Everyone is slamming poor Dubya. Everyone is saying, oh my God, he's more inept
than we ever imagined, he has no idea what's really going on, he's oblivious
and in denial and he pretty much let all those poor black people die in
filth and misery, and he basically ignored the massive Katrina disaster for
days before finally being pressured into cutting his umpteenth vacation short
and actually taking action.
This is what they're saying. Kanye
West was right, Bush doesn't care about black people, or the poor, or anything
that doesn't directly serve his handlers' agenda or flatter his monochromatic
ego or anything that isn't spelled out for him in nice simplistic pie charts
and reassuring matronly tones.
And lo, the darts are slinging in from around the world, according to SF Gate's
Views column: "Maddening incompetence ... reminiscent of a drought-stricken
African state," says Britain's Daily Mail. "Can't get it together,"
says a major paper in Italy. "A plethora of grim tales of disaster,"
says the Scotsman. "Superpower or Third World?" asks the Spanish daily
Noticias de Álava. Why did BushCo fail its first great national-security
test since Sept. 11, despite having two days' advance notice of Katrina's wrath?
asks Le Monde. And on it goes, the world's powers looking on in one part shock
and one part disgust and all parts repugnance for Bush's rampant ineptitude
and America's apparent inability to take care of its own.
But it's so unfair, isn't it, to attack poor Dubya like this? Just a little
misplaced? After all, Bush has always been the rich white man's president.
He is the CEO president, the megacorporate businessman's friend, the thug of
the religious right, a big reservoir-tipped condom for all energy magnates,
protecting against the nasty STDs of humanitarianism and progress and social
He has always been merely an entirely selective figurehead, out of
touch and eternally dumbfounded, a hand puppet of the neoconservative machine
built and fluffed up and carefully placed for the very specific job of protecting
their interests, no matter what. Repeat: No. Matter. What.
Flood hurricane disaster war social breakdown economic collapse? Doesn't matter.
Corporate interests über alles, baby. Protect the core, reassure the base,
screw everyone else unless it begins to affect the poll numbers and then finger-point,
deflect, prevaricate. All of a piece, really. Because Bush, he was never actually
meant to, you know, lead.
So maybe it's time to stop with the savaging of poor Dubya. He is,
after all, doing a simply beautiful job of kowtowing to his wealthiest supporters
while slamming the poor and running the nation into a deep hole and creating
the largest deficit in American history, all while his cronies in oil and industry
and military supply and Big Energy gain immense and staggering wealth and pay
less and less tax on it. This is what he was hired to do. This is why he is
in office. Hell, the day after Katrina, Bush flew right by Louisiana
and headed straight to San Diego to party with his Greatest Generation cronies.
Reassure the masters, first and foremost, eh Shrub? Understood.
Is this not what we all expected? Can you reasonably say you thought it would
be different? Just look. All major social services are being gutted. The Federal
Emergency Management Agency is a joke, second in line only to the ungodly useless
Homeland Security Department, which has become about as reassuring and trustworthy
and humane an organization as a prison in Guantánamo.
The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105
million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans just last year. The
White House hacked that down to about $40 million, even as it passed the most
bloated and nauseatingly
pork-filled $12.3 billion energy bill in recent history, one that guaranteed
we'd be sucking at the tit of foreign oil and kneeling before Bush's pals in
Big Energy for decades to come, even as more and more teenagers die in Iraq
for Bush's inept and failed war. Yay politics.
Why didn't National Guardsmen from Louisiana and Mississippi march into New
Orleans immediately after Katrina exited to take charge and keep the peace?
Why, because most of them are serving in that same violent and brutally costly
war in Iraq, silly. Fully 30 percent of the guard is stuck over there, along
with 50 percent of their equipment. Yay Vietnam 2.0.
Why did FEMA chief Michael Brown wait hours after Katrina struck to timidly
plead with his parent company, Homeland Security, for some backup, not to actually
get their hands dirty but rather to help "convey a positive image"
about the government's response to the victims? Why, because he's an incompetent
lackey Bush appointee who was fired from his former job as head of something
called the International
Arabian Horse Association. Yay pathetic nepotism.
Just look. Senate majority leader Sen. Bill Frist, icon of hollow self-righteousness
and the energy magnate's friend, has already leveraged the Katrina nightmare
to argue for more
drilling in Alaska, much in the way BushCo whored Sept. 11 to cram the Patriot
Act down the nation's throat and make fear and xenophobia a national pastime.
And let's not forget trusty profit-sucking sidekick Halliburton, which has already
scored a sweet deal to help repair Katrina damage, thanks to the fact that the
former director of FEMA is now a Halliburton lobbyist. Ah, war and death and
tragedy. They are just so goddamn profitable, right, Dubya?
And then, the kicker. Then you read that Bush has actually ordered
an official probe into the botched Katrina relief efforts, a formal federal
investigation into what went wrong, which is a bit like a shark ordering an
investigation into what happened to all the fish. Unless this probe starts and
ends in the White House, unless it hangs Bush himself up by his monkey ears
and dangles him over a river of toxic Louisiana sewage, it's merely useless
and insulting and more than a little sad.
Let's say it outright. The truest measure of any president, of any leader,
is how well he takes care of his own people. And Bush, well, Bush has
done a simply spectacular job of taking care of exactly his own people -- the
wealthy, the corporate, the extreme religious right, his core base of supporters
-- while happily and fiercely ignoring, restricting, condemning, destroying
the rest. Are you educated or progressive or liberal or alternative-minded
or sexually open or homosexual or anti-war? This means you. Are you dirt poor
and belong to a minority and don't drive an SUV and contribute six figures per
annum to the RNC and maybe live in a flooded swamp in the Louisiana bayou? This
means you, squared. Sucker.
Here, then, is the new American motto, as reimagined by BushCo: Give us your
tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and we'll let them die in a filthy and
decrepit storm-ravaged American football stadium while our president languishes
on vacation and ponders his oil futures and fondly remembers his good ol' days
of getting drunk at Mardi Gras before going AWOL from the military. God bless