Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What Next For Mr. Bush?

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Mike Shannon: What Next For Mr. Bush?
Posted on Tuesday, November 15 @ 09:56:33 EST

I have long been a member of the school of thought which contends that if George Bush was born say, George Parker, he would have been lucky to some day manage an unfinished furniture store in Lubbock. That he has risen to the office of the chief executive of the government of the United States will forever be a searing indictment against the political process in this great but flawed nation of ours. That he still has over three years left in that position is a truly disturbing thought.

Those who have opposed Bush since his rise to national prominence first begun to take shape are now enjoying the spectacle of seeing the veil of competence that has heretofore shielded this shell of a man torn beyond repair. To those among this ever growing legion of non-believers who permit themselves to dream that Mr. Bush's plummeting political fortunes may actually lead to of his being removed from office, I dare say; you dream too well.

First and foremost; if Mr. Bush was removed from office, by law, Dick Cheney would immediately take his place. Talk about a disturbing thought! The only precedent to such a horrid turn of events was Gerald Ford's taking over when Nixon resigned. There the similarities end though. By all  accounts, Ford was completely uninvolved with the Watergate debacle. Cheneyon the other hand is up to his eyeballs in every one of the Bush administration's failures and a primary source of its malfeasance. Worse still, is his utter disregard for any effort to hold him accountable for any of it. Putting this guy in charge is unthinkable.

Fortunately, it is also highly unlikely. There is no way on God's green earth a Republican controlled House and Senate is going to impeach George Bush, short of the discovery of some unforeseen smoking gun of a caliber impossible to ignore. That being said, hope does spring eternal. If, and it  is an enormous "if", the Democratic party was to find its voice in a waveof new candidates, people with the energy, insight and skills to begin to undo some of the damage wrought by Team Bush, and if enough Americans voters were to give them that opportunity, then things might get very
interesting come the spring of '07.

If however the gains - if they do not gain seats in the 2006 election cycle, with all that is self evidently wrong with the Republican methodology, then the Democratic party may very well be beyond hope - are marginal, and a lethal smoking gun does not materialize, Mr. Bush will serve his second term in toto. 

So, how will Mr Bush spend his remaining time in office? The prospects for a productive use of that time are not good. His well stocked store of "political capital" that he claimed in the wake of the 2004 election has proven to be ephemeral in the extreme. In a scant 10 months he has gone from an electoral victory of some standing to a job approval rating of 36%. A remarkable feat even for a man of his dismal capabilities. But not a surprising one.

The honeymoon granted Mr. Bush in the wake of his highly dubious victory over Al Gore in 2000, was also an exceedingly short one. By the following summer, Bush's presidency was already in a noticeable decline. On the tenth of September, 2001 his approval rating had dropped to 51% in that week's Gallup poll; only 9 months after being sworn in. A historically notable low. Of course the events of the following day changed all of that in a matter of hours.

Overnight George Bush was transformed into a warrior/protector of mythic proportions. A mantle he was entirely ill suited to bear. Unfortunately, it has taken four years of posturing and preening for that reality to become too obvious to pretend otherwise.

Still that leaves us with the afore mentioned dreadful prognosis. As bad a President as this guy is, he has three more years of being it in front of him. The most optimistic scenario is for Mr. Bush to go into a self induced political coma for the duration of his tenure, thereby minimizing any  further damage. While that would be an improvement, the downside is that there are any number of concerns in the social, economic and geo-political well being of the United States that demand wise, decisive and just leadership. Having this guy holding on to his position and power by a thread means that none of these issues will receive any such attention.  Which is the most disturbing thought of all.


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