With George W. Bush’s popularity rating vacillating between Richard Nixon and the common cold, he limped on the television set to tell us he was doing a “heckuva job.” His words falling on deaf ears and his policies turning a blind eye to reality, the only reason to watch the president’s primetime address was to gauge the state of his delusion.
Well, there was the historic moment when Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House, took her seat in back of the president. Next to the sleepy Dick Cheney, who seemed to periodically be closing his eyes, Madam Speaker looked quite alert and spry. Pelosi’s ascension, much like the Gina Davis character in the television drama Commander in Chief, is a major boost for Hillary Clinton. The more America gets used to seeing women in power, the easier it will be for Clinton to make her case that America is ready for a woman in the oval office.
The most amusing part of the evening was watching political rivals pretend they liked each other and had intentions of actually working together. Bush and Pelosi looked like parents in the aftermath of a shattered marriage that pledged to smile in divorce court for the sake of the kids.
Interestingly, with Bush’s policies tied up in knots, gay couples tying the knot were no longer considered a grave threat to marriage or society. For the first time in years, there was no mention of the odious Federal Marriage Amendment, which would essentially write gay couples out of the U.S. Constitution. This omission alone was reason for GLBT Americans to celebrate and savor the new Democratic led Congress.
Like the dead marriage amendment, Bush also conveniently forgot to mention the damned city of New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, the president made a dramatic speech in the glow of floodlights promising to fix the mess. However, it is now clear that his promises were just a bunch of political jazz and the only sinking city on his mind these days is Baghdad.
On a hawkish twist to John Lennon’s hit, Bush asked Congress to give war a chance. But key Republicans, such as Sen. John Warner (R-VA), were already singing a different tune and figuring out how to extricate the nation from Iraq’s civil war. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) gave one of the strongest responses to the State of the Union in memory, hinting that the Democrats may thankfully not act like Democrats for a change.
The truth is, the war has long been lost and soldiers will lose legs for the sake of Bush’s legacy and die to keep his presidency alive. Some will have their faces burned off so this stubborn president can save face and others will sacrifice their mental health in the name of an insane policy that was doomed since the plot to invade Iraq was hatched.
At the heart of the matter is the harsh fact that there is no Iraq nor are there any Iraqis. The nation has contrived borders formed by Western nations that pay little attention to the needs or desires of the people who actually live there.
In retrospect, it is easy to see that the only way Iraq can survive in its present incarnation is to have the biggest SOB in the region firmly in control. Saddam Hussein was the perfect sociopath to fill this role and he did so with aplomb.
Still, it was instructive that a monster like Saddam, who punished his adversaries with acid baths, had to take extraordinary measures to survive. He had more doubles than a Hollywood action figure, employed food tasters and slept in a different location each night, so enemies could not predict his whereabouts. If this brutal dictator had to run through such machinations to survive, how can America make this land safe enough to rule?
The best we can hope for with Bush’s surge is to temporarily take over small patches of real estate. But, the moment we leave the insurgents will move back in. Look, the Iraqi people don’t want us there and the American people don’t want to be there. It sounds like the beginning of common ground, don’t you think?
Finally, the Iraqi misadventure has been a nightmare for minorities. There are ongoing reports that the Shiite militias are hunting down gay people and women have less freedom, as the mullahs are trying to impose Islamic law in the areas they control.
As long as the state of our union is dependent on the state of Bush’s delusions, our nation is in deep trouble. In the coming weeks, adults in both parties will have to decide for the “decider” that patriotism comes before parroting his failed strategies at home and abroad.