Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:04 pm

Vet this

Speaking (and it pains me to do so) of Rush, one other angle of his racist paranoia is that it leads him to believe our current president won’t be sufficiently tested or held accountable:

Can this nation really have an African-American president? Or will the fact that we have an African-American president so paralyze politically correct people in the media that the natural scrutiny and process through which all of our presidents are put through and vetted do not occur because of the fear in the state-controlled media of themselves being called racist and the desire to be able to call everyone else racist?

Yeah, that vetting really is important. Can you imagine how screwed we’d have been if it had broken down and George W. Bush had gotten to be president?

I mean, granted, that’s a parallel-dimension scenario: After eight years of peace and prosperity and rising incomes at almost all levels on the wage scale, Americans never would have given a majority of their votes to a lobotomized faux-cowboy like Bush, particularly against any smart Democrat who understood the problems inherent in our financial system and our (mis-)use of the Earth’s resources. So we’d have to dream up a scenario that wouldn’t occur to the most amateurish Hollywood screenwriter.

I mean, we’d have to start by assuming a close race, just like in the old joke where you ask an economist how he’d get out of a falling plane and he says, “Assume a parachute.” It’d have to be so close that the outcome depends on who carries a single large state. But to elect George Bush, we’d need a really idiotic scenario, like that the state was one where his brother was governor and had worked with some political cronies in the data-management bidness to purge a bunch of likely Democratic voters from the rolls who shouldn’t have been purged. Now even that couldn’t make Bush president by itself. So we’d have to have the total be so close that the courts have to get involved in counting individual ballots, which is a scenario even the hackiest Hollywood hack would blush to dream up. And we’d kind of have to skip over the details, because in real life there’s no way this would happen, but let’s say the case goes to the Supreme Court, where all of the Reagan appointees and Bush’s father’s appointees vote to give him that state and the presidency. And to make it really ridiculous, we’ll throw in the detail that they did that even though not all the votes had been counted.

Even Michael Bay wouldn’t shoot a script that bad.

But, OK, through this, um, literary device, we’ve put George Bush in the White House. He can’t count, he knows nothing about foreign affairs, he doesn’t know how to pick good people — in fact, he’s such a sociopath that he’d probably start a war illegally just to give himself an occasion to order people tortured — and everything that he has touched in his adult life has turned to poo, from which he has walked away, leaving it to others to clean up his messes.

Man, good thing that didn’t happen. Fortunately, there was no chance it ever could. Between our electoral process, which remains ruthlessly focused on issues and practicalities and priorities and sober cost-benefit analyses, and our national media, who deal with substance and never cover silly things like whether a candidate is taking fashion advice from some woman, there’s no way someone of Bush’s ilk could have won a single delegate, let alone the White House.

Still — I realize it’s a stretch — let’s suppose that through some parallel-universe interlocking of impossibilities Bush got elected. The truth is, between the responsible Republicans and the responsible Democrats, not only could his stupider ideas never even get out of committee, Congress would be on his executive-branch initiatives like white on rice — demanding regular, sworn testimony from agency heads, backed with documentation, and launching the legislative-oversight equivalent of a prostate exam whenever anyone in the executive branch strayed off the financial or constitutional reservation. And if Bush kept on pushing, he’d get a visit from the entire House Judiciary Committee, Democrats and Republicans alike, warning him that if he kept it up, they’d have articles of impeachment on the House floor in a hot minute.

Not only that, but the media would be reporting and assessing his performance in real time, applying objective standards like law and science, and soberly analyzing events in their appropriate economic, social, military and historical contexts and not just as factors in the endless political horse race.

And the beauty part? Is that Bush is a white guy. He and his supporters couldn’t blame everything Congress and the media were doing on racism.

But let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that all those safeguards hadn’t been in place.

Can you imagine where we’d be today?

So, yeah, Rush is right. It really is important to vet and hold accountable presidential candidates, and the presidents themselves. Otherwise? Boy howdy, it would suck to be us.


  1. It’s hard to expect Taibbi, what with his new found fame and consequent responsibility, to get worked up into a proper lather any more. Fortunately, we still have you.

    Comment by Fec — Saturday, September 19, 2009 8:08 pm @ 8:08 pm

  2. You’re too kind, my friend.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, September 20, 2009 2:13 am @ 2:13 am

  3. […] He might have a future in economics; his “We got a driver’s license …” seems derived from the fabled economists’ approach to the plummeting-plane conundrum, “Assume a parachute.” […]

    Pingback by Writing assignment « Blog on the Run: Reloaded — Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8:43 pm @ 8:43 pm

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