“I’m the decision-maker,” Bush the Younger was quoted as saying last week, rejecting congressional critics who lambaste his “surge” escalation of the Iraq war. In spite of his State of the Union efforts to appear conciliatory, Bush is proving yet again that he doesn’t feel he has to listen to anybody.
This was true at the start of the war, when Bush ignored not only the 10-15 million people around the world who demonstrated against the war but also his own generals, who thought the neocons’ plans for a quick victory were illusions. Both groups proved to be much more correct than Bush. Now, again, he rejects the advice of a majority of the U.S. people, a majority of the members of Congress, and, again, not a few generals (though most who feel free to speak are retired).
Again, Bush seems like he is trying to convince himself of his power and rightness — one of those “he protesteth too much” kinds of things. Maybe if he proclaims that he is “the decider” often enough, reality will start following orders.
Bush exhibits his own form of magical thinking: If he says it often enough, with a snappy enough sound bite, it must be so. From “you’re either for us or against us” to “mission accomplished” to “I’m the decider,” Bush strains to contain his smirk, sure that this time, finally, reality won’t turn around and bite back.
But reality doesn’t care about sound bites or slogans. No matter how many times Bush ignores common sense, mass protests or military experts, saying it is so doesn’t make it so.
The people of the U.S. are the deciders, and they’ve decided against Bush. While I may wish more people had come to that conclusion earlier, that’s where they are now. They proved it last November, they prove it in every opinion poll that shows Bush with the lowest approval ratings of a sitting president since Herbert Hoover tried to wish away the Depression. Bush is having about as much success as Hoover in getting facts to fall in line behind his bully pulpit (aptly named for the way Bush uses it).
Bush wants us all to wait, again, to give his “new” “policy” time to work — if we just shut up long enough, he’ll make everything OK. His problem is that people won’t shut up anymore just because Bush wants them to.
A large majority isn’t buying his snake oil anymore.
Marc Brodine is chair of the Washington State