It seems odd that I should let the release of George the Worst into history’s loving claws go uncommented upon for so long. After all, for years the cornerstone of was the weekly Beepo and Roadkill strip which, after 9/11, primarily concerned itself with the misdeeds of the President and his bolshevik claque. 

For me however, the water hit the witch with the 2006 midterm elections. I returned from a trip to Canada to the news that the Republicans had lost both houses of Congress, and that Rummy had been given the axe. I could practically hear the swell of a John Williams-led orchestera. The end of the nightmare had begun, and so too had arrived the end of my fascination with all things W.

In 2006, you may recall, I called it quits as far as a weekly cartoon screed went. Burnt out on the nonsense, unable to convince myself that a once-weekly whack at the Bush pinata (by then spilling 3 Musketeers bars all over the lawn) was the most rewarding use of my energies, I took a hard stare in the mirror and realized that I was basically just another crank, crotchety before my time, seething over the antics of O’Reilly, Hannity and the rest, which is precisely what those ego vampires craved.

So, I boxed up  the greater share of my rage, but realized soon thereafter how hard it is to stop plunging your dagger into Caesar’s chest once you’ve begun, especially when the Internet makes you feel like you have the power of Matthew Broderick in War Games at your fingertips. Every fresh insult Washington delivered to my intelligence sent me running to my keyboard. In this nation, the holiness of the people’s vox is sold to us as an orgiastic experience best likened to a Red Lobster ad, the lemon juice of freedom exploding in slow motion over scarlet lobster tails, cascades of liberty shrimp scraped bouncing onto your plate from metal skewers. I imagined a NORAD crisis room filled with IMAX monitors across which my every word and Flash animation was splashed, Barry Corbin sputtering on the phone while Dick Cheney ripped him a new one over my latest comment on HuffPo.

The fact that in reality democracy amounts to nothing more than a quadrennial lever pull is what ultimately makes one seek illusory ways to feel involved. Naturally, one also has recourse to genuine political activism. I dabbled in this a bit.  I satisfied myself with being arrested at the 2004 Republican convention, attending a couple anti-war discussions and being too uppity to maintain an editorial cartooning gig. Maybe in the end it made an unquantifiable difference (anyone can claim to be the straw that broke the camel’s back). Realistically, I know that my most tangible contribution to constructing Bush’s already infamous legacy was my sheep-like participation in the credit card hustle, and not my half-baked attempts to be Hunter Thompson. But a man can dream.

So while I am happy to see Bush vanish, and happier still to witness the fulfillment of the Democratic dream of an off-white president, I find that any sense of triumphalism is for me already well in the past.

Codename: Owned

Not that the occasion of the passing of the torch didn’t have its moments. Seeing the injured Dick Cheney being wheeled around like Henry Potter was enough proof of God that Christopher Hitchens must be suffering night sweats. And then there was Obama’s public rebuke of the Bush tenure, with the man sitting there, forced to swallow it on camera like a virgin porn star fresh off the bus from Smallville. If that shot of Bush half-wincing as Obama rubbed his nose in it doesn’t make it into one of those Mastercard “priceless” ads then Madison Avenue needs an enema.

The crackpots of Fox News and its principalities still have the capacity to draw steam from my ears, but I suppose I will always be slightly vulnerable there. I am not a man of ill temper and I scream maybe once a decade. The fact that the entire news media has embraced douchery as legitimate political dialogue remains fascinating even as it is denotes our general intellectual decay.

I still love to hate those icons of barbarism. O’Reilly has gone flat for me, but I can’t help but rubberneck when I see Dennis Miller, his face like a yeti’s scrotum, trying to dazzle Fox’s inbred audience of GED recipients with his Google-like ability to cross reference Francis Crick, Donny Most and gorgonzola cheese as he cheerleads for waterboarding. Anne Coulter, too, will always get my attention, as I am counting the moments until this blonde Frankenstein begins to age and starts deforming herself with plastic surgery until Greta van Susteren looks like Aphrodite by comparison.

And Rush. Ah Rush. He deserves real credit for his bravado. He is the only one of his cringing brood actually willing to say out loud that Obama’s victory was also a final defeat, not for conservatives, but for the authority of white skin. He proudly stares and points, demanding that we recognize that the emperor has too much melanin. He is the only right wing media figure playing a dirge for the passing of the old aeon and not pretending to welcome the new. That he remains a bitter sack of shit is beside the point. Speaking truth to power comes in many forms.

As Bush waved his final farewell, that quick “see ya” from the stairway of Executive One, it seemed odd to think that this was the person who had made me fear for the very sanity of our nation for so many years, now that his irrelevancy was finally beyond doubt. Is this what conservatives felt when Bush took the reigns from Clinton, that after all, he is only a man? I am loathe to think that we are all led around by the nose this way when it comes to our political passions, that voters are, as Mayor Quimby noted, “nothing but a bunch of fickle mush-heads”.

Then again, I must confront the fact that I am not the dullest knife in the drawer, either, which means that Bush probably was as bad as he seemed, which means maybe I should have done more as a citizen before he got away scott free. Maybe we all should have.