Democratic Underground

The Bogus POTUS Factor
June 2, 2001
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 them.

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 school children.

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 globe.

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, ever again.

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, and aggressive.

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 own.

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.

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