American Iron Man

A surface analysis of the current political weather in America might appear to be a war between conservatives and liberals. But that surface analysis is wrong. What is underway is the erosion of our discourse from a battle of ideas both aimed at the good of our country to a battle between a cult of personality on the one hand, and the coalition of ideas on the other.

Arguing that Bush is leading some sort of fascist movement is not new. But actual evidence of this is. Despite his Nixonian approval ratings, Bush retains a strong following in both the media and Congress. Contrast this with the staggering approval rating of Clinton during a time when it became expedient for Democrats to turn on him. Even his own Vice President had to put distance between them during the 2000 election.

Sure, a few Republicans here and there have stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and made some statements in the media, like Chuck Hagel, but haven’t actually done anything about. And some talking bobbleheads have even gone so far as to criticize their Dear Leader. But the Bush machine remains highly intact, despite his categorical rejection of “conservative” principles. The Fox News people are for him. The gun nuts are for him. The warmongers are for him. And there are even some average Joes still for him.

The kicker to me is that his earliest critic within the Republican party, John McCain has become nothing more than his sock puppet.

He still does whatever he wants. Most presidents, after a stinging rebuke such as the 2006 election, might have changed course–not Bush. He increased his course of action that triggered his loss.

Yet his actions stand opposed to just about every single traditional ideology, both right and left, in America. By any objective measure, he has not furthered the conservative goal of a smaller government, and the lower taxes he has brought hasn’t lowered the tax burden on anyone in the long term. Yet another new giant government bureaucracy has been created under his watch and none eliminated. The Iraq adventure is not, no matter what anyone says, part of the traditional conservative agenda.

“Sensible” centrists aren’t getting anything from the man either. No “sensible” resolution to abortion, or finance, or anything else. And there’s little need to elaborate on the ways Bush offends liberals.

At the end of the day, it’s really just the power of the man that keeps him in control, Bush and his cult.