Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elected Officials: You Got Away With It

Todd Snider: You Got Away With It


I wasn’t fast enough to make this a transitional post from “Disasters” to “Elected Officials,” which I wanted to do, because I do believe that George W. Bush, the subject of this song, was a disaster. In my opinion, his regime was responsible for hugely inflating the deficit by fighting two wars, one of which was based on completely phony intelligence, while cutting taxes to mostly benefit wealthy people, by being complicit in the outing of an undercover agent, encouraging the politics of greed, appointing right wing Supreme Court justices, using 9/11 as a pretext to curtail civil liberties (which admittedly hasn’t been fixed by President Obama), discouraging marriage equality, leading the country to the precipice of economic ruin, instituting policies that were damaging to the environment, mishandling the Katrina response and worst of all, in the big picture, contributing to the increasing rejection of fact–based decisionmaking and the mocking of the “reality based community” in favor of perpetuating a series of “Big Lies.”

For starters.

Even Richard Nixon, who was a crook and liar, and made a mockery of the office of the President, supported the Equal Rights Amendment, reopened diplomatic relations with China, established the EPA, supported the Clean Air Act and OSHA, signed Title IX into law and ended the draft. I feel like taking a shower now, after writing this paragraph, but I have trouble thinking of any positives from G.W. Bush.

I’ve always had the impression that Bush was a spoiled, feckless frat boy, who muddled through an undistinguished career at Andover and Yale, and then in business and politics, mostly riding his father’s coat tails. As best as I can tell, he avoided service in Vietnam by using family connections to get into the National Guard, and then rarely, if ever, performed his duty. Despite his personal cowardice, as President he had no compunctions about sending other people to die based on false information, and he only criticized the attempts by the swift boaters to disparage John Kerry, an actual war hero, after the advertisements stopped running. And, to make matters worse, he once pulled down the goal posts at Princeton after a Yale victory. His popularity among Republicans is so great that he was invisible during the Republican convention and the campaign. As if even they were embarrassed by him (as they should be).

Clearly, Todd Snider’s opinion of Dubya is at least as low as mine, if not lower. Initially, the song, which is in the form of a message from one frat brother to another. The narrator recounts a number of incidents of wrongdoing, and remarks that his subject regularly got away with it. The song does not make it clear who it is about, until the last verse:

You never did tell me what happened with you and your brother down there in Florida
I heard they gave you a hell of a time
Everybody around here was afraid you might lose
I told them not to worry cause I knew you'd be fine
Had me out here to Camp David a few times over the years
I think the first time we were teenagers sneakin' beers
Look at you now you old son of a bitch
You got the run of this place

And then, all is clear.

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