Aquarian Weekly 1/21/09
SO LONG CAPTAIN SHOO-IN: OUR BEDEVILED BOY HOWDY
A Reality Check Trip Down Memory Lane Covering The Bush Cabal
I feel for Captain Shoo-In. He is in over his head. Badly. But he cannot and will not stop. I could see it in his resolve, hear it in the quivering of his voice, and feel it in my bones. This is one Texan who is going all the way, staying at the table and waiting for the once-in-a-lifetime straight flush, banking on nailing the Trifecta or biding his time until Monday Night Football. As long as the bookie answers the phone, there’s a chance. This is why wars, like casinos, run 24-hours. – HIGH STAKES — BAD BREAKS: 4/21/04
The final epitaph to the tenure of our 43rd president is that he was far more adept at procuring the job than actually performing it; manifested most glaringly in his rare public appearances when it seemed as if his brain experienced sharp stabbing contractions, a searing ache that dulled the reasoning centers allowing only facile gurgles to escape. This bizarre malady provided him with an unprecedented carte blanche to hand over his most pressing tasks to “pals” or more entrenched Washington types that proceeded to avail themselves of the most incredible streak of power mongering known to the office. What will be written in the years to come, as it has been in a record-shattering number of published mea culpa tomes for the past few years, is that the George W. Bush Administration presided over an impressive stretch of bad luck, poor execution, and finally, the ultimate dare to future presidents to prove themselves more inept.
The federal government failed us on 9/11. Its primary purpose is to protect our borders. The leader of this government happens to be the president. The president happens to be George W. Bush. The Electoral College decided that two Novembers ago. The Supreme Court upheld it. I defended its decision. Therefore I defend the right of the people of this republic to blame its leader for the death of its citizens and destruction of its property during a full-scale terrorist attack. – THE BLAME GAME: 6/5/02
Any sober review of the Bush years is obliged to lead with 9/11/01 and his administration’s criminal lack of defense of the nation’s borders — specifically its greatest city — and the resultant actions of its fallout. Massive deficits, imploding economy, occupation of Iraq, domestic spying, predatory abuse of executive powers by the vice president, spectacular incompetence at several and varied levels of federal governance aside, the unconscionable tragedy of 9/11/01, and everything thereafter, is on Captain Shoo-In.
It was a name this space gave the governor of Texas in the summer of 2000, when we joined forces to halt what seemed like the inevitable march to power for Albert Gore Junior. Captain Shoo-In was part mockery, part prestige; carrying with it a purpose, more formula than man, more pomp than distinction. It is also how I referred to “the candidate” when I told his soon-to-be-famous puppet-master, Karl Rove, half-soused and thirsty for blood, that come autumn it was Go Time.
George W. Bush is a dumb ass and will no doubt be a useless leader in the fumes of this barely legal victory, but he won. Al Gore lost. To write that is divinely real, like Fitzgerald’s “high white note.” His stupidity notwithstanding, Bush will forever stand as the symbol of a two-party system joke rendered on a populace sure that it spits out the worst humanity can offer. But he is not Al Gore. He lost. – REQUIEM FOR A LIGHTWEIGHT: 12/20/01
The world was before all of them then, the political madness, eerie paranoia, and foolish pathological waves of volume lying unfurled as if a red carpet of fantastic possibilities. Who knew it would present itself with alarming regularity over eight long, painful years; particularly the final half of those years when what was left of The Bush Legacy reeked with rampant humiliations culminating in being pushed to the curb by his own party during the 2008 presidential campaign and having shoes tossed at his head by rogue journalists in the country he bet his nuts on?
Gnashing of teeth is in vogue at the Pentagon these days, where they are heard weeping down the corridors, each one of them wondering what the hell happened? How did we, the strongest, richest, nation on earth wage a war so ineptly, so myopically, as to render what was a wounded, vengeful, united nation into a mass war protest? This was a popular war, now it appears to be the worst kind of murderous sham. – PUNCHLINE IRAQ: 12/13/06
Captain Shoo-In never saw it coming. This was not his thing. Detail was like gum on his cowboy boots, which he proudly sported that fateful Year of The Golden Dragon. The Captain would not trail in 2000. He was as he had been from birth, a Frontrunner, and 2000 was a fine year for the dynamic pairing of money and name recognition. The first weeks, months, and long campaigning dénouement of our foray into the 21st Century was always Junior’s for the taking, and to his ultimate credit and our dire consequence, he took it, or rather he paid for it, along with the Supreme Court, where he fired his first salvo against what would be the final gasping breaths of modern conservatism; allowing the judicial system and not the Voice of the People to decide The Decider.
