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Is It OK To Hate Bush? / In which the president's carefully orchestrated dumb-guy shtick proves hollow and dubious Is It OK To Hate Bush?
In which the president's carefully orchestrated dumb-guy shtick proves hollow and dubious
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, June 7, 2002
©2002 SF Gate
Of course "hate" is too strong a word. You should not hate anyone. Especially not jittery world leaders who are striving to justify war and make it look all fierce and necessary.
Look, there they are, trying so hard. Especially Bush. Look at that earnest, constipated, caught-in-the-headlights expression. Trying trying trying. Please do not hate him.
GW Bush's image is extremely carefully managed, probably more intensely than any president in recent history. He gives almost zero unscripted talks, expresses minimal extemporaneous thoughts, still mispronounces "nukuler" even when reading from a teleprompter.
He is protected from difficult questions, schooled in basic sentence structure, makes sudden political maneuvers to deflect increasingly troubling accusations that his administration had plenty of advance warning of 9/11 and did little to prevent it. And please do not mention his major ties to Enron at this time. Thank you.
Bush has undoubtedly been told to try and look less scared and squinty on camera. He makes cute self-deprecating jokes about his horrible command of the English language.
Rumor also has it that during a meeting with Brazil's President Cardoso, Bush allegedly interrupted to ask, "Do you have blacks, too?" Condi Rice, ever the trouper, visibly cringed before quickly informing Dubya that Brazil is indeed home to more blacks than any country outside Africa. White House Press corps coverage? None. Just too embarrassing. This is the leader of the free world. Are you sure you want to know this sort of thing?
Besides, Dubya has proven again and again and you read it just about everywhere and the man has it tattooed on his thigh and it veritably oozes from the pores of his happily myopic followers, he is indeed a Very Nice Man with a Very Swell Disposition and Good Christian Manners and gosh darn it, people like him so please quit being so mean.
Ashcroft has scowled about it and Rumsfeld has squinted angrily about it and Cheney has shown twitching signs of life about it and it's been made very clear again and again: You are not allowed to openly abhor the president or his decisions because doing so clearly indicates traitorous inclinations and this is wartime which is a Very Difficult Time for Us All.
If you insist on calling it wartime, that is. Which of course it's not, given how we've killed untold thousands of barely armed Taliban and untold numbers of innocent Afghan civilians and over a dozen of our own soldiers and even some Canadian troops (whoops) and we have suffered exactly two combat casualties. This is not a war. But you can't really say that either.
So let's just go with it, the common wisdom: It is unpatriotic to criticize the president and we need to rally and be strong now, united we stand, especially in our collective misunderstanding of foreign policy and oil stratagems and the deeper root causes of 9/11.
Or rather, you can criticize if you like, but Bush's image is now being so carefully controlled you feel a little ashamed and slightly guilty doing so, like that feeling you'd get if you teased, say, a quadriplegic. Or a child. And this is exactly how they want you to feel.
It is a bizarre duality, a cleverly wrought irony: Bush is spun so he appears rather plain and simpleminded and not really mentally agile enough to be openly complicit in the coverup-related decisions he's being accused of, a feeling that, aww shucks, he's still just a good ol' daddy's boy from the oilier parts of Texas who don't know no better and how dare you accuse this Very Nice Man of leveraging the horror of 9/11 for political gain. Besides, that's Cheney's job.
Yet you can't believe Bush is truly a man of nuanced intelligence because that implies that he probably did know something about the possibility of a terrorist attack and how it could fortify his political career, but you can't call him flagrantly stupid because that's unpatriotic and un-American and embarrassing, and hence you're just left with this feeling of unease and vague despondency about the nation's overall direction and whatever happened to your civil liberties.
And then there are people like Lt. Col. Steve Butler of the Air Force who openly bashed the president in print, called him a fool who let 9/11 happen to boost his stagnant presidency and that's very bad indeed, can't be slamming the commander-in-chief when you're in the military, understandably, but it certainly does get you thinking, maybe Bush really is dumb as a post -- but in a rather sharp, deeply sinister way.
Better take the Dan Rather approach. There he was, America's anchorman, with the odious Larry King, responding to a phone-in question asking how he, Rather, would advise the president about possibly invading Iraq and Rather replying, well caller, I'd probably say, Mr. President, whatever decision you make in this very difficult matter I will support it because you're the president and I'm a patriot and that's that, and he said it with a straight melodramatic face you immediately wanted to slap.
And there it is. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is patriotism. We don't want to believe the Bush administration could've done something to prevent the horrors of 9/11, can't imagine Bush would use the tragedy to bolster his re-election hopes while simultaneously pummeling Afghanistan into docility in the name of oil pipelines and his friends in the military-industrial complex. Increasing piles of evidence be damned. It's just too painful.
So then, please do not openly hate Mr. Bush or call him names or believe his decisions are all too often terribly detrimental to the progress of the human animal. He is too nice. He is too dumb. He is too nicely dumb, in a really smart way. Clever, isn't it? Aww, shucks.
-- Cherri (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2002
Gee Marky, you seem like such a clever guy yourself.
-- pot calling (email@example.com), June 08, 2002.
I know! Let's form a "hate Bush" club. It would be so cool. We could meet at Starbucks every Tuesday at 2:00 and just snigger and snigger and be smug and superior as we preach our konspiracy theories to the choir.
What's that you say? Starbucks is declasse? There is a Starbucks in every two-bit mall in middle Amerikkka.
-- (I'm cooler th@n you.are), June 08, 2002.
"Look at that earnest, constipated, caught-in-the-headlights expression."
Too funny! That about says it all!
-- (thanks @ for my. morning chuckle), June 08, 2002.
A constipated mind is a turrible thing to waste. Keep up the good work.
-- (thanks @ for my morning, chuckle.head), June 08, 2002.
"A constipated mind is a turrible thing to waste."
No point in worrying about Dumbya wasting his mind, he did that decades ago and has never recovered.
-- lol (too late @ permanently. damaged), June 08, 2002.
This is a man who by his own admission was a drunk and a good-time party boy until he was about 40 years of age. He spent most of his life not preparing for world leadership, in the sense of knowing that Brazil "has blacks, too".
So, we have a president who, laying the question of intelligence aside, is not knowlegable about any part of the world outside of Texas. He knows about people, because people are similar everywhere. And he can be charming in an aw shucks sort of way. But in terms of basic understanding of the facts, he has to be brought up to speed on everything. From full stop to 60 MPH.
But this strategy has flaws. Who would have thought to brief him on the fact that Brazil is full of black people? Who could have imagined it would be necessary? What other basic, gaping holes in his knowlege can we presume on this evidence?
-- Little Nipper (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2002.
-- lol (email@example.com), June 08, 2002.
Isn't it gratifying to have a President that has a manly posture and does not have pasty white thighs?
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2002.
Never judge a book by its cover. Underneath his skin, he's the farthest thing from a man that ever occupied the office of the presidency.
-- (email@example.com), June 08, 2002.
-- musings (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2002.
When have you looked beneathe his skin? Are you his proctologist? LOL.
-- (email@example.com), June 08, 2002.
How do you know he does not have pasty white thighs, did he actually drop his shorts when he fucked you in the ass?
-- lol (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2002.
Is it OK to hate Bush?
Of course it is OK, dear. Depilation has a proud and ancient history. Please do not be ashamed.
-- (Dr Laura @ naked.city), June 08, 2002.