Most people are working in the morning, so they didn’t see CNN’s interview with out-going President Bush. By the time they see a bit of it tonight, they will be too tired or distracted to react.
The progressive press is full of stories about the shocking, illegal things the Bush administration has been doing for eight years, not to mention the smears that highlighted the recent presidential campaign.
But this sycophantic end-of-reign interview constitutes a much greater danger, because it embodies the overarching technique that has been used for sixty years to lead the American people from one disaster to another.
That technique is the use of the fairy-tale. Not just the false alarms over weapons of mass destruction and other threats from every corner of the globe: but the fiction that by sitting down with the worst president in American history, and allowing him to appear smiling, decent and almost humble, the nightmare that is about to end never happened.
It’s like a mother smoothing a band aid onto a scraped knee saying soothingly, “It’s all better now.”
It’s as if, instead of putting Hitler’s officers on trial in Nuremburg, we’d allowed them to reminisce about their childhood, their families, and yes, even their devotion to country.
Oh, we’re going to try some of the prisoners held at Guantanamo, for associating with people who hate us, and maybe even training for guerrilla warfare – or “terrorism”. But President Bush and Vice-President Cheney (will there be a sit-down chat with him too, CNN?) will go back to their respective ranches to live out their days between writing a book (Bush as author), and building yet another monument to ruthless thinking (a policy institute!).
The editor of Harper’s Magazine, Roger Hodge, laments the Democratic party’s congenital pusillanimity (about which more in another blog). Hodge writes: “Far from being a system in which the people rule, (modern democracy) is best characterized as the rule of the politician. The role of the people is simply to accept the leadership of the most successful politicians. ‘Actually existing’ democracy has little in common with the ideal of Enlightenment philosophers.” Citing the early twentieth century political scientist Joseph Schumpeter, Hodge notes that “in democratic politics, the most creatively destructive actors tend to prevail.”
The operative word here is ‘creatively’, as in fairy tales.