Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2004 » Meanwhile, an excellent question....

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10/11/2004: Meanwhile, an excellent question....

is posed by Post-Dispatch columnist Eric Mink: PRESIDENTIAL ACCOUNTABILITY: There are many reasons to vote for Bush. But why would you? Personally, I rather like Rachel's probable answer to that question: because you're an idiot. But Mink is more, uh, diplomatic:

Voting for president in 2000 - assuming you were allowed to - was hard work, as President George W. Bush likes to say.

Al Gore, vice president at the time, had spent eight years eclipsed by the outsized charisma and appetites of President Bill Clinton, while Bush had been dabbling with elective office as governor of Texas. Neither had a track record that was particularly helpful in judging what kind of president he might be.

It's a lot simpler with an incumbent running for reelection: You examine what the guy in office has done. If you want more of the same, you vote for him. If not, you vote for the challenger.

Looking back at the past 3 3/4 years, I understand some things:

People who think it's a good idea to start turning Medicare over to drug manufacturers, insurance companies and for-profit health-industry conglomerates and open up Social Security for plundering by the brokerage-investment industry should favor Bush. People who believe that loosening regulations on polluters keeps our air and water clean should favor Bush. People who think the best way to help Americans who are hungry, homeless, sick and impoverished is to bleed aid programs dry and rebate taxes to the super-rich should favor Bush.

People who believe America can remain the world leader in science by subjecting scientists and their research to religious and political litmus tests should favor Bush. People who think that negligent corporations should be free to hurt consumers with defective products and that the injured should be denied their day in court should favor Bush. People who are convinced that government works better when career public servants take orders from political hacks and special-interest lackeys should favor Bush.

And people who believe that government should mind its own business, except when it comes to their neighbors' reproductive choices and sexual orientation, should favor Bush.

Many things, however, I do not understand, and at the top of that long list is this:

Why would anyone who is concerned about the safety of his family, the security of our country and the fight against Islamist terrorism favor Bush? His administration's record on these issues has been a litany of incompetence and failure.
All good reasons, but here's the best one:
Bush doesn't like the idea of accountability. None of his cadre of principal advisers - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, to name just two - has been fired, despite their repeated, flagrant errors.

In a 2002 interview with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward (thanks to syndicated columnist Richard Reeves for recently citing it), Bush described the dynamic in Oval Office meetings: "I'm the commander," he said. "I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

Fine. That's what elections are for.
Let's hope the American electorate isn't so stupid as to re-elect the Crawford Village Idiot.

Hmmmmm... I let this sneak up on me, or else I'd have saved this slot for some sort of meta-blogging post about this "milestone", but the foregoing pearls of wisdom represent my 1000th post since moving the blog to Greymatter.

You may celebrate wildly if you feel so inclined.

Len on 10.11.04 @ 08:26 PM CST

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