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Bush the Dissident
August 19, 2007 11:39 PM   Subscribe

Bush the Dissident. (WaPo) Background (and previously) here here here here and here.
posted by Avenger (45 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Within weeks, according to several aides, Bush called his chief speechwriter, Michael J. Gerson, to discuss using his second inaugural address to "plant a flag" for democracy around the world. Bush had made democracy in the Middle East a cornerstone of his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but now he wanted to broaden the goal.

[...]

Such sweeping rhetoric might have generated objections from the professional diplomats at the State Department who normally review presidential addresses. "That's why you don't show them the speech," Bartlett explained."

posted by Avenger at 11:40 PM on August 19, 2007


I think Bon Jovi said it best.
posted by Poolio at 11:49 PM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dissident President Bush - A dissident on planet Earth, separated from planet Republica by the cruel hand of reality.

He speaks only in a strange language known as Bushismsmsms and communicates only in rooms filled with American military and friendly handlers.

Will he reach home? Will he be able to travel back to the past and his home planet?

Tune in next week, same bats time, same bats channel.

And wish that 2008 would come sooner.
posted by sien at 12:07 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


And wish that 2008 January 20, 2009 would come sooner.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Poolio at 12:10 AM on August 20, 2007


Unless, of course, Giuliani is elected.
posted by Poolio at 12:12 AM on August 20, 2007


Bush isn't even a very smart dissident. Democracy itself is relatively unimportant; it's civil liberties and freedom of speech that matter.

Even if a government is a monarchy/dictatorship, if the government is sharply limited in its power over individual people, it can be a very good way to run a country. (you could argue that 'dictatorship' implies that there are no civil liberties, but I suppose that's how the phrase 'benevolent despot' came about.)

From that WaPo article, it appears he's focused on form, not function. He has some murky idea that democracy is good, so he preaches the gospel, while simultaneously turning his own democracy into a police state.
posted by Malor at 12:15 AM on August 20, 2007


Bush is like, totally, dissident-like
posted by growabrain at 12:18 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Time to add dissident to the dictionary.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think Bon Jovi said it best.

Amen, brother.
posted by dhammond at 12:28 AM on August 20, 2007


518 days.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:44 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bush is not trying to promote democracy in the middle east. He's doing everything he can to crush it. Everytime I hear someone repeat this ridiculous "Bush's push for democracy" propaganda, I want to throw something at them.
posted by Clay201 at 1:48 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Less than two months later, Vice President Cheney went to Lithuania to deliver the toughest U.S. indictment of Putin's leadership. But the next day, Cheney flew to oil-rich Kazakhstan and embraced its autocratic leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, with not a word of criticism. The juxtaposition made the talk of democracy look phony and provided ammunition to the Kremlin.
posted by stammer at 2:18 AM on August 20, 2007


This is funny:

When tanks rolled through Bangkok in a military coup overthrowing Thailand's elected prime minister, Bush was at the United Nations delivering a speech on democracy. But Bush mustered no outrage on behalf of the ousted Thai leader and left town without seeing him, even though he was also at the United Nations. The National Security Council pushed for a stronger response, but the State Department and the office of the vice president resisted. "OVP has this little-girl crush on strongmen," said an official on the losing side.
posted by stammer at 2:24 AM on August 20, 2007


The way he refers to himself is fascinating. "War President" "Decider" - the comparisons to Winston Churchill and the claims that it will take us decades to appreciate him. He might have confused "appreciate" with "recover from" - you know how words trip him up. Surely the president isn't the power-sick sociopath he comes across as, right? Right?

Now he's a "dissident" - When he declares a third term for himself in 2008, he'll have moved on to "divine."
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:53 AM on August 20, 2007


When he declares a third term for himself in 2008

nah, he'll just go to President-for-life. it worked for Julius Caesar!

google cache of an article from family security matters suggesting bush take the Roman approach.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:02 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Clay201: Your computer is repeating that line right now. Maybe you should throw a heavy rock at it.
posted by Slap Factory at 5:01 AM on August 20, 2007


The only thing Bush is really dissenting against is the Constitution. Damn piece of paper.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:18 AM on August 20, 2007


From rmd1023's link "When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army."

