I think that if I had to boil 8 years of George W. Bush down to one essential characteristic it would have to be the doggedness with which he attacks the third or fourth most important cause of any given problem. We as a nation do not have much difficulty identifying problems. It's that next step that leaves half of us stunned and confused. The other half is apparently very easily distracted.
Take tonight's SOTU (ginandtacos tip: read it, which takes 5 minutes, as opposed to 90 minutes of televised torture) for example. Our Leader believes that we're having some problems with our national pocketbook. We all agree, right? The solution: an executive order that will eliminate a small percentage of earmarked discretionary spending. Yes….um….that is clearly the solution. I might, on the contrary, posit that the quarter-billion-dollar-per-day Iraq sideshow is the actual cause of our financial conundrum.
This fits a pattern quite nicely. People can't afford healthcare, so we need tort reform (malpractice insurance apparently comprising 90% of the cost of healthcare). Terrorism is a problem – let's invade Iraq. Precipitous decline in blue-collar employment? Extend the richest 5 percent's tax cut. Foreclosures out the ass? Send everyone a check for $600. It really amounts to little more than an extended exercise in seizing upon available current events as remotely plausible excuses for railroading 30 year-old conservative talking points through Congress. In 2000, I think this man entered office with a chart; on the right side were three solutions ('Cut taxes", "Send everyone a check", and "Invade Iraq") and blanks for the problems.
It's amazing, isn't it? Imagine conducting your own affairs this way. I'm having trouble with my dissertation – better sell my car. My health isn't great, so I've decided to learn how to lay hardwood flooring. Let the wisdom flow. The one benefit of all this is that it will not be hard for future generations of children to be given an example when they ask what "specious" means.