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Bushco: Lame Duck, Or Armed And Dangerous?

Bushco: Lame Duck, Or Armed And Dangerous?

By Bill Grigsby

I once heard a story about a certain playwright with a bad personality who asked his assistant ‘why must people take such an instant dislike to me??” To which the assistant replied, “it saves time.”

Okay, maybe it’s a setup line—it seems too perfect. But one thing is certain—it’s taken a long time for the majority of Americans to develop a dislike of the BushCo White House. Which is unfortunate—we could have as a nation saved a lot of time and grief had the public wised up sooner. But the commercial media was working—still is—against such an outcome. And if we want to be cynical, like H.L. Mencken said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

However, one thing seems clear—the more the public sees of BushCo, the less it likes. The president’s approval ratings are so low, it takes Herculean creativity for the sycophants of right wing journalism, like Brit Hume, David Brooks and Charles Krauthammer, to defend or dismiss them. And as far as plunging the depths, perhaps the only public figure who can sympathize with Dick Cheney’s repugnant public image is O.J. Simpson.

Yet reports of BushCo’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated. And therein lies the problem for the country: how to impede a catastrophic presidency that has ‘succeeded’ by circumventing constitutional checks and balances? By ‘success,’ I refer to the ‘NeoCon’ mutually reinforcing principles of wealth concentration and party dominance. Can a corrupted system be used to hold accountable its corrupt beneficiaries? The next year will tell. Yet even though the public has clearly caught on, the opposition party has not. Call it Karlphopia, call it self-interest, disorganization, the democratic leadership has been anything but, and the commercial news media have shown they are collectively incapable of breaking a story that truly threatens even one box car on the gravy train. Last weekend MSNBC was doing a two-hour special on Natalee Holloway, while CNN had a story on terrorism accompanied by images of Moslems praying in a mosque. It’s a race to the bottom for journalistic ethics in corporate newsrooms, and Fox has competition.

Meanwhile BushCo continues to, for lack of a better word, govern, but largely by permeating every level of federal government, appointing political hacks and industry lobbyists to pervert the missions of the agencies for which they work. How do they pull it off? By executive order, administrative ruling, settling industry lawsuits, intelligence ‘findings,’ signing statements tacked on to (already diluted) legislation, packing of the judiciary with ideologues vetted by ideologues, packing of every executive branch agency and scientific review committees with ideologues, lobbyists and GOP campaign donors, lobbying scams that funnel money to republican candidates through third parties, election rigging, censorship of scientific reports that are inconsistent with industry wish lists, lawbreaking and treaty violation (the willful violation of FISA and Geneva Convention restrictions on prisoner treatment, specifically torture), unprecedented secrecy, the marginalization if not criminalization of dissent, a compliant GOP Congress feeding at the campaign finance trough, etc. This short list of tactics shows a contempt for the Constitution and democratic principles. But have we reached a point as a country where elections, public opinion and opposition movements no longer serve as checks on power? Has the cancer metastasized?

You’d never draw that conclusion from the commercial media. Even people who should know better have declared the BushCo presidency lame duck, instead of merely lame, or armed and dangerous. Mainstream pundits hath shone a light on a few cancer cells and pronounced the patient cured. Yet press conferences rarely veer from one or two issues, showing both how effective White House media management still is, and how myopic the mainstream press coverage is. Because while Iraq is burning, here’s what’s going on:

This is the work of a lame duck presidency?? The ‘lame duck’ tag is such perfect cover, it must be the result of a White House leak. What’s to be done? It should be Congress’ constitutional duty to obstruct the White House wherever it still has some shred of authority left to do so. Whistleblowers are popping up faster than Karl can whack them down (although journalist Nick Turse has documented Karl’s effectiveness in the past). It may be up to the military, the republican party, and the religious fundamentalists to save the country. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. And better late than never. Because the only advantage to the metastasis of the BushCo Administration throughout the government is that there are literally thousands of people, some with consciences, who bear witness to lawbreaking activity. It’s no surprise that the White House has been threatening whistleblowers with criminal charges. Yet it forgets that commercial news media’s attention spans are no longer than the beaches of Aruba.

But as high as the stakes are for the sociopaths in the White House should they lose ground in the midterms, the country can ill afford two more years of reckless amateurs on the world stage. Despite the pronouncements of the mainstream punditry, public opinion polls aren’t always effective checks on rogue nuclear states, propped up by religious fanatics, who’ve painted themselves into a corner.


©2006Bill Grigsby
Eastern Oregon University

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