A Golden Parachute For George Walker Bush

First of all, there’s precedent. He’s been consistently bailed-out of his other failures throughout a lifetime of coming-up-short. It’s time to take the man aside yet again, pay off his debts, settle the pending suits, assuage the stockholders, buck-up his fragile self-image and put him out to pasture on the ranch he loves so well. Send him home to hug his pillow, pet his cat and perhaps, if he finds the time, learn to ride a horse. It is Texas after all, and a transplanted Easterner ought at least be able to keep a leg on each side of a horse. All are activities suggestive of immediately reducing the Homeland Security Advisory Alert from frantic to relatively tranquil.

We missed all the clues. It’s our collective fault and can’t be blamed on Karl Rove. Our glasses got all fogged up by a grin and transplanted swagger. The country was waltzed past his curriculum vitae by the Marine Band and we never took notes. Dad’s lack of enthusiasm was fobbed off as the usual psychological hocus-pocus between competitive males. Mistake on our part.

A mistake, normally curable by America’s strength to endure almost anything for eight years. In ordinary times, at least, which times these are not. There are those who made wild-eyed accusations against this president and I was not among them. My eyes were never wild. Embarrassed perhaps, abashed in my naivete, as each came true in excruciating detail. There are those who reflexively hate Republicans and I am not among them either. I used to be of their persuasion, although the party of my younger years gets increasingly difficult to recognize.

There are those who stood drop-jawed as this president tore our national security, civil freedoms and international reputation to shreds and I was among them from the very start. In the unbelievably short span of five years,GWB has wholesaled off an entire democratic republic

  • Transferring its assets to the rich
  • Transforming its fortitude and energy to fear
  • Its democratic roots to class divisions
  • Its trusting nature to suspicion and hatred
  • Its peaceful nature to war without end or direction
  • Its sense of equity to celebratios of greed
  • Its admiration of character to a culture of character-assassination
  • Its native inclusiveness to mindless exclusivity

Diversifying assets, selling off divisions, laying off workers and closing resources are all tactics of the corporate raider. Self-serving actions of the CEO who’s moving on, the fundamental stripping of assets pumps up a sagging stock price and leaves nothing of value behind.

Not with my country you don’t.

So, it will be impeachment instead of parachutes, a simple go instead of golden. He’s not likely to award himself the Medal of Peace and step down, giving Nixon’s departing salute from the steps of Air Force One, minus a finger.

Impeaching a president is a two-part operation of some delicacy; first, a formal accusation (the actual document is called an impeachment) by the House of Representatives. Then, a trial and conviction or acquittal by the Senate.

Bringing such a charge requires a simple majority vote of the House, an impossibility only recently, but not all that hard a in an environment where the president no longer enjoys even the majority support within his own party. Conviction is a different matter, requiring a two-thirds vote by the Senate. The vice president usually presides over the Senate proceedings, but not in the case of a president. John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, presides.

I’m not sure about whether the president and vice president require separate impeachments, but I suppose they do. It’s important, because elevating Dick Cheney, the architect of clandestine governance, to the office of president is unthinkable. We’ll have to make do with Dennis Hastert. Dennis is a nice Illinois boy from simple origins. So was Reagan.

Sending George to the showers isn’t going to happen without demonstrations in the streets. It’s time for that. A latter-day Jane Fonda’s needed to rally the troops. If it is to come, impeachment must come before the November mid-term elections, while the Republican majority is terrified of Bush’s coattails.

If Bush were merely unpopular, we might weather another three years. We’ve done so before, handily, snapping back with hardly a missed beat. But this time the disasters amount to far more than egg on our chin. Failing to remove this president from office confirms to the world that we are a nation hell-bent on world domination.

That is not my message to the world. I hope and expect that it is not yours either.

Garrison Keillor put it eloquently in an essay written before the 2004 election

Our beloved land has been fogged with fear—fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.

Unless we are unwilling, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, to see that happen.

For more comments on Washington at work, see my personal web site.

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