Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The De Facto President

It must be a truly horrible thing to be George W. Bush these days. The man has slid into absolute irrelevance. Let history note that the administration of Barack Obama began in the early morning hours of November 5, 2008. Bush is commander-in-chief in name only. Every public appearance he makes is only another embarrassing reminder of the utter failure of his reign of terror and error. My advice to the hideous little thug? Just hand the keys to the Executive Mansion over to President-elect Obama, pack up your gear and just go away. You've made such a bloody mess of things, your name (and those of your father and grandfather) will forever be synonymous with failure, incompetence and corruption. Your administration has made Warren Harding's Ohio Gang look like the freaking Founding Fathers. Richard Nixon is now being favorably compared to Abraham Lincoln. You've set the bar so low, it will be generations before the damage you've done to the office of the presidency will be fully undone. Go away, George. Please, just go away.

Last week on the eve of Thanksgiving, Barack Obama was consumed from dawn to twilight interviewing the new members of his administration, meeting with advisers, speaking on the telephone with governors of both parties from all over the country, conferring with world leaders and diplomats, fine-tuning what will be his team's economic policy, consulting with and being debriefed by key members of the National Security Agency and the CIA, holding press conferences - among Heaven knows what else. And what was George Bush's big event of the day, you may well ask? Pardoning a turkey.

The presidential tradition of the annual turkey pardon began in 1945. President Truman took such a shining to the bird that was presented to him that year, he just couldn't bring himself to eat the poor thing. So began the tradition. Think of that: Sixty-four birds in sixty-four years spared the axe thanks to the compassion of Harry Truman!

The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon has always been a lighthearted media event. It gives a president the opportunity to redirect, if only for a moment, the attention of the country from what otherwise might have been a depressing news week. The annual Bush parson, on the other hand, has consistently had an ominous undertone. It always reminds many of us that this is the man who, when he was in the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas, became the only Governor in memory (maybe in history - I'm still researching the data) who refused to commute the sentence of a single Death Row inmate. He even signed off on the executions of people who were severely retarded, those of questionable guilt, or people who had received unfair trials. One public defender actually fell asleep during the trial of a man who later was given a lethal injection. The 2000 presidential elections were in sight and he just had to prove to the nitwits who tend to vote in Republican primaries all over the country that he was "tough on crime", ya' know what I mean?

When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, one-hundred and fifty men and women were executed in the Lone Star Death House - a record unsurpassed in American history. Compassionate Conservatism indeed.

But that's all water under the bridge, isn't it? We might as well face the fact that President Obama is now in charge of our beloved nation - in fact if not in law. All that's left for Bush is the occasional photo op and mindless waves to a few carefully selected crowds of sycophantic, Right Wing robots. The guy has become the Queen Elizabeth of American politics. He doesn't look like a president. He doesn't talk like a president. He doesn't act like a president. He's an embarrassment. For the rest of our history, even if America survives well into the next millennium, the image of George W. Bush's twisted, grotesque smirk will be an eternal reminder of this generation's jaw-dropping naivete involving politics and affairs of state. The fact that this half-witted little guttersnipe was elected twice to the most powerful office in the world defies credulity. And considering the gravitas of the two men he was able to defeat, his tenure as president is all-the-more embarrassing. It is akin to Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman losing to Jack Benny on the American Idol violin competition.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, looks like a president! Think about that for a minute or two. On April 13, 1945, the morning after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a long time White House employee was stunned when President Truman strolled into the Oval Office. She had never seen a president walk before. Can you imagine the mass, cosmic shock this country will experience when President Obama holds his first news conference? From coast to coast, men will be nudging their wives, "Did you hear that, Martha?? The President of the United States just put two grammatically correct sentences together! Pass me my smellin' salts, darlin'!" No doubt about it, this is a new age.

For the first time in almost a decade, we will have a chief-executive with the I.Q. higher than that of your average, deflated rubber life raft. Should a hostile nation (let's say Iran just for the sake of argument) attack the United States between now and 2017 (That's right, I'm predicting two terms) it is hard, if not impossible to predict how President Barack Obama will react. But I promise you this: He won't respond by invading Canada. Trust me on that one, kiddies.

