The Bush administration has become a Wagnerian opera. Its fiery immolation of Valhalla is incinerating the entire Republican Party to ashes in the Twilight of the Gods. The Fat Lady has not only sung, she's running for cover.
What's happening is dramatic and utterly fascinating, and would be even more so except for the real tragedy it's brought. There's no driving home safely after the curtain falls.
We're watching a dynasty collapse before our eyes.
That is no exaggeration. You must remember: a mere five years ago, George Bush had a 90% approval rating. And now, it's 31%.
That bears repeating.
George Bush's approval was 90%. Nearly every single American alive approved of him. (No wonder I felt so alone.) And it is now 31%. On a chart, that wouldn't be an angled descent; it would be look like a body falling off a mountaintop.
How does a leader go from near-unanimous approval to almost total condemnation?? And while fighting a war supposedly of revenge and for our safety! It seems close to impossible.
Pointing out specific reasons after the fact doesn't answer the question. Pick a reason, any reason, toss it in the pot. Stir. It's all blended together.
You can say it's because of the Iraq War. But in truth, if it wasn't for the emptiness of everything else in the Bush administration (literally: "everything." Name an accomplishment), then the public would have had something to fall back on and support Our President. Because Americans dearly want to support Our President. George Bush hasn't given them a reason, however. And so you get a 90% approval plummeting to the die-hard-only base of 31%.
Americans now declare they're Democrats by a 15-point margin. The public gets it at last. All of it. There isn't any "nuance" to this mess. Everyone in the world understands the concept of deleting emails you don't want people to see.
There is zero way this administration can save itself. Six months before the election, I wrote on Huffington Post how the Bush administration is a house of cards built on a house of sand. There's nothing there to support it. The moment it begins to collapse, I noted, it can only eat away at itself. It's like a rotting tree that begins to give way and then just crumbles, bit by bit. That's what we're seeing now. And we've only touched the surface. These aren't the last scandals, they're just the latest - ones that have happened since the November election. The scandal revelations will keep coming, like a tsunami. Their very own Katrina. Heck of a job, Bushie.
There's a remarkable irony to all of this. George Bush has repeatedly puffed how history will decide the Iraq War. But this is a man who has amply demonstrated no aptitude for history. And history has bit him. He is the living embodiment of George Santayana's famous adage, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Just look at only the past week. It was like society having an LSD flashback to the '70s. It's one thing to know that Henry Kissinger is once again a presidential adviser and then reading about missing evidence to cover up secret White House actions. But then came this paragraph leaping out of a New York Times story on Friday.
"The clash also seemed to push the White House and Democrats closer to a serious confrontation over executive privilege, with the White House counsel, Fred F. Fielding, asserting that the administration has control..."
Fred Fielding! It's bad enough that the Bush administration is repeating all the errors of Richard Nixon and Watergate, but they're keeping the same people around! (Gee, you think just maybe there's a cause and effect??)
If you want a lesson about not learning from history, you've come to the right place: just take a look at two, past Fred Fielding quotes about his days as White House counsel during Watergate - and then remember that he's back there in George Bush's White House, representing him and once more trying to cover up the missing 18-minute gap. Er, sorry, the missing 5 million emails.
1) "But look, you did not have to be well versed in politics [during Watergate] to know that some stupid things were going on. It is the counsel's job to stop them, and instead the coverup was created."
2) "I learned a lot from living through and surviving Watergate. It certainly made me a better lawyer and a more effective counsel to the president. I was not afraid to tell people no. I was not concerned about any potential political fallout when I had to stop any problems that I saw coming."
Look it's really easy. Santayana was right: those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And the President and the people he's surrounded himself with cannot learn from history. So, it's repeating.
All that's missing is the president telling us he is not a crook.
At this point, however, the American public is almost less-likely to believe George Bush saying that, than they did Richard Nixon.