With the nomination of bumbling yes-woman/love slave Condi Rice to the head the State Department and the orders to purge the CIA of career professionals who aren't Dubya aparatchiks, Bush immediately snuffs out any hope that he'll achieve a semblence of competence in his lame duck years. By getting rid of sensible counsel like Powell, Bush is consolidating greater control, which means more disasters on the horizon. There is now no doubt that Bush's tentacles remain firmly unattached to the reality (or reality-based communities) but now to some imagined mandate from heaven.
The only checks on this continuing nightmare are (1) the massive budget deficit and attendant fears of a massive bond sellout (thereby crashing the dollar and spiking up interest rates) might -- might! -- prevent more reckless tax giveaways; (2) the overextension of the military in Iraq means that neocon fantasies will be restricted to what is actually feasible rather than simply the theoretically possible.
A sliver of hope: the death of Arafat might force Bush to seize the moment and push for a Middle East deal in the next two years. Though the Chimp has been neglecting the Israel/Palestinian problem his first four years, concerns about legacy and perhaps a chance to top Clinton might be enough motivation to push for something to get done. Sharon, no doubt, also senses the opportunity; only fear is that whomever emerges as the Palestinian Authority leader (likely Abbas) will not have the power (basically credibility and trust with his own people) to cut a deal that sacrifices the Palestinian demands for a right of return for refugees and contiguous territories in the West Bank, the two terms that hung up the Camp David negotiations in 2000.
And let's hope he doesn't appoint the singularly obnoxious Joe Lieberman to head up the Pentagon as rumored. Btw, check out the most ridiculous bit of punditry in 2004, the increasingly unstable Martin Peretz arguing that the sanctimonious Joe-mentum, with his wrinkly jowls, high pitched whine, unmitigated hawkish rhetoric and I ♥ Repugs persona, would've beaten Bush. (Faced with the choice of a real Republican and a wanna-be, the country would no doubt just choose the real McCoy.) Hang it up, Marty, and check yourself into a clinic until a Mideast deal is signed. Right now you're a complete embarrassment to that fine magazine.
What's worse: he now owes a debt of gratitude to the 20% of religious nutcases in this country who helped elect him. Bush's Clash of Civilizations project will continue unabated.
But fuck them. Fuck these rightwing nutcases, the American equivalent of Islamo-fascist extremists. Fuck their creationist babble and their sanctimony and their absolutism and their bad sex lives and their fat heads and their hypocrisy and their kitschy Ten Commandment tablets and "Elect Jesus" lawsigns and cousin-fucking and salisbury steaks and the 16th century they want to drive their gas-guzzling, impotence-compensating SUVs back to. Above all, fuck the way they want impose their ass-backwards, retarded worldview on the rest of us. They give my life and my beliefs no respect; why should I then respect these idiots just because there are more of them.
Wait, don't fuck the salisbury steaks. Those actually can be kinda good.
For more, check out Fuck the South. Also cathartic: the Urban Archipelago published in Seattle's The Stranger (hat tip: James Callan).