The sound you just heard is my jaw hitting the ground. There are still people who can sincerely express these ideas? Oh my God. (This is just one example, that entire article is a doozy.)
posted by oddman at 5:19 AM on August 20, 2007


Surely the president isn't the power-sick sociopath he comes across as, right?

Right. Cheney is the power-sick sociopath that Bush comes across as. Bush is a tool.
posted by DU at 5:21 AM on August 20, 2007


The man is delusional. Actually, maybe that's what he meant to say? "I'm not the only delusional world leader around here!" Ain't that the truth.
posted by Drexen at 5:37 AM on August 20, 2007


The poor guy just wants to save the world.
Why won't anybody just let him save the world
(and install his own sense of justice.)
posted by Balisong at 5:54 AM on August 20, 2007


The Washington Post is a whore of a newspaper.

Bush was never seriously interested in democracy in Palestine, because they turned their backs on the people elected. It seems like what bush wants is a 'democratic' rubber stamp on American policies.
posted by delmoi at 6:07 AM on August 20, 2007


google cache of an article from family security matters suggesting bush take the Roman approach.

Awesome. I can't wait to see who our versions of Caligula, Nero, and Commodus are.

Honestly, I've always thought Bush to be less Ceaser and more Claudius (Drooling, incompetent, idiot etc.) to the Neocon Praetorian Guard who installed him.
posted by jlowen at 6:14 AM on August 20, 2007


Claudius was a basically good guy who was prematurely senile. So maybe Reagan. Bush, OTOH, is more like Tiberius: paranoid and tyrannical.
posted by DU at 6:18 AM on August 20, 2007


He's only a dissident because he can't read his own writing.
posted by bink at 6:19 AM on August 20, 2007


google cache of an article from family security matters suggesting bush take the Roman approach.

Si vis pacem, para bellum. Or: Nuke the Muslims until the desert is glass, and let God and Jesus sort them out.

The Washington Post is a whore of a newspaper.

This latest piece is just the tip of the iceberg. WaPo has long been a bit of a joke, an amateurish, newspeak equivalent of the Ministry of Truth.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:21 AM on August 20, 2007


I wonder what His Royal Highness Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud thinks about all of this hilarious talk of "democracy."

I mean, is it material for the warm up guy, or is it funny enough to be the headliner?
posted by four panels at 6:47 AM on August 20, 2007


Dear Mr. President,
You are not a dissident. You are a fuck-up. There is a difference.
Sincerely,
98.5% of the world's population
posted by bashos_frog at 6:58 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


From the Family Security Matters link. My emphasis:

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed.

Can we finally stop talking about tough vs. weak, hawk vs. bleeding-heart and start talking about right vs. wrong -- as in factually right vs. wrong?
posted by PlusDistance at 7:01 AM on August 20, 2007


I am not a reader of the WaPo, but I followed the link and read most of the article. Seriously, please tell me that they are part of TheOnion's media empire. That is the only way any of that article could ever make sense.
posted by michswiss at 7:08 AM on August 20, 2007


For the record, I interpreted the over-arching theme of the article as being that the administration is so incompetent that they can't even do their own demagoguing right.
posted by Avenger at 8:00 AM on August 20, 2007


The bio of Philip Atkinson, author of the Family Security Matters "why Bush should be president for life" article, is hysterical. Apparently, getting beaten up by bullies repeatedly as a child really does greatly improve one's chances in life of growing up fascist. The last two lines are gems:

In January 2000 I became an Internet publisher, placing a variety of books 'online' at my own expense, in an attempt to preserve some of the vanishing wisdom of humanity.

