I would never have believed it possible. Until today that is. I’m actually starting to feel something like sympathy for George W. Bush. Now hold on a minute, let’s be clear, I’m not in the least sympathetic to his knee-jerk, pseudo-folksy, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic right-wing views, or his vile dynastic clan of Texan butt-monkeys. But his face last night, when he was addressing the US nation to explain why they would have to bail out the greediest, slimiest, richest bunch of evil corporate bloodsuckers since Cain’s hostile takeover of Abel Inc., well, it was tragedie of the first order. If you want to know what pathos is just take a look at the footage. By the end he looked like a depressed and senile bloodhound who’s discovered that chronic flatulence isn’t nearly the worst thing that can happen to you. And that with chronic diarrhoea no-one wants to stand next to you, even more so, in fact, than they did before.
It seems George, who was clearly out of his depth (Hooray, Harvard MBA) has finally realised that he is indeed the worst President ever. Worse by far than that devious, self-obsessed, corrupt and criminal swine and liar, tricky Dick Nixon. Worse even than previous record-holder Warren Harding who famously, honestly said “I’m not fit for this office.” George’s record is now a mountain that may be impossible for any subsequent Prez to match, ever.
It's quite a list: A disastrous Iraq war that costs $10 billion a month just to go nowhere; tax-breaks that made greedy, conniving, corporate scum even richer; deregulation of everything that kept those greedy scumbags in check; a complete failure to catch the nation’s most determined enemy – who lives in a cave; the creation of Gitmo concentration camps and torture as US policy; the greatest damage to human rights and freedoms in the nation’s history; and now a bailout of Wall Street to stave off a New Great Depression that’ll cost between $700 and $900 billion.
Oh, and a trillion dollar deficit to hand over to the next guy - I’m not even sure how many zeroes that is.
And as George stumbled through the speech, letting the American people know just how bad things will be without the bailout (“Fuck me, Toto, Kansas is gone, I mean, it’s just gone!”), I got the impression that he actually heard the words coming out of his own mouth for the first time and realised just how monumental a fuckup he’d created. The vicious, venal, mean-spirited, mendacious, pugnacious and just plain nasty little man could finally see it clear.
Yes George, with all the American people on your side, united by a common terrorist enemy, with a multi-trillion dollar (how much IS that?) budget surplus and a booming economy, you screwed it up worse than you could possibly have imagined. Worse than anyone could have imagined, you Hee-Haw, down-home, nukular Tex-mex moron. They’ll have to invent new words to describe it – 'cluster-fuck' simply isn’t big enough. You’re gonna be the lesson they teach to other Presidents on the dangers of hubris, unsubstantiated self-belief and delusions of competence.
And who’re they gonna call now?
The GOP, the Party of Guns, Oil and Paranoia, has the ever lovable John, “Bucket-mouth” McCain. Mac has gratefully cleared his campaign schedule (anything to avoid a debate with that Obama guy) and is rushing back to help the “corrupt Washington insiders” he’s been so keen to slag off put together the mother of all bailout schemes. It will be fascinating to see just what he can and will do, given his ardent belief in open-slather capitalism and a market free of any kind of government regulation.
But when it comes to big money so many seeming paradoxes, flim-flam and blatant bullshit is normal. ‘Short-selling’ is a practice ardently supported by traders, brokers and other assorted maggots, con-men and spivs outraged at the temporary ban on the practice. But there’s another term for selling something you don’t own to scare people into selling lower. It’s called ‘fraud’, and that’s a crime all around the world. Unless you have the suit, the expense account and the office on Wall Street, apparently that makes you immune from jail time and a candidate for massive government handouts.
But it has to happen, apparently. And no-one could possibly have seen it coming.
“America could slip into financial panic.” says George. And he’s clearly there to lead the charge.
So what of Obama? Well, nothing really. Nothing at all. Just a determination to smile, look good and turn up for the debates whether McCain does or not. He’s relying on his grasp of semantics to win the small-screen battle and make McCain look like the dinosaur he is (McCain thinks semantics is what the Marx Brothers got up to).
Obama met with GWB, along with the old fart and made clear his determination to solve the problems, look clean and 'presidential' and wholesome and make the glorious United States of America great/proud/safe/confident/whole-grain/sexy/low-tar/super-sized/low-cholesterol/insert any fatuous poll-tested adjective here.
But of specifics? Bugger all. Not a gnat’s arse of detail. The biggest problem he faces, in fact, is that he might win the election and face the biggest clean up job since King Kong’s corpse was stinking up New York. Whoever wins they’ll be neck-deep in shit from day one. And if Obama’s an unknown quantity McCain looks dangerously underdone in the economic, foreign policy, ‘rational approach to anything at all’ department. That’s the big problem with having ‘character’ as your primary qualification; it’s no substitute for understanding, skill, wit, wisdom, knowledge or a plan.
Thank God I’m not an American.
Thank God I’m not a Moroccan too. Because then I’d be forced to draw some fairly ghastly inferences from today’s news from that beautiful, sun-kissed, date-flavoured and camel-rich country.
The government there has closed down sixty Koranic schools run by Sheikh Mohamed Ben Abderrahman Al-Maghraoui (who I’m sure you’re all aware of) who decreed earlier this month that the marriage of nine-year-old girls is allowed by Islam. A wave of outrage at this “call to legalise paedophilia” in Morocco followed the publication of Sheikh Maghraoui’s decree. Apparently the Sheikh had logically extrapolated (which is allowed in Islam but not in Catholicism) from the marriage of the Prophet (blessings be upon him) to his favourite wife Ayshea, who was nine at the time they wed. Maghraoui’s decree was apparently based on his belief that the marriage was consummated immediately, which is emphatically NOT the general view among Islamic scholars. Perhaps they should be more outraged at what Maghraoui’s decree implies about the Prophet himself.