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?