Thursday, December 06, 2007

Let's face it: Bush isn't lying to us, he's nuts!

This has been a week in which Washington and the political world has been turned upside down by the US government’s revelation that Iran is not now making nuclear weapons, and had abandoned that program years ago. This contradicted all that our President has been saying these past weeks, as he kept beating the drum for war with Iran. Now comes the old question, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” It looks like 1970’s show time in America. But is it really? We so want to believe that George W. Bush was lying to us, that he is Richard Nixon Redux; it would make us feel so comfortable, fill our heads with dreams of impeachment and a shining new government as the helicopter takes him back to Crawford, Texas, while Cheney eternally defibrillates in the lobby of Walter Reid Hospital, and the ever startled but resolute Nancy Pelosi is our first woman president.

Unfortunately, Bush’s lying won’t accomplish this. Look at this man in his press conferences. Listen to him carefully. Every word he says rings with conviction. This is no actor delivering Cheney’s lines; this is a truth teller, a fellow who speaks from his own heavy heart, a man who follows his own script, a guy who says what he means and means what he says The fact that he speaks his fantasies and believes all of them is what makes him so dangerous. He is clearly insane and that’s something few wish to face because insanity is harder to deal with than the worst kind of prevarication. Liars get exposed, madmen get re-elected.

I am no psychologist but it is clear to me that Bush lives in a world of alternate reality in which it is necessary to create new enemies daily even though our world provides enough real ones to keep this country alert for years. He must keep putting us in harms way in order to keep saving us. Enemies, for him, as with Giuliani, give him the strength he needs to wake up in the morning, and in Bush’s case, never to think of the irreparable damage he has done to this country and to the lives of millions. Unfortunately, armed with his fantasies this madman can send armies out to die, blow up whole civilizations, and there is little resolve in the Congress to stop him. One reason is that we Americans are so suspicious of psychological mumbo jumbo; we have been so overdosed to psycho-babble by our Dr. Phils and all those other TV explainers who can’t accept the messiness of the human condition that we are reluctant to recognize a lunatic when the real one comes along. The old news is that all families, even the best of them, are dysfunctional, and all of us are plagued by our own desires and disappointments during our lifetimes. That’s okay. It’s called real life. This is what our forefathers knew and managed to live with. Life can’t often be cured, sometimes it must be endured. But how do we endure a madman at the head of our government? What can we do about it? Very little in the way of a solution comes to mind. Nancy Pelosi will not be fitting this President with the straight-jacket he needs, nor will his doctor dare prescribe the anti-psychotic medication that might restore him to reality and the country to peace again. In all probability we will be obliged to wait out this year, hoping that Freddy Kreuger POTUS doesn’t decide to strike again.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some wayward thoughts of a GOM* on a December morning

1. I know I should see "No Country for Old Men" - the much raved about new film, but the thought of going to see a film that is so relentlessly violent keeps me out of the theatre these winter days. Maybe the title should be "No Picture for Old Men." Not that I need a diet of sweets, although I am a dark chocolate lover long before science told us it was good for us, but "Juno" was my kind of picture - funky, funny, and endearingly honest, although it went on far too long, and the girl in it was too smarty-cute by far. Of course every film out there goes on too long. I don't suggest we return to the pablum of some of the pre-seventies films, but the old studios knew that ninety minutes was golden for films.

2. The older I get the more I need and love my friends and family. They both seem to get better and smarter with time.

3. I used to be so bored and impatient with other people's stories about their grandchildren, now that I have one of my own I am the bore who can't stop boasting of her brilliance, her beauty, and her loving-kindness, all of which she has in the most remarkable degree. When she visits, which is fortunately often, the world lights up for me, everything takes on a different look as I see the ordinary become extraordinary through the eyes of a marvelous child. Live and learn.

*GOM stands for Grumpy Old Man.


