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Without a Doubt: Bush a menace to our democracy

Forget 'liberal bias' -- for the Busheoisie it's 'reality bias.'

 

For many of us who have wondered about the philosophy motivating the inexplicable polices of the Bush administration – from their ruinous fiscal policies, their blatantly pro-pollution environmental policies, their rush to war in Iraq and their utterly incompetent efforts at reconstruction – we now have an answer.

 

Our problem in understanding Bush administration policies stems from our bias in favor of reality.

 

This incredible fact was revealed in the October 17, 2004, edition of the New York Times’ Magazine in a must-read article by Ron Suskind, “Without a Doubt.” In this article, Suskind reports on this assessment by an unnamed Bush administration official: Bush and his staff are not part of the “reality-based community.”

“The aide said that guys like me (Suskind) were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

L’estat c’est moi.  Suskind summarizes the Bush presidency as having “a disdain for contemplation or deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with doubters and even friendly questioners.” Shocked? You shouldn’t be. The evidence has been overwhelming throughout Bush’s tenure.

 As we’ve reported here (most recently in “The Fantasy-Camp Presidency of George W. Bush”), reality plays no role in the decision-making process within the Bush administration. In fact, there isn’t a true decision-making process at all. The power and prestige of the United States’ government, and how US policy affects the lives of all Americans and millions around the globe hinges solely on the “gut instincts” of George W. Bush.

 

How do we know this is true? The truth was revealed by the president himself. Writes Suskind:

Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''  Oh my. The emperor not only has no clothes, he’s a dangerous psychopath.

Call me old-fashioned, or perhaps the victim of my own reality-based bias, but when the most powerful man on Earth governs by instinct, or his gut, or messages from God, we’re in serious trouble. This is a potential for disaster that makes our current problems (jobs, the deficit, health care, terrorism, etc.) seem inconsequential.

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told Suskind: 

''If Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'' The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.  ''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts. He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence. But you can't run the world on faith.''

Has America’s hereditary/corporate nobility, having shamelessly pandered to the religious right for a generation in order to protect their own wealth and exalted status, finally awakened to the fact that the GOP no longer belongs to them but is now controlled by a Christian Taliban?

As God’s anointed man on Earth, Bush has no patience for those who are “reality-biased.” Suskind writes: A group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress were called in to discuss Iraq sometime before the October, 2002, vote authorizing Bush to move forward. A Republican senator recently told Time Magazine that the president walked in and said: ''Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you.'' When one of the senators began to ask a question, Bush snapped, ''Look, I'm not going to debate it with you.''

Has this nation ever experienced a leader so simultaneously afflicted with megalomania and ignorance?  Is it possible that Bush’s repeated refusal to acknowledge any mistakes is indicative of his self-perceived infallibility? In Bush’s mind, if he were to admit he had made a mistake, that would mean God had made a mistake.  Best to say nothing – his Christian base won’t care and the “reality biased” simply wouldn’t understand. 

We can expect even more radical changes and irrational policies in a second Bush term. But should Kerry win, what would happen if God beams instructions to His Messenger that an orderly constitutional succession is not part of His divine plan?  Surely God’s will (as miraculously and infallibly perceived by George W. Bush) would override our man-made Constitution. Could this president’s “instincts” spark a civil war in this country?  It wouldn’t be the first time that a demented theomaniac decided that God needed his indispensable help in running the Universe – there are numerous bloody precedents.

As we’ve seen with Bush’s hyper-religious base, they will consistently excuse any failure, overlook any lie, and justify any irrational action by their divinely anointed president. Those of us suffering from being “reality based” should assume that any unconstitutional power grab by Bush would be met with their enthusiastic approval. For Bush and his faithful supporters, the end always justifies the means. The end they so desperately want is the establishment of a Christian theocracy.  Bush and his fellow Republican jihadists seem only too willing to give it to them.

On election day, we must expect the Republicans to engage in blatant ballot tampering and vote suppression that will make Florida in 2000 seem like the model of Madisonian democracy.  This election, like the last one, will probably be decided in the courts. If it appears that Kerry wins but the Republicans steal it again, the outcome will have to be decided in the streets or by a military coup to save the nation. 

An unambiguous victory and a second term for the presidency of George W. Bush would be no less disastrous.
 
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