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The Rant

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White House staffers have been revealing a "genuine sadness" around the West Wing these days. One report said that President Bush was concerned that his presidency is being compared to Herbert Hoover's. But that would be an insult to Hoover.

His morale was reportedly so low, he practically gushed when honored by the Air and Space Museum that everything was "fabulous," from the brave troops to his fabulous Dad. Sarah Palin went out of her way in a Miami speech to thank Bush for keeping the nation safe from another air attack of hijacked domestic carriers, while our currency sank like the Lusitania. An anonymous assistant explained that Bush is so distraught because his administration had planned to spend his last few months in office doing "legacy stuff," but the sudden economic collapse prevented them from accomplishing much. Let me clue the Bush folks in: The economic collapse is his legacy.

While all crashes down around him, Bush still persists in believing that a deregulated free market is the soundest regulator of itself — a true believer until the bitter end, just like Herbert Hoover. No, Bush's "legacy stuff" consists of criminal capitalism masked by a populist concern for small "bidness," the war in Iraq, torture, rendition, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Blackwater mercenaries, illegal wire-tapping, the corruption of the Justice Department, and the No-Fly List. And who doesn't know in their heart that it was Dick Cheney who ordered the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame to get even with his critics and that it will only be a matter of days before the criminal Bush gives a full pardon to the patsy Scooter Libby? And now we're treated to a battery of headlines in the conservative media about how horribly Bush has been treated by all parties in the recently concluded election.

Are we supposed to feel sympathy for Bush because his name was exceeded in toxicity only by Cheney's? No one wanted to be seen with him, including McCain. Bush was the bubonic plague, the kiss of death, and the evil eye for any Republican who dared utter his name. All he has attempted is in tatters, especially the Constitution, so it will take the new president at least half his first term to unravel Bush's political dingleberries. But now he's feeling lonely because he's no longer popular. This from a man who came to the office with no vision, only a cult of personality that carried him along like a leaf in a gutter after a rain storm. The Bush presidency was the biggest farce foisted upon a gullible populace since Milli Vanilli, and the full effects are yet to be felt by all those hapless loyalists who have lost their jobs and don't even know it yet.

Possibly Bush's greatest accomplishment, aside from re-starting the Cold War, is his escaping impeachment. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in 2006 that "impeachment was off the table," I remembered Tip O'Neill, who said in reference to Nixon in similar circumstances that "the best interests of the country must come first." Nancy, you're no Tip. And Bush's most egregious and visible violation is that he betrayed his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and he knows it. That's why he's working double time to write immunity for himself and his cronies into law before he leaves office. Bush envisions a leisurely life, commuting between a home in Dallas and the ranch, when he's not off on a lucrative speaking tour to "fill the old coffers." But I envision Bush answering summons after summons without protection from a Republican president, in the way Gerald Ford protected Richard Nixon. This is a man with questions to answer, and it's best that they be asked under oath.

George W. Bush is the Frankenstein monster created by the unholy alliance of fundamentalist Christianity and a godless corporatocracy. He was a Pied Piper, born-again evangelical, ruthless free-market capitalist who granted access to untold riches for the already rich while preaching that "government is the problem" to the social conservatives. Even now, while jobless claims are skyrocketing, retail sales are plummeting, and the GOP coalition has been shattered, a Pew Poll found that 60 percent of people who identified themselves as Republicans believe the party should go in a more conservative direction. Nixon's 1968 "Southern strategy" has come to its fruition, the GOP has become the party of the Old South.

Mine is not the only family who has decided to cut back this Christmas. Instead of lavishing presents on everyone, we're going to draw names and buy one nice present each. Other families are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy or foreclosure this holiday season, with nothing to hope for but a new administration. So when Bill O'Reilly revs up his annual "War on Christmas," he need look no further than the White House to see the Grinch.

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