Thursday, 27 October 2005
By JOSEPH PLANTA
VANCOUVER - There was an outlandish rumour from one of the celebrity tabloids that said recently that George W. Bush was off the wagon and had begun drinking again. This would make bad news for Bush, of course a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. One may choose to hold that rumour with some validity, but I would take stock in the one from last week, where it was reported that Bush was getting snippy around the White House and starting to holler and scream at any variety of irritation.
There's much for the President to be irritated about. His so-called brain, Karl Rove is starring into the barrel of a possible indictment for his involvement in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, all it seems in an effort to discredit critic Joe Wilson, her husband, who had been critical of the administration's use of faulty intelligence in the run up to the Iraq war. Rove's a pretty big piece to knock off, and then there's I. Lewis Libby, better known as Scooter, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. He's facing an indictment as well, and Cheney isn't getting off scot-free just yet.
The term 'unindicted co-conspirator' has been bandied about regarding Cheney, if only that it's reported that Libby has said he first heard of Plame's identity as a CIA mole from his boss. That old phrase 'unindicted co-conspirator' hasn't been used since the Nixon era, and is probably causing the administration much consternation. It's probably causing the anti-Bushies glee, that the administration is getting its comeuppance.
Disarray in a second-term administration is not uncommon. Presidents get too comfortable, and it's expected since they've just won their final campaign and they're working on firming up their legacy. Granted it's hubris, it is expected when the office of the most powerful person in the world finally gets to ones head. Nixon got caught up with Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, and Clinton had Monica Lewinsky.
President Bush is getting bogged down with discontent from his base over the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. Patrick Fitzgerald, the enigmatic special prosecutor, is causing much consternation for the administration, and it's reported that with Rove testifying at his grand jury, Bush was without his right-hand man's counsel. A seemingly flaky Miers got through, when the base wanted nothing less than a staunch conservative.
The wake of the hurricanes hasn't been helpful either. With the disaster of FEMA's lacklustre response, Bush was hit for being nothing more than another patronage junkie, appointing cronies to plum positions without demanding any sort of action, service or accountability. Miers, it seems is from the Bush inner circle, so comparisons to Michael Brown may be unwanted, but perhaps apt.
These challenges for Bush sort of dim what with the Iraq war still blaring half the world away. The milestone of 2,000 troops dead, sounds again a cacophony of criticism from anti-war protestors who are only emboldened by a weakening President. Bush-haters like Michael Moore may gloat, but that isn't wise, because that doesn't solve anything. Hearty 'I told you so's' help this President not a wit.
George W. Bush painted himself an uncomplicated politician, with ideology firmly formed prior to entering office. We've seen however how complex the modern presidency has been, and as of late, Bush hasn't shown that he comprehends that and is working towards understanding it. Compassionate conservatism, a somewhat archaic phrase from the 2000 campaign, was destroyed when it was realised that the administration was anything but to the victims of Katrina.
With his victory in 2004, Bush didn't end up a one-term wonder like his father. The way things are going, he's sizing up to be a great second-term boob.
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