PortFolio Weekly

PortFolio Weekly
October 18, 2005

Game Over

by Jim Newsom

Something is happening here. My Republican friends are now acknowledging that George W. Bush lives in a parallel universe that has very little resemblance to reality. Even some of the most rabid of the fundamentalist right wing are facing the facts on this one: the administration of George W. Bush is built on air, it’s all propaganda and no substance, and he is totally unaware of the outside world.

This isn’t a real sea change---these folks still hold to their beliefs in flat taxes and a flat earth, are convinced that poor people have chosen to live in poverty, that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, that unregulated businessmen will magically behave morally, that God created the world in seven days, that global warming is a myth made up by loony tree-huggers, and that Rush Limbaugh is not a big fat idiot. Still, think how hard it is for longtime Bush believers and party faithful to admit that he and his pack of hacks have no idea what they’re doing.

Ironically, it’s the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court that was the final straw. If you read the Constitution, you’ll notice that there are no minimum qualifications listed for the job of Supreme Court Justice. I suppose he could have nominated Laura, or one of his daughters for that matter. So, technically, when he goes on national television and says that Ms. Miers is the “most qualified” person in the country for the high court, he’s right. But so are you. You are just as qualified.

The problem I have is with his assertion, “I’ve known her long enough to know she’s not going to change, that 20 years from now she will be the same person with the same judicial philosophy she has today.”

First of all, Harriet Miers used to be a Roman Catholic and a Democrat. She is now an evangelical Christian and a Republican. She’s already been a first-degree changeling in two crucial areas, religion and politics.

Second, do we want people in leadership positions who have stopped growing? I think not. Particularly when it comes to Supreme Court justices, many have grown in the position, continuing to learn as they face the various situations that come before them. To conservatives, this growth amounts to a sellout because, in the most readily recalled situations---Earl Warren, Lewis Powell, David Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor---individuals widely assumed to be bedrock conservatives metamorphosed into moderates or, in Warren’s case, an outright liberal. Perhaps it was because they were intelligent people whose exposure to real-life situations on the bench helped them to form a more compassionate, people-oriented judicial philosophy.

But there’s the key word: Intelligence. When you get right down to it, intelligence is the most significant trait that George W. Bush lacks. He is just plain dumb. It is difficult to watch him in a press conference, talking impromptu at a meeting with some foreign head of state, or even reading a prepared speech, with his “uh…duh…” demeanor, and take him seriously. This guy has no clue…period. He is totally lost.

That’s why Karl Rove hitched up his wagon years ago. He saw a goofy, not-too-bright blank slate with lots of family political connections, upon whom he could foist his power-at-any-cost tricksterism and ride to the highest heights. It worked. But the game is over.

Do you remember when W’s daddy went to a super market while out on the campaign trail in 1992 and got as giddy as a young child when he saw a barcode scanner? At that moment the curtain was pulled back on the first President Bush, and his detachment from the life most of us lead was clear for everyone to see. Even the simplest among us realized that this guy lived in a bubble and had no business directing the most powerful government and mightiest army on earth.

That time has finally arrived for Poppy’s boy. It’s not just one crystallizing moment, but a series of events in quick succession---that collective “aha” on Iraq, as the casualties mounted and it became apparent there was no reason to be there and no plan once we were; the cost-cutting, crony-directed unpreparedness on the hurricanes; the debt-without-end budgetary policies; the off-the-wall, out of the blue Supreme Court nomination. From here on out, GWB is the lamest of ducks and the feeding frenzy by his former allies and sycophants will be a sight to see.

copyright © 2005 Port Folio Weekly. Used by Permission.