Historians of the Vietnam War tell us that it took Walter Cronkite’s first major critical report on the Vietnam war to convince a beleaguered Lyndon Johnson that he had lost the support of the American mainstream. Although our current president isn’t much for nuance or inference, even he might have had a similarly sobering revelation had he accompanied me last week on a visit to my favorite western wear store, where I espied on the counter right next to some mighty stylish belt buckles, a bumper sticker announcing “Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing an idiot.” I had seen this sticker several times in parking lots and on the streets in a number of college towns, but encountering it in a place where folks plunk down hard-earned money for Wranglers and Tony Lama’s is akin to seeing a “How ‘Bout Them Dawgs?” tattoo on a Georgia Tech lineman’s biceps.
That said, as I have repeatedly warned my friends who have been celebrating Bush’s decline in the polls and his rejection by the voters last November, he is, after all, still the President. His capacity for harm, though diminished, is still prodigious, especially when only a very few members of the opposition party, much less his own, are willing to say “Enough already!” to more of his homicidal nonsense, even though few really believe his new “surge” offensive in Iraq will produce anything other than even more American casualties.
Cynical as it seems even to suggest it, Bush’s new “Stay the Course” II strategy seems calculated to maintain our military presence in Iraq until he can escape the official “loser” tag by dumping the mess he has made there over to his successor. Save for Barack Obama, regardless of party, those who appear to be vying for that unenviable position seem willing to go along with Bush’s plan to keep things going long enough to hang his bloody blunder around their necks. Perhaps they believe that, politically, it is safer to support the President’s persistence in an enormously costly and damaging policy than to risk the fate of the Vietnam War critics whom right-wing revisionists have succeeded in blaming for the failure of another ill-conceived and ultimately disastrous American military venture. With Bush barricaded away with his equally delusional cadre of yea-sayers and almost no one, friend or foe, willing to storm the barricades, the two years until the Texas village gets its idiot back are likely to seem more like an eternity.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Cobb published on January 15, 2007 9:33 AM.

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