Monday, December 20, 2004

Pride goeth before destruction.

As we all know, there are four stages of grieving: denial, anger, depression and acceptance. Since November 2nd, we have gone through three of them. But there is no way in hell we should succumb to the fourth. Acceptance is not an option.

George W. Bush's major character flaws are his refusal to recognize anything that doesn't conform to his preconceptions, and his pure intellectual isolation: the man lives in an echo chamber of his own making. He has ALWAYS had the belief that other peoples' opinions were mere inconveniences, and now he thinks he has a mandate to pursue any wild scheme that crosses his fevered little brain.

Because of the election and his echo chamber, he is now firmly convinced that the populace supports stuff that they don't. Gutting Social Security. Piling up mountains of debt. Endless war in the Middle East.

And many Presidents who were smarter and wiser than Bush have had a tendency to overreach in their second term - ego gets the better of them. But Bush showed the tendency to overreach in his first term. Which means he is prepared to carry overreaching to truly historic levels in his second.

That overreaching will prove his undoing.

I am quite convinced that Bush is vulnerable on almost every front. All polls say that people do NOT like his policies. Yes, I know - this makes the sane among us wonder why the hell they voted for him, then, but the fact remains: people do NOT favor the Iraqi War. They do NOT favor Social Security corporatization. They do NOT favor crushing debt and a shrinking dollar. They do NOT favor tax cuts for the wealthy. And the more the details of this stuff are examined and exposed, the less popular they will become.

What details?

Social Security. Privatizing Social Security is expected to cut benefits in half, and private accounts would not make up the shortfall for most people. Under Bush's proposal, most people will have less money in their senior years than they would if it was left alone. But not only does he want to do it, he wants to finance it by piling up more debt. He wants those who are HURT by the policy to be the ones who PAY for it. And it isn't even necessary. SS is financed for the next fifty years, and after that, the shortfall is not nearly as large as Bush is claiming. Social Security is even less of an emergency than Iraq was.

Tax Cuts. Bush's whole financial agenda is to shift the cost of running the country on to those who are least able to afford it. This is a ticket to bankruptcy and an increasing separation of wealth between the classes.

Shrinking Dollar. The dollar, once the most reliable currency in the world, is swiftly becoming an also-ran. As the dollar shrinks, there is the real possibility that the banks of Japan and China will stop buying our bonds. Because of Bush's deficits, our entire economy is largely dependent on those bond purchases. And because of those deficits, the dollar is shrinking and making it less likely that foreign countries will CONTINUE making those bond purchases. Thanks to Bush, we are financially dependent on China. If they decide that the dollar is no longer reliable enough to bank on, it will start an economic catastrophe the likes of which no living American has ever experienced.

Endless War. Which of course is further draining the economy, and which has completely backfired. We are destroying tens of thousands of innocent people, and we have no prospect of gaining anything by doing so. And we aren't even conducting the war RIGHT. Our armed forces are stretched to the breaking point, under-equipped, and on a treadmill where the end of their tour of duty never comes and where going home never happens.

And it isn't only Democrats who are opposed to this stuff. Many Republicans are opposed to this stuff. Most AMERICANS are opposed to this stuff. But Bush is making this stuff the centerpiece of his second term.

And a refusal by the Democrats to fall into the fourth stage - acceptance - will ensure that his hubris has the consequences that hubris always has.

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