Posted tagged ‘Bush’

Still Cracked: Kristol

January 19, 2009

COWARDLY LION: What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ‘ape’ in apricot? Whatta they all got that I ain’t got?


C. L.: Ya can say that again…

Poor us! We’re just about to bid a fond good riddance to George W. Bush and we believed, in our simple hearts, that William “I’m Wrong About Everything” Kristol would have the decency, or be compelled, to exit the op-ed acreage of the New York Times. But now look! He’s still at it.

At least a/o today, Mon., 1/19/09. Because there he goes again, combining as only he can the pseudo-sympathy of the concern troll, the selective vision of the knee-jerk partisan, the wingnut welfare recipient’s dutiful endorsement of monsters, and the wrong-about-everything wrongness, about everything, of Bill “Yes, Wrong. About Everything” Kristol.

Thus, about the near-departed, this:

…I don’t think keeping us safe has been Bush’s most impressive achievement. That was winning the war in Iraq, and in particular, his refusal to accept defeat when so many counseled him to do so in late 2006. His ordering the surge of troops to Iraq in January 2007 was an act of personal courage and of presidential leadership.

Bill Kristol may be the only remaining human on earth, counting Laura, who believes George W. Bush capable of “personal courage.” As even the Cowardly Lion knew, courage consists of the ability to do something you don’t want to do, at some risk of harm to yourself, or your loved ones, or your football team, or at least somebody or something you care about. Bush, whose every public action up to and during his presidency has consisted of not-displaying courage, similarly did not display it in promoting “the surge.”

What did Bush have to lose? The “political capital” he claimed was his after the election of 2004? His various fantasies (“Reforming Social Security–Now Not As Social And With Less Security”) had been repudiated in 2005. The loss by Republicans of their majority in Congress after the election of 2006 had further devalued that (minimal, largely imaginary) nest egg of influence. By the time of the surge in January of 2007, no one could speak of Bush’s political capital with a straight face, and almost no one except B. “I.W.A.E.” K. wanted to.

His “popularity”? Please. Bush, the structural integrity of whose personality depends on ignoring the outside world, has never had any problem converting the raw ore of others’ disdain, however merited, into the refined gold of self-aggrandizing martyrdom. Being unpopular proves he’s right. After all, those who disagree with him are “the elite.” He–born rich, son of a president and grandson of a Senator, private school, Yale, Harvard, “ranch,” etc.–is a cowboy who lives by his “gut.”

You saw it in his final press conference. The over-burdened military, the botched action in Afghanistan (the Taliban resurgent, relations with Pakistan a mess, Bin Laden still releasing product), Israeli-Palestinian relations as poisoned as ever, the economy in ruins, plus New Orleans still a national disgrace, the obscenely expensive and bungled “liberation” of Iraq, the widespread corruption of K Street, torture and Gitmo and that whole nightmare, and national debts and deficits requiring mainframes to calculate: these are “setbacks” that happened to him. And yet–cocky, smug, and blind to every reality outside his ever-simmering resentments–he has the gall to assure us that, when all is said and done, the “burdens” of the office are “overrated.”

Well, they are if you ignore them, yes.

Kristol tells us, in hushed tones, that Bush (“a man who normally keeps to schedule”) recently spent, not the allotted two hours, but over four hours with the families of the fallen, offering consolation. I’m sure he did, and that he loved every second of it–not because he enjoys seeing others suffer (although he does, if they’re the right others), but because temporarily adopting the avatar of the Deeply Moved Commander is part of his Live Action Role-Playing Game of Wartime President, and nothing moves him as deeply as when, being deeply moved by others, he finds himself deeply moved.

God forbid that, rather than sympathize with widows and bereft parents (after concealing every reality of what killed their husbands and sons from the public eye, prosecuting the war that killed them on the cheap, and dummying up the pretext for the horror that brought this all about), he should have looked past his grandiose, quasi-religious ambitions and Dad-besting fantasies, and not bothered foisting upon us this unnecessary catastrophe in the first place.

What Bush showed in the surge was not personal courage. It was stubbornness. And it was perfectly in character. It was the obstinacy of the proudly self-ignorant aristocrat who knows that Daddy will bail out his business failures, Mommy will yell at him but not require that he grow up, and the world–his world, consisting of his kind of people and their courtiers and sycophants–will always paper over his most egregious failures with a gentleman’s C, regardless of whoever else is killed, maimed, left homeless or terrified, bankrupted, imprisoned, or tortured.

Why shouldn’t Bill “I Am In Error Regarding All Phenomena” Kristol find that praiseworthy? He’s Bill Kristol, and he’s wrong about everything.


