What You Wish For
July 24, 2002
By Mike Shannon
of the loyal opposition have a bit of a problem. No, I do
not mean that George W Bush is the President - that is not
a little problem, it is a monumental problem. The problem
I refer to is how do we best insure that his tenure in office
is a four year problem and not an eight year one.
At the root of our problem is the fact that in spite of the
man's litany of inadequacies he has - through 95% happenstance
and 5% performance - managed to convince the majority of Americans
that he is up to the job. For those of us who consider him
nothing more than an all-hat-and-no-cattle Daddy's boy we
have no small amount of difficulty accepting that people see
him as anything other than that. That they do is entirely
besides the point however, the only thing that matters is
that every time they are asked over two thirds of them answer
that they remain supportive of their President.
Discovering what it will take to offset the post-Sept 11th
perception that Mr Bush is worthy of their continued support
is where our challenge lies. We could remain patient and allow
him to self destruct. A strategy that was working all too
well prior to that life changing day last fall. Mr Bush had
already shot his wad with the criminally ill advised passage
by the Congress of his egregious gift to the well to do and
was slowly but surely sinking into what clearly looked like
a single term of mediocrity. Of course, all that changed in
a matter of a few short and unforgettable hours.
That this wholly inconsequential figure has since been bathed
in the flawed hiding light of protector/warrior is a development
that no imagination could have foreseen. But once again it
is of no benefit to bemoan this turn of events they should
only serve as an endless source of inspiration to do what
is necessary to counteract them.
Mr Bush gained his current stature because something incomparably
bad happened. Accepting this premise makes it rational to
argue that it will take something extraordinarily bad to undo
what has been done. Of course, in this situation that is completely
beyond the realm of acceptable possibility. Wishing for a
terrorist act of any manner, shape or form to be repeated
here or anywhere for that matter in order to gain political
advantage over an opponent would not merely transcend cynicism,
it would instantly forever brand anyone who entertained such
a thought as a soulless bastard in dire need of a horsewhipping.
Therefor it is without question that we must remove the fear
factor from the equation and look elsewhere for our answer.
Fortunately we will find that we are left with another dynamic
strong enough to turn a voter's heart to stone practically
overnight - money.
People vote with their wallet. They always have and they
always will. That is, under the right conditions. Personal
prosperity will invariably take a back seat to self preservation.
The one card that will trump the "are you better off today
than you were four years ago" question and that is "are you
safer today than you were four years ago." So as long as,
God willing, the murdering scum will never again sow their
hatred on our shores we can focus our hopes that the souring
of the economy will provide the impetus to turn Mr Bush and
his minions out of office.
The downside here is that a failure in the American economy
does not take place in a vacuum. It has very real repercussions
for every person - outside the chosen gilded few - that has
a job or an IRA. So while it is true that an economic downturn
of sufficient severity would do unto the son what it did to
the father the price is far too high to pay.
What we need is a metaphorical silver bullet. One that will
do what needs to be done but with no residual damage to the
innocent. Fortunately we may very well have found one. And
not surprisingly it comes from a source we all should have
never lost faith in - Mr Bush himself.
It is obvious to the point of dogma that if George W Bush
had any other last name you and I would never have heard of
him. Any success he has enjoyed in life in entirely owed to
the position and place he was born into. Take away his cocoon
of capitalist cronyism and he never would have grown wings
of his own, remove the golden safety net woven for the sons
and daughters of the oligarchy and he doesn't walk away from
the first fall.
With that in mind it is no small surprise that his past may
very well be finally catching up to him. Mr. Bush has been
receiving an ever increasing amount of negative press about
his sale - and failure to disclose it in a timely manner as
proscribed by SEC regulation - of his holdings in Harken Oil.
What was once excused as a fairly routine case of insider
wheeling and dealing is now being examined in today's far
different environment as symptomatic of what is wrong with
corporate America. Still, as unseemly as this transaction
appears it is what we don't know about it that may blow the
lid of the Bush Presidency.
It is not the how and why Mr Bush sold his Harken stock that
is so potentially devastating - it is to whom he sold them.
Accounts are starting to bubble to the surface (skip fox has
been writing of this for weeks and has an extensive file on
the subject which can be accessed here)
that are going to make previous Bush/Cheney indiscretions
seem trivial by comparison. Writing in the New York Press,
Christopher Caldwell offers the possibility that Mr Bush's
stock was purchased by someone from Saudi Arabia as a way
of the Saudis gaining favor and influence within the Bush
family. And that someone may have been a member of the vast
business organization headed by none other than the father
of Osama bin Laden.
If this pans out, there is no amount of spin on earth that
is going to be able to sell that one to Joe and Joan Public
but it sure is going to be fun watching them try.