The Ribald Reign of King George the Second

George W. Bush: The Pollution President?

Those of us in the majority who voted against George W. Bush tend to be pretty rough on the new President. Heck, even those Americans who try to remain neutral find it hard to pay him a compliment. Barbara Walters, trying to pay Bush a compliment on a popular news entertainment television show, could only say, "He's not as stupid as he looks."

Still, even the most strident of Bush's detractors have to give credit where credit is due. When Bush isn't busy finding answers to such burning questions as "Is our children learning?", he's busy doing what he does best: making sure that his powerful friends are rewarded for their loyalty. Make all the cracks you want about his ignorance, his inarticulate manner of speech and his lack of enthusiasm for details. You've got to admit that he's smart enough to take care of his friends in high places.

Take, for example, the way that President W. works so hard to make sure that his old oil business friends from Texas have a fighting chance in their struggle to stick a bunch of their big oil rigs right in the middle of a wildlife refuge. Good old George sure is the loyal sort, and he owes it all to his daddy's oil-drilling friends. Why, when he was young, drunk and struggling to get by on his trust fund, these oil CEOs were so generous as to buy George Junior a little oil company of his own, even though he had run others right into the ground. When he destroyed this new business, they bought him a baseball stadium to play with, and even got the local legislature to kick private homeowners of their private land so that there would be enough space to build it. Heck, it was all worth it just to see the smile on little George's face when he ran around the infield for the first time. Kids -- you gotta love 'em.

So, of course it makes plenty of political sense that George W. will kow-tow to his benefactors of old. As that old Texas ditty has it, you've got to stand by your man. Payback is good politics, so it really doesn't matter that our country doesn't NEED to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean because there's still plenty of crude oil elsewhere. Likewise, it doesn't really matter that placing oil wells in the middle of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would inevitably ruin one of Earth's last few healthy wild places. No, what matters is that there's money to be made and Bush Jr.'s friends are in a position to make it. Those Texas crude oil kings made their investment in Old George Bush's little boy years ago. Heck, their money helped to make sure that W. would be installed as President with the support of a minority of voters. What was our boy W. supposed to do, just turn his back on his old friends for the good of the country? Heck naw!

George W. Bush does a great job of defending the interests of his oil patrons. Why, he'll argue up and down that off-shore oil drilling would not pose a significant threat to the wildlife in the Wildlife Refuge. The great part is that he makes this argument with a straight face, using the same funny old logic that his oil friends used to try to convince people that ships like the Exxon Valdez would never run aground in Prince William Sound or that floating tankers full of crude oil straight through the rocky biological treasures of the Galapagos Islands would be perfectly safe. Of course, the Exxon Valdez split open like a potato left too long in a microwave, poisoning huge tracts of Alaskan coastline at a price of billions of dollars. Even now, crude oil has hit the shoreline in the Galapagos, so biologically diverse that they led Charles Darwin to craft his theory of natural selection and evolution.

Well, George W. Bush's conservative friends never did really believe in all that evolution nonsense, and perhaps we shouldn't judge if a bunch of tortoises, iguanas and sea birds have to be sacrificed for the greater financial well-being of the owners of some big oil company. President Bush's oil friends point out that if Americans really cared about protecting places like the Galapagos Islands and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they'd stop driving gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and buy a bunch of fuel efficient compact cars or take public transportation. You've got to admit that they've got a pretty good point there. Besides, who are we, the public, to complain when President Bush fails to protect public lands?

It looks like Gee W. and his Republican Congress are just about ready to give the go-ahead for their oil-money buddies to start drilling for oil at cut rate prices in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. You've got to admire the commitment to a lack of principles that have brought them to this point. Now only one question remains: would George W. Bush rather be referred to as The Pollution President or the Pay-Up-Or-Shut-Up President?

Aw, heck. Why let's just stick with the moniker that got George W. where he is today: King George the Second.

Oil ain't the half of it.
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