I don't think I'm giving away any state secret when I mention the fact that the economy is in shambles. Yesterday, the government announced what anyone paying attention has known for months: We're in a serious recession. It's difficult to say how an Obama administration is going to solve the problem. Odds are that they won't be able to totally alleviate the situation during their term of office. But of this you may be absolutely certain: They won't be giving a further tax break to a class of people whom already have more money than they know what to do with.

No one is perfect. Occasionally people are not competent to rise to the challenge that is placed before them. I imagine Barack Obama's administration will not be an exception to this rule. How the new president will respond to the failures of any of his subordinates cannot be predicted. But it is a cinch to say that he won't send them on their way with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Call it a hunch on my part.

It's a safe bet that Barack Obama will not be paying favored columnists two-quarters-of-a-million dollars in taxpayer money to promote his agenda - as Bush did. He will not be torturing POWs in clear violation of American and international law - as Bush did. He won't be violating treaties the United States has made with other nations - as Bush did. He won't be listening in on private phone conversations without the legally mandated warrant - as Bush did. He will not invade sovereign nations under false pretences and commit genocide in the process - as Bush did. Also, Barack Obama will not be remembered as the first former president to go to federal prison - as Bush will - I PROMISE YOU THAT.

And not to exclude poor old Joe Biden from the conversation, it's also a pretty safe bet that our new vice-president won't be shooting anybody in the face any time soon.

A year ago, on the very last posting of the year on this site, I predicted that 2008 would be remembered as the year our entire economy collapsed. Although all of the warning signs were in the air, it was a tough call nonetheless. Here's my prediction for 2009 (and this isn't a tough call, this is a no-brainer): Next year, the economic difficulty we are experiencing now will be transformed into an economic nightmare. In fact, things are going to get much worse next year - COUNT ON IT.

As stated in the previous post, the new administration would do well to study the successes and mistakes made by the new Roosevelt administration seventy-six years ago. Like those New Dealers of long ago, the "Change We Can Believe In" crowd are inheriting an economic catastrophe. The challenge facing them in the next eight years cannot be understated.

Can you even imagine how bleak the situation would be at this moment had John McCain won the election? Phil Gramm would now be the Secretary of the Treasury Designate! I've got two brothers who live abroad. Had McCain and Gidget von Braun won, I wouldn't now be living in the United States, I've got news for you! If America had continued down that road, this country would have been finished. The best thing that can be said of 2008 is that it was the year WE the PEOPLE were slapped awake from the Right Wing coma we've been slumbering under since the day we sent a dirty old dingbat named Ronald Reagan to the White House almost three decades ago. For many of us, in many ways too numerous to mention, 2008 was a transformational year. We are feeling more hopeful than we have felt in a very long time.

So good luck to you, President Obama! You've got one hell of a road ahead of you, that's for sure. The ship of state you are now navigating will rarely cross calm seas; your compass will on occasion cease to function properly. But you've got a competent, reliable team behind you. It's refreshing, to be sure, to see an administration that is not packed to the rafters with fools and political hacks. All thinking people will sleep a little sounder in the years to come knowing that the man sitting in the Oval Office is able and intelligent.

It all seems too good to be true. Come to think about it, it probably is too good to be true.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.

In homage to Beth Quinn, who always closed her column in the Middletown, NY, Times Herald Record reminding us how many days were left until Bush was out of office - until that paper was purchased by Rupert Murdoch and she was summarily fired:

There are forty-nine days until this disgusting administration is thrown onto history's shit pile.


At 8:48 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Good rant, Tom. My thoughts, exactly. President-elect Obama may not be perfect, but I can't think of too many others who would be up to the task at hand.

As far as your prediction for 2009, I think you may be right. I hope, however, for the sake of millions who will suffer like they've never suffered before, I hope like hell you're wrong.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Hey there, Jeff's Guard,

I hope like hell I'm wrong, too.
We shall see.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Katy said...

The employee story about Truman walking is similar to my kids experience. Daughter is 14 and the twins are 12 so they don't remember when we didn't have an inarticulate moron in the white house. While we were listening to part of his press conference on NPR the other night, one of the twins said "Jeeze Mom, he sounds really smart!"

