Flashback: Bush in '99 -- We Warned You!
George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.
From the "We Warned You" link:
But questions linger about Bush. Is it enough that the only political post he's held is governor of Texas -- a state whose constitution renders its governor a virtual figurehead with no real power? Will he be hurt by the wishy-washy stands he's taken on abortion, hate-crime legislation and Kosovo? Will he be sunk by persistent rumors of illegal drug use and carousing in his past? When one examines the fullness of his life -- and for this article, Rolling Stone interviewed some 100 people who know Bush -- a more disturbing problem emerges. What Bush is saying now, with its overtones of evangelical Christianity and a moral one-upmanship, has almost nothing to do with the way he has actually lived most of his life. Is Bush being hypocritical? Or is he, as his supporters claim, a man who has recognized the error of his ways -- the one politician who can point the country in the right moral direction?
Gail Sheehy wrote in 2000 (originally published in Vanity Fair magazine):
Another fast friend, Roland Betts, acknowledges that it is the same in tennis. In November 1992, Bush and Betts were in Santa Fe to host a dinner party, but they had just enough time for one set of doubles. The former Yale classmates were on opposite sides of the net. "There was only one problem—my side won the first set," recalls Betts. "O.K., then we're going two out of three," Bush decreed. Bush's side takes the next set. But Betts's side is winning the third set when it starts to snow. Hard, fat flakes. The catering truck pulls up. But Bush won't let anybody quit. "He's pissed. George runs his mouth constantly," says Betts indulgently. "He's making fun of your last shot, mocking you, needling you, goading you—he never shuts up!" They continued to play tennis through a driving snowstorm.
"George would say, 'Play that one over,' or 'I wasn't quite ready,'" says Bush-family friend Bo Polk Jr.
It is something of an in-joke with Bush's friends and family. "In reality we all know who won, but George wants to go further to see what happens," says an old family friend, venture capitalist and former MGM chairman Louis "Bo" Polk Jr. "George would say, ‘Play that one over,' or ‘I wasn't quite ready.' The overtimes are what's fun, so you make your own. When you go that extra mile or that extra point ... you go to a whole new level."
Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, and a solid despiser of Bush, wrote in this month's editor's letter in VF, in reference to the Sheehy article above:
Inasmuch as I am writing this before Christmas, any sort of prediction is a dicey proposition, but my guess is that Bush will double-down on Iraq. He has lost, but his past would indicate that he will figure that he can have another chance if he can just keep the game going a littler longer.
Like the Dixie Chicks, I'm embarrassed by Bush. His utter contempt for reality bothers me quite a bit. His surge plan is doomed to failure because the government of Iraq is in the pocket of Muatada al Sadr, whose control is so complete he was able to control the execution of Saddam Hussein - his followers taunting Hussein and shouting Sadr's name.
Sadr's army, estimated at 60,000 strong, has the hometown advantage. If the American troops are coming, he knows in advance, and can either ambush them, or run away, or both.
We have suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq and emboldened our enemies, who view us as a paper tiger now. Bush, who I believe is a 'false Christian', merely courting the religious right so he can garner votes, has used his charisma and power to sell us out, isolate us, weaken us, and divide us.
It's only a matter of time before we start hearing the equivalent of "Peace with Honor." Unlike Rolling Stone, I don't believe another terrorist attack would cause the American people to rally around Bush. Au contraire, the American people will be royally pissed, as Bush would have sold out our civil liberties with nothing to show for it.
Our only advantage is that the terrorists take a long time to plan their attacks - that gives us time to find them. If we're lucky, we'll get a new administration in time, who will put the anti-terrorism effort where it belongs, in intelligence gathering, better global surveillance technology, and better communications scanning equipment.
Bush, who only listens to "a higher father", or more likely, the sounds of random neurons firing in his brain, is clearly incompetent to do much of anything except cut taxes. He's a spoiled rich kid that wants to get his way. And that's not going to happen this time.
We can no longer let Bush try to change the rules of the game. The rules are that we are a nation of laws and that we endeavor to treat all people with respect - even people we want to kill! Even people in prison! Even enemy soldiers!
One reason our armed forces are weaker is because of the 20,000 people wounded who have not been returned to service. These people are the 'boots on the ground' who do the real fighting. Something like 80% of the troops in Iraq are support personnel - so of our 130,000 troops, only 26,000 can carry out the fight. Almost half of our deployable fighting force is off-line - maimed.
Bush would sacrifice the rest of our fighting force so he can leave the admission of defeat to the next President. What Bush calls leadership is just ego and pigheadedness. He has made the strategic blunder of all time by invading Iraq without an exit plan, or an occupation plan, or ... well, any plan whatsoever.
Psychologically, I don't know how you 'break' a sociopath like Bush; normally one would devise some kind of intervention. I guess that's what I would like the Republican leaders to do - sit down with Bush, secretly, and tell him he's lost, and that they will do whatever it takes to remove the final vestiges of public support for him.
Someone needs to get him to stop. The sooner the better.