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There's a Drunk at the Wheel That Steers Our Great Nation
May 14, 2003
By J. Daniel Baugh

George W. Bush got away with driving drunk. Well, his 1976 conviction for it in Maine still stands, but it never became much of an issue in the mainstream media during the 2000 presidential campaign. Not to mention, of course, his Texas charges, which have been conveniently erased from the record (I guess being governor of a big state has its advantages). And though engaging in speculation is generally undesirable, I would speculate anyway that those weren't the only two times that the man ever got behind the wheel with a blood/alcohol content over the legal limit.

But none of that matters now, does it? Now that man, the only president who ever won office by Supreme Court vote, is at the helm of a far greater vehicle: one in which all of us are passengers, like it or not. And what some of us suspected (perhaps in our naïve reading of his past transgressions) is now becoming unavoidably apparent to everyone riding along on this national voyage (except those, of course, who are also inebriated): our fearful leader, our commander-in-thief, is utterly intoxicated!

Not drunk on conventional booze, no, he says he gave that up years ago. No, the de facto leader of the "free" world is drunk on neo-conservatism. (To see a lot of fun facts that might appear in a fictional resume George W. might show to only those close business associates like his Enron buddies that are welcome in secret White House meetings to determine public policy, visit

Actually, that's probably giving G. W. a bit too much intellectual credit (not that neo-conservatism deserves any, but the man can rarely form a complete sentence). It's really more like all the members of the posse that is the "administration" take turns sipping their dogmatic cocktails and passing control of the wheel back and forth - with a bit of that familial tug-of-war - but still with the sense that they belong together at the helm of the world, a world populated by the weak, the workers, the labor capital, the clay that can be shaped at will by the likes of them.

How did these frat-boy-clowns-turned-wannabe-intellectuals-and-world-conquerors get control of the wheel, anyway? When did our great country lose its soul? Two things: first, the good American soul is still there, still intact, but lying dormant. Second, this "ain't no new thing", as they say. The American history that we trumpet in our textbooks (a very mute trumpeting, of course) is an epic struggle of the populace against the tyrannical powers. Well, sometimes. When popular resistance to the tyrannical policies of the rich ruling class flowered like daffodils in the spring, yes, but mostly the fight has been a "cold war" between the intellectual and the pseudo-intellectual.

Thomas Jefferson was an intellectual. Most of the founders were, though not all. Most "conservative thinkers" are pseudo-intellectuals, though not all. As a scientist, I would argue that there exists enough social and economic data today that, with a critical analysis, most of the common conservative (pseudo-intellectual) mantras can be discredited on scientific grounds. Of course our political system is not that sophisticated (yet), but all of us know that the rational, complex arguments that liberals tend to engage in overwhelmingly outweigh the one-track, dogmatic "arguments" generally asserted by right-wingers (this is precisely what I mean by "pseudo-intellectual").

For anyone who is interested in politics and has ever participated in scientific work, the thought must have occurred: "if politics were truly a science, the right-wing philosophy would suffer the fate of the flat-earth theory." Their ideologies simply don't stand up to empirical tests - to the real world. Yet, deeper forces are at work. And that is the only rational explanation for the otherwise inexplicable survival of the dogmatic right-wing agenda: it is a useful tool for those in power who choose to abuse their power. And abuse is where this article began. Abuse of alcohol. Abuse of civil liberties. Abuse of the Constitution. Abuse of the role of commander-in-chief. The list could go on for several pages. In short, extraordinary abuse of extraordinary power. That's George W. Bush and his cronies, folks.

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