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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Presidents and Irrelevance

How quickly do the blustery storms of windy bravado become the squawks of a cold little man in the last throws of leadership!

Below thirty is not only chilly on a Fahrenheit thermometer. It's also a frosty place to be in an opinion poll, and that's where the President of the United States finds himself these days. The White House this weekend dismissed Jimmy Carter's opinion of the present administration's foreign policy as the "worst in history" by arguing that the former president and recent Nobel laureate is becoming "increasingly irrelevant." The question is, with Bush's numbers in the deep freeze, just who's opinion exactly is "irrelevant?"

The world stopped listening to George W. Bush four years ago when he launched an unprovoked, negligibly supported war in Iraq. Despite what the media called a "mandate" following the close 2004 elections, the confetti at the inauguration had not even stopped falling when the President's numbers began their slide. After getting us into an endless war and showing blind support for Michael Brown after Hurricane Katrina, does anyone really care about his opinion about what the Lebanese are doing to the Palestinian refugee camps, or whether or not he is confident of Alberto Gonzales?

We have a low opinion of the President because, like the drug addict he once was, he has shown horrible judgement. If he has poor judgement, his assessment of any situation (other than, perhaps, what his Scottish Terriers' poop smells like) is completely without weight or merit.

For some presidents, strong presidents, honorable presidents, opinions can be easily converted to calls to action. Recommendations are considered, coherent arguments are made, and a good government functions. But a president with a track record of mismanagement on - literally - a global scale, is weak and has no honor, and deserves (arguably) only the honorific of his office as a modicum of respect. He is not just a lame duck. He's just lame.

The problem is, if one day he realizes the level of his impotence, and graciously removes himself from office, we may no longer have a screaming Lilliputian on our shoulder, but we will still have to deal with the Cheney in our shoe.

But the high office of leadership is bigger than one man. Each of the three branches of government strives for the permanence of its opinions, and each wields a pen to imbed those ideas into the foundation of our government and the fabric of our society. I hope one of them has the wisdom to build the necessary consensus that will help us recover from this time of the worst US government in history.
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