Buh-Bye, Political Capital:
Here's a blast from the past: remember President Bush's news conference/shit-eatin' grin fest right after the election? Surely you remember this line that was replayed endlessly: "[I]t's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."

And then Bush yanked John Kerry's head out of a bag, smeared himself with the dripping blood, hoisted it aloft before hurling it at Helen Thomas's lap, and danced a grotesque little jig while Jeff Gannon secretly jacked off at the thought of this happy warrior and former cheerleader being his bottom for just one night.

So Bush decided to spend that political capital, man, like it was a budget surplus, like a pimp tossin' the benjamins out in piles at a Vegas bling shop, on one big ass item: Social Security "reform." And it's just been a goddamned waste of perfectly vile capital, hasn't it?

Except for his brief sojourn abroad to pretend he gave a shit about Europe, Bush has been on a political capital spending spree across the country, holding forth with hand-picked audience members, mimicking the well-worn "town hall" style of conversation. In these simulacra of democracy, Bush spouts his "facts" and "figures," with huge fuckin' graphics on big damn screens, so many figures that it puts the "numb" back in "numbers."

Then he gets "questions" from the audience (if by "question," you mean bullshit propaganda force-fed through robotic agents of evil disguised as "ordinary" citizens in order to lend legitimacy to the orgy of lies being shoved down the throats of the gathered like so many throbbing cocks into so many eager Linda Lovelaces). Bush uncomfortably makes stabs at genuinely caring about the people-props surrounding him before diving into his pre-programmed messages: When one 20 year-old business owner in Indiana said he thought that he'd never see any Social Security money when he retired, Bush charmed him with "I thought you were an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs need to be optimistic. How can you start you own business unless you see a better future?" Oh, ho, ho, how sweet, how caring, how . . . fuckin' evil and seething with barely hidden contempt. And then, thank god, Bush got back on message: "Benefits will not be changed for seniors. But beyond that, from 1950 and before, people who have been born from 1950 on, there is a serious problem."

Oh, by the way, when ordinary citizen Jon Surma was finished making "his" points, Bush looked at him and said, "Good job," as if complimenting Surma's performance.

One of the main thrusts of Bush's deep desire to gut Social Security like it's a pig at a boucherie is to provoke generational disharmony: you young 'uns are just proppin' up the greedy old people: "I'm also saying to younger workers, you better listen carefully to this debate because you're the ones who are going to have to pay for it." And he's really hittin' it hard on 18-21 year-olds, who on the whole, let's face it, are too fuckin' stupid about finances to understand anything Bush says other than "more money."

These are the same people who believe that tables set up on college campuses offering low-rate Visas are doing them a favor. If you're young and reading this, you know of what the Rude Pundit speaks - for you, the "future" is a mythical place of fantasy and wealth and, what the hell, unicorns. If you're older, you remember how fuckin' stupid you were with money in your teens and twenties, how you wish you knew to save more and not spend it all on dumb shit, like all that cash dropped on that piece of ass who wouldn't even blow you in thanks. Part of the privilege of being young is being able to fuck up. So why not fuck up retirement early, huh?

The awesome part of this massive effort to do away with Social Security through the enormous expenditure of Bush's "political capital" is that he's squandered it, tossed it in the garbage heap. How awful does your not-even-proposed plan have to be if, with a Republican Congress and a conservative media that spouts White House press releases unquestioningly, you are losing support every day for the biggest goal, privatization, or the less-threatening "personal accounts"? That the citizenry you control with nearly unchecked power is turning its backs on you when it comes to your dearest goal, even as you push harder and harder for it? That the opposition, so seemingly whipped, has found its soul again in your new weakness? That members of your own party and ideology are running like whipped mongrels from your lash? Goddamn, it's just something to see.

When the Hindenburg, full of gas and Nazi hubris, burst into flames, killing 35 people, no one knew why. But some present at the explosion agreed that, in a horrible way, the burning ship was really quite beautiful.