FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bush’s Lump of Coal

At least since 9/11 the major American media corporations have given President George W. Bush more than merely the benefit of the doubt. If the positive-spin stories were Christmas presents for President Bush, nearly every day would be Christmas morning, and the stocking hung by the chimney with such carefully-managed care would be overflowing with good will toward our man in the White House.

Seldom have the major networks and newspapers devoted intensive analysis to the entire Iraq “war” debacle. From the invasion’s embedded accolades to the current constitutional smoke-and-mirrors convention, the Bush Administration has been granted more than a little leeway. During press briefings and press conferences, President Bush and his spokespeople have rarely had to face rigorous questioning, and seldom have answers to tough questions been answered in a meaningful way. George W. Bush has been so pleased with the non-pressing press that he recently invited a gaggle of them into the sanctuary of his besieged Crawford ranch for a chummy, elbow-rubbing down-home picnic.

As Hurricane Katrina was moving toward the Gulf Coast, President George W. Bush was heading in the opposite direction, where backed by a battleship he repeatedly compared his “war” in Iraq with World War Two. And still the historically-challenged journalists failed to challenge his absurd assumptions.

It took Ruth, an 84-year-old woman from Potsdam, New York, whose husband had served in the Pacific, to brilliantly sum up the Bush analogy. Calling in to Tom Ashbrook’s “On Point” radio program, Ruth expressed amazement that “this man is facing a group of World War Two veterans, and they are listening! He must have collected them from the Alzheimer ward. . . We might as well be listening to Donald Duck. . . What he’s asking us to ‘rise to’ is the disaster that he created in Iraq . . . This president is dishonoring both the survivors and the victims . . .” Then the caller from Potsdam broke down in angry tears. (On Point: Framing the War on Terror. August 31, 2005 )

Two days before Ruth called Tom Ashbrook and spoke so powerfully, Hurricane Katrina had come ashore to create a disaster strong enough to force even some Republicans and conservative editors to dump on President George W. Bush and his administration for their couch potato response to Katrina’s destruction. Even more important, reporters and camera operators on the scene in areas hardest hit by Katrina gave graphic and detailed accounts not only of the wreckage but of government’s tardy response to the large-scale tragedy. These were the kinds of accounts too-often missing in the network and newspaper reports from Iraq, and they riveted the attention of the nation and called attention to the stumbling, insensitive response of President George W. Bush to his own nation’s calamity.

A different woman in her 80s became incensed as she heard our president on the ground in New Orleans jokingly recall that this is where he partied in his youth. She said, “So this is where he used to come to get drunk.” And as an afterthought added, “Asshole!”

At last the corporate-dominated media were giving George W. Bush a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking, and they were for the most part doing it without ever directly criticizing George W. Bush. To further damage his own incredulous credibility, the president claimed that no one foresaw the New Orleans levees might break. Later, trying not to indicate any personal responsibility, George W. Bush tepidly asserted response to the disaster had been “unacceptable.”

Some spinners and commentators from both left and right urge that now is not the time to cast blame, but the damage to the Bush Administration and its feeble FEMA director have been done, not by the critics, but because of the “unexpected” disaster wrought by a hurricane and the lack of a “preemptive” life-saving response (preemption having been a trademark of Bush Administration strategy). Besides, it seems tragically laughable for dry and well-fed outsiders to plead for a moratorium on complaints when speaking of those suffering and dying in the American South. Fortunately, most of the victims have been unable to hear or to read this “no-finger-pointing” advice, or there would have been finger-pointing aplenty from the thousands still alive, still hungry, still thirsty, still homeless, still hurting and dying.

As the Bush Administration finally begins to receive the lumps it deserves, perhaps it is time to take up where Ruth from Potsdam left her listeners, and say, “Yes, George and Dick and Karl– There is no Santa Claus.”

DOUG GIEBEL is a writer and analyst who lives in Montana. He welcomes comment at dougcatz@ttc-cmc.net

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 09, 2020
Binoy Kampmark
Banal Terrors: Pandemics and the Ordinary Business of War
Ted Rall
Why We Need a New Progressive Party and How We Can Create It
Walden Bello
Martin Khor: the Making of a Global Activist
Ariel Dorfman
COVID-19 and the Lessons of Life in Exile
Merriam Ansara
John Lennon in Quarantine: a Letter From Havana
George Wuerthner
Politics and Corruption at Grand Canyon
Eugene Schulman
Lost in the Pandemic: the Forever Wars
Dean Baker
Basic Economics for Economic Columnists: a Depression is a Process, Not an Event
George Ochenski
The Dishonest Mr. Daines
Mike Ferner
Love in a Dangerous Time
Brian Horejsi
Beware Government Secrecy in Times of Pandemic
Sam Pizzigati
No Fennel in the Sausage, No $600 for the Jobless
Jason Christensen – John Carter
Conservation Groups Oppose the Nature Conservancy’s Cattle Grazing Development Project on the Border of Canyonlands National Park
April 08, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic
Eve Ottenberg
Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide
Vijay Prashad, Du Xiaojun – Weiyan Zhu
How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic
Bill Quigley
Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana
Joyce Nelson
BlackRock Takes Command
Geoff Dutton
Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts
Richard Moser
From Strike Wave to General Strike
Gary Leupp
Could COVID-19 Kill Capitalism?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Corona, Capital and Class in Germany
Tom Crofton
Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical
Steve Kelly
Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters
Jacob Hornberger
Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon
Phil Mattera
The Rap Sheets of the Big Ventilator Producers
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?
Rick Baum
When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses
Jake Johnston
Tens of Millions Will Be Pushed into Poverty Amid COVID-Induced Recession
Kim C. Domenico
Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus
John W. Whitehead
Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties
Binoy Kampmark
University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus
Luke Ruediger
BLM Timber Sale Increases Fire Risk, Reduces Climate Resilience and Harms Recreation
John Kendall Hawkins
Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!
Nyla Ali Khan
Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity
April 07, 2020
Joel McCleary – Mark Medish
Paradigm Shift by Pandemic
Matt Smith
Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back
Kenneth Surin
What The President Said (About The Plague)
Patrick Cockburn
The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914
Marshall Auerback
The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic
Jeremy Lent
Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?
Dean Baker
The Big Hit: COVID-19 and the Economy
Nino Pagliccia
A Simple Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela: End All “Sanctions”
Colin Todhunter
Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail