By MANIFESTO JOE
I recall, over five years ago, when three co-workers asked for my honest assessment of then-Gov. George W. Bush. "I think he's an empty suit," I said.
In mob slang, an empty suit is defined as someone with nothing to offer who tries to hang around with mobsters. In politics, this would translate into someone with nothing to offer who either seeks or holds public office. And Bush, with his nomination of unqualified crony Harriet Miers for Supreme Court justice, has provided yet another example of a vapid politician with nothing to offer. Bush has no substance. He's always relied on cronies to furnish it -- such as they could.
Much to the country's lasting misfortune, Bush has been marketable. Surrounded by Machiavellian thugs like Karl Rove, he has somehow stammered and swaggered his way into two terms in the Oval Office.
But having the talents needed to be president of the frat house (backslapping joviality, cutsie-pootsie nicknames, smarmy "charm", and a sort of everyman appeal to the herd) doesn't prepare a person to be president in the White House.
So why are the right-wingers so appalled by the Miers nomination? News flash, righty kooks -- Bush has operated in this contemptibly shallow fashion his entire life.
The disaster in New Orleans showed what can happen when a weak, poorly prepared chief executive surrounds himself with "yes" men and women, and appoints inexperienced sycophants to key posts, as though he were putting buds in charge of the panty raid. To mention only the most prominent of many examples, FEMA's former "director," Michael Brown, was a Bush political hack with as much background in emergency management as Bush has experience in self-reliance.
One would think that perhaps Bush could have learned from so many disasters. He's created his share, and worsened others. (That, of course, would be assuming that he's in something close to a normal learning curve.)
But now he's ready to appoint to the nation's highest court a lawyer who has never been a judge, with no experience in constitutional law, and who happens to be a longtime associate and a Bush family friend. It appears that in most ways, he hasn't learned a thing; and it's fairly obvious that he never will.
The one big thing Bush learned, and very early, was how to schmooze, party, socialize in the most frivolous ways -- in other words, how to collect cronies. And, of course, spend Daddy's money.
Now he's doing his best to put his buds in charge of the store, no matter how much looting and damage ensues. And the money he's spending now isn't Daddy's, but ours.
It may be recalled that President Kennedy installed his brother as attorney general, to head a Cabinet post for a few years. OK -- conservatives don't have a monopoly on political patronage or cronyism. But this nomination has vastly greater importance. As a justice who would perhaps be the swing vote on a court that has already been appallingly politicized, Miers would probably sit on the court for decades and wield enough power to change the course of U.S. jurisprudence. Something tells me that this wouldn't be for the better. This is a person who has publicly called George W. Bush "the most brilliant man I ever met."
That ludicrous statement alone should disqualify her.
But one must understand that in the Bush playbook, Miers has the top qualification -- being a Bush family toady. The nomination is the payback for taking out the garbage so many times. and for propping up a suit with no substance inside.
But, we've seen this sullying of our republic before; and no doubt, we'll see it again -- at least until, perhaps, a House panel approves the overdue articles of impeachment for both Bush and Cheney.
MANIFESTO JOE IS AN UNDERGROUND WRITER LIVING IN TEXAS