In the promotion for Naomi Wolf’s new book Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries Ms. Wolf states that the United States has recently been overtaken by a coup. She further asserts that George Bush will not release the presidency but will instead declare martial law.
As someone who loves liberty and distrusts governments (in general) and the Bush Administration (in particular) I have to admire Ms. Wolf’s spirit, but I also have to disagree with her assertions. George Bush will not declare martial law. I believe it’s simply not in his nature.
We’ve never meet, but I feel I’ve come to know George W. Bush over the last nine years or so. I started out disliking him because of his politics, warming to him as a leader who would not hesitate to deliver a good country butt-whopping to Osama Bin Laden, and then watched as he proceeded to use 9/11 as merely another political tool to justify invading Iraq and getting him re-elected. I not the first to doubt the sincerity of our President regarding finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but by his 2004 election campaign I was convinced that the justification for the war had been entirely manufactured. At the time a lot of Republicans vehemently disagreed with me; now they just change the subject.
I realized that our fearless leader was carrying out the tried and true politics of fascism: praise Americans for their self-perceived virtues, preach fear, make power grabs for increased legal authorities and oversights, and work closely to favor certain corporations. In that way, Ms. Wolf and I do see the President in a similar light, but she takes this to its logical conclusion: surely aggressive grabs for power must come from a power mad figure who will not release control. That is where we disagree.
I don’t feel that Bush is really all that power hungry. In fact, I think he’s sick of politics. I know it’s strange to try to analyze inner motivations of someone I’ve never met, but I’m not even sure Bush ever wanted to be President to begin with. I think the Bush family and friends thought that he could become President and encouraged him to do so. To my way of thinking, Bush is merely the puppet for the “advisors” behind the scenes who developed the plans to invade Iraq long before Bush even took office. And so I envision Bush looking upon his Presidency much like his college must have seemed to him: important stuff but really he’d rather be doing something else. Even since becoming a politician, Bush has had to study all over again- except instead of tests he has to study for, its debates, speeches, and press conferences.
That’s perhaps why Bush’s politics have seemed so fluid. He started out preaching about the power of free markets combined with small governments. Then, much like college, he passed that test and went on to study entirely new material that didn’t necessarily relate much to the past material. It would seem the course curriculum of Bush’s Presidency started with a lot of early testing on small government, then moved on to how to build public support for a war, then spent some time delving into how to build a police state, and is now being tested on Socialism and international coordination to intervene in the function of the marketplace.
I’m certain that all of this has taxed the poor man’s brain. Let’s face, that’s a lot of material to cover in eight years- much less make it seem part of a coherent political agenda that has any consistency at all. So while Ms. Wolf is pointing to Bush’s power hungry politics, I’d like to inform her that that was last year’s material. He’s a Socialist now. Case in point, Bush is now telling the banks how to run the banking business. I suppose in some ways this might be perversely justified. After all, it would seem the government has recently become a major stockholder in the major institutions of banking and it is only natural for large shareholders to feel that they have a say in how the company is run.
Still, it does strike me as rather hypocritical for a man who bankrupted so many oil companies to tell bankers how to do their job. Ironically, the advice that Bush is giving them (i.e. get out there and lend more money) was exactly the thing that got them into this pickle to begin with. After all, in terms of lending money, once banks have given billions of dollars to people who had no means of repaying it, there’s really no where to go but down.
I wonder who convinced Bush to be a Socialist. They certainly seem to have been excellent tutors for him. These days he can rattle off rhetoric that would have made FDR and John Maynard Keynes proud. After all, it was in regard to the banking industry that FDR opined “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Bush, like FDR before him, is telling banks to ignore their natural fear of bankruptcy and get out there and lend some of this money the government/Federal Reserve is giving you so that we can start inflating again.
It’s sad that we as a nation have now been reduced to seeing Bush parroting the most influential figures of the school of thought and political party he was supposed to be staunchly opposed to, and I can’t help but think that it must eat at him. I’m sure that he doesn’t like the notion that he’s made a terrible mess of our nation and I’m sure he must be secretly blaming the course instructors who gave him the notes to study to begin with. “Why the hell am I having to give the speeches of FDR?” he must be wondering.
And as such I’m sure that Bush will step aside when the time comes. He must tacitly admit to himself that things haven’t gone all that well and that it’s time to step aside and let someone else can in and fail spectacularly. As for the voting public, it would seem that fake Socialism just won’t do. “Why buy imitation when you can get the real thing?” might be the thoughts of many people voting for Barrack Obama- a man who has been much more consistent in his Socialism than our current President. As Bush demonstrated in the 2004 election, the American people want consistency. They don’t want Capitalism Warmonger one day, and then Socialist international coalition builder the next.
So soon it will be Obama’s turn at the wheel and we in the United States will get to see how a real Socialist does things. I can hardly wait.