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Barry Yourgrau Headshot

It's Not about Bush, It's about America

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Of course it's about Bush. But I keep remembering something George Soros said before the last presidential election: that 2000 was about Bush--but 2004 was about America.

Would we become a country of enablers--enablers of demagoguery, tyranny, war crimes and war criminals, torture, predatory fraud, economic looting and corruption, contempt of governance, institutionalized secrecy, vote-rigging. All trotted out by full mechanisms of propaganda.

I exaggerate of course. But of course, I don't.

After still more bleak cowardice from the Democratic Senate mid-week over telecom immunity, what a blast into sunshine and hope and courage yesterday when the House Democrats not only voted on contempt but called Bush on his fear-mongering over FISA matters. I wish Steny Hoyer's actual fighting words could be pasted as a crawl on every TV screen in the land:

"We are pursuing the politics of fear. Unfounded fear.... The President's assertion (of catastrophe if his fraudulent bill didn't pass) is wrong. I say it categorically, The Presidents's assertion is wrong."

Why does it have to be a special event to stand up a President who surely ranks, by ongoing poll numbers, as one of the most unpopular politicians in the history of the republic?

I'm sure this President, with this Republican party, is now going counter-attack with full ferocity, with toxic lying intensity. Will the press call him on it now? Oh, will they? The NY Times today has a long piece on Rush Limbaugh's dislike of McCain. The closest the article gets to suggesting what Limbaugh is, what he does, and what he represents, is to employ the term "mischief" at one point. Darn that naughty ole Rush.

There were two TV interviews with Bush in the last week: with Fox and with Matt Frei of BBC, where we learned that Americans the human condition (?!):

Frei: Can you honestly say, Mr President, that today America still occupies the moral high ground?

Mr Bush: Absolutely - absolutely. We believe in human rights and human dignity. We believe in the human condition. We believe in freedom. And we're willing to take the lead.

What the hell does it mean to believe in the human condition? As opposed to what? What gibberish is this from a national leader?

Watching Bush (for the 15 seconds tolerable without destroying the TV set, which lacks that text crawl from Steny Hoyer, I suddenly realized who he reminded me of.

John Gotti.


The same contemptuous inane attitude of a wiseguy and sociopath. In the 80's I lived in a little walk-up right on the border of Soho and Little Italy in New York. One afternoon I was coming home up Mulberry Street, and I saw ahead a preening laughing jackass of a middle-aged guy sitting wide-legged at a little table outside SPQR Restaurant. "What a clown," I thought to myself. And then about twenty feet away I realized it was John Gotti.

I went past very carefully, eyes frozen straight, elbows drawn in rigid lest I inadvertantly knock over the Sambuca bottle on the table.

I should have cried, "Hey, you'd make somebody's idea of President someday, Mr.Gotti!"

I seem to recall that Gotti had all his teeth replaced with implants in his closing days in jail. The implants got infected and in agony he actually tore them all out.

Such images of a fate do console when one thinks of other sociopaths who could suffer similarly, in cells at the Hague. For starters.

Nice Pearly Whites You Got There

Appreciations to, where this piece first appeared on my blog Brain Flakes.

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