Bush Will Fall in Four
By David Cogswell
August 11, 2001
I don't want to seem to childishly optimistic, but now -- six months into the Bush II administration -- I am ready to stick my neck out and make my presidential predictions. Bush will fall. He will fall spectacularly. And all the king's horses and men will not be able to put him together again.
The one credential I will offer for my credibility on this matter is that in the middle of George Sr.'s reign, when he was flying on the highest approval ratings since the institution of approval ratings, I predicted his downfall. It was a view that flew in the face of the conventional wisdom of the time. But in spite of surface appearances and all the hoopla surrounding the Gulf War, I sensed that he was vulnerable.
A squad of southern political neophytes apparently sensed the same because as the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination of the president hung back, the Clinton-Carville axis blindsided the Bushies and he came down like a flaming kamikaze plane.
Looking back it's not so mysterious. Bush was never a very strong candidate. He had no feeling for the people. In spite of elaborate efforts to portray him like plain folk from Texas, he could never disguise the fact that he was an effete New Englander, one who could barely contain his contempt for the people.
Besides four years as a congressman, Bush's entire career consisted of inside appointments. Like his son later, he emerged in 1980 as a front runner for the presidency after only having held one elective office in his life. He was elected to two two-year terms as a U.S. Congressman from Texas. The rest of his political career was based on appointments by his mentor Richard Nixon, and Nixon's handpicked successor Gerald Ford.
In 1980, when Bush saw he could not compete with the vote-getting prowess of Ronald Reagan, he latched on to the man he had bitterly opposed and coasted into national office on Reagan's coat tails. After the septuagenarian was in office a little over a month, he was shot.
Though Reagan wasn't killed, the old man was profoundly shocked and badly slowed down by the shooting. The degree to which Reagan was hurt was played down for the public, but it is significant that he was in a state of convalescence during the crucial early days when the foundations of a new administration are laid. There was a standoff in which the Bush and Alexander Haig groups vied for power. Haig's statement to the press that "I'm in charge here," was spun as a naked grab for illegitimate power and Haig was successfully discredited. That gave Bush a free hand to secure the top position and make use of the power vacuum to establish his own power base. He assembled a crisis management team and built structures for a covert network for operations, which was responsible for the most seamy endeavors of the Reagan-Bush years, including the web of illegal activities grouped under the heading The Iran Contra Affair. (For a well-documented description of these activities, see Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin's The Unauthorized Biography of George Bush (Senior) 1992) (www.tarpley.net/bushb.html)
Bush was truly in his element then as the chief operator behind a largely neutralized executive. He was able to exercise power covertly, as was his inclination as a CIA man, while the nation's attention was on Reagan, the amiable puppet. There is some validity to the proposition by researcher John Judge that the Reagan years were the early days of what was effectively a 12-year Bush reign. The Iran Contra scandal had more of Bush's fingerprints on it than those of the doddering Reagan.
When Bush tried to seek the presidency on his own, he was up against the problem that he was not so appealing on his own. The American people never really took to him wholeheartedly. He started his campaign many points behind Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis in the polls, and was only able to squeak out a victory by smearing his opponent using the dirty tricks tactics that had been perfected by Nixon and were practiced with great flair by Lee Atwater and young George W.
Bush's approval ratings were low before the Gulf War. He forced that war on his old ally Saddam Hussein, who owed much of his strength of arms to Bush's patronage. It was largely a drama trumped up for the American TV audience. Saddam had been given the go-ahead by the Bush liaison to move into Kuwait. Once the invasion was a fact, Bush launched into his "we will not negotiate" stand to force Saddam into an unavoidable confrontation in which the U.S. superiority was assured. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children were killed, as Baghdad was bombed "back to the stone age," as the war enthusiasts stated it at the time. American casualties were kept so low that Americans barely experienced the war except as total triumph by American forces. Bush rode the wave of manufactured war hysteria happily, but it was not enough to sustain him through the next election.
Mad Dog Bush
Bush's lack of experience with democratic processes hurt him in the end. He was inherently undemocratic. He had absolutely no feeling for the people. I encountered him in person one time, back in 1980 when he was in New York in a parade up Fifth Avenue representing the Reagan-Bush ticket. I knew almost nothing about him. But in person his presence was drastically different from the manufactured image that came across with the framing and presentation of TV.
