Lame Duck? Try, Lame President.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rose: It's take a big trip across
the George Washington Bridge.

Celeste: No.

Rose: It's a good idea.

Celeste: It's a crutch. It's a crutch!

Rose: We'll do it this one last time, okay?

Celeste: All right, this once.

Rose: I'm ready. Are you?

Celeste: Yes.

Rose: Oh! Oh, look! Look, look!
Aren't you on that TV show? Oh, look!...

Who could forget that classic scene in "Soapdish" when Whoopi Goldberg escorts Sally Field to the mall for a little ego infusion. Imagine what would have happened if poor Celeste of "The Sun Also Sets" had made her way to the Paramus Park Mall only to be dissed by her core demographic. Well that's what happened to our President on a trip to the heartland.

On Tuesday, President Bush popped in for a surprise visit to the Sterling Family Restaurant, a homey diner in Peoria, Ill. It’s a scene that has been played out many times before by this White House and others: a president mingling among regular Americans, who, no matter what they might think of his policies, are usually humbled and shocked to see the leader of the free world standing 10 feet in front of them.

But on Tuesday, the surprise was on Bush. In town to deliver remarks on the economy, the president walked into the diner, where he was greeted with what can only be described as a sedate reception. No one rushed to shake his hand. There were no audible gasps or yelps of excitement that usually accompany visits like this. Last summer, a woman nearly fainted when Bush made an unscheduled visit for some donut holes at the legendary Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant in Chicago. In Peoria this week, many patrons found their pancakes more interesting. Except for the click of news cameras and the clang of a dish from the kitchen, the quiet was deafening.

“Sorry to interrupt you,” Bush said to a group of women, who were sitting in a booth with their young kids. “How’s the service?” As Bush signed a few autographs and shook hands, a man sitting at the counter lit a cigarette and asked for more coffee. Another woman, eyeing Bush and his entourage, sighed heavily and went back to her paper. She was reading the obituaries. “Sorry to interrupt your breakfast,” a White House aide told her. “No problem,” she huffed, in a not-so-friendly way. “Life goes on, I guess.”

Newsweek is giving this humiliation the gentlest of spin, chalking up the chilly reception to his lame duck status. Even now the mass media coddle this President and refuse to address the obvious. This is not a President with low poll numbers in a difficult war. This is a failed President, who has brought this nation to the precipice with one disastrous decision after another. The American people know it. They know it in Peoria and they know it from one corner of the country to the other. No one but the most die-hard members of Republican base and the money changers on Wall Street, as Newsweek takes pains to point out, can still exhibit enthusiasm for this President.

The mass media still try to portray this Presidency in the context of history and politics as usual. But we left normal long ago. That a sitting President would be dismissed and pointedly ignored in a midwestern diner is positively surreal. He is a hated man who has so disgraced the office of President that people can't even bring themselves to show respect the title in spite of the man. There is really nowhere to go but to impeachment.