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I thought I’d be pleased when the American public finally caught on. It happens, eventually. The George W. Bush Mutant Death Festival, so popular for several years, has finally lost its appeal. Mark my worms, Paris Hilton is next. Not that there’s much difference. Two debutantes mincing their various ways across the world stage, one clad in swimsuit, selling cow, the other clad in flight suit, selling bull; Americans bought both of ‘em for a while. But we are losing our taste for superheated void. Why am I not more thankful? Because there’s plenty of time left to come up with a new and more appalling marketing strategery, and don’t think the minions of destruction aren’t working night and day to concoct it. The chances it will involve disaster and bloodshed are high.
What are the harbingers? Bad poll numbers, for one thing. Bush claims he doesn’t read polls, and this is true. His people read polls, and they tell him if it’s a happy face day or a growly face day. Lately there’s been little mimping, much moue. His approval numbers make his GPA at Yale look pretty good. He’s the least popular president since Nixon (you remember him) and he’ll be even less popular by this time next year (if any), with howls for impeachment growing in the dark forests around the castle. Kennedy had Camelot; Bush has MacBeth. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has managed to clank to an absolute standstill, accomplishing nothing at colossal expense except to train its myriad peeping-Tom binoculars at Americans going about their usual business (masturbating and losing their jobs); and out there in the real world, events are gathering that even a competent president would be worried about. I think even Dick Cheney is worried.
From insults slung at our enemies to small aircraft straying over the capitol, there have been grim signs and signifiers: fire burn and cauldron bubble, the witches are up to no good. The stage is being set (this is another Shakespeare allusion, though tenuous), with much puffing and grunting and lugging of props to and fro, for the Next Big Crisis that will vault Bush’s popularity back into the stratosphere, ensuring a thousand-year succession of Republican bully-boys. All nonsense, all futile. But they don’t know what else to do. They can only lead through fear.
Bush is the boil that cried ‘Wolf’. Not many people believe him any more. After the events of September 2001, Bus went from unpopular CEO of a divided and angry nation to presidential superhero. Americans were terrified. After several years of terror warnings, an utterly pointless war, the rape and pillage of the treasury and the collapse of all that Americans hold dear except the Hooters restaurant chain, the terror has worn off. It was the last residue of that post-9/11 fear that kept John Kerry out of office (that, and the obvious fact that he had no interest in the presidency). Bush claimed he had ‘political capital’ after the so-called election of 2004, and he said he was a-gonna use it. He was mistaken. He didn’t win any kind of mandate; rather he used up the last vestiges of his post-terrorist-attack-fear-based ultra-popularity-boost to claim public office for the last time, just barely squeaking back into the Oval Office with a little help from his friends in certain closely contested states. Consequently, he’s gotten nothing at all accomplished, and despite the strenuous exertions of the media to ignore the cows coming home to roost in the form of proofs we were lied into war, generally bilked, duped, and hornswoggled, Americans look like turning their backs on his entire agenda.
Lily-livered as they are, the people aren’t afraid of him any more, they’re sick of hearing about terrorism and they are, despite their general lack of interest in matters beyond our borders, tired of being hated around the world, killed in Iraq, and unemployed back home. Opposition calls for investigation and even, god love ‘em, impeachment, are being met with increasingly desperate Stalinist tactics such as Republican leaders locking the Senate doors, turning off all the lights, and pretending not to be in when the two or three Democrats with any gumption show up to do business. It sounds fun, but it isn’t.
Not desperate, the Bush Gang started a war, disassembled the government (that means lying), and sank the economy. Desperate, what will they do? I tremble to think.
BEN TRIPP is an independent filmmaker and all-around swine. His book, Square In The Nuts, may be purchased here, with other outlets to follow: http://www.lulu.com/Squareinthenuts . Swag is available as always from http://www.cafeshops/tarantulabros . And Mr. Tripp may be reached at email@example.com.