The three sisters - Cindy, Katrina & Rita -- have managed not simply to humble the president, but in effect, have ended his rule of hubris and arrogance. End of Bush II.
Cindy Sheehan didn't so much expose his lies about Iraq as she has galvanized opposition to a war that the world has always known is fraudulent. His failure to face her this summer solidified the belief worldwide that there indeed is nothing noble about this illegally conjured-up war. There never was a threat from Iraqi WMDs nor was there an Iraqi link to 911. Also, the governments that were blackmailed into supporting president Bush's war policies had to do so against the strong wishes of their own citizens.
In the United States, it was quite a different story. Egged on by a willing media, a sizeable percentage of the U.S. public (including the leading Democrats) seemingly came to believe the president's whoppers. Even after the falsehoods were thoroughly exposed, those that had been duped continued to fall for the president's continued deceptions -- that he had been victimized by ?faulty intelligence.? At worst, they accused him of being an incompetent imperialist. (They objected to the incompetence, not the imperialism).
Meanwhile, the president's rag-tag ?coalition of the willing? began to unravel.
Despite this, truth and morality seemed to have had no effect on his supporters. It has taken these three sisters to stir peoples' sense of right and wrong, though admittedly, this change may be due more to economic patriotism than as a result of desiring the president to abide by the law. The rationale is quite simple: the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is about the same as Katrina & Rita (some $200 billion and growing) -- this at a time of sky-high deficits and tax-cuts that indisputably favor the rich. Given a choice, the U.S. taxpayers would rather pitch in to help their fellow citizens than finance an unpopular war that promises few dividends.
That tens of thousands of Iraqis are being killed in an illegal war (plus 2000 U.S. soldiers) does not seem to have entered into the equation. Yet by failing to address Sheehan, he lost the small window of opportunity that he had to convince a now thoroughly skeptical U.S. public about the purported rightness of his cause. Then came the other sisters.
That's why his presidency of arrogance is over -- this is even before the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation is taken into account. There's no more wind for his continued tax cuts for the rich. Similarly, his faith-based war against science and the environment have been completely discredited. He has been reduced to near-buffoon status, attempting to prove that he can lead the Gulf Coast rebuilding effort and lead the nation.
He has not only lost control of the nation's agenda - but has also irreversibly lost his stature as ?leader of the free world.? The only people he can rely on for support are the same delusional individuals who blame Bill Clinton for 911 and Katrina. And even that base continues to shrivel.
This is not a case of the situation not boding well for the president or the Republican Party. It's the whole country. And rather than a lame-duck, he is instead a wounded animal. The difference is, he is still at the controls of the most powerful weaponry and armed forces in world history. And it's not just him. His entire administration is implicated (if not indicted) in this illegal war. (That's why he has always adamantly insisted that the United States be exempt from the International War Crimes Tribunal). And beyond that, Cindy, Katrina and Rita have exposed the Michael Browns of his administration --- incompetent cronies that have been placed into leadership positions to simply do the bidding of big business.
And it isn't just FEMA. The Food & Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the politicized courts are in similar boats. That's just where it begins.
This is not news, but it has taken the three sisters to expose this illegitimate government as the damage and toll in American lives, (in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf coast) is now being perceived as unacceptably high.
Yet, the president will remain dangerous until the day he leaves office. Nothing like another conjured-up crisis (with Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, North Korea or Cuba) for him to perhaps attempt to do what NYC Mayor Rudy Gulianni tried to do after 911-- attempt to stay in office beyond his elected term. Normally this would be unthinkable. But since when are these normal times?
* Some might argue that it is three other sisters, Valerie [Plame of the CIA], Harriet [Miers, Supreme Court Nominee] & Wilma [still yet another hurricane] that have brought this administration to its knees.