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Ms. Miers needs to get out more

if George Bush is the most brilliant man she's ever met

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, October 05, 2005.

George Bush’s public speaking has always left the impression with me of a small boy performing a play in which he has to be told what emotions to reflect to the audience, simply because he doesn’t really understand the words and the thoughts they represent, and so provokes no appropriate emotion within him. There has always been a disconnect between his facial expressions, his vocal tone, and his public thoughts. The more coherent Bush pretends to be, the more noticeable is that very weird d-j enunciation. “D-ja.” Sometimes for the word ‘the’, sometimes for other sounds and dipthongs. It is odd. Along with his inability to make eye contact and the periodic fearful quiver in his voice, Bush has been showing signs of severe strain of late. At no time have Bush’s music and lyrics been of a piece, as with Reagan or Clinton, and suggests his public persona is assembled from different people. Different people who don’t like each other and rarely converse. It’s not uncommon in dry drunks.

There is his sometimes breathtaking incoherence, especially noticeable standing next to Tony Blair. His bizarre facial ticks. His choices for the Supreme Court. It’s such a bad performance, from my view, that I believe it reflects not just incompetent presentation, but a man who really doesn’t have high regard for his audience, and doesn’t care if they believe him or not, so long as they do what is suggested.

Of late, under severe political pressure because of scandal, failure, and incompetence, Bush has elevated his normal ironic pandering to military power and image. Anything like this ought to bother Americans.

He has sought to deflect his administration’s own failures during Katrina by blaming the state and local governments – with justification - and then praising the military, which under General Honore has proven the most effective and competent government arm down along the Gulf Coast. Hoping to build on that institution of current public approval, Bush happily discovered the Avian flu issue between press cycles involving Supreme Court nominees, his Vice-President’s tottering knees, Hurricane Katrina’s evacuees, Tom DeLay’s compensation fees, and the Iraqi War’s newest horrendoplasty. Our President - apropos of nothing - announced that the military ought to handle the supposed coming flu crisis.

Whatever the reality of the avian flu scare turns out to be, it might or it might not be a good idea for the military to take control in this country during a major pandemic. Given that we’re involved in a war overseas, the military would be, after all, the logical conduit bringing the flu here in the first place, as it was in 1918. Secondarily, since when does a conservative government favor a socialist, government-heavy military over can-do American capitalism and the free market place to get something of importance done? It has most often happened in world history when the government in question pretended to a political cause but was simply power hungry, and pandered to whatever political term and team concurrently had that power.

I don’t really think Bush cares about military efficiency or disaster relief. I think he’s just trying to wave the bloody shirt, to focus attention on 9-11 and our heroic sons and daughters overseas, and to dare the citizenry to question his decisions in such threatening times, to which he has contributed even far out of proportion to his already considerable power. Having armed soldiers in the streets of the United States simply because our famed private sector and local governments couldn’t get it together to prepare for a flu epidemic is not just an admission of institutional failure, it’s got banana republic, tin pot Third World fiasco written all over it. The military in this nation has always been, more or less, a last resort to trouble. Bush is trying to institutionalize it as our first domestic responder. This is against everything this nation was founded upon, and this dangerous and stupid use of the military, already initiated by using it in the problematic War on Drugs, is such a threat it needs to be confronted and made inert by competent civilian organization. It’s this noodling around repeal of posse comitatus that needs to be quashed. It’s an issue for the Supreme Court.

And if it gets there, Bush’s nominees will be key. Let’s not get fooled by the conservative play acting: they love Harriet Miers, and their supposed hesitations and contratemps are composed for the bad theater that is American politics. Conservatives hope that their shocked faces and supposed internal conflicts will calm the moderates and liberals into thinking Miers cannot be that bad. But she is. She’s a solid vote to overturn Roe Vs. Wade, and far, far worse, she’s a lapdog at the Bush teat, who owes her otherwise inexplicable rise solely to that family’s power.

There is no denying that Miers is very good corporate lawyer and a good person to have on your side. But is she likely to go against her patron, someone she has referred to as the most brilliant man she’s ever met?

See, there’s a problem right there.