How sad is it that a 12 year old can tell Bush is a moron but Americans elected him?

Good post.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Katy, your summation, "How sad is it that a 12 year old can tell Bush is a moron but Americans elected him?", boasts heavily of the power of the corporate dominate mass-media and how it has, over time, contributed to the definition of what leadership is, through techniques not unlike those that have infiltrated our culture and are pervasive in every aspect of our lives. Despite President-elect Obama's landslide victory, electoral college-wise, the difference in the popular vote seemed too close for comfort -- to me, anyway. The fact that 46% of the participating electorate went with McCain/Palin last November 4th just boggles my mind. The net difference of only just over 8.5 million voters is frightening and unimaginable, and it's a clear sign that although President-elect Obama essentially won with a mandate, that margin of victory will be tested very soon should economic circumstances erode even more significantly (which, in agreement with Tom, I'm inclined to believe they will).

As Tom will attest, I'm a firm believer that until the corporatist element of our government is vanquished and eliminated, corporate-personhood will continue to make all American workers and citizens slaves to the whims and fantasies of "capitalism", or so-called "free-enterprise", and we'll continue to pay a hefty price economically, socially, culturally, and psychologically.

As I've mentioned on Tom's site, along with AlterNet and Commondreams, essentially all of our problems are only symptoms. The true disease; the true malady affecting all aspects of our communities, states, and nation as a whole, is corporate personhood and all of its manifestations. But, it'll never be addressed, or even hinted upon, by a media that protects its own and is just another tool to manipulate and strangle the truth. If the corporate-owned mass media was independent and obedient to reporting the truth, the moron of a president who currently sits in office would never have been elected. He wouldn't even have had an chance.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nor would Obama have had a chance.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

The Peter Principle is a special case of a ubiquitous observation: anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails. This is "The Generalized Peter Principle."

In an organizational structure, the Peter Principle's practical application allows assessment of the potential of an employee for a promotion based on performance in the current job, i.e. members of a hierarchical organization eventually are promoted to their highest level of competence, after which further promotion raises them to incompetence. That level is the employee's "level of incompetence" where the employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career's ceiling in an organization.

Since "Dumbya" was the ultimate expression of the Peter Principle; wait! what does that say about the "life forms" that took positions beneath the Commander of Thieves? Not Much.

Exactly, and guess what gang? They will leave the White House with a need for a strong exorcism from The Pope or a very STRONG Irish Catholic Priest who knows how to work with Holy Water from Lourdes, as most of the junior staffers going in to their new offices will have files that will be very, very scary and be in need of much redemption.

When left with a waste dump that puts Love Canal, The Exxon Valdez and Chernobyl to shame for their tidiness and safety to people, it will require some heavy duty remediation by President Obama,his Cabinet, staffers and the First Lady.

It's almost beyond the capacity of a thinking, rational mind to even imagine the damage wrought by 8 years of "Dumbya." How was it possible that a country, its global image AND the total destruction of the world's economy could occur by someone who exemplifies the Peter Principal ultimately?

The only time I have ever looked at a disaster and felt huge stress about "fixing it" had to deal with a bottle of red fingernail polish, a 4-year old, a set of new bedroom furniture and carpet. This ocurred in the span of me cleaning off the high-chair; the time it took to remove "paint polish paintings" from Mommy's bed, rug, furniture took 10 times as long.

How long will it take to restore the trauma caused to the world, the image of the USA and her citizens, The Constitution and the Federal Justice system?

("I know what we now don't know" and that is that we don't know all of what has been destroyed and/or if it can be repaired).

I believe, as you do Tom, it will take generations to recover from these "black-out curtain" shenanigans of Bush and his collaborators.

Our beloved nation, under the "reign" of "Dumbya" and his band of thieves has fallen victim to the "compassionate Christian Republicans" and The Dilbert Principle.

The Dilbert Principle attempts to explain how a person who has never been competent at anything at any point in time can still be promoted into management. Of course, both the Peter Principle and the Dilbert Principle can both be operating in the same organization at the same time.

Our nation was felled by two maxims that are "water cooler" chat.

It's going to be a bumpy ride for the "New Kid" in town and his posse as they ride into town to clear the place of thieves, "back-scratchers," turn over rocks and peer into the sewers in order to find all the detritus and perform waste removal, full hazard gear wear will be the norm.

