There he is, taking a vacation from his vacation, to go hug the wrong mom.
A mother who doesn’t need consolation or an explanation, all her boys are still alive. But that’s why she’s the mom who gets the hug. The only good solider is a live soldier. The only good mom is one who supports him. Once again, he handpicks his audience to make sure it includes only the adoring. Once again, he celebrates the glory of his little war and denies the fact of death and pain. Once more he uses someone else’s courage to sell himself as a great and fearless leader.
The man is playing at being president. He’s always played at being president. There has been no other American president who took orders from his vice-president and thought and said only what his consilgere told him to.
He’s a fake. But he gets away with it.
He’s a failure. But he gets away with it.
Paul the Spud thinks the national news media must be afraid of Bush.
He has drawn up a list of Bush's many failures, Iraq first and foremost, but he doesn't forget the deficit created out of a surplus or the No Child Left Behind Act that for all the good it's done might as well have been called the We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone Act, among other disasters. Paul demonstates Bush's unpopularity---Nixon had better numbers during Watergate---and reminds us of how Bush himself is afraid to play fair or face any crowd that isn't a cheerleading squad because he knows that to do so would risk showing himself up as the fake and failure that he is.
Then Paul wonders why the Press still handles the man with kid gloves and, answering his own question, concludes that for some reason the Press is afraid of the man.
This is a reasonable guess. It's supported by the fact that as it's becoming undeniable that the American people have realized the truth about Bush, and don't much care for it, the Media have shown signs they're developing an interest in reporting that truth.
But as the Media is a Hydra with a thousand heads, and some of those heads are Conservative and will support George Bush until the day he declares war on Texas and maybe until the day after that, one explanation probably doesn't answer.
More's going on.
Paul Krugman provides some more of that more in his column Monday. Krugman was looking at the way the Media reported the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle and its aftermath, at how quick the Media was to declare Bush the winner, how loathe they were to look at the facts revealed by the several recounts done after Bush was Inaugurated. None of the facts about the recounts suggest that Bush certainly won or would have won. Most of the facts show the opposite, that Gore would have won, although not in any way handily, but decisively. Still most of the Media treats that election as if Bush's victory was somehow proven rock solid. Krugman doesn't mention it in his column, but a lot of pundits were quick to argue that Bush's victory in 2004 made all the questions about 2000 irrelevent. But Krugman concludes that what the Media really decided about 2000 was that the truth was too messy and that neither they nor the American people could handle the messy truth. So, says Krugman, the Media has decided to prettify the story.
Bush won. The system works. The story has ended and every story has a happy ending.
Krugman says that the Media prettified the story again after 9/11.
The country wanted very badly to believe in its leadership. Nobody wanted to write stories suggesting that the wrong man was sitting in the White House.
Krugman is right. The fact that George Bush wasn't up to the job of being a peacetime President had become clear. He screwed up everything he touched for the first eight months of his term and then he took a vacation. He was a failure out of the gate. But we can't rally round a failure and we needed to rally round the President, so the Media told us another pretty story. George Bush, screw-up in a time of Peace, had become heroically competent in a time of War. Crisis was what he was made for and thank God he was there when a crisis loomed. The Media decided we needed George Bush the War President, so they gave us George Bush the War President.
And then they were stuck with what they'd created.
Krugman's point is that the Media, thinking we can't handle the truth about Iraq, have been telling us another pretty story about the war.
My point, my personal guess as to what's going on inside many of the heads of that hydra is that, Krugman's right, they have been telling us pretty stories, but they're stuck with those stories and they have had to stick with those stories out of professional vanity.
God forbid that they ever admit they were wrong.
But this started before 9/11. It started before the 2000 Election. It started in 1992. It started when the Media decided collectively to hate and despise Bill Clinton.
All the pretty stories since, about 2000, about 9/11, about Iraq, about George Bush Man of the People and George Bush the Avatar of Teddy Roosevelt, have all been written to prove that the first ugly story they told about Bill Clinton was right.
Dinner time here. Look for Part 2---yes, I'm sorry, another multi-parter---later tonight.