Not Not Eudora   By Harry Welty
Not published in
October 2005

Email to Vic

Vic and I have traded email for four years. He’s a smart man but we don’t always agree. For instance he thinks affirmative action violates the American ideal “that all men are created equal” by treating them unequally. The idealist in me agrees but the pragmatist in me sees that the two centuries that we ignored this ideal led to a colossal inequality which justifies some manner of Affirmative Action. Vic and I often disagree about the President. He recently sent me a link to a story that suggests Bush may have resumed drinking. We emailed back and forth a bit ending in my composing the following email expressing my frustration with Bush. Like many emails it suffers from haste but it probably reflects my current thinking better than anything I’ve ever put in one of my columns. The only change I’ve made is adding the italicized word “keep” to complete one sentence.

The question the first blogger you linked me to asked was about whether we should care whether the leader of the free world is off the wagon.

I have become a big drinker in the last couple of years. I've made collecting wine a hobby. If I were President and drinking as much as I currently do I suspect I would be the subject of gossip. I probably average half a bottle of wine a day. Am I an alcoholic? I'm rarely tipsy but I would be reluctant to hop in the car after my evening's drinking just in case I was pulled over. I have no idea what my blood alcohol content would be.

I grew up with parents who rarely drank. My father's father was an alcoholic and while I was young I never saw my folks drink. I hate being drunk. I was drunk on my ass twice in college. Even then I never picked a fight with my father. On the second occasion I talked all the guys I was with to walk home for safety's sake. The car was towed the next day.

I suspect Bush is an alcoholic of some sort. He kicked the habit after a bad night when he was 40. I haven't had a bad night since I was 21. I never had them frequently. Bush knew his drinking wasn't good for him. His kicking the habit is part of his legend. AA tells its members that their alcoholism is always and forever just one drink away. Why shouldn't that be true of Bush as well?

Actually, the links I jumped to from the site you sent to me talked as much about Bush's rumored abusive behavior toward underlings as much as his possible fall off the wagon. They speculated about how much anguish he feels at the deaths of soldiers in Iraq . I don't doubt his anguish. He thought he'd wrapped Iraq up a couple years ago when he flew onto the Lincoln with the "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him.  God was on his side back then and he lives by the simplistic notions that good will prevail and that  America is God's country. Hell, he was on the top of the world after 9/11. The day before the Towers tumbled to the ground he was a feckless President. The day afterward he was an eagle and he remained so for a long time. Proof positive that God was on his side. (Some of his supporters still think he's soaring even though the fuel keeping him aloft is in question.)

Whether God is on the side of anyone who lets his capos spread rumors to the effect that his challenger fathered a black child out-of-wedlock or whether God turns a blind eye to instructions permitting an army to ignore the Geneva Convention I don't know. I think those are the sorts of questions that ought to merit deep reflection. But Bush doesn't like to worry himself about such trivialities. It's that simple, decisive mind of his. As long as his poll numbers are high its "damn the torpedoes full speed ahead."

Well, God has let the poll ratings fall and God is coming uncomfortably close to letting him undo his Father's only success. What was that success? Why Bush the First helped America put Vietnam behind us. Bush II has managed to put the Vietnam quagmire back on the table. If, as I've long suspected, Bush II was enjoying the prospect of one-upping the old man by taking down the dictator who had bedeviled him, it must be painful to realize that maybe his Dad was right all along.

I was awestruck by Clinton 's resilience during the impeachment. I don't think Bush is as mentally tough as slippery Bill. Bush has always struck me as a shallow thinker. We were right in Vietnam so screw the hippy war protesters. I don't think his thinking has advanced much since 1969 when he was a pro-war but leave it to the draftees; I'm in the Guard cuz my Dad got me out of the war; party like hell on the weekend; warrior.

He's not a bad man but he's put a lot of American lives at risk in an increasingly doubtful war. And he let politics keep him from raising taxes for the war or from adequately equipping the troops in a timely manner. Karl Rove was there remind him that he had to keep Grover "I want to make government so small I can strangle it in a bathtub" Norquist happy. Now a once winnable war looks more like the prelude of a cold war only with terrorists rather than commies. How we'll meet that challenge in debt up to our necks to the Chinese I don't know. And while I'm anticipating that future I can't help but cringe at the thought of spending a hundred million to restore Louisiana because we were too busy putting all our resources into airport shoe inspections.

Hell, if I had to face the next three years hiding from war protestors holding placards reading "told you so," I might want to reach for some sort of crutch. George can't take criticism. I've never seen any presidential campaign go to such an extreme to shield its candidate from his detractors. Pity the poor Bush underling who has to take him some bad news. The rumors tell of a Bush who's mad as hell and swearing and cussing at all his critics. Whether he called Cindy Sheehan a MFbitch I have no idea but he sure made his life harder by not talking to her. Well, if he can't face one lousy grieving mother how the hell is he supposed to face his fiasco in Iraq ?

I heard on NPR that when Katrina hit Bush's aides were afraid to tell him to pay attention. That does suggest that his temper has cowed his underlings. Even if his renewed drinking was temperate it wouldn't make him any more approachable to the bearer of bad news.

I also heard that Karl Rove was in the hospital when Katrina blew ashore and that's why the hurricane caught Bush so flat footed. Whether Bush is back on the bottle or not let's just hope Karl's health remains steady. Its going to be a long three years and we're going to need all the help we can get ferreting niggers out of the woodpile.

Too bad Strom Thurmond is dead.

Post Script. I hate the “n” word but I used it here to express my contempt. “Nigger in the woodpile” is an old expression for white southerners’ greatest fear - the discovery that an ancestor might have been black. The South’s “one drop” rule made any such white person a “nigger.” I used it here because of a cruel irony. Senator John McCain was accused in a massive telephone campaign by conservative Christians in South Carolina of fathering a black child. (In fact, McCain and his wife adopted a dark skinned child from India ) This helped elect George Bush President in 2000.The irony is that South Carolina ’s revered Republican Senator, Strom Thurmond, who was himself elected in the 1940’s by railing against ‘miscegenation,” impregnated his black maid.

Welty is small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com