WE NOW HAVE a faith-based presidency.
We need to have faith that we have a president.
We have a person in the White House who is called the president, but it is hard to imagine him doing the job.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen.
We do not see him working, and yet we believe he is.
We do not see him thinking, yet we believe he is.
We believe he is in charge.
Our rational minds may waver. Always there is doubt. It is the challenge of the person trying to follow the faith-based path to move beyond doubt. We cannot reason ourselves closer to the reality of the Bush presidency.
If we, for instance, try to imagine George W. Bush disagreeing with Dick Cheney, we cannot do it.
We can in our rational minds see Dick Cheney disagreeing with George W. Bush and Bush saying, "Right as always, Dick." But that would be the way of error. That would suggest that George W. Bush is not the president at all, in the sense that he gathers unto himself the sacred powers granted to him by the people of the United States.
It would suggest, indeed, that he has already ceded that power to a council of elders and that we have suddenly become an oligarchy without benefit of even a constitutional amendment.
But that is wrong.
We have a faith-based presidency -- we have the faith and he has the presidency.
BUSH IS OFTEN compared to Ronald Reagan. Reagan, like Bush, seemed at times lost in his own job. He loved anecdotes, and at times confused Hollywood movies with real-life events. But no one ever thought Reagan was not the real president.
Reagan was born poor and worked hard. He became interested in politics early and worked as a labor union organizer. He eventually reduced his views to a simple set of principles, some of which (like accepting the risks of huge deficits) turned out not to work so well in the real world. But they were his principles. The men in his administration did the wonk work, but they did feel they had a leader.
George W. Bush was born rich and spent a lot of time doing not much. To this day, he does nothing more than any other major figure in American life.
I suspect that even the people who voted for him don't feel that he is a leader. George W. Bush's one great virtue is that he was not Bill Clinton. That was enough for the minority of people who voted for him.
Money plus religious right plus not Bill Clinton equals the faith-based president.
IN THE FAITH-BASED presidency, there is mystery. In the early Clinton years, before his manifold enemies found the sticks to beat him with (to be fair, the ever-interesting Clinton fashioned some of the sticks himself and handed them over), government was bracingly, maybe even disturbingly, improvisational.
Clinton was forever lifting the hood and urging us to look inside. Here are the trade-offs, he would say. We can have this or we can have that, but we can't have both. He explained; hell, he overexplained. There was much to disagree with; there was an overabundance of options; there was yelling and crying, there were cabals and traitors and leakers. It was like the longest dysfunctional family reunion in history.
The faith-based presidency is utterly opaque.
People who are not on the bus are not on the bus.
There is healing on the bus.
There is uniting on the bus.
Get on the bus.
W. E. CRITCHLEY
April 19, 2001
The economy has taken a nose-dive. The bottom has dropped out of the stock market. Businesses are folding and people are being laid off in droves. The good and prosperous years of the Clinton Presidency are over. We're under new management now.
There are a number of reasons for this startling economic downturn so soon after the appointment of George Bush to the presidency, but the primary reason is simply that people don't trust him.
Bush wasn't elected by a majority vote of the people. His brother was the governor of Florida, and the public perception is that the Bush family stole the election in Florida.
The Supreme Court's decision to stop the counting of votes before George Bush lost the election was devastating to public confidence, and when the Senate did nothing to resolve the problem, the economy began a hasty retreat.
Bush's determination to give the "budget surplus" to his wealthy friends instead of paying off the national debt and fixing Social Security caused even more mistrust.
The public knew that it was impossible to have a big budget surplus and an even bigger debt both at the same time. This was obviously double-talk, a scam; and when it became obvious that Bush would have to rip $50 billion dollars from Medicare to finance his refund program, the economy started to unravel at the seams.
Then there is the "energy crisis" in California. Many believe that this was engineered by Bush's father and his father's old oil buddies - Dick Cheney, CEO of Halliburton Energy; Ken Lay, CEO of Enron Energy; and James Baker of Reliant Energy. Whether or not this is true, a majority believe it is, and Bush's refusal to help has done nothing to change their minds. There is now a growing fear that Bush intends to go even farther and extend the crisis throughout America.
There are also many other reasons why the economy has hunkered down in fear - Bush's efforts to join church and State; his proposal to dismantle the public school system; his desire to abolish civil rights; his actions to rob Social Security; his drive to bust the unions; his obsession with eliminating environmental controls; his perpetuation of the spread of AIDS; his determination to restrict a woman's right to choose; and his belligerent foreign policy have all served to weaken consumer confidence. People are uneasy.
Bush has beamed us back in time, not forward into the future, and there is a creeping terror that he wants to go to war. This makes the economy cringe. He wants to fire-up the military industrial complex, drop some bombs, start killing people. His implementation of the old "American Hostage" trick in China causes visions of nuclear war to once again start dancing in our heads.
It's sad to say, but the economy will continue to deteriorate until Congress acts to remove George Bush from office. It doesn't matter if Congress succeeds. Their effort alone will bolster public confidence and renew trust in the system. It will assure the majority that their government is not corrupt, that it is not run by crooks. It will let them know that they have not been sold out by their representatives in Congress, and they will once again begin investing in America.
Until then, expect nothing ... or war.