The Fall of the House of Bush
June 7, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The
will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by
fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and
our doctrine; and remember that we are not descended from fearful
men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and
to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular... We can deny
our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility
for the result." - Edward R. Morrow
It is inevitable: sooner or later the Bush regime will fall. Perhaps
next month; perhaps after the end of the Jeb Bush administration
in 2016. The essential question is whether it will take down the
rest of us with it.
In the two and a half years that I have co-edited The Crisis Papers,
I have often speculated publicly as to how Bushism might be overthrown.
The operative word here is "might." Regarding probabilities,
I am a pessimist; regarding possibilities, I am an optimist. And
as long as there is a possibility of avoiding the precipice, that
is reason enough for hope, for rational planning, and for action.
Resigned passivity is not an honorable option.
The dire probabilities
The Bush administration is confidently marching toward disaster,
and we are all unwilling passengers on this fool's journey. Bush's
folly, if not diverted, will certainly lead to economic collapse,
international isolation, and dreadful terrorist revenge. Herbert
Stein's law reigns supreme: "That which can not go on forever,
won't." The ingredients of this witch's brew of mischief are
many - the federal deficit and national debt, growing income disparity,
the dissolution of civil liberties and civil rights, foreign wars,
stolen elections, corporate corruption, theocracy and the assault
on science and scholarship, official secrecy and lies.
Because I have recently discussed these malignant conditions at
length (in "Something's
Gotta Give") I will not repeat that effort here. Our focus
will be on possible avenues of reform and restoration. Suffice to
say that the mechanisms that support and sustain the Bushevik folly
are firmly in place: a captive media, limitless financial resources
from corporate sponsors, an intimidated and subservient bureaucracy,
disregard of federal and international law, unconstrained mendacity,
and, worst of all, a passive and gullible public. Add to that the
manifest shortcomings and disqualifications of the Commander-in-Chief
himself: pluperfect arrogance, a stubborn unwillingness to admit
error, and a disregard of the informed advice of scientists, policy
analysts and intelligence agencies. In short, our President is a
perfect solipsist - all that exists to him is his greed, his self-importance,
and the "wisdom" of his infallible
It will take a significant combination of forces to turn the Ship
of State away from this deadly course.
But enough of these probabilities of disaster. Let's consider next
the possibilities of escape – of bringing down the House of Bush.
For the first two-hundred years of our republic, our government
has, for the most part, been sustained by the people's shared conviction
in and loyalty to the founding political principles of our nation
as articulated in our national charters, the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution. We have also nourished what philosopher John
Rawls calls "civic
friendship" – mutual
trust and respect, tolerance of differences, a sense of safety
and tranquility in each others' company, encouragement of self-expression
and self-fulfillment, and a willingness to settle our disputes within
the context of the rule of law and through the slow but just processes
of a representative government, elected by a secure ballot.
It was a system that has earned the envy and respect of both free
and oppressed peoples throughout the world.
But now the Bush gang, which perversely calls itself "conservative,"
has changed all that. This is a regime that rules through fear and
lies, through secrecy and a casual disregard of "inconvenient"
laws, through a "privatization" and control of the ballot,
and through the willingness of a controlling segment of the public
to believe the lies, to endure impoverishment, a loss of hope for
the future, and the sell-off of the public treasure – common air
and water, and public lands and resources.
We have, in short, fallen upon dreadful times – and yet, paradoxically,
hopeful as well. For a regime based upon fear and lies is inherently
far less secure than a regime based upon shared conviction of principles,
loyalty to institutions, and mutual trust.
If, contrafactually, I were George Bush and endowed with a modicum
of common sense, I should be very worried. His regime is supported
through fear, falsehood, arrogance and a compliant public. But how
long can the Busheviks withhold from the public the compelling fact
that this public has been had? At the House debate over the Clinton
impeachment, Congressman John Lewis cried out, "beware the
wrath of the American people!" So far, that wrath has been
contained, and presumably George Bush, with his unperturbed self-assurance,
has little doubt that it will continue to be contained. But pride
goeth before the fall. And never forget - Bush is dealing with a
public that, unlike the unfortunate peoples of the Soviet Union
and elsewhere, knows what it is like to live in a free and prosperous
The role of the media
The lies of the Bush Administration are promulgated without rebuttal
by the mainstream media. For example, in late October, 2004, the
Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) reported
that among Bush voters:
- 56% believed that experts agreed that Iraq had WMDs
- 75% believed that Iraq was either involved in 9/11 or gave
substantial support to Al Queda.
