Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Manchurian President

I've joked for years that Bush was either a KGB plant designed to destroy the US or the agent of an alien civilization seeking to slow our hectic scientific development. It appears others have similar thoughts. This is from a very right wing UK business publication that used to slavishly worship his Bushhood (via DeLong):
George Bush, the Manchurian candidate --

... This newspaper is second to none in its pro-American sentiments; in the early Bush years it devoted much ink to defending the President against the often malevolent and ignorant attacks of a congenitally anti-American European media. But we know a lost cause when we see one: the longer President Bush occupies the White House the more it becomes clear that his big-government domestic policies, his preference for Republican and business cronies over talented administrators, his lack of a clear intellectual compass and his superficial and often wrong-headed grasp of international affairs – all have done more to destroy the legacy of Ronald Reagan, a President who halted then reversed America’s post-Vietnam decline, than any left-liberal Democrat or European America-hater could ever have dreamed of. As one astute American conservative commentator has already observed, President Bush has morphed into the Manchurian Candidate, behaving as if placed among Americans by their enemies to do them damage.

... His presidency is unlikely to recover, as The Business pointed out at the time. Of course, Mr Bush is not the only one to blame for the country’s inadequate reaction to Katrina; but given the scale of the natural disaster, the buck was always going to stop with him. As far as most Americans were concerned, it did: suddenly they saw the same incompetence of a commander-in-chief who had created a deadly quagmire in Iraq played out in the streets of one of their own cities. A president who, whatever his other shortcomings, had claimed leadership skills and competent administration was stripped bare. It was not a pretty sight and the response to his political plight was typically Bush: he announced his intention to throw a massive $200bn into reconstructing New Orleans. This merely completed Mr Bush’s demise among America’s wisest conservatives, who have always regarded his big-government conservatism as the greatest betrayal of all. Nor is it just the White House that is contaminated by it: when senior Republican leaders in Congress, who have presided over an orgy of public spending and pork-barrel, claimed that there was no fat left to cut in federal spending and that “after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it down pretty good”, it was clear that the inmates had indeed taken over the asylum.

... There is now a distinctive fin de regime stink about Republican Washington. Karl Rove, the President’s eminence grise, has been called to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer’s name. The cronyism of Ms Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court is now the rule in DC, not the exception: for example, Julie Myers, another inexperienced Bush lawyer, has been nominated to run the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. She has no convincing qualifications for this post, a vital one in an age of terror; but she is the niece of retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and the wife of the Department of Homeland Security secretary’s chief of staff...

... Then there is the case of Tom DeLay. The Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives since 2002 has been indicted with “conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme” and charges of conspiring to launder money. He has been forced to step down from his job as majority leader until the matter is resolved. Republicans claim the charges are politically-motivated and should be thrown out – Ronnie Earle, the Travis County District Attorney who has brought the indictments, is a Democrat – but even if Mr DeLay is cleared, the once fresh-faced Republicans who were ushered in on the tail coats of Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America in 1994 now look tired and complacent.

President Bush and his entourage are cultural conservatives, rather than radicals in the mould of Reagan, who was driven by his belief that freeing individuals and liberating the economy would produce a new and better society. The attitudes of Team Bush are driven more by upbringing, emotion and simple religious faith rather than an intellectual belief in the superiority of private action and the market economy...

No comments: