Will George W. Bush Stay in Power after 2008?

With so many political pundits in a nervous tizzy about the future political plans of Russian President Vladimir Putin, too few are scratching their thinking domes over a far more pertinent question: Will George W. Bush relinquish his presidential powers in 2008 as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, or will another national emergency, or constitutional change, keep him and his crazy corral of neoconservatives in power?

First, allow me to apologize for scribbling about politics in this column for two consecutive weeks. However, I was hit broadside this morning by news headlines that screamed irony, incompetency, lunacy and once again, vulgar stupidity.

It became easier to understand what Thomas Paine meant by “trying times” when I read on the first page of CNN: “California Wildfires Worsen, 500,000 Evacuated,” right next door to this familiar double whopper with cheese: “Bush Wants Extra $42 Billion for Wars.”

Would somebody please explain to me the Bush administration’s morbid fascination with war? Why can’t this administration – instead of sticking bayonets into wasp nests across the globe – get off page 911 and move on to more pressing issues? In its narrow-minded obstinacy, the United States is about to witness yet another pathetic Katrina scenario, with thousands of homeless evacuees seeking shelter in leaky football stadiums, complete with all of the guilt-tripping Oprah-esque handwringing to follow right after this commercial break.

Is California Governor Arnold Schwar­ze­negger terminator enough to make Washington turn its eagle beak to the West as opposed to the less negotiable Middle East? Why is Bush so gung-ho proactive when it comes to waging war on behalf of other nations, yet arrogantly passive with other far more dangerous enemies, like global warming, deteriorating inner-city infrastructure and the 50 million Americans who have no healthcare plan? Why did the neoconservatives drop out of the Kyoto Protocol coalition, but easily forged a warmongering coalition to wage an unnecessary bloodbath in Iraq?

It has almost become cliché to label these inexplicable modern events “Orwellian,” but that odd double-speak phrase, WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, which adorned the Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984, threatens to become the judgement of our days.

All apologies for those conservatives who might be reading this column with tightly pursed lips and knotted brow; but don’t worry, it is not too late to join the Green Party, for example. Anything but the Democrats, please. You may have heard what Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Guardian newspaper concerning Bush and Cheney’s unconstitutional “power grab.”

“There were a lot of actions which they [the Bush clan] took that were clearly beyond any power the Congress would have granted, or that in my view was inherent in the Constitution,” Clinton quibbled. “There were other actions they’ve taken which could have obtained Congressional authorization but they deliberately chose not to pursue it as a matter of principle.”

Asked if she would hand back some of the tempting super powers that the U.S. executive office now enjoys, Clinton feigned shock and awe when she replied, “Oh, absolutely…

I mean, that has to be part of the review that I undertake when I get to the White House, and I intend to do that.”

Yes, of course, the very first thing that any politician would do when winning ultimate power is to hand back big chunks of that ultimate power. That is why it is so vitally crucial for this two-party political game of mind-numbing table tennis to get some new players, and fast. But that would require handing over powers, Hillary, and let’s be honest here, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, who both slurp from the same contaminated teat of corporate power, are about to do such a stupid thing.

But before we even begin to speculate what may or may not happen should Hillary become the first former first lady female (oh, darn it, you know what I mean), we need to prepare ourselves for the worst-case scenario: Bush decides not to give up his cool Pennsylvania Avenue fraternity house.

During a mushroom-clouded news conference last week, where Bush actually floated the ominous specter of World War III, a journalist told the U.S. president that Vladimir Putin may become prime minister after his presidential term expires next March, “in effect keeping power.”

In response to the comment, Bush, who has 15 long months left in office, quipped: “I’ve been planning that myself.”

Wow! So there we have it: Armageddon is in the cards, Bush will become U.S. prime minister in 2009, and America will finally get that parliament the British should have given us 300 years ago. Cool!

The only problem with this scenario is that – and I don’t think I am alone here – I cannot tolerate another minute of looking at the mugshots of Bush’s cronies. As Shakespeare once commented, “There is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.” Does history know of a less attractive presidential lineup than Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, and last but certainly not least, Robert Zoellick! Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, yes, but…     

Now at this point, some readers may be cursing me and saying: Robert, all you do is criticize! Why don’t you do something significant instead of just bellyaching from your cubicle?

Dear reader! I did protest against the Lunacy, in perhaps the most painful way imaginable: I boycotted Disney World in June 2003. Yes, we had planned a Bridge family reunion in the land of Mickey, but when it was obvious even months before the military operation had commenced that war was inevitable,

I cancelled our attendance. My family still has not forgiven me the decision, but there was no way in the world I was going to sit through “It’s a Small World after all,” while knowing full well that bombs were dropping on innocent people in Baghdad.

Anyways, don’t get me wrong, I’m no knee-jerk liberal who automatically opposes military games. I cheered and went hog-wild on Pabst Blue Ribbon like any other redneck American when U.S. forces took out the testy Taliban in Afghanistan.

But invade Iraq? Why? Yes, Saddam did some nasty things, but so have many other politicians, some of whom are still walking upright and reproducing mini-me’s on a regular basis. Yet he [Saddam] was never found guilty of the two main charges leveled against him by the very virtual court of the United States: 1. supporting al-Qaeda, the desert warriors who moved to America, learned to fly commercial jets, and overwhelmed Fortress America to carry out the most lethal foreign attack on our soil; 2. nobody ever found so much as a hint of weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq.

Instead of giving the UN weapons inspectors the extra time they needed to prove Iraq’s guilt or innocence, the Bush administration decided to launch a unilateral and illegal ‘preemptive’ strike when it became obvious the search would not uncover the desperately cherished “smoking gun.”

Now the Bush administration is forced to talk about launching democracy in the Middle East on the wings of a cruise missile, at a time when democratic principles back home are riding precariously on three wobbly wheels.

So where is the world now? Iran has acquired an unpredictable president since hostilities in Iraq broke out, Turkey is bombing Kurdish positions along the Turk-Iraq border, while the Israeli-Palestinian issue still dominates American politics behind-the scenes.

Anybody for a trip to the Disney World in France? 

By Robert Bridge