Early in 2004 I realized that not only did my theory clarify the subject of civilization, but it also clarified that of Philosophy, so ever since then I have considered myself a philosopher.

posted by Atom Eyes at 8:33 AM on August 20, 2007


The problem (well, one of the problems) as I see it with Bush and Co. is that they want it both ways: they want to create popularly supported democracies in the Middle East, but they also want US friendly governments - goals pretty close to incompatable even before the second Iraq war. So they keep throwing out good-sounding rhetoric and then backpedal furiously when someone like Hamas in Palestine succeeds in a democratic forum. I think the Bush team's hypocrisy on this issue is a function of their inability to realize the difficulty of reconciling these two goals, and that their own actions are making such a reconciliation even more difficult month by month.
posted by Anduruna at 8:44 AM on August 20, 2007


"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.' "

-- Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill
posted by blucevalo at 9:04 AM on August 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Find the Kid a Job"...
posted by homunculus at 10:26 AM on August 20, 2007


The War as We Saw It
posted by homunculus at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2007


It seems to me that when it comes to the subject of "Bush's mood," most of Peter Baker's articles have a distinct air of absurdity. But I suppose it would be difficult cover this President without it sounding like farce.
posted by zennie at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2007


From the New York Times opinion piece linked by homunculus: "They [Iraqis] will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal."

Actually, there's no "soon" about it. They have already gone long past that realization, which is why the place is the hellhole that it currently is.
posted by blucevalo at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2007


Nazarbayev wants to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors elections. Some Bush aides are appalled that voting would be overseen by a man who arranged his reelection with 91 percent of the vote and changed the constitution in May to allow himself to remain in office for life.
Now that's just comedy gold right there.
posted by Brak at 1:12 PM on August 20, 2007


It's a shame that this thread turned into just another chance to yell out how terrible Bush is; this is a fairly interesting article that shows some real tensions within the oft-assumed monolith that is the Bush administration.

But hey, I'm one of those people who didn't have a real problem with the idea of the Iraq War, just that the execution was going to be an absolute clusterfuck. It's interesting to see how Bush has seized upon something that I think is a good global goal, that of promoting liberal democracy as the best form of government, but isn't able to concieve of it as a complex thing that has to be nurtured rather than simple carpet bombed onto "those people."

And yeah, another thing that makes it interesting is how far he is from practicing the ideals of liberal democracy at home, which I think also shows how shallow his comprehension of it is, but since I don't believe Bush to be a self-reflective man, I can see how that happens.
posted by klangklangston at 1:41 PM on August 20, 2007


klangklangston, I think part of the problem is that what made the Iraq War a bad idea in and of itself is the fact the its successful exectution was so unlikely (if not downright impossible). This whole notion of "let's get all the bad guys" - no one really objects to that - the problem is that we don't all agree on who the bad guys are, or what are the most effective means of getting them (ie, the exectuion of the plan). No different, really, from his "Let's put a man on Mars" spiel. Too bad the trillions didn't go in part to that (as well as any one of countless other more important priorities)...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 1:58 PM on August 20, 2007


He based his ideas on democracy in the world on Natan Sharansky, whose idea of democracy in his own country is a democracy for one group, and death and despair for the other. Hardly surprising.
posted by cell divide at 2:04 PM on August 20, 2007


The Washington Post is a whore of a newspaper.

This latest piece is just the tip of the iceberg. WaPo has long been a bit of a joke, an amateurish, newspeak equivalent of the Ministry of Truth.

The Washington Post? This Washington Post?

That's sad and horrible all at once. Was the paper sold off, or did I miss some other information about its sad decline?

I loved the line about how "democracy was one of the cornerstones of Bush's response to 9/11". Yeah, right.
posted by jokeefe at 5:05 PM on August 20, 2007


"Early in 2004 I realized that not only did my theory clarify the subject of civilization, but it also clarified that of Philosophy, so ever since then I have considered myself a philosopher."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh man, good one.
posted by oddman at 6:55 AM on August 21, 2007


Interesting article.

The thing that stuck out and summed up the administrations position, for me, was one sentence.

"The group adjourned to lunch in the White House mess, where, Gaddis later recalled in a lecture, Rove recommended the "chocolate freedom tart," a French desert renamed during the Iraq invasion."


This really goes to the heart of their "humour" and speaks to their inability to get passed any dissent and a wanton perpetuation of grudge holding.

This sentence surely made the pacifier sucking White House happy. Karl made a funny. Not through self deprecation, pun or wit of observance. His was a spite filled laugh, at a generalized other, followed, I'd imagine, with a wild waving of glittering genitalia and the shoving of lady liberty up his ass.
posted by phoque at 2:02 PM on August 21, 2007


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