Democratic Underground

George W. Bush's Vanilla Presidency
December 21, 2001
by Richard Prasad

The movie Vanilla Sky opened recently to great fanfare, and why not, with stars like Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz, who wouldn't want to see it? Strangely enough, there are eerie parallels between this movie, and George W. Bush's personal life and Presidency.

Cruise plays David Aames, a spoiled rich-kid son of a magazine publisher, who takes over as CEO of the publishing empire left behind by his father. George W. Bush IS the spoiled rich of an old money family, and Bush Jr. tried to be the CEO of at least one company, and failed miserably so now W is trying to carry on his father's political empire.

Cruise wanders through life aimlessly in his life, drinking too much, partying too much and generally "snowboarding through life" as Cruise puts it, until he meets Sofia, (Penelope Cruz) who his friend meets in a library. Cruise's character has found love and swears to change his ways. George W. Bush wandered around aimlessly, drinking too much, partying too much and generally "snowboarding through life" until the age of 40, when he met Laura Welch, a librarian. George W had found love as well, and forswore drinking as a symbol of his new life. OK, so Laura Bush is NOT exactly Penelope Cruz, but stick with me here.

Cruise's father leaves Cruise with 51% of the company, therefore he has a controlling interest in the company. Cruise's father also leaves behind a board of 7 people as a check and balance on his son. Cruise nicknames the board "The Seven Dwarfs" and is convinced that the Seven Dwarfs are constantly hatching plots to remove Cruise as head of the company.

George W. Bush was left with about 47 or 48% of the popular vote, a vote that he lost, by the way, so he never even had what Cruise had, he never had a "controlling interest" in the country if you will, or what we political types call a mandate. There is also no doubt about who has the power within the Bush Administration, we know George W has already ceded power over to his own "Seven Dwarfs" Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ridge, Ashcroft, Dennis Hastert, and Trent Lott. Far from being dwarfs, these guys control huge amounts of power, and there are often power struggles within the Administration most notably between Cheney and Powell.

And although there is no one trying to remove Bush from power, the Bush Administration definitely has an internal enemies list, and it's very simple, all you have to do is disagree with the President, and you are unpatriotic and an enemy of the Bush Administration, why else would Attorney General Ashcroft say that if you disagree with the Bush Adminstration policies on military tribunals and detainees, you are giving "aid and comfort" to terrorists? The Bush administration still does not think of itself as legitimate, so the paranoia of that illegitimacy remains, and manifests itself in statements like that of the Attorney General.

Getting back to the movie "Vanilla Sky" Cruise's character does not keep his promise to his new found love Sofia and gets involved in a disfiguring car accident while with another woman. As a result of the accident, Cruise is forced to wear a facial prosthesis or mask. Cruise is convinced again that the accident is a result of a conspiracy theory among the "Seven Dwarfs" to seize power.

The disfiguring accident in the case of the Bush administration, is the Supreme Court decision in Bush V. Gore, that did not remove President Bush from power, it placed him into power. It was an accident, because if voting procedures had been followed correctly the Supreme Court case would have never been necessary. The Supreme Court decision was disfiguring, because it made the country lose faith in the legal profession in general and the Supreme Court in specific. And no conspiracy theory is necessary to know that Bush V. Gore was a power grab by the Supreme Court, in what was essentially a state issue, not to be decided federally.

The mask that President Bush wears as a result of his disfiguring accident is the mask of "Compassionate Conservatism" A thinly veneered slogan of a policy that makes Bush appear to be concerned about social issues, like education, when in reality, he is not.

In the movie, also as a result of the accident, Cruise suffers from an inability to tell reality from nightmare. Let's see now, after Bush was handed power, we have soaring unemployment, a war in Afghanistan, and an assault on civil liberties. I see, Bush's reality is OUR nightmare!

When Cruise removes the mask Vanilla Sky, the mask that was supposed to help his face heal, the face behind the mask is the same scarred face from the accident. Likewise, when Bush removes the mask of "Compassionate Conservatism" we see the real President. The real President Bush is interested only in giving tax breaks to the wealthy, bailing out big corporations, privatizing Social Security, and mixing government in religious affairs. Once the mask is removed, Bush is just as conservative as DeLay and the recently retired Dick Armey.

I will not reveal the surprise twist ending to the movie or the many twists within the movie, but there is a final eerie coincidence between "Vanilla Sky" and the Bush Administration. After 2 1/2 hours of watching "Vanilla Sky" I felt dazed and confused. After 12 months of watching the Bush Administration, I feel much the same way.

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