Thursday, September 9, 2004

Lately the Medium Lobster has heard some fairly petty complaints coming from such quarters as Slate's William Saletan and the New York Times's Paul Krugman regarding the seriousness of George Bush's leadership. George Bush, they say, is arguing for his own re-election not on the basis of what he's actually accomplished, but on the basis of a heroic facade propped up by frequent invocations of 9/11 and war imagery, in a desperate bid to cover up four years of gross administrative incompetence.

But alas, like so many of the unenlightened, Saletan and Krugman miss the point by overlooking the single - but essential - presidential power George Bush posseses. He posseses the Power of the Glow.

When George Bush stood on a pile of rubble in New York City with a bullhorn, he was not standing up to terrorists; nor was he risking his life. He was Showing strength, if not using or applying or doing anything substantive with it - and by that Show of strength he emitted, from hidden Presidential glands secreted deep within his chest, a powerful radiating Symbolic Force that rippled throughout the world, confronting and striking back at the Symbols of Islamist Terror. It is only there, on the Iconic Plane, that the War on Terror can be won - it is, after all, a war of civilizations and ideologies, not a war of terrorist cells and counter-terrorist intelligence apparatus - and thus it is symbolic actions which matter, not petty, real-world results.

George Bush emitted the same symbolic glow in striking Iraq. No, al Qaeda was not in that country; no, Saddam Hussein possesed neither weapons of mass destruction nor meaningful ties to Osama bin Laden. But by demonstrating that he was willing to go to war somewhere - yes, even to ground the bulk of the armed forces in a nightmarish quagmire rife with religious and ethnic factions clawing at each other for control - George Bush was Showing his Seriousness in the war on terror. He didn't need to show his competence or his ability in fighting terror by actually stabilizing Iraq or pursuing al Qaeda instead; he just needed to Show his Seriousness by starting a war, since war, after all, is a very Serious business done by very Serious men, and making war against Arab Muslims somewhere in the world has therefore Shown Bush's Seriousness to the vast spirit of Symbolic Arab Muslim Terror.

There is one mistake the Medium Lobster can properly fault this President for, and that is for continuing to reside in the White House. Being not merely some hired civil servant whose effectiveness should be judged based on the effectiveness of his policies, the President should long ago have been mounted on the top of the Washington Monument, or still better, a thousand-foot-tall specially-constructed Presidential Spire facing the Atlantic, where the increased altitude would allow him to grit his face determinedly towards the Mideast and its den of Islamists twenty-four hours a day, projecting his Glow of Symbolic Strength outward to forever confront the oncoming menace. Until that project is completed, the Medium Lobster fears that George Bush has yet to truly Show his strength and determination in the face of the enemy.
posted by the Medium Lobster at 8:54 AM




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