- 58% said that if Iraq did not have WMDs or was not involved
with al Qaeda, the US should not have gone to war.
Accordingly, most Bush voters went to the polls believing demonstrably
false information. The only possible source of that false information
was the mainstream media (including right-wing talk radio and cable
TV "news"). Clearly, the media took no pains to convey
correct information to the voters. Furthermore, if the media had
done so, Bush might well have lost over 5% of his votes, and the
election. In short, he owed his re-election to the failure of the
mainstream media to do its job of reporting the news.
And that's just the beginning. The media further assisted Bush/Cheney
by trumpeting the slander against John Kerry by the "Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth," and by muffling the evidence of Bush's
dereliction of duty to the Texas Air National Guard.
The Bush-friendly connivance of the mainstream media continues
to this day, as news of "The
Downing Street Memo," with its compelling evidence of impeachable
offenses by the President, remains hidden from the front pages of
the newspapers and is completely absent from the TV news. So too
any journalistic investigation of the integrity of the 2004 election,
despite an abundant and ever-growing fund of evidence that the election
During the past week, following the disclosure of Mark Felt as
the Watergate "Deep Throat," some pundits have asked,
"Where is today's Deep Throat?" To which others have replied,
"No - the question is where are the Woodwards and Bernsteins?"
Both questions miss the mark. The relevant question is, "where
are the Ben Bradlees and Kathryn Grahams?" (i.e., the editor
and publisher of the Washington Post during the Watergate
affair). Certainly not in the mainstream. The voices of dissent,
the remaining investigative journalists, and the conveyers of accurate
information, are in the still small voice of the independent press
and the Internet.
And so, the power of the Presidency has subdued the mainstream
media. Even so, the media has enormous, if unrealized, power over
the Bush regime, for once the demonstrable facts of the Iraq War,
the 9/11 attacks, the economic plunder by the corporations and the
plutocrats, the stolen elections, the starvation of social services,
etc., become known to the public, the Bush administration is finished,
and the Republican party is destined for another generation in the
political wilderness. This is the sword of Damocles that the media
holds over the Bush gang.
It is a weapon that the mainstream media has chosen not to use,
and is unlikely to use as long as its owners remain confined within
the GOP reservation. So it is up to the independent publishers and
the Internet. Can they, at long last, get the facts out to the public?
On that question, the future of the Bush Administration and the
Republican party turns – and well they know it.
Herein is a grave danger to the Busheviks. A regime of lies can
not long endure – especially so in this emerging "information
age." As Bush himself famously observed, "fool me once,
shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."
And in fact, the truth is beginning to leak into the public awareness.
Those PIPA statistics concerning the public misunderstanding of
the Iraq war no longer apply, thus the Administration no longer
pretends that Saddam's WMDs and alliance with al Qaeda justifies
the war. Now a majority of the public believes that the Iraq war
was a mistake, and that proportion is increasing, as Bush's approval
ratings continue to plummet.
The credibility of the Bush regime is dissolving, and with it
the regime's scaffolding of lies. Donald Rumsfeld told
us in March, 2003 that "We know where [the WMDs] are. They're
in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad." Subsequent searches
of that area have exposed that lie. And Dick Cheney famously
proclaimed in August, 2002 that "there is no doubt that
Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no
doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against
our allies, and against us." That sound clip is being heard
ever more frequently. So when Cheney appears on Larry King Live
that he is "offended" by the Amnesty International
report on torture, and insists that the Iraq insurgency is "in
its last throes" – well, "fool me once..."
In the Soviet Union the Communist Party owned and controlled the
media and the education system and ruthlessly excluded news and
opinion from "the outside." But it could not suppress
The Beatles, rock-and-roll, FAXes, audio and video tapes, the Voice
of America and the BBC – the youth culture and the nascent information
age. All this, incidentally, before the Internet. So when at last
the peoples of the several republics of the Soviet Union no longer
believed the official lies, it was all over for the Communists.
Now the Bush regime has to contend with all that, plus "the
Internets" and the influx of "unofficial" but authentic
information from within and from outside our borders.
Even so, most of the American people simply can't yet get it into
their heads that their President and Vice President, along with
the chief members of the President's Cabinet, are unscrupulous liars.
