Bogus POTUS Factor
by D. Osborne
America has a long and not-so-proud history of supporting
and oftentimes installing right-wing dictators into positions
of power. Usually this policy is carried out in other countries,
however judging by the 2000 Presidential election fiasco,
the traveling circus has made a domestic stop in Tallahassee.
America has been shot by her own gun, and she is hurting more
than Dick Cheney after a barbecue pork sandwich, large chili-cheese
fry, large onion ring gorge-fest.
No matter how much the conservative right kicks and screams
about Bush winning the election, a great many Americans are
still very upset about the way that whole thing went down,
and shrill, partisan rationalizations are not going to change
that. I would have had no problem if, after a statewide recount,
Bush would have actually won, but he chose to sue the American
people to make sure that their votes were not all counted.
He put his own political career ahead of one of the cornerstones
of American life- the democratic right to cast a ballot and
have it be counted. His arrogant and self-serving attempts
to trample on one of the fundamental tenets of our Republic
are dangerously close to treasonous. If you fear counting
votes, perhaps you are in the wrong country, Jorge.
With all of that said, Mr. Bush still has to go to bed every
night (6:00 pm) knowing that the majority of Florida voters
went to the polls in support of Al Gore, as did the majority
of Americans. He also knows that if his Florida brethren had
not illegally "felonized" thousands of African-Americans,
thereby purging them from the voting registry, we would all
be saying President Gore, and he would be back on his ranch
pondering the question "is our children learning?"
Simply stated, this POTUS is bogus. He does not represent
the true will of the people, he represents the will of the
emphatically conservative Supreme Court, which did us all
the disservice of selecting him. What a fantastically un-triumphant
way to assume the Presidency- greeted by the largest inaugural
protest since Vietnam. Maybe he could have tossed out an olive
branch by riding in on an ass, like his philosophy guru Jesus.
But then again, what is the symbolic value of two more asses
coming to Washington?
One would think that a minority-backed, newly selected President
would attempt to mend fences by taking a centrist approach
in the beginning, and then working his way towards the true
Neanderthals in his party on the right. Instead, Mr. Bush
started with the Neanderthals and is now consulting with his
Homo-habilis constituency. This guy is making Ronald Reagan
look like George McGovern.
Rhetorically, when he can actually string together a coherent
sentence, he makes his mouth move like a moderate, but in
the background he wields an iron fist of right wing despotism.
He invokes the spirit of Rodney King with his weak, "can't
we all just get along" campaign mantra, but his actions are
straight out of the Stacey Koon School of Diplomacy. Mandate?
He don't need no stinking mandate! "He won, you lost - now
stop your bitchin" is the symphonic response from his packagers,
I mean, his staff. They have everything under control. Trust
Unanimity and message control are impressive in their show
of team discipline, but in this case they cannot alter the
already established reality around the globe. At some point
we are going to have to come to grips with the fact that the
election debacle did not take place in a vacuum. The whole
world was watching very intently, and our foreign policy disasters
in the first four months are a reflection of the international
reaction to our poor man's version of democracy and this Administration's
usurpation and dissemination of power.
How many times has the world witnessed U.S. military intervention
supposedly in the name of Democracy? How about most of South
America, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Haiti, Kuwait, Guatemala,
and Cuba for starters? We have exterminated thousands of people
the world over under the banner of Democracy, and yet in 2000
we proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are much more
adept at killing than in comprehending and practicing that
which we so zealously defend. Can anyone see how this may
appear as slightly hypocritical to those outside our borders?
Foreign leaders know that there is a dark cloud over the
Bush "victory" and that the majority of Americans did not
support him at the polls. But even with his legitimacy questioned
at home, they initially embraced him with respect and dared
not say or do anything to fuel the fire that was still burning
within a large segment of the American electorate. Their endorsements
and photo-ops with Bush gave him a forum to appear Presidential,
which certainly helped his cause during those very uncertain
first few weeks. And how has Bush responded to the overtures
of his "friends and neighbors abroad"? With a Texas steel-toe
kick to their collective rib cage, and a defiant thrust of
his middle finger. Through arrogance, sheer ineptitude, laziness,
and lack of basic social skills, he has generated more global
uncertainty than a nuclear meltdown. In only four short months,
our hero has amassed four year's worth of foreign policy lowlights.