I've always found it slightly easier to take on lengthy, difficult tasks while slightly stupified by alcohol.

If only the "Dumbya" had been drinking and sniffing as in his youthful rebellion stage (at age 40), he may have been in an alcoholic blackout for those 8-years in which he brought the nation to it's knees, the only reason it didn't cry, UNCLE!! was she knew that an election would occur, and if lucky, change would come.

Change has arrived, however, to be on the safe side,bring on the Holy Water, the Exorcist and the Whiskey.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


I just realized we cannot have weiner roast, their won't be any paper trail to burn for fuel.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous, I agree with you.

If we had a truly free and unbiased press (media), we wouldn't be servitude to the dictates of corporatism and everything it stands for (which, without having to be said ... but I will anyway ... doesn't include We the People).

It appears President-elect Obama is building his government in the image of former President Clinton's. Unfortunately, that's just Republican-lite, in my opinion, and I don't see any progressive agenda on the horizon that's going to challenge the status quo.

In other words, as we're seeing on the news daily, it'll be business as usual.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Green River Rider said...

Jefferson's Guardian...

I think I recommended to you the book Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann.

Have you had a chance to take a look at it?

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Anna Van Z said...

Hey Tom,
What's scary is how much damage Bush is doing, or attempting to do, before he slinks out the door. The corporate press is paying no attention, of course, but Bush is severely abusing executive orders to rewrite regulations - with no input or oversight.
He is attempting to leave Obama with as much crap to unravel as humanly possible, and dole out favors to as many cronies as he possibly can. He's also replacing lower-level appointees in government positions with his own idealogue picks. Our current congress is doing nothing to stop this apparently, and it's such a blatant abuse of executive power.
And let me pre-empt the smart aleck who will downplay it, and say that all outgoing presidents do this. Not even close. This level of subversion is absolutely unprecedented.
How much more damage will this moronic demented child-king do before January 20?

At 5:45 PM, Blogger benrobfisher said...

I don't know exactly what Bush is doing or not. But I am surprised the liberal media elite isn't paying attention, if he indeed is doing unspeakable things. Maybe they should pay attention to defacto pres Prince Obama's lack of input to the financial crisis. It's easy to take on the no-brainer extension of unemployment, and quite another to provide leadership and input for the tough stuff. I guess he wants Bush to make the tough decisions before he leaves office. One president at a time; my ass. For a guy who has been more visible than any other president elect, he sure doesn't have a lot to say about anything that takes real tought. I think he is like a deer in the headlights; thus the Clinton cabinet. Same old, same old!

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Anna Van Z said...

What liberal media would that be, Ben? The same media that has served as cheerleader for BushCo's destructive schemes, illegal wars, fraud, cost-plus contracts for cronies, torture, spying on citizens; and the same media that regularly runs Pentagon-authored propaganda pieces as news stories?
Is that the "liberal media" you refer to? That's gotta be one of the bigger con job the wing-nuts have blitzed the public with. Please.
But hey, just keep reciting those talking points, like a good little robo-con.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger benrobfisher said...

Ouch, Anna...robocon? I'm a moderate independent. I call 'em like I see um. The main stream media elite do indeed have a liberal bias; it is fact and proven. It is also true that the MSM no longer provides much in the way of real hard core unbiased investigative journalism. I wouldn't call the MSM Bush cheerleaders, just incompetent. I find it very frustrating to watch or read anything anymore. What is left out of a story? What is the bias of the "journalist" or talking head, liberal or conservative? Some are obvious, some are not. We should be able to turn on the tube and get the facts without worrying about being deceived, misled, or mis-informed. Unless it is an editorial, I don't want opinion or bias. If you think Bush's propoganda was bad, I'll bet Obama's propoganda machine will be far more active and controlling of public information. He has proven himself to be a very savvy publicist.

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous John said...

