Monday, August 20, 2007



Bush came into office after a Republican recount riot and a partisan Supreme Court coup. Almost the first memorable thing he blurted out when he got to Washington was "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator" (Dec. 19, 2000). With these sterling credentials it may have surprised a few people when he decided that his regime's raison d'ĂȘtre was to spread "democracy."

Something about George Bush and definitions: when he says he wants all sides to get together and hash out a solution, that means he wants everyone to agree with him. When he talks about working "with Democrats" in a bipartisan manner, he's talking about sellouts who go along with his pinched vision of an authoritarian and dark America, like Joe Lieberman, Henry Cuellar and Harold Ford, not people who stand for Democratic values and ideals. And when Bush talks about "democracy," he means something like "friendly to America."

This morning's Washington Post doesn't discuss the irony, just the abyssmal failure-- and they allow blame to fall on his inability to control his own cronies inside his own foul regime, especially Cheney.
Bush pledged in his second inaugural address to spread democracy around the world, the grand project has bogged down in a bureaucratic and geopolitical morass, in the view of many activists, officials and even White House aides. Many in his administration never bought into the idea, and some undermined it, including his own vice president. The Iraq war has distracted Bush and, in some quarters, discredited his aspirations. And while he focuses his ire on bureaucracy, Bush at times has compromised the idealism of that speech in the muddy reality of guarding other U.S. interests.

The story of how a president's vision is translated into thorny policy is a classic Washington tale of politics, inertia, rivalries and funding battles -- and a case study in the frustrated ambition of a besieged presidency. Bush says his goal of "ending tyranny" will take many generations, and he aims to institutionalize it as U.S. policy no matter who follows him in the White House. And for all the difficulties of the moment, it may yet, as he hopes, see fruition down the road.

At this point, though, democracy promotion has become so identified with an unpopular president that candidates running to succeed him are running away from it. At a recent debate, they rushed to disavow it. "I'm not a carbon copy of President Bush," one said. Another ventured that "maybe going to elections so quickly is a mistake." A third, asked if he agreed with Bush's vision, replied, "Absolutely not, because I don't think we can force people to accept our way of life, our way of government."

And those were the Republicans.

Even for the casually uncritical Post this borders on silliness-- if not outright distortion. They paint a picture of Bush running around chanting "Down With Tyranny!" The only spots on earth where democracy has spread during his 2 disastrous terms were in places he couldn't interfere with, like Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia (the one in the Caucasus, not the one where he lied about Max Cleland and set back the cause of democracy by a decade). Foolishly, the front page Post story compares Bush's empty rhetoric about "democracy" to that of men like Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, five 20th century presidents who didn't just talk about it.

Bush's feeble feints managed to accomplish nothing at all, except bring the U.S. into further international disrepute for hypocrisy. He also got us kicked out a crucial base in Uzbekistan, worsened the already horrific situations in Palestine and Iraq, and caused dictators in Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt to make fun of him.

Labels: ,


At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Totally OT, but there are rumors over at Thrasher's Wheat of a new Neil Young album entitled "Chrome Dreams II"? Have you any news?

At 10:22 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...


At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please share when you can. Thanks for the work you do. Here, and at FDL.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Peter Baker WaPo article about Bush is one of the dumbest things I've ever read in a newspaper. How can a journalist at this point in time take Bush seriously as a statesman? Baker does. Bush is now whining about his image, his legacy. Apparently, he wants to be the authoritarian, war-mongering, constitution-trashing moron who is remembered for his efforts to spread democracy. Howie is right about definitions. Bush's words have no meaning or mean the opposite of what a normal person might think they mean. Baker is in some kind of surreal alternate universe gazing up at The Leader.

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Greenwald, who writes in The Tragic Legacy, Bush says just exactly the opposite of what he intends to do, and he keeps repeating the untruths until the public believes him.

This is a very narcissistic person, the "decider." And to think he was "selected" by the moderate Supremes.


Post a Comment

<< Home