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Friday, August 25, 2006

It's Not Bush's Fault!

It's so wrong of nasty libs to blame every social ill on Dubya. After all, he means well. Right?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
I get this a lot, from the distraught and Bush-embarrassed right, whenever I happily cough up Dubya's name in a column that would seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with our bumbling, neck-groping disaster of a whimpering leader:

Hey (I'm paraphrasing here) you gay-loving yoga pervert communist! What the gosh-golly hell does George W. Bush possibly have to do with (fill in the blank) cancer rates/MS Windows/electric sports cars/Christina Aguilera? Why do you insist on sneaking in little slaps and stabs at the beleaguered monkeyman even when writing about problems and issues that (seemingly) have nothing to do with him -- like, say, iTunes or vibrators or global warming? Why, in other words, do you blame every social ill on Dubya? It's so not fair! link below >>>


It has become the default wail, the last remaining lament available to a frazzled and bitch-slapped GOP, a group now completely unable to dredge up a single defensible position for Bush in the wake of so much scandal and abuse and wiretap, failed war and environmental devastation and global meltdown:

It's not all Bush's fault! He cannot be blamed for, say, teen sex and bad sitcoms and Mel Gibson! As for national policy, well, Bush inherited years of complicated problems which clearly overwhelmed his unsophisticated brain and attacked him like a swarm of angry multifaceted mosquitoes which he could only flail and swat at like a terrified child! In other words, Bush is merely one little man swimming in a massive swirling tide of corruption and misprision and difficult-to-pronounce countries. Leave him alone!

It's all so true, isn't it? Bush is innocent as a lamb. Just look at, say, global warming. Libs love to point the finger at Bush's astonishing environmental policy for the hastening of Earth's meltdown, but the truth is, the planet's been heating up for decades, with little concern from any politician except that silly little Al Gore.

Oh sure, Bush has ignored, denied, accelerated, worsened it all to a degree no one thought possible, from rejecting Kyoto to discrediting mountains of scientific proof to racking up the most shockingly destructive environmental policy in American history. But it's not all his fault!

How about violent unrest in the Middle East? Certainly not the fault of simple Dubya, who couldn't even point to Iraq on a map before Dick Cheney showed him which country we should destroy in the wake of Sept. 11. Yes, Bush's Vietnam 2.0 has made Osama happier 'n Ronald McDonald at a fat farm for how Bush's righteous warmongering has served as so much free publicity for recruiting fresh terrorists. But Bush didn't cause Middle Eastern unrest. He just lobbed $300 billion worth of firecrackers into that seething hornet's nest.

What of our deeply divided and exhausted populace, hot with infighting and red state/blue state hatreds and sticky religious self-righteousness? Come now. Bush is merely an innocent bystander, waving a patriotic little flag. Yes, he and his cabal of Rove-licked imps happily leveraged Sept. 11 as an ideological nuclear warhead against their own nation, kowtowed to Jerry Falwell's hate-filled religious right and inflamed all sorts of bogus fears (gays! anthrax! Terri Schiavo!) as they set forth one of the most divisive and spiritually poisonous domestic agendas in your lifetime. But it's not his fault!

You may now name your issue: Racism? Sexism? Homophobia? Education? Denunciation of science? Inequality among the tax brackets? Ignorance of sex? Fear of the female nipple? Not Bush's fault! Oh sure, he might have exacerbated, inflamed, heightened each and every issue for political gain and corporate crony/evangelical Christian delight. He might have exploited every loophole and restricted the sexual freedoms of every woman and authorized the illegal torture of every captured foreigner and ignored virtually every new piece of legislation he himself signed into law. But it's not his fault! Is it?

Let us seek a clearer answer. Let us look through a slightly different lens.

I was recently on vacation in a small rural town in northern Idaho, all calm lakes and pine trees and summer butterflies. It was idyllic. It was restorative and healing and you'd think it would be easy, in such an environment, to clear out all BushCo toxins from the system and reconnect with the natural world and see that all is, in fact, not lost. And to a large degree, this was absolutely the case.

But in fact, Bush was there, too, like a rancid smell in the air, a metallic taste in the water supply, a pile of rotting trash by the side of the forest.

For example: Bush was in the controversy surrounding the proposed demolition of four regional dams to restore endangered wild salmon in the Snake River, a controversy bred from a grossly anti-environment, pro-dam Department of the Interior, whose current secretary is former Idaho Governor and all-around environmental disaster Dirk Kempthorne. Bush was there in the federal legislation favoring the over-eager timber industry and the fertilizer factory, by way of lax federal regulation governing industrial pollutants and chemical testing and air quality standards.

Bush was in the giant strip malls and in the local economy-gouging Wal-Mart and in all the rampant corporate development taking place at the expense of environmental and communal well-being. Ah, the GOP worldview. It's what's for dinner.

He was there in the surrounding farmland, as his administration, perhaps more than any other, has worked to subsidize and pander to a deeply abusive and bloated industrial farming and food-production machine run by a powerful cadre of giant Bush-loving corporations, as our national health deteriorates by the month.

Oh, and of course, Bush was very present in the surrounding high schools and community colleges, like a smirking specter of death, as I read about local Idaho kids (like those from every other small town in America), some still in their teens, being sent off to Iraq to fight and die in a brutal and disastrous war we have, by every estimate, already lost. It's the kind of awareness that tends to add a slightly bitter taint your everyday stroll down Main Street, USA.

Here, then, is my answer to the cute claims of rampant, unfair Bush-bashing: Indeed, Dubya may not be in the lousy cup of coffee I recently had at a downtown cafe. He might not be in the crappy sitcoms or in the price of designer jeans or in the sad fact that Led Zeppelin has yet to join iTunes.

But you know what? He might as well be. Because this is the feeling. It is a general sickness, a vague nausea, a sense that, in fact, far beyond just miserable foreign policy and tax breaks for the rich and a single nasty, botched war, the whole system, all aspects of culture and American life have somehow been tainted, darkened, poisoned.

George W. Bush may have attained the ignoble status as one of the least popular presidents in American history, but the fact is, he's accomplished something far more impressive: He's proven himself to be one of the most systematically, comprehensively toxic. And really, whose fault is that?



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