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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
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October 8, 2008
The Bush leagues*. Gee whiz, even saying it out loud sounds too obvious, as if it were destined to be, in some twisted twist of American fate. It rolls off of one's tongue as effortlessly as n-u-c-u-l-e-r. But let's be fair: Homer Simpson nabbed that one well before George W. Bush, America's sitting/lame duck president.

I've already alluded in a previous essay how the already fine country of the United States would be eons ahead of its current position if Al Gore had "won" the 2000 presidential election. Eight years on that water under the bridge is still no less difficult to accept than, say, waterboarding. In 2008 Americans, and indeed the world, find themselves perched on the precipice of another bridge, the currents coming fast and furious. Yet as things stand today there is little point to assailing Bush, or even praising him. If there is one immediate legacy of the Bush administration that bears more forcefully on the current political climate than all others it is that Americans are now more accepting than ever of aw-shucks, wink-wink, dumbed-down politics. Don't misread me; not every commander-in-chief has been a fierce intellect, nor is it even a job requirement. But eight long years ago few could have imagined just how destructively the dubious Curriculum Vitae of George Bush would play out for his country and the world beyond.

For a poignant example one need look no further than Sarah Palin. It is possible to draw a straight line (the shortest distance between two points, lest we forget) from America's reception of Palin into the highest circles of politics to the unscholarly atmosphere of the previous two administrations. The fact that Americans are not universally flabbergasted into oblivion by Palin's scripted, talking head "performances" in interviews and at debates (which are almost indistinguishable from the self-congratulatory routine of the Republican convention) is prima facie evidence of the intellectual depths to which political discourse has been sunken. Joe Biden and Gwen Iffil are class acts deserving commendation for showing such restraint during last week's VP "debate." We all uncomfortably laugh at Tina Fey's portrayal, yet we tacitly acknowledge that Sarah Palin could easily be the leader of the free world within a matter of months.

I am not suggesting that America should be a land governed only by the uppity liberal intelligentsia. We have early Woody Allen films to prove the fallacy of such notions. But c'mon common people. There's a line that must be drawn, a capacity of understanding that we must demand our leaders possess. From the top down we have seen the effects of poor decision-making at the hands of the unqualified slowly engulf nearly every aspect of American life, from military operations to the financial sector. I posit that most of the abhorrent decisions George Bush has made or approved through the years are not the manifestation of some deliberate evil, but rather from his sincere inability to grasp the overarching complexities of many issues. Anyone who considers Jesus as the world's greatest philosopher is necessarily going to have a hard time extrapolating toward a future end goal in the real world.

One has to wonder if those stammering their bafflement at the course of the past eight years are feigning their disbelief. George Bush didn't do a great job when he was steering the hapless Texas Rangers. He did a passable job as the Governor of the Lone Star state, but Palin has let that cat out of the bag as well: it can't be that hard to do, and it might be easier than owning a sports team. I'm not suggesting that I could do either, but then again I'm not expected to have the credentials to run a government. It's clear to everyone that Bush did not rise to the challenges of the Oval Office. Instead, he was granted two terms by a citizenry that has consistently lowered the bar. Like toads in a pot of slowly boiling water, by the time Americans realize just how low their expectations had gotten the 2004 elections had passed ant it was too late to jump. For entertainers the last eight years have been a comedy gold mine; we have all made cracks about the absurdities of the American political system, but now the joke is on us. We're the Texas Rangers. Let's hope enough Americans have the foresight of A-Rod and split for a better team.

*bush-league
adj.
1. Baseball Of or belonging to a minor league.
2. Slang Of inferior or unprofessional quality; second-rate

SEE ALSO: www.bushorchimp.com

--
Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other articles by Ari Shapiro.

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