Bizarro President

10/03/2006 11:05 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"The first Bizarro...appeared in Superboy #68 (November, 1958).
Bizarro was a pathetic, quasi-living creature, who had come into being
when a device supposedly capable of duplicating physical objects was
used on Superboy. It proved not quite up to the task, and the result
was a brain that functioned at a child's level, behind a face that
looked like crumpled-up paper. Bizarro (who took his name from hearing
the word "bizarre" applied to him) had all of Superboy's wonderful
powers, but no real spark of life -- a fact he was just bright enough to
understand." --from Don Markstein's Toonopedia

Last week (an eventful week, to be sure), two sentences became
juxtaposed in my consciousness. From Newsweek, concerning Bob
Woodward's "State of Denial", we have, "The president is folksy and
jocular, but incurious to the point of cluelessness." And from the
Associated Press, concerning the new detainees bill, "Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales, who is defending President Bush's anti-terrorism
tactics in multiple court battles, said Friday that federal judges
should not substitute their personal views for the president's
judgments in wartime."

So, as the world becomes more and more dangerous, as we come to know
with more and more clarity and certainty that the president has never
either known what he was doing with regard to Al Queda or the war in
Iraq nor cared to find out, we are told that, nevertheless, that
trained judges with education and experience, who know the law and the
Constitution, and who, indeed, may be widely traveled, cosmopolitan,
and sophisticated in their thinking, are to watch their step because
Bush is in charge, and what he says goes.

In what world does this make sense? Surely it cannot make sense even
in the Bizarro world of Alberto Gonzales, crawling verminous enabler
that he is, or in that of David Addington and John Yoo, two of the
other promoters of the "unitary executive" (known in my house as "the
Articles of Brutality"). In fact, there are two fatal flaws in
Gonzales', Yoo's, and Addington's theories, and they are "George W.
Bush" and "Dick Cheney". It would be one thing if they were paving the
way for a tyrant of unique intelligence and vision to take charge of
the new empire, but on the one hand, they have Bush, whose every
utterance is a clueless embarrassment, either because it is
inarticulate or because it is obtuse, and on the other hand they have a
snarling liar whom not even many of those strangely faithful to Bush
can abide. But, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, "You attempt to seize
power with the president you have rather than the president you wish
you had."

There is a reason America doesn't have a king, and it is that the
Founders, whatever their faults, realized that in spite of centuries of
effort that had gone into making monarchy work, courts and countries
were repeatedly stuck with children, madmen, idiots, profligates,
fools, and knaves who happened to be firstborn sons of the reigning
monarch. I know that the members of the Bush Administration have never
seen a conflict of interest that they didn't want to perpetrate, and
that it is very tempting, if you are power mad, to assert, "I want
total power, so I am going to say I have it, and you are going to let
me have my way, even though every day in every way I show that I don't
have the intelligence or good judgment to wield the power I want," but
do we really want to go there as a nation? I think we should stick with
the Founders.

Rumsfeld, Gonzales, and the other neocons are all cut from the same
cloth. They want to run the world, but they don't know enough about the
world to actually achieve anything other than damage and chaos. Surely
this is the failure of the "CEO President" model and a perfect example
of crony capitalism at work. The vote on the detainee bill last week
shows that Congress remains in thrall to something that the citizens
reject. In the abstract, I would like to know what that is, but mostly
I would just like to throw the bums out.