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Dangers of a Drunk Dubya (DOUG THOMPSON, Sep 24, 2005, Capitol Hill Blue)
In normal times, such a story in a tabloid like the Enquirer would be dismissed as just another fantasy for the newspaper that normally devotes its front page to gossip about celebrity divorces. But an America with Bush as President is anything but normal and too many warning signs point to the sad fact that Dubya the drunk is back on the bottle. Plus we reported the same thing in a story about Bush’s temper tirades on August 25.

Like the President, I’m a recovering alcoholic. Unlike him, I’ve been sober for 11 years, three months and 16 days. Bush says he quit drinking without help from any organized program. I had a lot of help – from family, friends and Alcoholics Anonymous. As an alcoholic, I can say without hesitation that available evidence tells me that Bush is drinking and drinking heavily.

One underanalyzed aspect of such hysteria is its egocentricity. Bush Derangement Syndrome stems in large part from the sufferer's conviction that he lives in extraordinary times--i.e. the moment that fascism finally descends on the United States.

T?his brings us to Off Center : The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy. which is sure to be a hit with the Looney Left. It's kind of the inevitable sequel to What's the Matter with Kansas--starting from the assumption that the election of Republicans to run Washington is an obvious error it goes on to the logical next step and argues that the exercise of power by those "elected" officials is per se illegitimate and ways must be found to stop them. That's funny enough, but the authors try to scare up support by demonstrating that the modern GOP, including George W. Bush, is not just conservative but so radically to the Right as to be a unique occurrence in the history of our politics. All this requires them to ignore is that the overall set of policies that makes up compassionate conservatism is also being implemented by John Howard and Tony Blair and that if you picked up any newspaper or magazine in the West over the last month or so you'd find that everyone realizes that the same reforms must be undertaken in such places as Japan and Germany. The simple truth is that if George W. Bush didn't exist our political system would have raised up someone rather similar to him, as it is doing throughout the developed world.

The personal hatred that folks harbor towards President Bush blinds them to the entirely orthodox nature of his politics. This is not healthy for them for reasons that are readily apparent. However, if we continue with the logic of such folk the third volume in their trilogy is likely to hold that since the elections of Republicans are illegitimate and governance by Republicans is illegitimate then the laws they pass and the republic itself are illegitimate. The authors of Off Center give us a preview of this line when they get to a hilarious discussion of the "Four Great Obstacles" to reforming the American system so that Republicans won't have power:

(1) "The You Can't Get There From Here" Obstacle--here they acknowledge with no little chagrin that the Constitution of the United States sets up the very procedures of governance that produced the results they despise.

(2) The "Fox Guarding the Henhouse" Obstacle--here they acknowledge that Republicans, having won so many popular elections and control of so much of government, are hardly likely to figure out ways to put their opponents in control instead.

(3) The "Nobody Cares" Obstacle--here they acknowledge that rather little of the American public shares their hysteria so there's no meaningful constituency for reform.

(4) The "Half a Loaf is Worse than None" Obstacle--here they acknowledge that what reforms might be enacted in such a political climate could well benefit Republicans instead of Democrats and so should not be advocated by the Left. Rather convincingly, if unintentionally showing that they aren't pro-reform, just anti-GOP.

In short, what they see as obstacles to the kind of America they want to live in are: the American political system; the American people; and the elected government of America. Dangerous territory this, for it reveals such an estrangement from the realities of the nation -- and, as suggested above, of the sort of Third Way policies that are de riguer throughout the West -- that they may not be capable of reconciling themselves to the End of History. The other group of people that suffers such an extreme derangement is the Islamicists, with whom we are currently at war. Political bitching is one of our birthrights, but when it begins to cross over into such open antagonism for the democratic majority and the choices they make the end results are seldom pretty. Rather than attack the Republic root and main, the Left ought to be developing the next generation of ideas and leaders that may appeal to a majority of the American people and thereby win elections. One suspects that if they did actually manage this feat they'd rather quickly adjust to the notion that those who win elections get to wield power.

This one get a D squared, for Democrat Derangement Syndrome.


Grade: (D)


Jacob Hacker Links:

    -Jacob S. Hacker (Peter Strauss Family Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Yale University)
    -BOOK SITE: Off Center: The Republican Revolution & the Erosion of American Democracy. By Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson
    -New America Foundation : Bio - Jacob Hacker
    -ESSAY:The Dispensable Man (Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, September 30, 2005, Washington Post)
    -ESSAY: ‘Economic risk has shifted from the government and corporations to workers and their families’ (Jacob S. Hacker, September/October 2005, Boston Review)
    -ESSAY: Bigger and Better: When it comes to providing broad-based social-insurance programs, it’s the government that’s rational and the market that’s dumb. (Jacob S. Hacker, 05.06.05, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY: Popular Fiction (Jacob S. Hacker & Paul Pierson, 11.08.04, New Republic)
    -ESSAY: Good Medicine: Medicare does need changes. But its expansion is the key to eventual universal coverage. (Jacob S. Hacker and Mark Schlesinger, 10.01.04, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY: Bradley Does Healthcare (Jacob S. Hacker, October 7, 1999, The Nation)
    -ARCHIVES: Jacob S. Hacker (New Republic)
    -ARCHIVES: Jacob S. Hacker (American Prospect)
    -REVIEW: of The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton's Plan for Health Security By Jacob S. Hacker (David Greenburg, NY Times Book Review)

Book-related and General Links: