Bush’s Bliss

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Bush Administration

What Steve M. says about the SOTU:

I don’t think it’s just the mountain biking — tonight as I watched his speech and watched him transition from domestic matters, which clearly bore him, to the parts about Iraq and Iran, which seem to send a jolt of bitter, angry energy right across his neck and shoulders, it became obvious to me (if it wasn’t already) that these have been great years for George W. Bush, because he feels he’s doing vitally important things, he feels all kinds of people hate the way he’s doing those things — and he just loves both those feelings.

Clinton often radiates utter glee on the campaign trail; Bush’s bliss doesn’t manifest itself in glee but, rather, in smugness and defiance — in looking down at his enemies and thinking, “I won. You lost.” His victory, of course, is permanent war — he’s a Really Important Person now and nobody can take that away from him.

Spot on.

Ian Williams at the Guardian:

In the annals of doublespeak there can have been few such impressive achievements as George Bush’s final state of the union address. It was a bit like listening to the emperor Honorius give his self-congratulatory state of the empire speech around 410 – just before Alaric had his Roman holiday.

Walter Shapiro:

This was scant reason to miss the debut of HBO’s “In Treatment” or to delay the thrill of cleaning out the medicine chest.

On a more serious note, the Los Angeles Times:

Two themes ran through President Bush’s final State of the Union address Monday night, as he made the case for his continued relevance: Trust the American people, he said — again and again — and empower them to run their own lives. Trust the people with their money, and the economy will come around. Trust them to demand better schools, and schools will improve. Trust scientists to think big about global warming, and they will hit on solutions. All of that is fine, and yet for all of Bush’s trust in the American people, he also made clear that he lacks essential confidence in their government — his government. …

… Americans have many troubles, and they are asking their government for help. Healthcare has become unaffordable for millions. Bush hears those woes but rejects sensible solutions for ideological reasons — favoring “consumer choice, not government control.” …

… Government is not the passive instrument of bureaucrats. It is the active agent of a democratic people. When the people genuinely need its help, the government should act, not merely encourage. In this, Bush has failed to give his nation what it needs. Too many Americans face the loss of homes, too many are in prison. Afghanistan is unstable, Iran threatens. Osama bin Laden is still at large.

Ours is, a great president once proclaimed, “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.” This president has done too little to uphold that conviction. His trust in America’s people is undoubtedly genuine, but his unwillingness to act on their behalf is responsible for our fading trust in him.

See also Dan Froomkin and Richard Wolffe.

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4 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Steve M.  •  Jan 29, 2008 @10:20 am

    Spot on.

    Thanks.

  2. moonbat  •  Jan 29, 2008 @1:23 pm

    The LAT wrote:

    [Bush’s] trust in America’s people is undoubtedly genuine, but his unwillingness to act on their behalf is responsible for our fading trust in him.

    Seven years later and the LAT editors still think Bush trusts the American people? Bush doesn’t care what the American people think, and futher he and his kind have spent their tenure doing all they can to change our position in this country from citizens to subjects, for that’s how they view us.

    There are those – like the LAT editors – who think that Bush is benign but incompetent; there are people like me who think Bush is competent enough at carrying out a malevolent, anti-democratic agenda. Just look at the results, and at Bush’s own self-satisfaction with them.

    Bush has always radiated a sick, self righteous smugness to me. Like the belligerant frat boy who laughs at the weak or the poor, and who is incapable of telling the truth. He has always turned my stomach. And those who bought his phony shtick – his enablers – frighten me.

    As for his enablers, do see Sara Robinson’s Who Goes Nazi?.

  3. Jonathan Versen  •  Jan 29, 2008 @2:11 pm

    yay communism(and mountain-biking.).

    sorry, I can’t resist– it’s too funny.

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