On the Next Greyhound Out of Town

by Byron King

I believe that George W. Bush truly wants to lose the upcoming election. I have been suspicious for some time, what with all of the stupid things that he and his incompetent staff have accomplished to alienate his political base. And this does not get into the W-Administration’s errors and omissions of the purely “business” matters of governance, such as the mishandling of war and peace issues, and the neglect or malpractice on bread and butter issues that control the voting decisions of Joe & Susie Six-pack. We will count the votes on election night and see if I am right.

I am no psychiatrist, but I have to wonder if deep down, W thinks that he has accomplished his goal of getting elected and now he can call it quits. At this stage, maybe he just wants to bring his presidency to an end and go back to Crawford and plow furrows in his fields, or punch cattle, or bust his broncos, or do whatever else there is to do down there in Texas. He owes nothing to anyone at this stage of life. The kids are finished with college, and now he can even use the Oval Office to slam the Ivy League “legacy-admissions” issue for cheap thrills and vote pandering. And maybe one of those publisher-guys will stroke him a big one to have some ghostwriter knock out the old memoirs. No one begrudges a big payday to a former U.S. President for the obligatory tell-some-not-all book.

W seems to have forgotten to mention any of this to the Republican Party. Damn. He should have just admitted to himself and to others that the job is too much for him, that he needs a break, and that he just wants to take his cards off the table and get on the next Greyhound out of town to Splits-ville. Had he done this, then the Grand Old Party could have had a somewhat orderly Primary season and found another person to present to the American voters as the potential Number 44.

But no. Instead, W struts his stuff and tries to act presidential.

W burns holes in the sky with Air Force 1, flitting from this fund-raiser over here to that fund-raiser over there like some blue hummingbird on steroids.

W signs, without reading, every legislative act that the U.S. Congress sends his way, having never vetoed anything that came over from Capitol Hill, let alone a spending bill.

W re-nominates the geriatric Alan Greenspan, whose makeup job makes Al Gore look good by comparison, to run the FED, in return for which cushy sinecure the central banker agrees to keep real interest rates at negative levels and guarantee future mal-investment in an already declining economy.

W lines up cops and soldiers as background scenery wherever he goes, and gives meaningless speeches about the “war on terror,” and drones-on about how “the evil ones hate us for our freedom.” (Hmmm…I thought they hated us for using U.S. economic and military power to try to impose U.S. hegemony on their part of the world.)

W jogs or rides his mountain bike or plays golf, when he ought to be visiting guys with no arms or legs in VA Hospitals.

And now, the Democrats have nominated for president one John F. Kerry, a U.S. Senator of minimal accomplishment (one of two, by the way) from the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Massachusetts. JFK’s long but thin political resume makes him one of the weakest candidates, and least qualified men, ever to run for the nation’s highest office under the flag of a major party, at least since the Democrats placed Woodrow Wilson before the voters. The Kerry nomination is such a transparent sham that I am suspicious that the Democrats also are not serious about winning the election, let along attempting to govern the nation for the next four years. What do they know or suspect that they are not telling us?

In the face of this ridiculous nomination by the Democrats of an almost empty suit, W denounces the right to free speech of U.S. citizens who have put their reputations on the line to bring some semblance of perspective to the unfortunate balance of the two candidates. Maybe John Kerry is, as he has pointed out about himself ad nauseam, a big-shot hero based on his four months in Viet Nam during a war long ago. And maybe he is, as 254 of his former Navy colleagues are claiming, something akin to a fraud and a charlatan. Or maybe he is some of both. Life is not fair. But if the Kerry-critics who served with him back in his days on the Mekong River are silenced by the speech-chilling intimidation of the candidates from both parties, including a sitting president, we will never have a chance to decide the matter, will we?

To compound the problem of the unfairness of life, someone is going to have to win the next election and take the office of the U.S. President next January. Why anyone would want the job for the next 40 or 50 years, I cannot understand. But someone will get the job, and we hope serve well and honorably in the office. I would prefer neither of the major-party options, but we all know that is not going to happen. And they say that not to choose is also to choose. So what can one do?

It is a shame. Life could have been very sweet for W, except that it is too late in the game for him to back out of the run for his re-election. Maybe W and Laura do not have to pay any more full-ride tuition bills to Yale. But the American people have paid one hell of a tuition bill to send W to school for the past four years. The American taxpayers have paid darn good money to teach W about geography and economics. Whatever has not been paid out of taxpayer cash flow, has been borrowed at compound interest, and a significant amount of it from our new best friends the Chinese. And speaking of tuitions, we cannot forget the American mothers who have paid the Gold Star price to teach W about the nation’s covenant with power in this world. The idea of having to start the home-schooling process all over with another Skull & Bones man just repulses me.

If good judgment comes from hard experience, and hard experience comes from making mistakes, then W ought to have a PhD in good judgment at this point. We can only hope that W remembers some of his lessons, because I am sure W is going to need a lot of that good judgment-stuff, if he does not manage to lose the election to the other guy.

Byron King is a graduate of Harvard University and currently serves as an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.