As he marched up Fifth Avenue with long strides, he appeared as a tall, gawky figure, grinning and waving broadly, but the underlying feeling he projected was one of contempt. Though the feeling was in direct contradiction of the surface gestures, there was no mistaking it. It made my skin crawl. Searching for a way to describe it later, the metaphor that came to me was that it was like the feeling of encountering a mad dog.
After the hysterical glee over the Gulf War faded away, there was no way to bolster Bush. The world economy had taken a huge hit over the Gulf War. Except for the oil and weapons industries, the war had not been that good for business. The Reagan tax cuts, along with record spending for arms, created record deficits and economic doldrums that locked in and wouldn't go away. People got tired of economic hard times while Bush was preoccupied with his adventures in geopolitical conquest. People got his number and voted him out.
The Right Wing's smear campaign against Clinton was so mightily funded and relentless that it convinced a lot of people that Clinton was really more corrupt than other presidents. One objective of the propaganda was to make old George look good in retrospect so that approval could be transfers to George's clone successor. It was remarkably successful in selling a very bad product, especially considering that the Bush family's degree of corruption almost makes Nixon look benign. Remarkable as the success of that propaganda was, it must be kept in mind that George W. Bush did lose the election by half a million votes. At the same time it's fantastic that he was ever even considered as a serious candidate for president.
Cracks in the Wall
As invincible as the Republicans seemed in the early, unrelenting days of the Bush II administration, the regime's inability to compromise soon tore apart what could have been a strong coalition.
Because their interests were never democratic in the first place, but were focused totally on gain power to achieve the objectives of their elite patrons, the Bushies made no attempt to compromise with anyone. Their modus operandi when they took office remained just as it had been during the campaign, as so baldly displayed in their naked grab for power in election 2000. Very soon their invincibility began to crack.
The first major crack was the defection of Senator Jim Jeffords of Connecticut, and that was a crack of thunder. Though the major media remains almost totally compliant to the Bush regime, there are rumblings underfoot, electric charges transmitted by the Internet. Almost every day the opposition to Bush, which started as only a whimper in the mainstream media, is becoming emboldened. The resistance to Bush is solidifying, building.
Retracing the building of opposition to the Vietnam war, it can be seen that once the business community was against the war, it was effectively over. As the Bush administrations ill-founded economic policies return the U.S. to the economic calamities induced by the cut-and-spend policies of the Reagan-Bush years, the business community will abandon Bush and it will be over. The fact that resistance to Bush is building is really no great surprise. He is an unelected president, who is widely seen as a mistake that needs to be corrected as soon as possible. He is opposed to the majority on practically every major issue and is clearly lined up behind the interests of the handful of industries and corporate powers that have created him out of practically nothing. He can barely utter a complete sentence without glaring grammatical errors, utter failure to understand the most basic elements of policy. The whole fraud is a house of cards about to get blown down.
It's a little early for the entire establishment to declare this administration a failure. It would leave a power vacuum for the remainder of this term. Without an impeachment, he's going to be in for three and a half more years, and a lot rides on having a president be seen as legitimate. But as the election comes into view, the dam will break. It's just too big a fraud to be sustained.
Of course political affairs remain forever fundamentally unpredictable, and anything could happen. Hitler's rise was very improbable too, in many of the same ways. We have every reason to expect the gang in power to remain true to form and show that they will stop short of nothing to maintain power. They already stopped an election with their Supreme Court dupe Antonin Scalia declaring "there is no suffrage in a presidential election." What could be a surprise after that? It is practically a certainty that the administration will try to use military action to inspire the kind of hysteria that gave Bush Sr. such high approval ratings. But Bush II, ever trying to re-write his father's mistakes, will time it closer to the election.
Bush II sees his role as putting right everything that went wrong with his father's ambitions. That impulse places him squarely in the ranks of the Republican Revenge Army, with the other conservatives who are busily avenging Watergate, the libertarian 60s, resistance to Vietnam ("The Vietnam Syndrome"), the Civil Rights movement, Roe vs. Wade, hippies, rock music, the decline of the aristocracy, and so forth.
The biggest mistake would be to "misunderestimate" Bush and the powers he represents. It would not be appropriate to sit smugly and await his downfall. Eternal vigilance is still in order. But if things continue as they are, with the Bush team continuing to push aggressively, uncompromisingly an agenda that is in direct opposition of the will of a vast majority of Americans, the house of cards will fall. The Bush coalition will crack. This power structure is teetering. After over 20 years, we are finally in the last days of the House of Bush.