My New Year’s Resolutions

December 30, 2008

Be It Resolved:

1. That George W. Bush experience at least five (5) seconds of true, unfiltered, undefended, unmediated insight into his own character and the consequences of his actions. And that, once that period passes, its effects remain and haunt him for the rest of his life, impervious to his escalating (and futile) pursuit of drink, drugs, and Jesus.

2. That Dick Cheney, on or before March 1, 2009, become lost on a duck hunting expedition, be last seen wandering deeper into an uncharted swamp, and never be heard from again. And that no ducks be harmed in the enactment of this resolution.

3. That David Addington and John Yoo be kidnapped and water-boarded for video distribution on You Tube, and then released unharmed. Still dripping wet.

4. That Rush Limbaugh be the featured personality of one of those hideous conservative cruises. And that the ship be blown off course, founder, and sink. And that everyone–passengers, crew, Limbaugh–be washed ashore on an uncharted island. And that, after help fails to arrive and death by hunger threatens, everyone realize that, by banding together, they can overcome and consume Limbaugh. And that, while they are doing so, Limbaugh accuse them with his dying breath of “implementing socialism.” And that this act enable them to survive until help arrives an hour later. And that all survivors, newly appreciative of the power of group co-operation, return to the U.S. and become the kernel of a new American Social Democratic Party.

5. That Alan Colmes run into Sean Hannity at a party. And that Hannity utter provocative and disrespectful things to Colmes. And that Colmes, possibly but not necessarily drunk, pop Hannity in the kisser, precipitating a fistfight in which Colmes mops the floor with Hannity to the amusement and applause of all present. And that Hannity spend the rest of his life trying to convince others, and himself, that the results were otherwise, that he “took a dive,” that he “felt sorry for Alan,” etc., even as everyone–interlocutors, family members, the crew of his television show, and so on–laugh openly.

6. That Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager be abducted by aliens, examined (non-invasively) on the alien mother ship, be deemed (to echoing rounds of the alien equivalent of derisive laughter) undesirable as specimens, and returned to Earth. And that they each spend the rest of their (vastly abbreviated) careers proclaiming to all who will listen that “this really happened.”

7. That Karl Rove be indicted on some pretext, and assured of a token sentence in a minimum-security facility in exchange for his plea of “guilty.” That he so plead. And then that there occur “some foul-up” resulting in his incarceration among the general population of a state prison, for years, while continually being reassured that it will all be straightened out any day now, which it never be.

8. That Rachel Maddow decide that she might be bi-sexual after all, and come live with me and my wife.

9. That everyone–Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, non-voters, children, and household pets–get what they deserve.

10. That, failing all the above, you and yours and me and mine have a Happy damn New Year, at least. NB: I have never known whether “Happy New Year” means that the entire year be happy, or just the arrival of January 1st be a happy occasion. You decide.

Paper Mooned (Or, The Republicans: Crazy, or Nuts?)

January 2, 2008

Say it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
It’s the Party of Make-Believe
It’s called the G.O.P.

First Ann Coulter tells us Joseph McCarthy was a national hero. Now Jonah Goldberg tells us the Nazis were leftists (never mind all those socialists and communists they killed, or their close collaboration with private industry,), and that liberals are fascists because some of them, like Hitler, are vegetarians. “The Nazis took food very, very seriously,” Goldberg writes, in case any of us thought the Nazis didn’t take food seriously.

First President Bush tells us Osama Bin Ladin is our mortal enemy. Then he tells us he doesn’t think about him very much. We were attacked by Saudi Arabians living in Afghanistan, so under Bush’s command we attack Iraq and declare “Mission Accomplished.”

First Dick Cheney says we’ll be welcomed as liberators; then he says the insurgency is in its “last throes” when, really, it’s in its first throes. And we’re not allowed to know which energy companies are helping him to write energy policy so that they feel secure.

Bush says God speaks to him, then he vetoes health insurance for children. Pat Robertson says God caused Hurricane Katrina because homosexuals are wicked (and Jerry Falwell agrees), but fails to explain why God didn’t send a hurricane at New York, L.A., or San Francisco, where the real homosexuals live.

Alberto Gonzalez (not the Attorney Corporal or the Attorney Captain–the Attorney General) can’t remember anything and can’t remember what he said he can’t remember. Clarence Thomas, the greatest beneficiary of affirmative action in history and a man who has risen to literally the highest position possible for someone in his profession, is against affirmative action, feels victimized and sorry for himself, is angry at almost everybody, and doesn’t really “like” the job.

Condoleezza Rice warns us that Saddam has nuclear weapons ready to create a “mushroom cloud” when, as intelligence reports said, he didn’t. Meanwhile Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons, is paid billions of dollars and its military dictator is coddled and proclaimed a “good friend” while one of his physicists sells nukes to all comers and Al Qaeda is allowed to frolic free on his border. Now Musharaf and his government face collapse and chaos while Rice worries about her “legacy.”

