As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Seriously, He's Setting The Bar of "Worst President" Way Out Of Reach

Dana Milbank turns his eye to the most powerful man in the world, who's wrapping up his reverse-Joe-DiMaggio-56-game-hitting-streak of a Presidency:

7:13 a.m.: The South Lawn. President Bush, determined to dispel doubts about his relevance, grants an early-morning interview to Robin Roberts of ABC News's "Good Morning America." Joined by the first lady, he fields hard-hitting questions about . . . the White House grounds. "It's a beautiful place," the president discloses. "In the spring, the flowers are fantastic. In the fall, the -- it's just such a -- kind of a place that's so fresh. In the winter, of course, it's got a lot of snow. [Laughter.] Summer is real hot, but it's -- we love it out here. It's beautiful."

7:58 a.m.: By e-mail, the White House Communications Office sends out its "Morning Update." It lists two events on Bush's schedule for the entire day: a "Social Dinner in Honor of Cinco de Mayo" and, an hour later, post-dinner entertainment. To react to the main news of the day -- thousands of deaths from the cyclone in Burma -- Bush sends his wife out to make a statement. She criticizes the Burmese government for its failure "to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path" and "to meet its people's basic needs." Reporters, too tactful to draw parallels to New Orleans, quiz her instead about daughter Jenna's wedding, and the names of future grandchildren. "George and Georgia, Georgina, Georgette," the first lady says.

12:39 p.m.: The White House Briefing Room. On the podium, the understudy to the understudy to the substitute to the understudy to Bush's first White House press secretary is giving a sparsely attended briefing on what he knows about Burma blocking relief efforts ("I am not aware of that report"), about the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to a Burmese dissident ("no announcements at this point"), and about word that the Saudi crown prince is dying ("I have not seen those reports"). The news of the day thus dispensed with, the questioning turns to why West Point allows its graduates to play pro football immediately but the Naval Academy does not.

Meanwhile the country is veering toward despondency, with small towns literally falling off the map due to failed conservative policies.

"I don't know what to tell you about Muncie, but it's a dying town," says Ron Cantrell, working the cash register of a dusty liquor store on the south side of town, where things are bleakest. "It's almost dead. It's like a cockroach lying there with its legs in the air."

Cantrell, 51, says he'll be voting Democratic this election. He's not sure for whom yet, but Democratic for sure. Hillary or that guy, whatever his name is.

"As far as I'm concerned, the Republicans have turned things to [expletive]," he says. "I'm working two jobs now just so I can put gas in my van."

Cantrell talks about what it was like when his dad came up from the South, like so many others, to work in the parts plants in Muncie. How the city was thriving then. If people think this is Middle America, he says, they're wrong. Muncie doesn't represent Middle America anymore.


"Well, I hope Middle America is a little better than what's around here," he says. "Otherwise, that's depressing."

Seeing these two articles back to back, the word that springs to mind is "decadence." The society is crumbling while the grand poohbahs of politics obsess over nonsense. And right at the head of this fall of the Roman Empire is George W. Bush, America's worst President by leaps and bounds. But let's not divorce him from his party; he is a symbol of failed conservative leadership that has revealed itself in clear ways.

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