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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media


Last month, noted Republican pundit Robert Novak wrote about a phenomenon unthinkable a few brief years ago: that George W. Bush is in the process of being abandoned by his party. Is it true? Could the boy wonder that served as the centerpiece of what was to be an all-but-permanent Republican majority in all branches of government not so very long ago be in danger of a petard hoist by the very people who put him in office? Or is Novak simply attempting to salvage his party’s chances at holding on to the White House in ’08, now that the wheels have fallen off the wagon of the Bush presidency?

Scandal abounds. The Gonzales fiasco concerning the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the incipient closing of the prison in Guantanamo, the Abramoff affair, Abu Gharib, the Niger yellowcake forgeries and the consequent outing of Joe Wilson, Cheney’s profiteering allies at Halliburton, the aborted Harriet Miers appointment, and many more that we omit for the sake of space add up to the most scandal-bound administration in memory. It can’t all be parlor games played by the “liberal media.” After a while, one realizes that where there is smoke, there is fire, and those that forecast doom for the President’s second term seem now remarkably prescient: as has been noted elsewhere, second terms are usually very bloody affairs. Bush Sr. and Jimmy Carter were spared the letting, but if we look at the terms of Clinton, Reagan and Nixon we see Zippergate, Iran-Contra and Watergate, all which ended those terms-in-office in less than triumphal airs.

In this environment does the very public break Matthew Dowd, one of the chief architects and strategists of this second term, made with the President seem just like the first of the rats fleeing the sinking ship of state. Dowd’s rationale behind breaking with Bush was more emotional than mere political expediency, as he has a son deployed to Iraq, and his doubts about the centerpiece of Bush’s foreign policy finally grew to overtake him. The President’s remaining partisans note that Dowd also supported President Clinton, and decry him as a less than pure believer. But Dowd was a believer: as he told the New York Times, “I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things.”

How does this relate to the Republican congressmen Novak mentions? Perhaps one of Novakula’s shadowy sources, a “House [of Representatives] leader” can shed some light: “We always have claimed that we were the party of better management,” the source said. “How can we claim that anymore?” Under the Bush term, a solid Republican majority in Congress has moved decidedly to the Democrats, while his own approval rating has plunged from over ninety percent just after the Sept. 11 attacks to less than thirty percent. When a talented baseball team tanks, you fire the coach. When a company goes bankrupt, you blame the managers. Draw your own conclusions.

The problem for the Republicans now is that they can’t claim that Bush was never their man. Any critic of the President has at the ready numerous stories of being branded a “terrorist enabler” or a “moonbat liberal” suffering from “Bush derangement syndrome.” Who’s laughing now?

The answer: nobody. Well, strike that. The Democrats are, but they should realize that this is their baby, too. The 90 percent that supported the President didn’t materialize out of thin air, and by our tabulation there is only one Democrat in the Senate who did not vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, and that is Barack Obama. Everyone else, outside of those that broke America’s social contract and fled after the 2004 election, should realize that if Bush failed, it was a failure of government, plain and simple. And the government, ostensibly, works for us. Our elected representatives failed to accomplish the task they were entrusted with, to legislate fairly and responsibly in the name of the American body politic. The Democrats can laugh, but it’s better they justify their gains in the 2006 midterms and get to fixing this mess we’re in.