Today, if Goldwater saw a Republican president of the United States signing off one hundred percent of the domestic spending for six consecutive years, funneled to him by a Republican Congress handing over nearly half of the national budget on rebuilding the ideological face of entire regions across the globe, while getting re-elected on “moral” grounds and not performance record, he would never stop puking. – CONSERVATISM VS. FUNDAMENTALISM: 11/8/06
Being handed the free world by the judicial branch was a faux pas Junior could live with, but it cast a bitter precedent on All-Things Bush for the foreseeable future; whether in the ludicrous entitlement rush of the infamous Medicare Bill or the ridiculously liberal No Child Left Behind, the queerly designed emancipation of illegal aliens, the colonizing of a sovereign nation, or as a consequence the most bloated domestic spending ever. There was not a bill Baby Bush would not and did not sign, and somehow those on the Right, the real Right, not the lapdog party bagmen, barely spoke out against it. This is what high times at the top of the ticket bought for The Watchdogs — a reconsidering of their precious ideology.
But, alas, they were not alone. Lord knows the press never said a word for most of All-Things Bush, at least not until it was far too late. The Bush Years will be credited with the Death of Modern Conservatism, but far more egregiously for its healthy participation in the Death of Journalism. It was, those first two crucial years after 9/11/01, a stand-down policy in the national press; sans the frenzied attention paid to surreptitious chemical warfare and shadow-men at airports and weird scenes from the mail system. It was a time for flag lapels and yellow ribbon pins and keeping the hard queries to one’s self in a manic ramp-up to war, its subsequent military operations or whatever expensively homicidal fiascos transpired afterward. It is why George W. Bush and his cabal of nincompoops were allowed to wreak havoc for so long: They would soon be cast as the rancid gore of evil by the same lazily jingoistic press corps that allowed them unmitigated free reign in the first place.
Ahhh, the ugliness has now hit home. It ain’t the media after all. We came late to the dance. We gave this gaggle of hubris-mongers a free pass, and now lookie here! It’s a goddamn gaffe and the approval ratings are Nixonian and Carteresque, and soon when the history comes due on this rampant disjoint generations will wonder who the hell was minding the store. – MR. MOJO SINKING: 4/5/06
Turns out that despite the late-to-the-party hue and cry, none of the has-beens that doomed The Captain were evil or insane; they were nothing more than The Mediocre Elite. This is what passed for the Best & Brightest in the Bush Years; Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, George Tenet, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney; inefficient retreads from our botched past dragged from the ashbin of history to crack the very foundation of democracy. It is, if nothing else, an impressive line-up of abject failures. There isn’t enough space in a thousand volumes to recount their dumbness. Suffice to say it was never pretty or particularly artful, but it did help to make All Things Bush appear as if it were scratched together by an army of third graders jacked up on a steady diet of Pixie Sticks chased with Mountain Dew.
Bush’s approval ratings flounder somewhere in the mid-20s, close to a Watergate low. Stunning, even for a monumental screw up. His war is now officially a suicide anvil roped around his neck and Jesus has abandoned him. He no longer speaks in private anymore, at least not anything close to coherent. In public he manages to burp out weird things like “internets” and some Seussian nonsense about “Victory is not no violence.” Insiders say he lives in constant fear there’s another Scooter Libby stumbling drunk and angry through the White House looking to dump more foul odors on his office. Key aids are on 24-hour notice to keep him informed if the vice president shoots anyone else. – FRAT HOUSE FRACAS: 5/16/07
Ultimately, the Bush Administration’s hard right turn from the muted campaign jargon of “compassionate conservatism” and “humble foreign policy” into saviors of the moral, cultural, and political universe unraveled beneath a torrent of substandard denizens and most disturbingly a steadfast adherence to The Plan; whatever the hell that was. From the State Department, attorney general’s office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the age of Bushies — policy-minded drones who wore their allegiance as a badge — ignored minor details such as civil liberties, the anonymity of CIA agents, separation of church and state, freedom of dissent, etc. But they did it for love; of God, country, and legacy, all of which turned to sewage on our dime.
Americans want to relate to the fantasy model of the Everyman. They want a man who believes, whether it’s asinine, insane or astoundingly feral. Kennedy believed the bullshit. So did Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. These were believers. They had it down. That’s why they won national elections. George W. Bush is a believer. He is president, again. John Kerry pretended to believe. He is going back to the senate. – Second Term Madness:11/10/04
There will always be a sweet spot in the heart of The Desk for Captain Shoo-In. We covered his every move, and sometimes even agreed with one or two; especially the attempt to privatize Social Security and expunge America’s Mistake, Saddam Hussein from power. The argument that 9/11 “had nothing to do with Iraq” has always been hog dung. You don’t meddle around in “holy land” with Arab sovereignty and muscle your way into the ancient order of tribes with your nifty Desert Storm and expect it to go away quietly. It had to be done, but it had to be done efficiently, which was beyond George Bush or any of the people paid to make it happen.
Today, mere hours before he exits into ignominy, the 43rd president leave a nation fatigued and broke after six years of war and occupation, a record deficit and a hemorrhaging economy. There is a distrust of government now that rivals the dark times of Nixon, and the Republican party, his party, is broken into a billion pieces. The Age of Reagan; tax cuts, deregulation, global manipulation, and passive aggressive buffoonery is done.
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