Monday, January 28, 2008

Nation Not on Edge, but Sick & Tired

The fatigue of the Bush Presidency is palpable. Seven years of substitution and sub-optimization have worn the patience of many Americans. Fortunately, tonight is George W.'s last State of the Union address. Pundits expect him to talk about the war in Iraq, alongside domestic and foreign issues. But his main point will be to "blame Congress." The "uniter, not a divider" will wield a huge meat cleaver in the House Chambers, as he tries to salvage his legacy. Domestically and internationally, I'm not sure there's ever been a better divider, his conquering skills leave something to be desired.

George W. Bush moved from day 1 to unify the Executive, to seize back Presidential powers lost after Nixon's demented fall. W. went much further than Richard ever did. Bush is expected to issue an Executive Order directing agencies to ignore any future earmarks that lawmakers attempt to include, but are not actually in the legislation. This is on top of an Executive Order which made Iraq oil companies and employees above the law and another which slapped whistle blowers by constraining the awards they could get for shining the light on federal malfeasance.

Bush optimized the Presidency at the expense of the other two branches of government. In doing so he sub-optimized our country. Bush repeatedly substituted falsehoods to push his policy directives. He contracted out larger and larger chunks of government work to his rich friends and corporate donors. He accused other governments of not being open and transparent, while hiding the most basic of information from oversight.

Why do so many people want Bush to go away? Many have worked with a heavy handed boss like him. It's exhausting to work with CEO's who need to hear what they want, throwing tantrums when the messenger delivers something else. It's hard to make complex issues simple for the simpleton. There's tremendous pressure when you're told to deliver, or else. (In Bush's case, this only applies to members of the other party, he has low standards for his political brand).

The American employee is tired of being substituted for contractors, foreign labor, and automated phone answering tree systems. The worker is sick of CEO's optimizing their executive compensation, thus sub-optimizing the company. Bush spreads the poison of pay for performance into health care, already beset by many intractable problems.

Those paying attention have insights into our federal government. It's for sale to those same corporate interests with their focus on profit growth at all costs. If Bush were honest, tonight he would say three things. One, give me what I want. Two, I don't really want to solve any of these problems (look at his health care record), I just want to push them off to the next guy or gal. And three, in my reality, I've been a huge success. Expect Bush to hone his laser like focus on those three goals while he's cutting brush in Crawford. The rest is just window dressing. But rest assured Bush will get there using substitution and sub-optimization. Who will notice? America's youth? Unlikely. But George remains a role model.

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