Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Nice blue suit, Bush. Nice blue tie. Nice family pictures. Nice flags. Nice speech. A "rational middle ground," eh? Sounds like a dream come true, after these past five and a half years. Only trouble is, as we've discovered each time you talk about bipartisanship and listening to the other side, the "rational middle ground" too often turns out to be your way and no other.

Still, I understand you're walking a fine line here. Most everyone is already mad at you for one reason or another. The fiscal conservatives, for your handling of the budget and your irresponsible deficit. (I note, by the way, from Harper's Magazine's Harper's Index that the signboard erected in 1989 near Times Square in New York to tally the national debt is estimated to run out of digits by 2007!) I don't know how these folk expect you to do better without raising taxes, but they're mad at you anyway.

Then there's your famous "base", the righteous ones, who are mad at you for any number of reasons: for not taking a harder stand on gay marriage, for instance, or on abortion; and, now, for not sending all those illegals packing and sealing the borders to protect us from any more who might be headed our way.

So you've got two separate groups attacking on your own right flank. And then there's the rest of us, who never did worship you, Bush. We never did have quite that much wool pulled over our eyes that we couldn't see the posturing, the aggression, the exploitation of the 9/11 attacks to justify your grab for quasi-totalitarian power for the presidency and your trampling of the US constitution. Not to mention the small matter of transparent cronyism and the consequent incompetence of so much of your disastrous administration.

So, yes, I can see that you're walking a very fine line right at this moment. I took note of the nice blue suit, the tie, the family pictures, the flags... but what struck me most was the body language. First, the face--carefully controlled this time. I didn't notice a single smirk along the way. Not even, really, the semblance of a smile. This was serious stuff. Important, as you like to say.

And then the hands. Did anyone talk to you before the speech about the hands, Bush, when you were rehearsing? Did they tell you it was best to keep them flat on the desk? I noticed that they kept trying to get back to base. But they wandered, too, nervously, wanting at moments to be expansive but not quite managing it; and at other moments fluttering like nervous butterflies, not quite sure whether to take off or to land. So here, in the hands, was the Bush that I intuit--the one behind the presidential screen. The scared little boy who's way out of his depth and putting on a brave face so no one else will know the inner self that he himself so resolutely rejects. The flutterer, who works so hard at being the decider.


denn said...

nicely obliterating, Peter.

PK said...

Hope you have an advance on TRBD part 2... It will be so worth reading, as this one will. Don't forget to send a copy to "The Great Poo Bah".