AVZ is right. Bush is still president and can continue to do plenty of damage. Think of the $700 billion bailout (- which I consider theft). Now they tacked on an additional $800 billion with virtually no debate - for the credit card industry??? This happened under lame duck bush. Now the auto industry and the commercial lending industry have their hands out. The auto industry will get a bailout - after negotiations that will effectively strip many workers rights and benefits... it will be win-win for the industry leaders. I think the visionaries should have to sell their billions in SUV inventory before getting a bailout. But what will probably happen is that our government will purchase all of those vehicles on behalf of we the people - on top of the bailout.

Now for benrob, why don't you check out who (or what companies) own cbs, nbc, abc and virtually every other major media outlet. Then you can explain the myth of the 'liberal bias'. My understanding is it is just another lie churned out by the 'ministry of truth', but on earth, unlike fiction, they refer to themselves as the 'liberally biased media'.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Now, John and benrob.....

Before you two fellows get into a tussle, I might remind you both that the two of you are old and dear friends....

I'm going to drive you two crazy figuring out who the other is!


Tom Degan

At 11:09 AM, Blogger benrobfisher said...

As Ramona would say...Oh John. There IS a liberal bias in the MSM. Read the book "Bias" by Bernard Goldberg for an insiders look at how the news is filtered. He used to work for NBC with Dan Rather. As for the rest of your comments, I couldn't agree more. However, the workers will be hurt if they get the "negotiated" bailout or if the auto makers file for bankruptcy. The whole thing stinks. I'm still waiting for our defacto pres to give his opinion; perhaps I missed it.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


Bernard Goldberg?!

Stop watching Faux Gnus Gnatwerrk and go back to listening to international radio or watching real tv, not "Reality TV" with editing to make it appear more "editorial."

Bernard Goldberg?!

The man couldn't even BUY his way into a press club dinner. . .

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Blaine said...


Another great post. But you could say the "Cheney presidency started on Jan. 20, 2001." Bush has really never lead anyone, but just continues to fool himself and his stupid wife that he is actually president. Witness the fact he is absent over this period...hiding away in the White House waiting for his time to be up so he dosen't have to actually work or think anymore....as if he ever did.

That said, Bush fatigue hits everyone. (To borrow a quote from the Wa. Post).

Soon, though this nightmare will be over.

I take it the sign is still up on the van, yes? Have you ever got your van keyed or any damage as a result of your beautiful sign??

Only 44 more days until 44!!!!


( I want a Harper countdown clock, but after the peroging things are to unclear here.)

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...


I still have the magnetic sticker on both sides of my van an plan on leaving it there until high noon, 20 January 2009.


Tom Degan

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous none.com said...


At 5:48 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...


You make an excellent point - one that I have bought up many times. The fact of the matter is that they were able to steal those two elections because all it depended on was one, single state. Had that been the case in 2008, they would have stolen it again and Gidget von Braun would today be "a seventy-two year old heart beat away from the Oval Office.

Yes, they did indeed steal those elections. But only because so huge a segment of the American people were silly enough to think that sending a jackass like Bush to Washington was a really neat idea.

Thanks for commenting. Keep 'em coming.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Green River Rider said...

I challenge anyone here to watch this series and come away thinking that Obama will be, can be, any different than any president we've had in memory.


I am afraid the average citizen is being played the fool.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush ran for office knowing full well his objective was to destroy everything the democrats had successfully accomplished since FDR. His last and greatest desire was to bankrupt the country to destroy Social Security, Medicare and medicaid. The right wing of the party knew this was the only possible way to accomplish this long held dream of theirs.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

I dont get you people.

Still going on and on about Bush.... when Obama is saying he's going to spend all the money Bush has committed to spending and 1TRILLION more.

In the 8 years of this nonstop bitch fest you people do, there have been near ZERO discussion on your side on things you would have done diffenent. Even here.. you are all complaining about the money..

The Democrts are going to spend less? Obama is going to spend?

I'm from Chicago... this notion of Messiah Obama is such a fraud .. well you got a Taste of Chicago this week.

If you think George Bush is stupid, incompetent , etc .. etc... and I'm not trying to convince you otherwise...

just wait till Obama gets in there... the only people in this country studier than Bush types are the Obama types

I am not defending Bush.. and do not ask me to.

I am merely trying to get some of you past your contempt for him.. what's coming next is worse and none of you seem to see it.

I found this site when I heard the guy make his silly comment on CSPAN.

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