Belaboring the Obvious

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Battle Fatigue....

George Bush thinks that's what's wrong with the public, and that the polls show the public is worn out from bad news about Iraq and by high gasoline prices. A few in the press did note that this Bush explanation, as usual, was self-exculpatory. The last thing Bush would admit is that the public is mighty goddamned tired of him and his team of Keystone Kops.

Is there nothing Bush might do that would generate an apology? Perhaps that is part of the motivation of Bush and those around him--pushing limits out of the way and depending upon old-fashioned chutzpah to carry the day in the court of public opinion. Polls this week have shown Bush's base fleeing him. A few of the zealots, certainly, think he hasn't done enough for their causes. Bush hasn't yet created an effective theocracy of the country? He's a failure. Bush hasn't eliminated all regulation on industry? Ditto. Bush hasn't yet stripped away the income tax, ended every social program and thrust the cost of out-of-control military and war spending on those least able to pay for it? Same-same.

But, some considerable portion of that base is disgruntled because of the promises Bush made during his first campaign and in his inaugural address. Uniter, not a divider? Bush's steamroller approach to negotiation and Rove's "we'll fuck `em so bad they'll never recover" brand of politics took care of that promise. Compassionate conservatism? It became a truism during Bush's first term that if he praised a social program, its funding would be cut the next day. Humble foreign policy? Two wars and two puppet governments later, along with continuing threats to all sorts of minor members of the "axis of evil," put the lie to that one.

The problem I have, though, is with the remainder, those loyal to the personality leading the cult, who would forgive, nay, cheer Bush's nuclear bombardment of a non-nuclear country. Those that see the man as Jesus' little brother. Those that are screaming, as the ship of state is heading toward the rocks, "more throttle! Give it more gas!" These polls are saying, yes, a substantial majority aren't happy with the way things are going. They're also saying that three of ten people you know are certifiable lunatics that wouldn't recognize the truth if it grabbed them by the throat and squeezed. That would probably grab you by the throat and squeeze if you said you thought Bush should be impeached, convicted and sent to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Those are the folks who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still believe in Bush--still believe that Bush is doing great things, is a great leader, will go down in history as the greatest ever (or, at least, since St. Ronnie). In short, that Bush has nothing to apologize for.

I've been rereading Eric Hoffer's The True Believer, and there's a passage that applies right now:

When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Maybe that's another way of saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you thirty percent. You might get it."


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