January 17, 2003
ByÂ Andrew Sarchus
Having convinced gullible Americans that President Bush gained both gravitas and legitimacy following the terrorist attacks in September 2001, the right-wing spin machine is starting to portray him as the "anointed one" as well. David Frum's propaganda piece, "The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush" is a first step towards canonization of an intellectually-deficient, dishonest, mean-spirited man elevated to high national office by five Supreme Court Justices who shredded Constitutional principles in doing so.
Bush cited Jesus Christ as his favorite political philosopher in the 2000 presidential campaign - in answer to a question that may well have been planted by the Bush team. Bush's invoking the name of Christ was ingenious, because the answer assured a powerful voter turnout of right-wing Christian fundamentalists that make up so much of the Republican Party's base. That Candidate Bush was unable at the time to articulate a single philosophical idea advanced by Jesus, other than saying, "He changed my heart", was not discussed further in the campaign.
Now David Frum attempts to put some flesh on the dry bones of George W's professed religiosity. Frum recounts that Bush told him "there is only one reason I am in the Oval Office…I found faith. I found God. I am here because of the power of prayer." Frum does not mention whether this was said with a straight face. It may be that Bush believes that all the chicanery his subordinates pulled in Florida in November 2000 was indeed ordained by the Almighty. It may be that Bush thinks the five Supreme Court Justices who violated nearly every precept of jurisprudence in awarding him the Presidency were sanctioned by God. It may be that Bush feels the 9/11 horrors occurred solely because the Lord works in mysterious ways. Or perhaps Bush is cynically and methodically exploiting the faith of millions of Americans in order to continue the GOP's march towards a "different" America under the heels of the Religious Right and corrupt corporations.
Bush has displayed little recognizable Christian philosophy in his administration's assaults on the environment, worldwide population control, the Iraqi people, affirmative action, and persons who are not among the top 10% of household incomes. Bush and his spokespersons comfort the rich and show contempt for the poor with absurd "supply-side" tax policy. They laud those corporations who render nothing to "Caesar" in taxes while widows and orphans are called "lucky duckies" by the Wall Street Journal because they do not have enough income to tax. They make mockery of humanity's stewardship of the Earth by loosing snowmobiles in our National Parks and offering meaningless "voluntary" measures to reduce pollution. They scheme to deny faith, hope, and charity to those who lack the social conservative's outlook on race relations or gender identity. They pick at the specks in the eyes of liberal Democrats while ignoring the plank of unreconstructed racism in their party's "Southern Strategy" outlook for over 20 years.
In Frum's account, Bush is "confident" rather than "arrogant" in his dealings with the opposition in Congress, interest groups opposed to his policies, and world leaders reluctant to sign on to his "Bomb Iraq at any cost" foreign policy. Bush, says Frum, is "confident" because he (Bush) believes the future is "held in stronger hands than his own." So as God's chosen vessel, Bush is free to "confidently" alienate half the Congress, two-thirds of Americans, and the rest of the planet except Tony Blair. In the Bush world, love has no greater expression than one's friends lay down their lives for this man.
David Frum's portrayal of Bush as a man chosen by God will ultimately become an embarrassment to Frum himself and the deeply flawed human being it seeks to elevate. Through his actions and policy, Bush exhibits the exact characteristic that Jesus condemned in the Scribes and Pharisees: hypocrite!