A Cardboard Cowboy

George W. Bush knows he’s in trouble when even the radical right turns on him like a rabid dog.

The echoes from a rare Presidential press conference had not yet died before the always-contentious conservatives descended on Bush like iguanas in a feeding frenzy for nominating another of his cronies for the Supreme Court.

To the right-wing, Bush’s selection of White House counsel Harriet Miers, an unknown with no judicial experience, was no less than outright treason to the conservative cause. They wanted a fire-breathing conservative judge who would vote to send America back into the dark ages. Nothing less could satisfy the hard-core.

Just a few months ago, these same wild-eyed conservatives praised Bush to the heavens for being a “great leader” who, they said, would never “cave in to polls.” Now these same whiners and moaners decry Bush as spineless sap who, you guessed it, caved in to the polls.

“Here’s what we do know: Polls are driving President Bush’s court picks. At a low ebb in his presidency, the president has passed over well-known, if controversial, constitutionalists and chosen a sphinx-like presidential pal,” whines Mark Moller, editor of the Supreme Court Review published by the right-wing Cato Institute.

Bill Kristol, editor of the even-more conservative Weekly Standard magazine, said he was “disappointed, depressed and demoralized” by the appointment of Miers.

“It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy,” Kristol claims.

Somebody get out a violin. The right-wing cabal is in tears and there ain’t enough Kleenex to go around.

In one sense, these crybabies might be right. Bush, who never really had to fight for anything in his life, is battered and bruised by ever-increasing setbacks to his presidency and is clearly tired. One only had to watch his listless performance at the press conference Tuesday to see that. Or maybe it’s the drugs and booze.

Faced with a war in Iraq that he can’t win, under fire from his own party for uncontrolled spending habits that has sent any form of fiscal control into oblivion and unable to advance his showcase program of Social Security “reform,” Bush has run out of steam. He’s a lame-duck marking time, treading water while the sharks circle.

A compassionate person might feel sorry for Bush but I’m short on compassion when it comes to politicians. Bush boxed himself into a corner, ignoring reality to pursue his cowboy fantasy of another Teddy Roosevelt leading the charge up San Juan Hill (a legend which itself is more fantasy than reality).

The mainstreamers make a big deal out of Bush’s loss of “swagger.” Gone, they say, is the strong, macho image that Bush tried to hard to portray as he struggled to perform a job when he had neither the integrity nor the qualifications.

But Bush’s image was just that – image. No substance, no backbone, no leadership. The President of the United States was, and is, nothing more than a cardboard cowboy, a creation of political spinmeisters and propped up by the extremist elements of Republican Party determined to maintain power at any cost.

Sooner or later the façade had to crumble so the shallow frat boy, bored with yet another job he could not handle, could emerge. The dilettante who has drifted through life with opportunities provided by others has blown yet another chance to prove himself. Daddy’s connections and power provided all the past opportunities and he frittered those away.

Now the stakes are much higher and even Daddy keeps his distance. The American people abandoned Bush months ago – fed up with the duplicity, the economy and a useless, senseless war. Sensible Republicans, tired of seeing one of their own drive federal spending and the size of government to record levels, took a hike as well.

Now the right-wing extremists have walked away, leaving Bush alone with his failures. When the final chapter is written on the failed Presidency of George W. Bush, it will show the man whose only talent was an ability to point the finger of blame at others had, in the end, no one left to blame but himself.