Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Empty Suit Syndrome

Many right wingers are completely bumfuzzled at strong negative reaction of the left to their leader, G. W. Bush. Even though many of them have withdrawn their support for the man, that is because of his bungling the war in Iraq. They still somehow see him as a valid president and cannot understand the deep-seated contempt in which he is held by the left.

Well, as Dezi used to say to Lucy once a week, lemme ‘splain it to you.

There are many, many good reasons to consider W a failed and even despicable excuse for a president. My favorite one is his introduction of the concept of pre-emptive warfare as acceptable foreign policy. Many people think the best reason to hate the man is the immoral morass into which he sunk our reputation by embracing the idea that torture is an acceptable way to obtain information from prisoners. Others believe that no one who failed to win the popular vote should hold the presidency, and still others aver that the way he managed to do that smacks of illegality and a complete lack of ethical integrity. Others might castigate the man for taking over command of a country with a cushy surplus and a balanced budget and throwing good money after bad until, within months after taking office, we were in debt and sinking fast. Still others condemn him for fostering legislation that has eroded our rights and freedoms to wit; The Patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act, etc.

None of these reasons, however, are the biggest most pressing and most dangerous reason why this man should never have been and should not be allowed to continue to be the President of the United States. That reason is a longer term issue; one which risks the future of America as its citizens know it and the future of the very world as everyone knows it. That reason is the shadow government that really pulls the string and which thrives on the empty suit syndrome.

The right wing holds a very special place in its heart for Ronald Reagan largely because he presided over the demise of the Soviet Union, but those who maintain some objectivity about the man and his presidency recognize him as the first of the empty suits to fill the presidency while his “underlings” pulled the strings. Reagan was renowned for being lazy in office. His style was to trust his appointees to do the job while he noshed on jelly beans and napped. W’s style is the same, though he tends to nosh on hot dogs and watch football at the ranch in lieu of manning the oval office desk. W’s dad was ten times the man W will ever be, but he, too, was no towering paragon of mentality.

We’ve had other incompetent presidents in our history going back to Johnson (Andrew not Lyndon) and up through Hoover, but their incompetence was their undoing. For Reagan and W, incompetence is the secret of their success. In fact they were chosen for it. Their cabinets and advisors were enabled by it. A strong leader would have cut them off at the knees, but an empty suit provides the means through which to implement and enforce their agenda.

Here is the heart of the matter. Take a look at the continuity of the staffs and cabinets of the last three Republican presidents. What up-and-comers in the Reagan Administration became leaders in the Bush Administrations – particularly W’s administration? (George H. W. Bush, to his credit, could not be led around by the nose. He was a true patriot and man of his own convictions.)

Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney both served with Reagan. Richard Perle served as aide to Casper Weingberger, Reagan’s Secretary of Defense. Collin Powell, National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan, Robert Gates, Director of Central Intelligence under G. H. W. Bush, Even Ollie North, commander of the Iran-Contra Affair has bobbed back up again on W’s watch. Less visibly, Douglas Feith and many other neo-cons have been working there way into the woodwork at the Whitehouse for lo these many years.

In my opinion, then, the real risk to the U.S. and to the world is the continuation of this line into the future of American politics. Just this morning, Newt Gingrich, ousted Republican power broker of the 90s, was interviewed on FOX news as a potential entry into the 2008 presidential race. Integrity doesn’t matter. Intelligence doesn’t matter – not that Newt isn’t intelligent, he is, but he is also a ruthless, purely party-line politician with no moral compass.

What matters to those “underlings” who really run things is that whoever is elected should be someone they can manipulate so that, in their single-minded thirst for power, they can continue to advance their destructive policies of American hegemony world-wide and citizen containment at home. Their best choice will always be another empty suit., and if Americans don’t wake up to this, I can’t see a very bright horizon anywhere.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. – M.K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored. But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace - BR

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