(cross-posted at the Smirking Chimp and Daily Kos)
If you, like me, have been wondering how this incredibly grotesque, outrageously pig-ignorant President was forced upon us, and why it's so difficult to stop him, I've given some thought to the matter.
Remember when he was running in '99? He was so uninformed and bumptious it was laughable. Especially since we had been used to having an intelligent President with an active brain for the eight years before. Lined up against the other candidates, he looked like a pimply-faced frat boy at a VFW lodge.
But, with hindsight being 20/20, it now seems inevitable. The stars were in alignment, and a peculiar set of circumstances were in place to insure an unstoppable Republican juggernaut.
First of all, no candidate in recent history has been the son of a President - and Bush Senior was not just a President, but the son of a Senator (Prescott Bush) as well as the scion of an international financial powerhouse - generations of power and influence whose tentacles reached into every nook and cranny of American finance and government. You'd have to go back to John F. Kennedy to find a similar lineage. LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton - all self-made men who did not have family ties to power. What power they had they forged themselves (with the possible exception of Reagan, but his advocates were financial and corporate, not familial, and it was his own celebrity which made him a desirable candidate.) They could be taken down without reprisal. And the Kennedys, the other political dynasty, unlike the Bushes, have not fared well. Their lineage was also of more recent date, and their Catholicism somewhat suspect. The Bushes not only had financial, social and government capital, but they married into more, joining forces with the Walkers, who controlled the Harriman investment firm. Both Bush 43 and his father were named for George Senior's maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker. Dubya's great-grandfather Samuel Prescott Bush, the patriarch of the Bush dynasty, was a wealthy industrialist who was appointed to the War Industries Board in 1918 by banker Bernard Baruch, and from then on, the Bushes were inextricably connected to the forces that pulled the strings and dictated the policy in the United States.
George Senior was not only vice-president and President, but also briefly the head of the CIA. He was chairman of the Republican National Committee during Nixon's presidency, and the men he worked with from that time would go on to infest his hapless son's Administration - Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, John Negroponte, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, to name a few. And in what can only be viewed as the most bizarre of coincidences, most of them happened to be signatories to the document known as the Project for a New American Century - the neoconservative blueprint for permanent military dominance abroad, and permanent conservative dominance at home. Other signatories included Dan Quayle, George Sr.'s vice-president and Jeb Bush, Dubya's brother.
The other factor besides, or I should better say intertwined with, the government influence was oil money influence. The Bush family, as everyone now knows, has had a thirty-year relationship with the House of Saud - so close that they considered each other practically family. And with oil, of course, comes the servicing of oil, and the defense of oil - and vice-president Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton, one of the largest and most powerful oil servicing companies in the world. Although he resigned shortly before selecting himself as George W.'s vice-president, he still receives deferred compensation and stock options. Speaking of Halliburton stock, there's an interesting relationship between the price of Halliburton stock, the number of American soldiers killed, and Halliburton's Iraq revenue. George Sr. struck out West, far from his preppy Connecticut roots, to make his fortune in oil, and after his presidency joined the powerful venture capital Carlyle Group, made up of the world's most powerful people. His son became the fortunate recipient of millions of dollars in oil money toward his Presidential campaign, as well as the influence that only the son of another President can guarantee.
Scores of books have been written about the Bush family and their connections, so I don't really need to elaborate much more, but my point is this:
Unlike most presidential races, George W. Bush's 'Presidency', I believe, could not have been stopped. It didn't matter whether it was George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, or Neil Bush - or Barney Bush, for that matter. In fact, the smart money was on Jeb (his parents certainly thought so, and were shocked when the idiot wastrel took the prize) and if it were not for Karl Rove's man-crush on Dubya, I believe it would have been. But I do not doubt that it would have been a Bush.
We are not up against just one person, but the entire military/industrial/corporate complex that spins the wheels of the world - the 'shot-callers', as they're known in the gang world. Bushes do not pay for their mistakes - others do, always. When a Bush fails, he fails upwards. And no one has failed better or higher than George Walker Bush.
The reason that Dubya is able to get away with thumbing his nose and giving the middle finger to Congress, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and to the American people - and the world, for that matter - is that when you cross Dubya, you're not just crossing one person. You're crossing the entire military/industrial/corporate complex - he's just the smirking, simian face of it. And you'd better believe he relishes every second of it. When Bill Clinton was president, he could be crossed with impunity, because he did not have what the Chimperor has - the family, money and power going back almost a hundred years. So, while I am not giving the Dems a pass for not standing up to him, I can understand what makes it so very difficult. By defying the Bush machine, you may very well be writing your own financial and career epitaph for decades to come, and a lot of people are simply not ready to do that.
I believe that it is going to take a grass-roots progressive populist groundswell, because there may not be enough political will to make it happen. John Edwards' media black-out is one indication of how afraid, how very afraid, those at the mercy of these corporations are of what they know to be true - that these powers-that-be are willing to take down anyone that threatens their dominance, and can do so with impunity.
It's the elephant in the middle of the room, and atop it sits a grinning little monkey.