Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Death of a Politician

We're on Top
Frank Rich's column in the Sunday New York Times is burning up the blogosphere. It's a concise and powerful statement of what many of us -- on both the right and left -- have known for some time: The war has become a quagmire of Bush's creation; the president (by failing to acknowledge his mistakes) has lost all moral authority.

The country is turning against Bush and the political fallout is beginning to spread. An Ipsos poll of 1,000 adults found approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent in early August. More than 55 percent said they disapproved of his overall performance as president.

Rich's strength is in distilling the American cultural landscape into a written certainty:
Nothing that happens on the ground in Iraq can turn around the fate of this war in America . . . What lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson's March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam . . .
The sputtering of the right's message machine is itself a testament to Rich's dead aim. The right blogosphere can only point fingers, wave the flag and blame the messenger. Their A-list of on-air bloviators can turn up their spittle and volume but none can challenge Rich on the facts. At last, history is catching up with histrionics.

They know as well as any political observer that the president's second term is on life support. No combination of spin from O'Reilly, Coulter, Hannity or Limbaugh can put Bush II back together again. Americans are already looking elsewhere for leaders who can re-assess our fight against terrorism and restore faith in our intentions. This message of popular discontent with Bush is piercing the mainstream media "filter" and seeping through the cracks in the right establishment.

With mid-term elections looming, the president could become a liability for Republicans seeking office in '06.

I had been thinking about the predicament LBJ faced in 1968 -- the escalation of an un-winnable war in Vietnam -- which forced him not to seek nor accept the nomination for re-election. LBJ understood what GWB cannot -- that there comes a time when a leader has to put the best interests of the country before politics, remove himself from the political process and own up to his own failures.

Bush, however, is entirely a political creation. You separate the politics from his DNA and he evaporates like a Texas mirage. There's no man behind the fa├žade -- no human capacity to make a decision that isn't calculated to benefit those few who propped him up as a leader. Admitting his mistakes, would be political suicide. If you kill the politician, you're left with a hollow shell.

Bush has no option but to ride his ship of state to the bottom. But how many more of us -- Americans, Iraqis and others -- is he going to sacrifice before his dismal turn at the wheel is up?

Rich's indictment is helping right what's been wrong with the White House for too long. His column is going viral (according to technorati and the Times' own email counter) adding weight to the evidence -- real, anecdotal and editorial -- that's tipping history's ballast against a politician who isn't man enough to face the facts.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

In a few weeks it will be four years since the attacks of 9/11, an event that many have compared to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Stop and think about that for a minute.

Four years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor would have been December 1945. And within that timeframe the United States had mobilized the nation and led a coalition of allies in bringing Germany and Japan to their knees. We had spearheaded the greatest amphibian invasion in history, built the world's first atomic weapon, liberated Europe, initiated the Marshal plan, and put in place a post-war political and military superstructure that would shape international relations for the next 50 years. In four years we as a nation had emerged as the leader of the free world.

And what has happened since our generation's Pearl Harbor? Just four years of lies, blame shifting, incompetence, and blundering. The people who attacked us are still running free, we can barely maintain order along the road to the Bagdad airport, and we haven't got a clue how this is supposed to end.

It's just astonishing that the so-called leadership of this country could screw this up this so badly. It just makes you want to hang your head in shame.

2bits said...

It makes me very sad that so many young lives have been sacrificed for so ignoble a purpose. Cheney, Bush, all of the guy in DC have spent all of our children's future to prop up their dying oil business. In the process, they are also choking us with the polluted planet. Where will it end? Who will stop them? We are the Ones we have been waiting for- the Time is Now.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to blame the President and his administration.

The fact of the matter is that he was elected by the American people and is representative of them.

What does this say about us as a people?

Edward O'Neill said...

I only hope you're right, that there's no turning back.

The anonymous comment that the President 'reflects the voters' simply doesn't take account of the way American media-driven politics works: divide and disparage.

Ken Grandlund said...

Second Anonymous also fails to realize that nearly half the country didn't even vote this time out, following a decades old trend. Bush is NOT representative of American's and their goals...he isi barely representative of half of half (about a quarter) of Americans who could actually vote. And those who support him the most fervently are those who seldom try to think for themselves.

Nice post and thanks for the tip to Rich's article.

Anonymous said...

listen up idiots. you can complain all day. I could for instance complain that i didn't get free gas when I puched the monkey on my ad banner. but why don't you think about the fact that Bush won becasue Kerry failed. And think about why Kerry won the DNC primaries. Why John Edwards didn't make the nomination. Why Kerrys policies made no sense and had zero coherence, but were rather a collection of idiotic anecdotes and apologies for Democratic fat cats like Soros. Find an answer to that rather researching whether GW has weapons of mass stupidity amongst his cabinet members. And get over the gay marriage thing. Marriage is for children. If Healthcare is your problem than address Healthcare.

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Anonymous said...

hey, I wanna ask you have u read the book "death of a politician"???

I want you to help if u 've read it. can u reply me by this email?

carolchan26@yahoo.com

I am a undergraduate doing the final paper of it. thanks