Tuesday, October 25, 2005

George W. Bush - Falling Poll Numbers Call for Another "Failure of Imagination" to Pump Them Back Up

I am Canadian. I couldn't care less if one of the South Park characters was elected president of the U.S.A.. The American political process interests me to the same degree the British system interested me when I lived in Ireland a few years ago: only the myopic, apathetic, or idiotic do not care what is occurring with their neighbors.

I followed the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign, interested in the fact that the son of a former president was running for office. I had little opinion about George Bush senior, but immediately developed opinions about George W. Bush. More than his mangling of the English language, more than his utter inexperience in government, politics, and his unbroken string of failures in the corporate world, it was his fogbound, pin-hole perspective on the world at large that led me to deduce the man an absolute imbecile; a man of murderous stupidity. The man's massive incuriosity, his child's attention span, his utter ignorance about the world; his utter lack of personality, wherewithal, belief system and character were pungently apparent early in his campaign.

What only accentuated my perception of George W. Bush as a spoiled, witless fratboy who has navigated his way through life on the currency of his family's name was the lack of criticism his persona and platform received in the media. My opinions were not formed or swayed by any so-called liberal lambasting of the man. There was no need for anyone to parody, satirize or otherwise insult or mock George W. Bush -- the man is his own neon travesty.

I'm one of these weird people who forms his own opinions. I think for myself. As I heard sound bytes of W.'s speeches, I marvelled at the lack of realistic analysis his views received. During his debates with Al Gore, there were a few moments when my disgust for George W. Bush morphed into actual pity -- seeing the man struggle with his mother tongue, articulating ideas he'd been coached on but which obviously made no coherent sense to him. Then to hear on the morning radio shows the following day how W. had cleaned Al Gore's clock in the debate. Beyond bizarre.

The debacle of the 2000 election seemed entirely inevitable. Hearing how Jeb Bush employed ChoicePoint to create those "purge lists" on the voting rolls in order to strip as many African Americans of their voting rights didn't strike me as far-fetched. W. winning the election struck me as ridiculous. But when it became apparent W. would actually become an unbothered squatter in the White House, one of the first opinions about him as president that I formed was that he would be the first U.S. president to resign from office out of boredom. It was clear the man was not cut out to do an honest day's work, no matter the venue. It was clear he was absolutely not up to the demands placed on presidents.

As with every other endeavor W. has embarked upon during his meandering life, I figured he would get bored with being president and simply walk away.

But he hasn't.

Having observed W. over these past five years -- through the presidential campaign and his first term as president -- a pattern has emerged: he's not good at being president, doesn't seem to derive any satisfaction from the job, and gets into these funks where his poll numbers slip like his grades through his academic career. The pattern that has emerged is when W.'s poll numbers decline, some radical "failure of imagination" occurs.

In the weeks before the 9/11 attacks, I recall W. was looking ahead to the unpleasant task of presenting some sort of vision to Congress and the Senate when they came back from summer adjournment. But then those tragic attacks took place, and W.'s football coach vocabulary and outlook suddenly became an asset to him.

The second "failure of imagination" was the response to Hurricane Katrina at the end of this summer. The only difference between the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks, is that Hurricane Katrina was not within the power of American law enforcement and intelligence to be stopped.

There is much talk in the media right now about an "avian flu" with comparisons to the massive 1918 flu pandemic that killed tens of millions of people worldwide. Will an outbreak of this avian flu in the United States be the third "failure of imagination" for George W. Bush's administration?

As a Canadian citizen, I am interested in and disgusted by George W. Bush because he is a global problem, like global warming, nuclear arms, STDs, etc.

To this point, the "failures of imagination" under W.'s watch have been passed off as being unforeseen. George W. Bush's poll numbers are free-falling once again. What cataclysmic event will take place to buoy them?


none said...

Very good piece; I like the football coach vocabulary part tremendously. But also, it's important to note that, apparently, Americans saw something good in this man, so it must be that a majority of them are just as idiotic, evil and footbal coachy as he is. The elections should never have been this close. With a thinking electorate, it would not have been a tight race.

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

Thank you, and I agree with you regarding a "thinking elecorate." However, the 2000 election purge lists in Florida and the "black box" voting in 2004 should not be ignored or "misunderestimated." George W. Bush snatched office and retained it through underhanded means. There is no question. It's just unfortunate -- though enormously fortuitous for W. -- that the Democratic party is dysfunctional beyond counseling or repair. The Democratic party is far more outrage-inducing because it still possesses a few decent people, none of whom are stepping up to their constitutional duties.

When students of history read about the demise of the United States in the next few decades and centuries, they will see that America died not from terrorism, but from disease -- a disease known not by a word, but a single letter: "W."

Ascendantlive said...

I hear you Matt, Al Gore was elected President in 2000. Then Jeb said otherwise, and unfortunatly the supreme court agreed...which an election should never have been taken to them in the first place. In 2000 the democratic process was usurped, unfortunatly it's not the first time it's happened and I'm sure it won't be the last. Problem was, the people who can't do anything about it didn't know what to do, and the people who could do something about it either didn't know what to do, or just didn't do anything.
As for W. bringing the entire country to its knees? The President just isn't powerful enough to bring about the downfall of this country(even if he can bring about the downfall of several other countries). I think of W. more as a localized symptom of a much more widespread epidemic. And if America were to fall(eventually all empires do), it will take a century or more and we'll have a nice little timeline in our 9th grade history books of 2105(probably written in Spanish); I'm sure W. will be on that timeline, but he won't be at either end of it.

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

A person riddled with inoperable cancer may still remain alive for a while after the diagnosis, but that does not mean they are healthy or should be making long-term plans.

I think the response to Hurricane Katrina was all anyone needed to see in order to assess the level of weakness and lethargy at the heart of American social infrastructure -- in other words, the stuff holding everything together.

American life is top-heavy with corruption. Like a tree in an ice storm -- it'll topple.

Ascendantlive said...

Those are good points Matt. The American social structure is top-heavy with much more than corruption...greed mainly, drunken power...and us poor folks can only afford to support peoples 200ft yachts for so long before economic collapse. Money is getting pushed upward at an alarming rate, and not enough is coming back down. I'm not sure the cancer is inoperable though, but maybe I'm just being an optomist.
As a side note: one of the factors in the (very long and drawn out)fall of Rome was the usurping of the Republic, for a long time people thought their votes were being counted when it was nothing more than a formality....have to wonder after 2000.

Ascendantlive said...

and bty, I appreciated your use of pictures where W. was bruised and scraped. I especially like the black eye, the jokes and symbolism we could induce are endless.

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

I'm obviously no political scientist, and my status as metaphysician doesn't qualify me as a clarvoyant. Just some heated venting over the outrages I see in the media. I'm sure your optimism is well-founded. The guys who framed your constitution weren't dummies -- they knew the likes of Dick Cheney and W. were coming, but the framers called these assholes by their true name: Tyranny.

RossK said...

"Hurricane Katrina was not within the power of American law enforcement and intelligence to be stopped."

Fair enough, but they certainly its affects could have been easily ameliorated if only 'Brownie' hadn't been doing such a 'heckuva' job....

(on 3rd and long when we were pinned in our own end with the clock winding down and the game on the line with all the marbles ridin' on the outcome. See, that's how I like it. I like a challenge. Heh, Brownie. Bring that wind on!)