So Bush and Cheney are making their farewell tour, and the phrase the White House Communications Office has come up with for them is that the President has had to make “tough decisions.”
The idea is that, while you might not actually like him, or anything he’s done, the President’s record low popularity is… well, it shows what a pussy you are, because you don’t have his kind of guts—not caring about popularity because he’s so “tough.” This little meme is being dutifully parroted by cabinet members, local GOP officials, the right-wing noise machine, Fox “News” and other apologists for this train wreck of an administration.
Here’s the thing. I’ve made some “tough decisions” in my life.
Some were tough because I really didn’t know what the right thing to do was, and I had some intense arguments, with myself and others. Maybe I even made some of these decisions without actually being 100% sure I was right.
Others were tough because, although I knew they were good decisions, they forced me outside my personal comfort zone. I had to change my way of thinking, or my behavior. I had to confront someone and put our relationship at risk. I had to embrace some personal growth, which is always painful in the short term.
And some were tough because I plainly and simply did not want to make them. I had to suck it up and do things I didn’t want to. I chose the lesser of two evils.
Well, I have followed the Bush administration pretty closely for these past eight years, and I have never seen the slightest evidence of the President or Vice President making those sorts of decisions. Intense internal debate? Personal growth and change? Doing things you’d rather not?
No, their decisions have consistently been to do exactly what they want to, the way they want to, and to treat anyone with a contrary viewpoint as a mortal enemy to be mocked, vilified, steamrollered, or destroyed.
Using 9/11 as an excuse to attack Iraq? Cherry-picking intelligence to bolster a spurious case for war? Going into Iraq with inadequate preparation? Imprisoning people without charge or trial, torturing them, and then using every legalistic trick in the book to escape war-crimes prosecution? Spying on virtually anyone without a warrant? Lowering taxes in order to de-fund the federal government? Deregulating the financial industry? Waging war on every type of environmental and consumer protection? Honeycombing government agencies with incompetents chosen solely on the basis of their right-wing Christianist beliefs? Sitting still while New Orleans drowned, because after all, it was just a bunch of shiftless poor people?
These seem to have been very easy decisions for these guys to make. In fact, they simply did everything Republicans have promised or threatened to do for the past 50 years.
“Tough decisions”? Only in one sense: if you don’t like any of their decisions… well, that’s just tough.