Why exactly are we so disappointed with George W Bush (43) ?

Having watched a lot of news coverage over the past few days, my thinking about 43 has come around a few cycles. I used to think he was an oilman first, politician second. That is, his basic mission in the White House was “lets put cash in the pockets of all my friends in the oil industry”. I didn’t think he was nearly as brain dead as he comes across when he gives a speech — I just attributed that to his being dorky. I thought he was rather smart, just ( as he might put it ) “communicationally impaired”, a state of affairs I’m rather familiar with.

However, 43’s response to September 11 was interesting: his promise to hunt down and kill terrorists had all the swagger of the classic cowboy diplomat. In a few glimpses of Bush after 9/11, he did seem to have found a role in which he could thrive. Whereas his oil money distribution plan was always ongoing in the background ( witness the Enron embezzlement and drilling in Alaska ) Bush was busy directing the “War on Terrorism”. One of his roles was to dehumanize the terrorists so that their eventual slaughter would be less of an issue. Admittedly, having Al Queda as an enemy and 9/11 as an act to follow makes this a pretty easy job. 43 thrived. Shined, even.

But in the walkup to the current attack on Iraq, the facade started to crumble, and I came to see Bush as the boy toy of Washington hawks Cheney, Rumsfeld, and ( I was to learn later ) Wolfowitz. What changed? The first clue was seeing Colin Powell address the UN to present the administration’s case on Iraq. He was professional and tried to be convincing, to be sure, but I don’t think he really believed in the program at that point. I think he saw the administration on course for war no matter what, and a few months of dillying with the UN wouldn’t hurt, because it would take a few months to mobilize anyway. So Powell was the front man for the diplomacy angle at the UN, so that when it is revealed that the US never actually cared about the UN or the inspectors or the Security Council, Powell will be the damaged one.

Powell, of course had always been the one in the administration preaching diplomacy and patience, in line with the philosophy of Papa Bush (41). He lost to the neo-Reaganite wing of Cheney et al. Ironic that Bush Jr. is philosophically a son of Reagan than a son of Bush. (Cheap shot: he’s a SORe, not an SOB). Not just that he’s Bush Jr., but also that Reagan was The Great Communicator.

So now, the revelation. Bush really is as mentally-challenged as he appears. He really does believe that a military victory in Iraq will magically solve the problems of terrorism. He really does believe that America’s enemies are subhuman and undeserving of any sort of humane treatment. He really does believe that the war will magically pay for itself and that there is no need to rework his plans for tax cuts. He really does believe that working Medicare and Education into his speech on the eve of war will make Americans think he is the Education and Medicare president. He really does think that Daddy lost his reelection because of 41’s failure to get rid of Saddam Hussein. He really doesn’t appreciate the value of the decades of coalition building and international friendships which have been thrown away. And yes, he really does believe that his Cabinet has only the best interests of America at heart.

It boils down to this: Bush is everything that Reagan was, minus the ability to communicate.

Tomo often says when we see Bush on the news: “He looks like he should have been born as a dog. See — he’s got those cute puppy eyes and that loyal puppy look — he would have made a great puppy”. I’ve got to agree, and not just because I’m her husband.