Here are just ten of them:
1. Personally offends German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
in a meeting just days into his Presidency by cavalierly dismissing
world concerns about the environment.
2. In discussion with South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung,
accuses North Korea of not abiding by all of their agreements
with the U.S. (even though only one exists). He then breaks
off talks indefinitely with the North, and single-handedly
destroys years of diplomatic progress between the two nations.
Relations between the two remain cool.
3. Gives some of his wealthy, Texas campaign contributors
a joy ride on a nuclear submarine after his "selection". With
a distracted crew, the sub plows into an unsuspecting fishing
vessel, resulting in the grisly deaths of a group of Japanese
4. Unilaterally stomps the Kyoto Treaty out of existence,
personally standing against the will of 186 countries worldwide
and destroying nearly a decade of work for the preservation
of the planet. Outrage resonates from every corner of the
5. Apologizes twice in a kneepad-delivered address to the
Chinese, after they knocked our plane out of international
airspace, stripped it, and "detained" our crew for nearly
two weeks. We have yet to get our plane back, but next time
out our entire crew will be equipped with a stockpile of Bibles.
6. In a bizarre, irrational reversal of 30 years of U.S.
policy toward China, George the Lesser throws his support
behind the Taiwanese independence movement in promise to do
"whatever it takes" to defend them against China. It's amazing
how he can de-stabilize an entire region with one inept comment.
What an exercise of power!
7. Hours later, risks whiplash by abandoning new policy and
re-instituting the old one-China policy: "Our nation will
help Taiwan defend itself. At the same time, we support the
one-China policy, and we expect the dispute to be resolved
peacefully," he said. His comments were so baffling that even
his human mouthpiece, Ari Fleischer, could not defend or decipher
his boss' schizophrenic rants: "The President said what he
felt about the issue," he sighed (translation: "I don't know
what the hell he's talking about either").
8. CIA offers expertise in the international War on Drugs
and helps gun down an American plane over Peru in broad daylight,
killing a missionary and her child. Ari Fleischer summed up
the Administration's position: "The problem is drugs grown
in other nations…enter the marketplace of America," he said.
Under our new policy of shoot first and let God sort 'em out,
soon there will be no threat of anything entering any marketplace,
9. Alarms friend and foe alike by resuscitating plan for
a nuclear defense shield in outer space. In a terrifying show
of ideological solidarity, Pat Robertson backs this plan as
a safety net in case a rogue nation decides to shoot asteroids
and deflect the debris toward U.S. cities. That's good thinking
Pat, but a defense shield will be of no use if a rogue nation
uses its evil powers to stop the earth from rotating, causing
us to fall out of the sky. Perhaps we also need to build ourselves
an orbit stabilizer to stay one step ahead of those fanatical,
extremist nut cases.
10. Sends message to the world through his ambassadorial
nominations that he does not take them seriously. Rather than
find qualified candidates to fill positions, he has chosen
to reward his friends and campaign contributors with prime
positions overseas. In fact, 22 of his first 27 nominees have
political or personal connections to Bush, and have absolutely
no diplomatic experience whatsoever. The most outrageous example
is a major campaign donor who was tapped as the Ambassador
to France, but who can't speak a word of French. I'm sure
he'll be very effective, Jorge.
Bush plans on "bringing people together" alright - in death.
If he announces that he's going to broker a deal between the
Hatfield's and McCoy's, we all better duck. At this point
it doesn't look like he's capable of bringing two pieces of
Velcro together, nor does it appear as though he cares. He
hasn't come to the world stage to work with nations in a respectful
manner, he has come to claim his throne that is his birthright.
He bucks the trend of global interdependence and cooperation
and has instead steered the U.S. on another senseless path
toward reactionary isolationism, militarism, and fascism.
