July 9, 2002

Things Fall Apart

The mythically masterful, all-powerful, organized, motivated Bush administration appears more and more in disarray as one episode gives way to the next.

The collapse is becoming Shakespearean as the gang that successfully portrayed itself as practically infallible comes tumbling down. It's a little breathtaking. Things happen so fast these days.

Today UK's Telegraph reported one of the most scalding leaks in this administration's short history, quoting Colin Powell as saying,"to allies that he 'won't let those bastards drive me out.'"

The story referred to Powell's frustration in being constantly overruled by an opposing group consisting of Rumsfeld, Cheney and deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

This implies that it's Powell's friends who are talking to the press. For such rage to overflow into the press, the friction must be tremendous. It could be said that there is no credibility to the story at all, and that could be true, though it's doubtful that it was dreamed up out of nothing. The lameness of the argument only accentuates the point. It's only because we already have so many indications of such a rift that the story has any credibility. Even the fact of its appearance in the press -- even a non-U.S. publication -- indicates a profound diffusion of the administration's power in the last few months. And this is certainly not an isolated incident.

It's incidentally of note that no mention of Bush himself is ever made in any of these reported struggles. Of course one could say that Bush is the ultimate decision maker and that's why he's not included in the behind-the-scenes struggles. But it sounds more like he's a football they throw around, or worse: an inert presence with virtually no impact. The latter scenario seems more plausible.

On Yahoo! we have an AP report ("Bush defends his oil dealings"), which describes Bush facing "a barrage of questions" about his unpunished SEC crimes when his father was president. This is getting messier all the time with Dubya and Ari telling different stories about who screwed up when Bush failed to file a report on a shady insider trade for eight months past the deadline -- not "The President," of course. Ari said it was the Harken oil company lawyers. Dubya said it was the SEC.

The head of the SEC at the time was a Bush Sr. appointee. The lawyer who led the investigation had previously been Bush Jr.'s lawyer. (see Bushwatch or Worldnetdaily} So it's not particularly mysterious why he got his usual special treatment and made almost a million bucks off a stock that was out on its feet, but only the insiders knew it.

Quotes of Bush in the AP article as he defended himself are eerily Watergate-like: "Sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting procedures... This was an honest disagreement about accounting procedures... I still haven't figured it out completely... no attempt to hide anything... "

Things are definitely closing in on Georgie Boy and it's getting very interesting. What detracts from the fascination of the spectacle is the disturbing fact that he is at present dragging us all down with him. The question is how far down will we go before we cut him and his mob loose. -- By David Cogswell

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