In case President Bush is even mildly interested in what his actual duties and responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief are supposed to be, here, in full, is the Presidential Oath of Office, which is administered to all incoming presidents by the Chief Justice of the United States under the provisions of Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution:
"I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Also vested in the president, according to Sections 2 and 3, are various other powers including with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, - not wars! - provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union; and take care that the Laws be faithfully executed. Hey, two out of three ain't bad. If W. were a shortstop instead of president, he'd be batting .666! And in the faith-based community, .666 is a very special number.
All of which begs the question: when did the president's primary responsibility become to protect us? To defend Americans rather than the Constitution? He reiterated this alleged duty endlessly during his final State of the Union address tonight. I'm no constitutional authority, but I can read, and Article I, Section 8 ("Powers of Congress") indicates it is the Military which is responsible for suppress[ing] insurrection and repel[ling] Invasions, not the president. "The advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists - evil men who despise freedom, despise America, and aim to subject millions to their violent rule," Bush trumpeted, completely missing the point that America is despised for its "advance[ment] of liberty" through force, compulsion, and torture, not to mention the fact that women and children are evil terrorists too, or that "subject[ing] millions to... violent rule" is exactly what we're doing to the Iraqis. Yet, "We are spreading the hope of freedom!" he crowed, oblivious and pious as always. Afterwards, Bush's former Chief of Staff Andrew Card described his erstwhile boss's speech as "important," "a sobering call to reality." "The President's primary job is to protect us!" he bleated indignantly, deeply offended by the satirical tone of the reviews spouting unchecked and uncensored from the MSNBC talking heads.
Protect us? Since when? "I will... preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Not the people, the paper. The principle. The radical, unreasonable idea that we can all live together in relative peace, happiness, and prosperity even if we disagree with one another, worship different deities, dislike our neighbor's politics, and covet his wife. Maybe if Bush actually protected and defended our Constitution just the teensiest bit he wouldn't be quite so busy protecting us from all those evil terrorists with "nucular" capabilities that for some weird reason haven't been authenticated yet.
The notion that George Bush is responsible for protecting me is so unnerving and laughable, albeit frightening, that it defies non-partisan analysis. Meanwhile, all he's done to the Constitution, which he's actually supposed to be defending and protecting, is completely dismantle it, ignore it, rewrite it at his convenience, twist it, weaponize it, and treat as if it were so much historical detritus. Nice job, W. You're the guy I want protecting me! On your watch, Americans are getting killed overseas in wrenching numbers, living in fear our homes will be repossessed, facing the grim insults a rotted health care system inflicts daily upon both the infirm and the healthy, and holding our breaths to see who among us will be spied on and labeled the next liberty-opposing, freedom-despising terrorist simply for illuminating your mendacity-based, blood-soaked policies. I feel much safer knowing you're out there defending me, W.
Frankly, I'd prefer that you protect "the dignity of human life" at home and abroad rather than in vitro. But I know, I know, you have your priorities, and I guess actual human beings just aren't one of them.
And for some even cheerier news than the quasi-comforting fact that this was George W. Bush's last such address: the Senate today voted "no" on cloture for the Intelligence Committee bill amending FISA, the bad one allowing the telecoms to skate on crimes in which they engaged at the behest of the President. Hillary Clinton, I am proud and relieved to say, along with Barack Obama, put her money where her mouth is and showed up to vote "no" on the motion. We'll be watching with interest (and some degree of trepidation) to learn what happens next.