Here are three stories that do a good job of highlighting the core failing of the Bush presidency: the way it is all about politics, style, and ideological filtering of reality, with everything else (like sound government policy, free speech, and even national security) subordinated to that end.
First up, from Helen Thomas: No wonder Bush doesn’t connect with the rest of the country. It’s about the disturbing fact (not joke, but fact) that Bush doesn’t read the newspapers, but instead just relies on his advisors to summarize for him whatever it is they think he needs to know. Because, you see, Bush thinks the information he gets that way is more objective.
Next, from Salon (requires viewing the commercial to get the free one-day pass, but it’s worth it): Keeping dissent invisible. This one’s about how the Secret Service works with local police to systematically remove protesters from the site of presidential and vice-presidential appearances, caging them up in out-of-camera-range “free speech zones,” and arresting those who refuse. As one arrestee so-aptly put it, “Isn’t the whole country supposed to be a free speech zone?”
Finally, from Wired: Spies attack White House secrecy. It’s about how the Bush administration’s over-the-top enthusiasm for classifying information is actually making us less, rather than more, secure.
In one way or another, all these stories are about the same thing. The Bush presidency rests upon a single extremely childish, but extremely dangerous, idea: that if we all squeeze our eyes tightly shut and wish very, very hard, we can make our problems go away.
Didn’t work when you were five. Isn’t going to work today. It’s time to let grownups run things for a change.
Thanks to Hiro, by the way, for links two and three.