Monday, January 26, 2009

On My Mind Today

The euphoria of last week has waned as I look at the news sources this morning. On MSNBC Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame bluntly stated that the Obama Team is facing an even more daunting task than just six weeks ago; he wonders if our combined economic mess can be moved back into positive territory at all.

It is sad to think that this bright and energetic team assembled by President Obama has to spend so much time, energy and capital just to clean up the mess left behind by the Bush/Cheney Administration.  My mind imagines a proud, young and eager family that just purchased a home only to find that it is trashed inside.

Of course the other way to look at the mess left by Bush et al is that the Obama Administration is best suited for the hazmat clean-up team.  Not fair, but in an emergency one wants the professionals to be involved.  That is, the adults, the fully-functioning adults.

For years I have labeled the Bush Administration 'adolescents.' That word was chosen carefully and purposely. I believe that George Bush has been stuck in adolescence all of his adult life.  The alcoholism but one obvious factor.  Sadly, the attacks on 9-11 forced him into adulthood- a position for which he was unprepared.  Those 9-minutes of sitting in the classroom staring into space on the morning of September 11th said it all.  

The neighborhood kids and I played cops-and-robbers and cowboys-and-Indians during our golden days of the 40's and 50's.  The games were black-and-white with simple frontiersman rules: good v. bad.  Blam, you were dead!  It was just a matter of time before you were shot by the 'good guys.'  Life was simple then.  Afterwards, we grew up and realized the complexities of life, often through trial and error.

As the naive and bewildered George Bush sat staring on that fateful morning in September, he must have wondered how the hell he got to the position of President of the United States.  He alone knew that he was unprepared for the awesome responsibilities that were dropped on his lap at that moment.  His years of alcohol abuse- often used to soothe the current difficulties he faced- would be no help during this crisis. So there he sat, quite alone, frozen in fear.

It is my hypothesis that, from that moment on, George Bush reverted to his childhood thinking: black-or-white, good-or-bad.  Easy thinking, or, rather, no thinking at all.  Them or us.  With us or against us. Axis of Evil.  Terrorists.  War on Terror.

In this morning's Toledo Blade, OpEd columnist S. Amjad Hussain wrote this:

President Obama’s ascent to the presidency was in part helped by the bumbling and fumbling of a stubborn but woefully ignorant man who was mesmerized and razzled-dazzled by the neo-conservative cabal that was hell-bent to restructure the world in its own distorted image of America.

Exactly.  Yet I would assert this: the stun of the 9-11 attacks forced George Bush to rush to the elders in his clique who just happened to be the neo-conservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Wolfowitz, Woolsey, Perle, Armitage and others.  They had a plan.  It wasn't new; it was conceived in the  90's while Clinton was in office. An attack on Iraq was manifest.  Period.

And so, during the next 7 years of the Bush presidency, 'terrorism' was the theme- the exclusive theme of his time in office.  The economy, infrastructure, and other normal responsibilities of a president were relegated to minions- unimportant during a 'war on terror.'

That 'war on terror,' as we sadly noted, went as poorly as the economy, and so not only does President Obama inherit the economic disaster left by Mr. Bush, but two wars, one going quite badly.  I found it pathetic at best during the waning days of his presidency that Mr. Bush was attempting to polish his image for the history books.  Historians deal in fact, data and substance and there are reams of material waiting to be examined.  As the intrepid White House correspondent Helen Thomas noted some years ago, "He's the worst President ever!"

Good luck with the mess, Mr. Obama.  We're all counting on a miracle from you.

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