Still looking for a ring to kiss
November 13, 2006
It’s been a bizarre five years, no doubt about it, but the strangest days of the Dubya Decade may still be ahead.
Though the midterm Democratic sweep has resulted in King George II getting the most skeptical and even mocking press attention he’s ever received, don’t make the mistake of thinking the mass-market media have finally wised up. They’re still looking for a ring to kiss and a soft spot where they can bend their knees. It’s just that the acclaim of the courtiers is being transferred from Incurious George to — and here’s the strangeness — his dad.
Reading this Newsweek story about the return to influence of Bush Senior and his cabal, it appears that the press’s collective memory has been expunged of the fact that George Herbert Walker Bush all but fled Washington D.C. two steps ahead of a shower of eggs and rotten fruit.
The GOP winger base scorned Bush Senior as the Man Who Screwed Up Reagan’s Legacy. Like his spawn, King George I went from a commanding high in the polls, thanks to the first Iraq invasion, to barrel bottom lows. In 1988 he plastered Mike Dukakis, admittedly a dreadful candidate and a suicidal choice for the Democrats, through a low, mean and stupid campaign engineered by Lee Atwater, the mangy cur whose fleas Karl Rove so proudly wears. Then, when Bill Clinton proved to be an unexpectedly tough candidate, Bush Senior spent his re-election bid wandering around the recessionary landscape like a head-injury patient, squawking “I care!” while his vice president and personal Mini Me, Dan Quayle, commanded the spotlight to launch attacks on . . . Murphy Brown.
Remember the trumped-up war over Noriega? Remember the appointment of Clarence Thomas, arguably the single dumbest Supreme Court justice in U.S. history? Remember the troglodyte-infested 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, with Pat Buchanan as the keynote frother? Remember the Global Crossing stock scam? Remember the pardons for the Iran-Contra conspirators, who might have sent Bush to jail if they talked? Remember NAFTA, the creation of which was spearheaded under Bush (and which, yes, Bill Clinton signed off on)? Christ, remember Bush puking on the Japanese?
The only one with any reason to think fondly of the King George I administration is William Kristol, who was able to leverage his job as advisor to the vice president (aka, “Dan Quayle’s Brain”) into the founding editorship of The Weekly Standard.
Still, I have to say I kind of like that Newsweek cover, with George Senior looming large while Lil’ Dubya is reduced to toddler size. For a guy whose obsession with outdoing his father is already legendary, that’s gotta hurt.