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  IF NOTHING ELSE, PRESIDENT BUSH IS CONSISTENT.  
   
 

If there's one nice thing I can say about Bush, it's that he's consistent. He consistently offends my beliefs and he consistently lets me down as whatever moral leader he portends to be. I can trust that in any stand he takes, whether on the war, the economy, or in matters of sex and reproductive health -- he will end up on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from where I sit. I can also rest assured that behind every decision he makes will have a million dollars in campaign donations behind it.

It's been nearly three years of his rule and nothing Bush does shocks me anymore. Of course the administration handed a lucrative reconstruction deal in Iraq to their buddy Halliburton, on whose board Rumsfeld used to serve, without allowing other firms to bid! Of course Bush has yet to go to a funeral of a soldier he dispatched to death!

 
 

Of course Bush is visiting California to offer sympathy in face of the fires, wooing votes and photo-opping with the Terminator, although he won't offer any money to the state for help with its emergency.

As a president who has taken

 
 

more vacation than any other and allowed the press the least access to himself and his administration, Bush was easy to ignore. I even hoped he'd go away.

But Bush's presidency kept happening even as I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang "tra la la!" to drown him out. Did we turn our backs too soon after the election debacle, deeming him incompetent and harmless? Did we get so used to the lack of meaning in his sound bites that we ended up ignoring them when they turned threatening? For the first two years Bush was in office, the media had been slow to realize the trend.

There was a day back in June where it felt like the major media got together and decided it was safe to actually critique Bush's presidency. It was a slight shift, where coverage simply allowed for a fairer assessment of the political situation than the "Messiah Bush has ordained…" line of reporting. The post-9/11 honeymoon with Bush has ended at the major networks heading into the election, however, they're still not as hard-hitting, or as interesting to read, as they could be. The British press has been far more critical.

I change my mind daily over whether Bush is an idiot or a genius. Where did we go wrong? How did we miss the destructive amok he's been running all over our government and the world? It's like the left-leaning consciousness of the country woke up after a two year nap and said, "Who let this little boy turn the house upside down, and where's the babysitter?" before realizing Bush was OUR charge to keep and we're gonna get in trouble when the parents get home.

On a positive note, the abhorrent state of the union has left-leaning citizens hopeful that Bush has made his own deathbed, and come next November he'll have to lie in it. Every few days another poll comes out declaring a different Democratic presidential candidate in the lead: It's Gephardt in Iowa, Dean in New Hampshire, Edwards in South Carolina -- unless you talk to the Lieberman, Kerry, or Moseley Braun campaigns. The real frontrunner is the answer you'll get from most voters: "Whoever can beat Bush."

If Bush maintains his track record of destruction -- the economy, privacy, foreign relations, accountability, the environment, choice, other nations, the concept of truth -- any one of the nine Democratic candidates could be up to the job. All they'd have to do is merely hold up their picture next to one of Bush, providing voters with the obvious contrast, and the next thing they know they'll be dancing on the grave of Bush's presidency.

The down side is that we still have a year to wait. Twelve more months of watching nine politicians tear each other down Survivor style while basically restating the same view they just attacked not sixty seconds before. Twelve more months of meaningless polls and pundits. Twelve more months of watching the candidates struggle with wardrobe changes. ("Do I gank the hard-working-down-in-the-trenches-with-everyday-American-people style of rolled-up sleeves from Dean? Or go the hip-wannabe-George-Clooney route with a black mock turtleneck a la Clark? Or, even better, will I secure the LBGT vote if I wear a skirt like Moseley Braun?")

But ultimately, the worst part is twelve more months of Bush. At least I know I'll be able to spend the year kickin' back and watching him stew in his own poisonous juices. How can I be so sure that he'll continue to alienate the rational and sensible voting public with his political decisions?

He's been doing a pretty good job of it for the past two and a half years, and the man is nothing else, if not consistent.

 

*BT*

Ashley Glacel works at the Village Voice, and is half the beauty and brains behind www.anniedandashleyg.com, the website that makes political awareness and progressive sensibilities look good.