He's somebody I gave a lot of thought to over a long period, and thought it was clear there was a lot of brokenness there.
Many of the destructive directions of the Bush administration seem to have gotten their impetus from Dick Cheney. But Bush was no mere pawn. We know that he came in willing to do whatever he has to do --honest or not, decent or not, destructive or not-- to prevail. We know that because W was working hand-in-glove with Karl Rove, a man for whom cheating and lying and manipulating are the basic modus operandi. Bush had made that deal with the devil long before Dick Cheney entered his picture.
So the brokenness of W himself was important for understanding all the brokenness his presidency inflicted on this nation. W's brokenness generated a wave of brokenness that left its damaging mark on everything the forces of politics touches, which is pretty much everything, directly or indirectly.
Nonetheless, the destructive spirit that's been on a rampage in America in our times is not ultimately about George Bush.
We can see that there was something behind the Bush presidency that continued to operate even after that presidency came to an end. The same spirit that drove the Bush wrecking crew was able to stay in Washington after he left and continue its destructive work by taking up residence in this equally disgraceful, equally dishonest, equally disrespecting of our democratic traditions that have served America well, equally inflamed with the insistence on conflict rather than peace and cooperation, "opposition" party the Republican Party has been for the past four years. And still is.
It uses the people at hand, but it exists at a level that transcends even the major players, like Bush and Cheney and Rove, and the Koch Brothers and Limbaugh and the rest.
It is important that we see this "It," because this is what we must defeat, and as the great pitcher Walter Johnson said, "You can't hit what you can't see."
Seeing and understanding this "It" is what my "Swinging for the Fences" project is about.
Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. He is the author of various books including The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution and Sowings and Reapings: The Cycling of Good and Evil in the Human System.