But the notion is slowly infecting the body politic like a persistent
mind-virus. People hate to discover that they've been lied to, and
will often steadfastly deny that unpleasant truth. But once they
finally acknowledge that they've been conned, then watch out! "Beware
the wrath of the American people!"
The Defection of the Elites
An astonishing aspect of the past Presidential election, now largely
forgotten, was the desertion of prominent Republicans from their
party – among them, Arianna Huffington, Kevin Philips, John Dean,
"Pete" Peterson, and Senator Jim Jeffords. "Republicans
for Kerry" was a vibrant organization, while "Democrats
for Bush" was a pale shadow.
What motivated these apostate-Republicans? Surely a loyalty to
founding American political principles that trumped party loyalty.
Also a recognition that John Kerry was simply far better qualified
for the awesome responsibilities of the Oval Office. But surely,
among these motives must have been the typical Republican focus
on rational self-interest. How could so many Republicans forget
that, despite constant harassment by the likes of Newt Gingrich
and Richard Mellon Scaife, Bill Clinton managed to preside over
the most prosperous decade in recent American history? And how can
any intelligent and informed capitalist fail to realize that the
course of Bushenomics leads directly to economic ruin? As Stephen
Roach, the chief economist of the Wall Street investment firm Morgan
America faces "economic armageddon." And even Federal
Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, is telling us that we simply cannot
go on like this.
What keeps the Republicans, and in particular Bush's cash-cows
the "Pioneers" on the GOP reservation? Surely habit, family
tradition, political influence and simple greed. No mystery there.
No doubt fear of retaliation also plays a significant role. But
The steadfast, wealthy GOP supporters are behaving like passengers
who have booked first-class passage on the Titanic, knowing full-well
in advance of the voyage the fate of the ship, but nonetheless determined
to enjoy to the fullest the five-day passage en route to
Are they really incapable of seeing past the year-end financial
report, or next quarter's earnings in their investment portfolio?
Have they no care for the future of their country, and the prospects
for their children and grandchildren upon whom they are placing
a crushing debt?
Do they believe that the other 98% of the population – the disappearing
middle class and the ever-growing numbers of the poor – will sit
still and endure the exporting of their jobs, the strangulation
of their social services, the lost educational and career prospects
for their children, the erosion of civil liberties, the sell-off
of public lands and resources?
Do they truly believe that when this all comes crashing down,
they will somehow escape – that when "our" side of the
common boat sinks, "their" side will not follow? Apparently,
for the most part, they simply don't bother to notice or think about
such things. They ignore the handwriting on the wall: mene, mene
tekel opharsin. Eat, drink, be merry – for tomorrow we die.
Apres nous le deluge.
But not all elites are this decadent. George Soros, Warren Buffet,
and other enlightened capitalists fully appreciate that their fortunes
were gained, and may best be sustained, in a just and cooperative
economic scheme which thrives from the investments of the entrepreneurs,
the productivity of the workers, and a secure and just public sector
- education, law enforcement, courts, regulation of commerce, the
administration of public resources.
This is the proven, liberal, just and prosperous social order
toward which we Americans have aspired throughout our history –
an order that is now being dismantled by the Bush regime, and which
may be abandoned forever unless we resist and overcome.
In this struggle, an alliance with the elites – in commerce, in
finance, in the media, in academia – is essential. It is a struggle
that now transcends political parties, as the so-called "moderate
Republicans" have been supplanted by the religious fundamentalists
and the plutocrats that have captured their party, and our government.
For once again the Bush regime is motivated by greed and lust
for power and it is sustained by corruption, lies, fear and divisiveness.
It replaces a commonwealth based upon mutual trust and tolerance,
upon the just rule of law, and shared loyalty to high political
principles. As corruption is exposed, as lies are countered by demonstrable
truth, as fear is overcome by resolution, and divisiveness is overcome
by a perception of common purpose, the evil regime collapses.
Battista in Cuba, Marcos in the Philippines, and the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union all appeared to be in firm control, despite
"some internal unrest." But when public outrage overcame
fear, when "people-power" coalesced, all these regimes
suddenly collapsed from a combination of public pressure without
and the rottenness within.
Can it happen here? Time will tell – time, and our determination
to expose the lies, spread the truth, overcome our fears, and apply
that essential pressure.
After all, it's our country, not theirs.
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in
the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He publishes
the website The
Online Gadfly and co-edits the progressive website The
Crisis Papers. Send comments to [email protected].
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