August 27th, 2007

Bush in for Classic Media Black-Jacking: Decider Risks Massive Karmic Discharge in Planned Katrina Anniversary Visit

by Philip Baruth

There was a moment, back in June of 1992, when I realized that Bill Clinton was the odds-on favorite to become President. George Bush Senior had decided to make a triumphal return to Panama, whose people he had freed from the crushing, US-sponsored embrace of Manuel Noriega in 1989, by blowing up and disabling a good portion of their country.

bush sr., triumphant

Oddly enough, many Panamanians seemed to resent this, especially when the destruction had not been addressed three years later.

And so rather than cheering crowds, the Bush Presidential victory tour sparked widespread anti-American riots. Finally, Panamanian authorities decided to tear-gas protestors very near the site of Bush’s only public speech.

A heavy dark cloud of tear-gas eventually wafted over the podium itself, prompting Secret Service agents to brandish semi-automatic weapons and spirit Bush the Elder to safety.

And it was that tear-gas cloud — looming in suddenly like some vast shot of karmic flatulence — that convinced me that Bush Sr. was not simply vulnerable, but doomed.

I thought of that ill-fated visit when I read in the Post that Bush Jr. will be jetting into New Orleans tomorrow for a two-day visit. It gave me a very strong feeling of foreboding, and I think it’s fair to say that Bush will face some strong and vocal pushback on his faltering efforts to address the problems in the Gulf Coast: there is, of course, a Presidential campaign underway that will drive media scrutiny to new heights.

Bush’s advisors know this well; the visit is the best of two bad options, the other being to ignore the anniversary and head out to Crawford. Kennebunkport wasn’t an option: Sheehan and the anti-war Left have occupied crucial swaths of Maine.

So that left a high-profile visit to a sweltering New Orleans, meeting with angry homeowners and outraged local politicians, poking through musty basements and axe-battered attics and promising more and better support than the support Bush promised last August but subsequently failed to deliver.

bush jr., at a loss

A brand-new disaster waiting to happen, this visit.

In short, expect George W. to be soundly blackjacked, one way or another — by the media, events on the ground, or more likely both, acting in concert.

Bush has never paid the full price for his curiously blithe response to Katrina, and the aftermath. But this visit, his last as a force of any lingering power in the White House, has the potential to bring it home to him in a way previously unimaginable.

And will VDB shed even one crocodile tear for this man who so desperately wants to climb back aboard his cushioned jet and return to the air-conditioned world of wealthy GOP donors and sycophants?

Dream on, baby. Dream on.