Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dealing with Bush's Failed Presidency

Near the end of January, President Bush will trot out his latest State of the Union and it is likely to be another charade that has little to do with how things really are and it will call for things that will do little to solve the problems that Bush has given us or has simply neglected. But as the problems become increasingly clear, the question that hangs in the air is whether the American people fully understand what we are facing as things now stand and if things continue without correction. There are tough choices ahead and there is evidence Bush and his right wing friends are not unpleased that the choices are difficult thanks to their recklessness. The phrase Peter Schrag of the Sacramento Bee uses to describe Bush's last six years is 'vast carelessness':
The year-end debate about the Iraq Study Group's unequivocal diagnosis of failure and its grim list of uncertain remedies is the real measure of the hopelessness of the mess America made. The ISG's 79 recommendations -- some wise, some impolitic, some impossible -- is itself a confession that all the choices are bad.

That's not the commission's fault: No one else has a persuasive idea either, least of all the president -- the self-proclaimed decider -- who started and ran this misbegotten war.

As Nick Carraway says about the privileged and insouciant Tom and Daisy at the end of "The Great Gatsby" (1925): "They were careless people ... they smashed up things and creatures and then they retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made ... ."

It's a strong column, though Schrag makes the careful point that the American people themselves are ultimately not excused either; I recommend reading the rest. Bush and his Republican friends are exactly like rich and spoiled children who are rapidly going through their parents' fortune; they are indifferent to the effect their reckless actions have on hundreds of millions of people here at home and around the world.

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