Larry Craig says he’s not gay but is caught soliciting gay sex. Mark Foley says he’s not gay but is caught flirting with and hustling male Congressional pages. David Vitter is vigorously in favor of “abstinence education” but is caught cavorting (in a diaper) with prostitutes.

William Bennett, who pontificates about “virtue,” is an avid gambler.

Rush Limbaugh, who has said that the way to treat people who illegally use drugs is to “find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river,” is caught illegally using drugs (and admits to it) but is not, himself, sent up the river.

And now look: of the two leading Republican candidates for president, one is a man who takes the Bible literally and doesn’t “believe in” evolution, while the other is a man whose religion holds that Jesus came to America, that Native Americans are descendants of the Hebrews of Israel, and that early (2200 BC-600 BC) inhabitants of North America migrated here from the Middle East. With chariots.

Mike Huckabee believes in the Rapture. Mitt Romney believes in the transparently-fraudulent Book of Mormon. And these two cartoon characters, Mike ‘n’ Mitt, are the GOP front-runners for the White House.

Take one step back from this carnival of make-believe and let’s-pretend, and it becomes clear: The Republican Party has become an aggregation of people who prefer to live in a world of fantasy–and their first fantasy, the Ur-myth on which the entire conceit rests, is (classically) “we are the realists.”

It degrades, into farce and Newspeak, from there. The perpetrators and defenders of the outing of a CIA agent are “patriots.” Tom DeLay is a “leader” and Newt Gingrich is a “visionary.” The President plays guitar while New Orleans drowns, causes a hundred thousand Americans and Iraqis to be killed or injured, and outsources torture, and it’s the Democrats who, per the repellent Ramesh Ponnuru, are the “party of death.”

It’s one thing to praise “faith.” It’s another to be, not only indifferent to the idea of objective truth, but actively hostile to it–unless, of course, like any other good psychopath, they’re not aware of their condition. Who knows what they really think is going on in the U.S., in the world, and in their own heads?

Does George W. Bush really believe that he is a good Christian? Does he really believe he’s a “compassionate conservative”? Does Ann Coulter mean what she writes? Does Dick Cheney think he’s done a good job? Does Rudy Giuliani mean well?

We don’t know. We probably can’t know. They probably don’t know. They don’t want to know. Do we want to know? I don’t know.

I do know this: When the Supreme Court halted the vote-counting in Florida in 2000 and anointed Bush president, it was the equivalent of dropping that gang of boys on that island in Lord of the Flies. Actually, it was worse: they didn’t have any adult supervision. The administration, supposedly, did. But the adults, in the form of the Democrats and the media, were too intimidated (by the tragedy of 9-11, by their corporate masters, by careerist insecurity) to do any supervising.

And so for seven years, under the watchful eye of the genial, soulless Karl Rove, Republicans from sea to shining sea pigged out, yielding to their most gluttonous impulses and indulging their pettiest proclivities. The result? Like Saddam Hussein’s (evil, awful) sons, the Republican Party, drunk on power and unmediated by any sensible outside force, went fucking insane.

Yes, we’ve all enjoyed an easy laugh or two, identifying their obvious hypocrisies and compiling mile-long lists of their lies. But let’s not be disingenuous: The sex scandals and the corruption; the no-bid contracts and the sweetheart deals; the payoffs and the fired U.S. Attorneys, the missing billions in Iraq and the incriminating emails that either are or aren’t destroyed–look, nobody’s perfect. The Democrats have their own skeletons rattling around in their own walk-in closets.

But read the above rundown and add the ten thousand things there isn’t room enough to cite… Factor out the witting lies and brute propaganda… Take out the deceptions they committed on purpose (or think they did), and just leave the stuff about which they are (or think they are) sincere, and you get a picture of mass pathology.

It has gotten so that you have to muster all the compassion and understanding of which you are capable just to think of the Republicans as a party of greedy corporatists manipulating the credulous, the provincial, and the bigoted. That’s the nice way of putting it. But it doesn’t capture the full picture of the sheer moral and intellectual decay of these people and this institution.

Are you happy now, Bill Buckley? Is this your idea of an honorable and worthy political party, Newt Gingrich? Is this what you mean by “conservative,” Bill Kristol? Does it make you proud to be their apologist, David Brooks? Is there anything here you’d like to defend, Peggy Noonan? Glad to be one of the gang, Fred Barnes? Pleased with what you’ve accomplished, Brit Hume?

Of course, they could all answer, “You bet!” and claim to have deliberately engineered all of this on purpose and with open eyes. Which would really be sick.