorized as the right wing, and the mid-western malls. Some day, we might understand. Today we seem lost on the waterboard of illusion, the separate justice of our freedom.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 10, 2007 @8:05 am

    BUSH! A four-letter word, for sure.
    Maybe we could create a new phrase, ala Uncle Dick (another four-letter word): “Go bush yourself!”
    I don’t know about you, but after the last few year’s, I’m bushed! This country is bushed! The whole world may be bushed!!!
    How the bush did this happen? Oh, yeah, the bushing Supreme Court!!!
    Bush happen’s…

  10. abgdinstr  •  Nov 10, 2007 @11:54 am

    I wont put the f@#kwit in my rear view mirror until a new president is sworn in. Perhaps then I can finally start breathing again. I have no doubt at all this sociopath will not give up power willingly or at least those who surround him.

    mark
    carlisle iowa



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