There’s no doubt that Governor Huckabee has whipped the competition in the charm department of the GOP, at least to this viewer of the Republican contest. Ron Paul may have the honest old country doctor market cornered, but Huckabee is the charmer on stage, the Republican Ruby Keeler backed up by a chorus of wannabe starlets. He is clearly at ease with himself, he can actually smile and laugh without it appearing that he has rehearsed being winsome before two consultants, a powder-puff and a mirror. Yes, that’s a show of real self-ease, one gets his ease right away although one cannot always be sure what his self is. Is it his old time religion, so strong a brew that it would leak over the Constitution, staining it permanently? Is it his anti-choice position, his lunatic anti-income tax proposals, or remarkable for a Republican candidate, his clear stance against torture that represents the real Huckabee self? Friends, I just ran this through spell-check and poor Huckabee keeps coming up as Chickadee, as in the immortal W.C. Field’s “My Little Chickadee.” This bring up the great question, can a man with an odd name become President? That’s for the people to decide, something that keeps the Obama fans on edge.

Why torture is so hard for the GOP to get its arms around is remarkable to me. Romney doesn’t want to discuss it for fear of giving our secrets away to the enemy, although having to watch Romney weasel about for the next four years as President might qualify as a form or land-boarding for America, being beaten over the head by the heaviest GOP clichés for four more years of foreign policy fumbling and domestic economic despair. If there is an unacceptable level of dullness and caution for a candidate Romney has long ago reached it. McCain who has actually experienced torture is against it, but he favors so many policies that promise more war and less economic justice that he is irrelevant in the moral competition. This brings up the ever fascinating Rudy whom so many Republicans outside of NYC, together with wife Judi, seem to love beyond all human understanding.

Rudy appears to be the Republican Father Christmas who will bring the hard core GOP voters the gift of impregnable national security, flex American muscle and stare down the world, why his very smile – that remarkable dental armor - the very Humvee of teeth that will provide an insurmountable border that will keep out the illegal aliens who threaten to weed their gardens. Trouble is, those of us who have lived through the NYC reign of Ragin’ Rudy know that this smiling Santa wants to take away your civil liberties in exchange for this so-called protection. He will get rid of the squeegee guys who annoy you at stoplights by offering to wash your already clean windows, but he will want to order about museums – telling them what they can and cannot display – and he will be at odds with every minority figure who stands up to him. This Santa Rudy constantly lies about his accomplishments, the gifts he brings to the GOP children are not security and a restoration of America’s reputation, he only offers the promise of an Emperor Giuliani, not just for his sexual morals which show a juicy bit of Ancient Rome, but for his hatred for all opposition to his will, his refusal to compromise with – hell, pay attention to reality. He is a moral disaster that has so far been confined to one city. He could become a national disaster. He claims to have made NYC safe, although it cannot be said too often that his arrogant refusal to heed warnings by placing the communications center for police and fire-fighters inside the World Trade Center after it had been attacked previously, together with his failure to provide the firefighters with good communications equipment was responsible for so many deaths. He was not the savior of 9/11; he was another survivor of a great American tragedy, but one he viewed as a means for personal aggrandizement as he paraded before the television cameras, and made himself rich and famous. He is a very bad man, America. He is not America’s Mayor, he is America’s nightmare. He is the only candidate who robbed a corpse to gain power and wealth.

The trouble with the GOP for unabashed old liberals like me is that those guys force me to get into the good and evil business – their turf - something I have spent a lifetime trying to avoid. The young man I was loved nothing more than shades of grey, saving the inky black tones for fascism, Stalinism, toothaches and bad movies. Now, thanks to the Bush/Cheney years of remorseless lying that has led to myriad deaths and American moral decline I have gotten into the good and bad mode and it’s hard to shake it. It’s my hope that a Democratic victory might bring back some of those shades of gray that our Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution. Or at least give me the illusion that we can regain the lost ground of the past eight years with some dignity and a great deal of old fashioned humanity.