The Self Made Pundit

I'm just the guy that can't stand cant. ___________

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Friday, February 13, 2004
THE SHADOW PRESIDENT: I think I have solved the riddle of President Bush’s mysterious tenure in the National Guard 30 years ago.

Bush was not just a dissolute wealthy playboy who blew off his National Guard duty and went AWOL for large chucks of time in 1972 and 1973. The truth is far more disturbing.

I believe the man we have known as George W. Bush for the past three decades is really none other than the Shadow.

Yes, the Shadow ... that mysterious crimefighter of years past whose supernatural power to cloud men’s minds enabled him to become invisible and combat evildoers outside the confines of the law.

Call me mad if you like, but the signs that President Bush has long had the Shadow’s power to cloud men’s minds are unmistakable. In fact, the evidence of Bush’s secret identity is even more substantial than the evidence that Bush actually showed up for his National Guard duty or that pre-war Iraq posed an imminent threat to America.

The inscrutable and shadowy Bush claims to have satisfactorily competed his National Guard duty by attending drills in Alabama and Texas in 1972 and 1973. Yet neither Bush’s superior officers nor his fellow Guardsmen recall seeing Bush at any point after May 1972.

While you would think it would not be difficult to find former comrades of Bush to brag about the good old days of working and training side by side with the future president, there seems to be no one that saw Bush perform any Guard duties during that time period. As today’s New York Times reports:

Inside the Alabama Air National Guard an informal search is on for someone, anyone, who recalls encountering First Lt. George W. Bush in 1972.

At Fort George C. Wallace, the Montgomery headquarters of the Alabama National Guard, officials have responded to growing scrutiny of President Bush's military record by searching through records for proof of his service in the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group. Former comrades from the 187th have been calling and e-mailing one another, always with the same basic question: Did you see him?

So far, it appears that their efforts have come to naught. Indeed, in interviews this week with The New York Times, 16 retired officers, pilots and senior enlisted men who served among hundreds with the 187th in 1972 all said that they simply could not recall seeing Mr. Bush at Dannelly Air Base, the sprawling compound adjacent to Montgomery's airport that is home to the 187th.

Those interviewed either held key supervisory positions at the base or were members of the fraternity of pilots and navigators who often congregated in a lounge on the second floor of Dannelly's main hangar. They worked in different units of the 187th, including the maintenance squadron, the supply squadron, the headquarters staff, flight safety and the flight operations center.

Yet try as they might – nearly all voiced strong support for Mr. Bush – none remembered crossing paths with him. Nor had any heard of anyone else in the 187th who recalled seeing him.

[T]he interviews this week deepen a mystery that first surfaced during the 2000 presidential campaign when The Boston Globe reported that there was no record that Mr. Bush showed up for Guard drills between May 1972, when he moved to Alabama from Texas to work on a United States Senate race, and May 1973. Mr. Bush had been ordered in September 1972 to report for "equivalent training" to William R. Turnipseed, the 187th's deputy commander of operations, but The Globe quoted Mr. Turnipseed in 2000 as saying that Mr. Bush never reported to him.

In response to The Globe's article, Mr. Bush's election campaign appealed for members of the Alabama Air National Guard to come forward and vouch for his service, and a group of Vietnam veterans in Alabama offered a $1,000 reward for anyone with proof that Mr. Bush served. No one has come forward.

Even Bush has been unable to name even one person that saw him perform Guard duties in Alabama. In fact, Bush claims to recall practically nothing about what he did as a Guardsman after May 1972:

For his part, Mr. Bush has never offered any detailed descriptions of what jobs he did at the 187th. "I can't remember what I did, but I wasn't flying because they didn't have the same airplanes," he told reporters in 2000.

According to the Bush administration, the only record indicating that Bush actually showed up at the Alabama base is a dental record showing Bush got his teeth cleaned at the base on January 6, 1973.

If we accept Bush’s claim that he continued performing his required National Guard duties after May 1972, the only logical explanation is that he really is the Shadow and was using his power to cloud men’s minds to perform those duties unseen, with a stray dental record the only evidence of his passing through. Perhaps Bush had his power cranked up a bit too high and clouded his own mind, which would explain his inability to remember anything he did on those occasions.

Now think about the uncanny similarities in how the Shadow operated and how Bush governs. Just as the Shadow did, Bush manipulates perceptions and reality to achieve goals outside the strictures of established and accepted rules. For example, Bush led this country to war with Iraq by brushing aside the U.N. and clouding people’s judgments with dire warnings of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Once we permit the possibility that Bush has the power to cloud men’s minds, the rest of his mysterious career becomes not quite so baffling.

Consider Bush’s disastrous business career in which each business failure led to a more lucrative position. What other explanation could there be other than Bush was using his power to cloud the minds of the wealthy benefactors who kept baling him out. Surely Bush wasn’t merely trading on his privileged background as the son of George H.W. Bush.

Bush’s hypnotic power would also explain why the SEC performed such a perfunctory investigation of Bush’s sale of Harken Energy stock – while he was a director of Harken – shortly before the price plummeted. Bush was again using his power to cloud men’ minds, not merely being given a pass because his father was president.

Bush’s supernatural ability would also help explain how the news media let Bush get away with the most outrageous lies in the 2000 election, such as his repeated claims that most of his tax cut would benefit average Americans when the great majority of it was slated for the super rich. Reporters and pundits could not tell that Bush’s numbers didn’t add up since their minds were being clouded.

Bush displayed his power again on Meet the Press this past Sunday, when he clouded Time Russert’s mind to prevent Russert from asking follow-up questions as Bush told whopper after whopper. For example, Bush falsely claimed that his administration has held the line on discretionary spending better than the Clinton administration, despite the undisputed fact that such spending has gone up at a far greater rate under Bush.

Bush continues to use his power to cloud men’s minds. How else can one explain the ease with which Bush reneged on his pledge to release all of his National Guard records just days after making that promise to a national television audience on Meet the Press? If the press were thinking clearly, there would now be an outrage over this broken promise and obvious attempt to coverup.

The evidence of Bush’s nefarious ability was always there for us to see, if only our minds weren’t clouded.

The only other explanation is that Bush has abused his privileged position to evade responsibility for his entire adult life. But for this explanation to be true, it would also mean that numerous voters and members of the news media were easy marks for a not-too eloquent con-man.

While the theory that Bush has evaded responsibility through a combination of his own duplicity and others’ laziness and gullibility – and not through his supernatural powers – strikes me as somewhat far-fetched, I suppose it at least offers a ray of hope. Bush’s record has been so dismal and dishonest, I question whether even this consummate con-man can fool enough voters for a second term unless he really does have supernatural powers.