January 22, 2003
Bush's WaterlooRichard J. Smolnicky, writing for Buzzflash, says the week of January 12-18 will be seen in history as the beginning of the end of the Bush "presidency" (he uses that quaint word for the regime). He makes a good case. It could be true.
After naming several revolting political moves of Bush's week -- really no more repulsive than the average Bush week -- Smolnicky says:
And what is the effect that these disgusting policies are having on Mr. Bush's public standing? Well, not even all of Mr. Bush's Middle Eastern saber-rattling is preventing his poll numbers from tumbling. Bush's favorability rating dropped to 58 percent in the most recent CNN/Gallup poll. That figure is 15 points lower than President Clinton's favorability rating on the day he was impeached. And, furthermore, that same poll showed that a miniscule 36 percent of Americans plan to vote for Bush in 2004. I am sure that figure must be giving Karl Rove a lot of sleepless nights!
As powerful a case as Smolnicky makes, he did not include some subsequent events that may not yet have happened when he wrote the piece. Massive demonstrations against Bush took place all around the world on Martin Luther King Day Weekend. Even 30 years dead, Martin Luther King can kick George Bush's ass. Then when the weekend was over, the other members of the UN security council seemed emboldened to stand up against the Bush regime. Now even they can see vividly that the Bush administration does not have the support of the people. It never did, but things are getting so soo much worse now. It's happening. People are rising up against this repulsive, hideous oppression. Americans are waking from their hypnosis. Great Godalmighty!
Now today Ted Kennedy gave a harsh, authoritative face-slapping to the Bush administration and predicted that John Kerry will kick his ass in 2004. And for the first time it sounded like it really could be true. Although Kerry is a Skull & Bones member and various other things, he's not George Bush.
One of the many rousing chants I heard during the weekend was something like: "The People united can never be defeated!" And it was more than a slogan in the context of literally hundreds of people who came out to joyously defy their banana republic government. It was a palpable fact. It is over, Bushes! You are done, you just haven't fallen down yet.
Bush's rates are way lower than when Clinton was impeached because favorability ratings, though enormously imperfect and suspect, reflect the will of the people, which was for Bill Clinton, no matter how compromised and shady as he was, favorable. People liked him and trusted him -- the latter mistakenly in many cases. But people liked Clinton because Clinton essentially liked them. The Bush family are elitists who loathe what they perceive as the inferior masses huddling at their feet. Bush's "popularity" is a media-induced manipulation, a top-down phenomenon.
Clinton was deeply compromised and kept in a tight political straitjacket to insure that he did not get out of line and follow his inclinations to be a real president and really do what was good for the people instead of what his masters dictated. But never for a moment did any of Clinton's character flaws damage this country as much as do the actions of any given week of this administration. The Bush administration cut deeply into the heart of America just by the way it so cynically stole the election. The world watched and even Americans watched each other asking themselves, "Are we just going to let them get away with it?"
And somehow Americans were just a little too hypnotized to respond to the infringement and the threat embodied in that blatantly antidemocratic action. And the appearance of inaction, reinforced the impression of inaction and it became an accepted fact. It was the meme, as Richard Dawkins put it, that dominated the cultural mind at that moment.
But though the perception of apathy and laziness and lack of fortitude of a people who allow crackpot dictators to take over their country bred cynicism that became a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I never lost hope that the American people would never tolerate such a two-bit takeover of their country. And in this Waterloo Week I get a sense that maybe this spirit of freedom and justice that lay latent in the American spirit is now again manifesting.