...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, June 07, 2004
      ( 12:29 PM )
Prozac Nation

Well, amidst all the teary-eyed memorials for Ronald Reagan that will take place this week, life goes on. We are only 23 days away from the Iraqi "handover" and a little over a month until the Democratic Convention. Some news that got lost over the last days of D-Day tributes and Reagan news features was an article that I've heard repeated only briefly, but one that may get some legs in the coming days. It was posted at Capitol Hill Blue last week and it quoted sources inside the White House saying that Bush is spiraling out of control.

President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.
In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.”

Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.

“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.”


But the President who says he rules at the behest of God can also tongue-lash those he perceives as disloyal, calling them “fucking assholes” in front of other staff, berating one cabinet official in front of others and labeling anyone who disagrees with him “unpatriotic” or “anti-American.”

“The mood here is that we’re under siege, there’s no doubt about it,” says one troubled aide who admits he is looking for work elsewhere. “In this administration, you don’t have to wear a turban or speak Farsi to be an enemy of the United States. All you have to do is disagree with the President.”

While I find this article very disturbing, I'm not altogether surprised. It seems that any president willing to isolate himself so securely from reality is going to have some major problems with paranoia.

Some might say that Reagan's death now is a boon to Bush's campaign struggles because the nation is focused on a republican that the press can't stop gushing about, so the pressure's off. But at the same time, Bush is already being quoted as wanting to differentiate himself from Reagan. Also, many of the news clips, whether they mean to or not, are showing a septugenarian president most people thought was basically a tool of his advisors being more witty and intelligent than the current office holder.

While I understand the importance of honoring a deceased president, I'm not sure why Kerry felt he had to take a week off from campaigning. I wonder if it had been Carter or Clinton whether the republican candidate would have done the same. At any rate, with the president obviously succombing to his own worst inner-chaos, now is the time for Kerry to step up and start inspiring this nation to reach beyond where we now currently sit, quagmired in unemployment, horrible war, and unprecedented bad relations with the entire world.

We need to stay on the job, not take a break. We honor the memory of every dead president by working to make that office the place of remarkable difference that it should be, not by sitting back and letting it's current abuser of power use the death of his predecessor to amp up his own credibility. Democrats need to stop their old patterns of holding back and acquiescing - now is the time to turn this situation into a position of power, to use this moment to point out the stagnation of our country and the fact that that most all of the work of Reagan's idol, Franklin Roosevelt, has been set aside by this current administration. Now is the time to work, not sit back and watch.

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