More and more, the “miserable failure” Google-bomb of George W. Bush’s biography is looking like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every which way you turn, that man is going nowhere but DOWN. His overall approval ratings are headed for the sub-basement; the war on terror is costing the citizens more than it’s saving; the war on Iraq has lost popular support; the way he handled the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe–or rather, didn’t–is getting the blood up both above and, at long last, below the Mason-Dixon line. Anecdotal reports from friends behind enemy lines tell me the Bush bumper stickers and magnets are fast disappearing from cars all around them, and surely it’s not just because the price of gas is in the stratosphere (and racing for the ionosphere). No, it’s not the vicissitudes of the marketplace, no matter what the diehards may say; something much more momentous is at work here: People in America are finally waking up to find their house gone.
It hurts like thunder to haul one’s head out of one’s ass, and some 36% of Americans (at this writing) still haven’t managed that feat. But that folksy faux-populism that Dubya has cultivated for so long, and with entirely more success than he deserves (seeing as he’s Old Money and never had to work for a damn thing in his life) IS definitely wearing thin. A lot of the people who voted for him because they thought he seemed like the kind of guy they could have a beer with (they’d never get into his country club, trust me!) suddenly see what they’re really dealing with here. Too bad it took a hurricane to rip the blinders off their eyes.
But it would be a mistake to attribute all the awakening to Katrina. Before that, there was Hurricane Cindy (Sheehan), the Gold Star mother who lost her son in Iraq and who never did get an answer to her very simple question: Mr. Bush, what is the noble cause for which my Casey died?
It started as a journey on a whim, but it quickly became a mission. For weeks Cindy Sheehan camped out near Dubya’s toy ranch in Texas (built strictly for show, as is everything else in BushWorld), attracting a small but steadily growing band of supporters who all wanted to know the same thing. She got a lot of press coverage, and she got a lot more sympathy than the mainstream media let on (some of them labelled her, unjustly, as an extremist). She also got a lot of flak from the wingnuts–one of whom ran his pickup truck over the painstakingly planted crosses of “Arlington West”, the mock cemetery bearing the names of the Iraq dead. Another nutjob fired off a shotgun nearby and made vague threats about “dove season”. This all brought only more sympathy, and the offer of a place to stay that was even closer to Prairie Chicken Ranch, by a farmer related to the gun nut who didn’t approve of his third cousin’s actions or his attitude. The farmer, a veteran himself (of Vietnam), came with two fellow vets to meet Cindy, who gratefully accepted the new digs. Every positive development for Cindy brought redoubled fury from Nuttersville, and a bussed-in brigade of freepers basically revealed all we’ll ever need to know about their ilk when hate-radio talker Mike Gallagher led them with a bullhorn chant of “WE DON’T CARE! WE DON’T CARE!” But the higher the monkeys climbed, the more they showed their asses…and the more sympathy grew for Cindy. Even those who still supported the war found themselves having more than a few sober second thoughts.
It must have come as no small relief to the wingnuts when Cindy had to fly back to California to look after her elderly mother, who’d had a stroke. Every dog one of them probably thought she was gone for good, and their “job” (get a REAL one, guys!) was done. But Cindy returned, as promised, and took up camp again. Moreover, Camp Casey soon entered a new phase: a bus tour was planned, to raise awareness and get more people asking the question Dubya still hasn’t answered: What “noble cause”?
Given such unrelenting pressure for answers, it must have come as some relief for both the cowardly bullies of BushCo and their toadies in the media when Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Hooray, a weather story–the perfect storm of distraction! Lights! Camera!
Katrina began her destructive career rather inauspiciously, as a Category 1 storm that swept across Florida from the Atlantic, and it came as some surprise that a few Floridians died. She then looped out into the Gulf of Mexico, gathered steam, and came ashore again on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, this time as a Category 4.
It was not quite the direct, Category 5 hit that was considered to be the worst-case scenario (one warned of by FEMA for years and which appeared, in fictional form but with eerie prescience, in National Geographic just last October), but it was more than bad enough. Lake Pontchartrain took the brunt of the storm surge and flooded. At least three levees were breached, more than three-quarters of the city was inundated, and we still don’t know how many lives were lost, nor how many have been saved (or are still being fought for, even now). As I write, the cleanup has begun in earnest but still has a long way to go; it’s expected that it will take two to three months just to pump all the floodwater out of the city.
And as for reconstruction plans? Well, given the poor preparedness for which BushCo is now deservedly infamous, I don’t expect anything glorious on that front, either. I do, however, expect everything to go bass-ackwards. Like his old pal “Brownie”, Dubya is doing a helluva job…of screwing up everything he touches.
And he still hasn’t answered Cindy Sheehan’s question.
But other questions are being asked, and the media can’t filter them out any longer; they’re coming too fast. Dubya did a totally inadequate flyover on Air Force One; he didn’t want to put his overpriced cowboy boots on the ground in Louisiana until the public outcry got too loud to ignore. And when he did, his photo-ops couldn’t possibly have made him look more incompetent; instead of papers or a briefcase or some other indicator of down-to-business concern, Dubya showed up toting Barney. Nor did he deliver any actual relief supplies; all he did was hug a few people (who probably had to sign loyalty oaths before receiving the King’s Touch), while Pickles actively hindered the feeding of the hungry at a shelter she visited. To cap it off, a young emergency physician in Mississippi quite understandably lost patience with The Big Dick when he was making his belated rounds of the disaster scene there, and got carted off in handcuffs for the capital crime of speaking his mind. Expect more outrage soon, but don’t expect anything more substantial–that seems to be the watchword now.
Really, the only thing standing in the way of Miserable Failure’s impeachment is the fact that Republicans are still in control of the House and Senate. That all could change next year, when the midterm elections take place; but who wants to wait that long? Can America bear to sit out another year of this, when hurricane season is far from over and other storms, both meteorological and political, are very much on the radar?
And worse–what if it there is no change? What if the vote-rigging that helped Dubya to two undeserved terms keeps in office those same thugs and profiteers who are doggedly keeping him in office even now?
The one bright spot amid all this muck and filth is that they no longer have anything to hide behind. Hurricane Katrina blew down a lot more than just Trent Lott’s house; she stripped the jerry-built facade away from BushCo and showed what’s really living in that whorehouse. Racism, poor-bashing, victim-blaming, finger-pointing, unaccountability–it’s all there, folks. The Repug vermin are crawling out of the wreckage now, and the stench they trail behind them is incredible.
And they have the gall to wonder why they’re coming off as unsympathetic. How far out of touch ARE these bastards? They take no responsibility for anything; they just try to shove it off onto anything with a D after its name, or anyone poor and homeless. The only wonder is that they haven’t all been lynched yet. How can anyone sympathize
with the sentiment that “God cleaned up that public housing” by destroying it?
Well, at least we know one thing: If these rats get re-elected, charges of vote fraud will finally HAVE to get levelled in earnest–because nothing shy of the devil’s work could put them back in power. And those on the side of the angels will have to stop turning the other cheek, and take up the fiery sword, instead of still hanging back in fear of burning their fingers.
If there IS a God, and She IS cleaning things up, let’s hope She sweeps out every last neo-con in Washington. That place has been a cesspit for at least five years. It’s high time someone mucked out that Augean Stable, and if it takes another hurricane to do it–BRING IT ON!!!