The Church of Bush
President Bush's recent statement that we will only get his legacy right after he's dead, had a familiar feel to it. The President can live with himself - despite the obvious disaster in Iraq - because he believes that someday, when he is long gone from this world, there will be an eternal judgment that he was a great president after all. What did the Church Lady used to say? "How convenient!" But it's all part of the disorganized religion known as the Bush White House.
This administration always marketed President Bush's so-called Christian faith as one of his central drawing points. There isn't a pundit in America who believes President Bush could have been elected without the support of the religious right - I don't care how badly his brother Jeb and Katherine Harris rigged the election in Florida. It didn't seem to matter that he barely followed the religion either. His policies of preemptive strikes, torture, and always putting the rich first would have made Jesus weep, but to his adoring fans, this was all okay.
In fact, it was more than okay. It was the Church of Bush. The point wasn't that he was Christian - the point was that he was religious and claimed he was Christian. White House officials still lied in all the traditional ways, but I thought there was something extra here. I believe President Bush took the absolute power he got from ignoring the Constitution and crossed into a messiah zone. He copped an attitude of arrogance that suggested it was his job to define the truth. These were no longer lies - they were the Word according to George, and any dissent was greeted with a fervor you normally see when you challenge someone's religion. Then he sent his disciples - the blithering idiots of right wing radio - out to spread the Word.
Iraq was going great because President Bush said it was - that was all that was required for both him and his clueless band of die-hard supporters: The famous 30% who don't get it and will never get it. I take that back - they might clue in if the wheels really come off and our economic standing in the world plummets in the next two years. Of course, President Bush will try and keep them faithful, by saying our financial state as a nation is actually great. The countries who are bailing out on the dollar are non-believers, who don't worship the Great Decider. A magic date will be cited for after we all die, when his spending policies and stewardship of the economy will be seen for what they really are: Absolutely brilliant - even heavenly.
That's the promise of religion, isn't it? That's why they call it faith. We go through so much here because of what the religious leaders guarantee us will happen in the next world if we don't. They sell reassurance if we follow them and threaten us with fear if we don't. That went right into the GOP playbook, too.
Of course, the existence of the next world can never quite be proven, much less the specifics of what will happen to you when you die. You can believe all you want, but we won't know till it happens, if at all. President Bush has now taken a page out of that strategy to reassure himself about his Presidency. He's right about one part: He won't see his Presidency hailed as great during his lifetime.
But this is a faith thing, so it doesn't matter. In his heart there is nothing but joy, for he knows sometime after he dies, his Presidency will be seen as one of the greatest of all time. He will take his rightful place next to the Father of this country and ascend unto Mt. Rushmore.