In attempting to appear tough, he inadvertently shows that
he is suffering from the worst case of Napoleon Complex since,
well, Napoleon. He is a small man with small ideas and a very
small vocabulary. His constituency is so small, it's actually
a minority. In fairness to "El Presidente", I know that this
is not all his fault. He's certainly no ideologue- he's simply
a dim-witted yes-boy, installed by very big corporate interests
who are running this show for the purpose of fattening their
bottom lines at the expense of the rest of us. They are his
iron fist and his mandate. Without them, Bush is just an unenlightened
man who has elevated the Peter Principle to an exponential
equation, but with them, he appears dangerous, irrational,
At this point, just about everyone in the world is tired
of Bush's act, and they have shown signs of rebellion. The
most obvious case is the Chinese plane embarrassment, where
Beijing pulled the Resident's card and left him standing with
his pants around his ankles. They demanded an apology, and
boy did he deliver. As President, Bush does a very thorough
Monica Lewinsky impression. The Chinese made Bush cave in
despite our insistence that it was all the fault of their
overly aggressive pilot. So why apologize if we were merely
innocent victims in this mess? Where is our apology? Jorge,
get on your feet and explain just what the hell is going on!
Never mind, I think we all get the point: you froze, and the
Chinese are probably having a great time re-reading your letter
to each other. They were testing you, Junior. And like most
right-wing, draft-dodger hawks, you blinked. We can hide our
heads in the sand if we choose, but the fact is that America
is losing its respect through its "selected" leader, and other
nations smell blood in the water.
In the U.N., which has served as America's playground since
its inception, we have been unceremoniously kicked off of
two Commissions in secret ballot votes that show just how
far our stock has fallen in such a short time. First, we were
clipped from the Human Rights Commission for the first time
since the drafting of the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights
in 1947. In the vote, at least 14 of our own allies turned
on us, showing some deep seeded animosity towards our new
foreign policy initiatives. Then on the same day, we were
dumped from the International Narcotics Control Board, the
U.N. Committee that monitors international substance abuse
and illegal drug trafficking. These monumentally embarrassing
events that took place for all the world to see and cheer,
should have sent a message to the Bush Administration about
the direction in which they are headed. But instead, Secretary
of Defense "Dumb" Donald Rumsfeld accused the voting nations
of being ungrateful, and National Security Adviser Condoleeza
Rice came up with a gem of her own: "Obviously, the United
States has been too strong on the human rights agenda. I suspect
that this was a backlash of those who don't like being judged,"
she said. Is this what passes for political analysis these
days? I guess the moral of this Administration is that if
you don't like the present reality, it's ok to create your
But these events are just the beginning, and are the direct
result of a faulty electoral process. Bush's illegitimacy
combined with his naked arrogance and tactlessness have created
a climate of uncertainty, hostility, and distrust. His actions,
stemming from his own feelings of inadequacy over losing the
election and once again falling short of his Daddy's mark,
have turned him into an angry, spoiled little tyrant, hell-bent
on seizing the respect that he feels he deserves. But he squandered
his chance at redemption by thumbing his nose at those who
were in a position to help legitimize him. Four months into
his "Residency", and he has already lost the respect of most
of the world. Nations are making moves against the U.S. that
would have been unthinkable in the past, and I doubt if it's
going to stop here. It's gotten so bad, that even Rush Limbaugh
has been forced to use Sun Tzu's The Art of War to explain
how Bush's weakness is really a carefully planned effort to
lower the expectations of his enemies. Yeah, that's my excuse
every time I screw up too.
Things are looking very shaky, and we will have no choice
but to watch as Bush continues to shrink under the weight
of Presidential responsibility. America's stature is tied
to this man, and so far he's wearing it like a noose. He will
continue to get slapped around diplomatically over time because
he is not a Statesman or a very deep thinker. He is an empty
suit with a rubber stamp appeal to the ultra right. It's just
too bad that they were so eager to trade American prestige
and tradition for political power. Our country will be the
worse for it. Hopefully in four years, we'll once again have
the right to cast our ballots, and we can kick this sorry
S.O.B. out of Al Gore's house.