Thursday, March 15, 2007

Image Is Everything

Did you ever have a friend, or better still, an ex-friend, who had to be right about everything, no matter how wrongheaded it was?

I'm not talking about me, who has the added charm of being right, usually, and knowing when I'm wrong, how to make it seem like I agreed with my antagonist in the first place. Diplomacy is, after all, the art of letting someone have your way, so the occasional melding of their opinion into yours helps with negotiations.

No, I'm talking about that one pigheaded friend or relative who, when confronted with purely factual evidence against him or her refuses to acknowledge that you might, in the slightest, most miniscule way, have a minor point?

Usually you can find these people at the Thanksgiving table.

The reason this comes up is, well, Bush, of course. I don't know if you've noticed but, with all the scandals and corruption and controversy...with all the evidence mounting that he created the single largest political blunder (foreign AND domestic) of any American president, one has ever been fired?

You get the feeling that ol' Uncle George will be sitting in the garage next Thanksgiving, muttering about "those foolish kids and their weird idears". The latest in a string of bullheaded stances is this:
"I'm frankly not happy about" how the U.S. attorneys' firings were handled, Bush told a news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Merida, Mexico.

The Justice Department has said the U.S. attorneys were fired last year largely because of policy differences or performance problems. But critics charge it appears that they may have been ousted for political reasons.

Republican Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire called for Gonzales' dismissal. He complained about the attorney general's handling of the firings as well as his earlier dealings with Congress on anti-terror efforts.
John Sununu, it should be pointed out, is well-acquainted with pigheaded morons. He was raised by one.

Attorney General is, no doubt, a highly sensitive post requiring someone who has the President's full trust: in other words, it either calls for a man (or woman, Ms. Reno) of moral fibre and character, or a buttkissing toady.

It's clear that Gonzalez stocked up on Chapstick.

It's also clear that Bush has laid the groundwork for Gonzalez to resign, rather than be fired. The timing will be interesting to watch: perhaps as early as Saturday (to give the Republicans a chance to send out the spinners) or maybe there will be a waiting period to give the story time to die down (after all, the firings are over by almost a year, and it took a long time for this story, which I had heard just ahead of the elections last year, to rise to the top). Easter is pretty early in April. I'll pick that day for Gonzo to submit a quickly-accepted resignation.

Why not just fire the bloke? I find it extremely interesting that, in an administration that prides itself on forceful thinking and bold actions, they turn coward when it comes to the hard work of being President, so much so they even whine about it on national TV.

In thinking about this, I have to come to the conclusion that, despite his protestations to the contrary, Dumbya is very concerned with his image in history. If you'll notice, the second term has been filled with Bush polishing his cred for history: he's "read" the "right" books (come on, does ANYONE think he plowed through Camus???), taken comfort from the "right" Presidents (rather than consult Poppy Bush, he's taken to studying Harry Truman), and made overtures to the "right" social issues that might capture him a legacy to extend and somehow balance out the abortion that is Iraq.

Image, in other words, trumps policy. Image trumps politics. Image trumps process.

Image is everything. As with so many things in his life, rather than roll up his sleeves and do the necessary work (or even hire someone to do it for him, but remain focused and interested in the results, which itself is hard work for this obviously adult ADHD victim), he's chosen the easy path, the path of apparent least resistance.

But the Presidency is the highest profile position a man can occupy and guess what? There's no James Bath or bin Laden family poised to bail Bush out of this mess with a bundle of money and some well-placed executors. No. The spotlight of history will not allow such backstage manueverings. The curtain is drawn all the way through the proscenium, and Bush is naked.

If only the audience could find it within itself to laugh. But it's too sad.

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