Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On the "incompetence" of Bush

George W. Bush does a passable imitation of a moron. But is he?

A bit of history here. I lived through the Reagan administration. The administration of Ronald Reagan was one of the most corrupt in our nation's history. This was an era of $500 hammers and $2 billion dollar bombers. More Reagan Administration officials were convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors than even Nixon officials.

Yet none of this seemed to stick to Reagan personally. Why? Because he projected the image of the affable moron to the general public. When Ronald Reagan appeared before Congress and replied "I don't recall" time after time when asked questions about breaking the law against sending money to a bunch of Somoza's drug-running goons called "Contras" by the Reaganites, everybody just shook their head and sighed. Because they believed him. Surely he was just too senile, too genial an old fool, to have anything to do with planning something so vile and evil as financing the drug dealers who brought the crack cocaine epidemic to Los Angeles?

Thing is, Reagan really wasn't that senile. Oh sure, he wasn't a detail man by any means. But on the important things, he was notorious for listening to everybody's input, then making a decision that showed he had a firmer grasp on the big picture than anybody else in that room. For example, when the U.S. involvement in the Lebanese Civil War on behalf of Israel caught U.S. troops in the crossfire and a couple hundred U.S. Marines got blown to smithereens, Reagan told the Israelis, "Screw you, you're not worth one dead American" and pulled the Marines out and let the Israelis and Syrians figure it out. He had an firm grasp of the big picture -- that there wasn't a single U.S. interest being served by having American troops in Lebanon -- and yanked the troops out (after running a few raids to "punish" Hamas, and shelling the heck out of the Muslim suburbs with 16" shells from a U.S. battleship).

Yet because he played the genial fool, he literally got away with murder. When he died, nobody brought up the fact that he had one of the most corrupt Republican administration since the days of Ullyses S. Grant. They just remembered the genial old cowboy who was a nice old dude. So here's a question: Is Bush really as incompetent and stupid as he seems? Or is this just another Reagan-style act to avoid being prosecuted for the crimes of his subordinates (e.g. obstruction of justice by Alberto Gonzales, illegally wiretapping Americans without FISA approval, etc.)?

-- Badtux the Interested Penguin


  1. I think he's about as dumb as he seems. He's got his daddy's friends and allies to help him make decisions, invade sovereign nations, and try to take away our civil rights. He's the classical puppet for the handlers' puppet regime.

    I mean, just look at the man speak! He's a bleeding moron! Who else would wipe bird shit all over his sleeve while addressing a crowd?


  2. Being a veteran of the Reagan era, I can tell you one big difference. The money budgeted for the military was actually used for military personnel and equipment, scared the shit out of the soviets.

    Now the money budgeted for the military is going thru private contractors which ends up wasting or losing most of it before the troops see cent of it. The military is left short of equipment and manpower, fighting media-based (or media-biased) conflicts, in opposition to our own military's warfare doctrine.

    Reagan at least had some competent advisors (noticed I said some). I don't think there is any "competence" in our executive branch at the moment.

  3. You know, I've seen clips of DubYa debating Ann Richards back when he was running for governor of Texas. He didn't seem nearly as dumb back then. No Rhodes Scholar, sure, but he was quick on the uptake, answered questions fairly lucidly, and had none of the jaw-droppingly stupid verbal gaffes that he makes on a daily basis now. So maybe there is something to this "playing stupid, just like Ronnie" theory.

    Or maybe he was just sober back then, and he's returned to the sauce and the nose candy now...

  4. I look at Bush's resume- *everything* that boy has touched has failed or been further screwed up. I blame him.

  5. From Nixon to Reagan to Bush to Bush. one set of ideas motivated every GOP operative:Destroy government effectiveness; destroy the constitution; destroy the rule of law; shovel all the money into the hands of large corporations; make the world serve only those corporations.
    They keep getting better at it.
    Next time we'll give them everything with shouts of huzzah!
    the very pessimistic Dum Luk

  6. I personally think it's a mix of both the "affable-moron" and "calculating detail man". I have no doubt that he is trying to live up to Reagan's legacy. Yet I also believe his handlers (Rove, Cheney, etc.) play a huge role in how he operates, but I don't think they're necessarily pulling the strings all of the time. His use of "signing statements" leads me to believe that he is at least somewhat aware that some of the things he's doing aren't on the up-and-up and those can't all be dictated by Rove and crew. He almost comes across as the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. The problem being that for most of America, it took way too long to notice the "sharp teeth" or "big ears".


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