The true Bush Doctrine was OH YEAH WHADDYA GONNA DO ABOUT IT HIPPIE?
Like when he got re-elected he figured out that it didn’t matter anymore, public opinion. Oh, approval rating in the 30s? WHADDYA GONNA DO, RECALL HIM? People in Congress running away from him? So fucking what, he doesn’t need them to do things and say things. He’s on short time. They’re gonna be there forever but he’s got 8 years and they’re running out, so what difference does it make they don’t like him? Anti-war protesters camped on his lawn permanently, yelling entirely justified things and holding signs calling for prosecution? SIT AND SPIN, because until somebody comes to the door with a pair of handcuffs and seizes the keys to Air Force One, it don’t matter.
All the endless commentary, all the polls, all the discussion about what if so and so gets mad … none of it matters once you’re in that chair. Impeachment is an empty threat and has been since Ford pardoned Nixon and Clinton gave Congress the finger. The process takes too long anyway; you can do a lot of damage before the Speaker has papers drawn up. That was the only truly genius thing Bush and his people ever figured out, and they’ve passed it down to every successive candidate for that office.
Donald Trump said he could off somebody on live TV and not lose a damn thing that matters to him, and he’s right. (He’d be in prison, but we would elect somebody in prison. We could have our first president whose oval office was in San Quentin. It would be like if Oz and The West Wing had a crazy, crazy baby.) He stood up on stage in his first debate and he pointed at every candidate down the line and recited how much he’d bought them all for, and he was right. He may well crash and burn tomorrow night in Iowa, but his main strength is that he’s not risking anything. He doesn’t need your love and he doesn’t need your permission and he sure as shit doesn’t need your support, and if he wasn’t, you know, SATAN, it would be a strength.
It would. If he was using it for good, it would be a strength. The utter bypassing of every traditional check, the disregard for the rules we’ve made up and pretended are physics? It’s good and bad, that the Sunday shows don’t matter and the polls don’t matter and the Very Serious Opinion Columnists don’t matter. All those traditional structures have, historically, kept the non-majority schools of thought nice and quiet and contained so that everything is at a nice dull hum you barely notice as you go about your day, and everything that’s roiling beneath the surface is finally out there now and boy are the talking heads not ready to deal with it all. People really think like this? Yeah, they do. Lancing a boil is NASTY, but it’s the only way to heal. So if Donald Trump, if George W. Bush, had used the Zero Fucks Doctrine to uplift the marginalized instead of further justify the paranoid, their unwillingness to put up with anybody saying shut up would be a good thing.
As it is, it’s just a stunning demonstration of how far you can get when you don’t care at all about losing.