comparing the 'idiot heir' and 'wicked heir

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    Comparing the 'Idiot Heir'

    and the 'Wicked Heir'by Jesusa Bernardo

    First published at Newsvine Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:01 AM GMT

    Every 20th of January following the quadrennialpresidential elections, the United States of

    America holds the inauguration of its new chiefexecutive. This day this year of 2009, BarackObama takes the traditional swearing-in toofficially commence his term as the 44thPresident of the US. The man he replaces,George W. Bush, first assumed the Americanpresidency exactly eight years ago today.

    Somewhat across the other side of the globe, in aformer US colony in Southeast Asia, apresidential swearing-in was also uncannily takingplace at around the same time. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as (Acting) President in thestreets of EDSA in Manila on January 20, 2001,following a four-day "People Power" power grabthat deposed Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the properlyelected 13th President of the Republic of thePhilippines.

    The key points of the ascension to, and character of the respective presidencies of America'sBush and Philippines' 'Arroyo present an interesting case of multiple coincidences too many thatthe more astrologically inclined would perhaps claim to have been written in the stars.

    George W. Bush sworn in, high noon,January 20, 2001, Washington D.C.

    Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, takes heroath, noon, January 20, 2001, EDSAstreet, Metro Manila

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    Both Presidential Children

    First off, both George W. Bush and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are presidential children who, of course, rose to thepresidency themselves. The 43rd US President is the son of

    George H.W. Bush who led America from 1989 to 1993.The 14th Philippine President, meanwhile, is the daughterof Diosdado P. Macapagal who governed the SoutheastAsian archipelago from 1961-1965. While both presidentialfathers lost their respective reelection bids, they nonethelesscarved out some respectable niches as part of their legaciesto their respective countries.

    The patriarch Bush may not have generally won admiration

    for most of his domestic policies, but he is noted for his ablehandling of the foreign policy challenges that faced hisadministration during a sensitive era of geopoliticaltransition--the period following the disintegration of theSoviet Union. The Miller Center of Public Affairs of theUniversity of Virginia website writes about how he made theUS act unilaterally when needed, but also managed to wiselyforge "a large, diverse coalition (such as in the Persian GulfWar)" when so warranted.

    George H.W. Bush

    Presidential father of the 43rd US President

    The father of Arroyo also enjoyed a considerable level of respect,perhaps mainly based on admirers' perception of his integrity duringhis term. President Diosdado is said to have been known as "The

    Incorruptible," and was even described by the late Nationalist Artistfor Literature, Chino Roces, as "the last of (the) great [Philippine]Presidents."

    Diosdado P. MacapagalPresidential father of the 14th Philippine President

    The extravagance of Gloria Arroyo's

    hospitality: toast to uncanny parallels

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    January 20, 2001, to the Hour

    A rather amazing point of parallelism between the two political figures is the coincidence of theirsame-day oath-taking--in fact, nearly simultaneous to the hour. Bush was sworn in at high noon(1700 GMT, Washington time) on January 20, 2001, in Capitol Hill as scheduled by the USConstitution. Arroyo, amidst the sea of EDSA 2 gullible mob was also sworn in on January 20,2001, at around noon of January 20, 2001 ( 12:25 pm by some accounts).

    What allowed the Bush-Arroyoswearing-in coincidence wereunexpected Philippine politicalcircumstances that were highly

    irregular, if not para-constitutional, because Arroyowas replacing the sitting--andvery much living and able--President Estrada who took hisoath of office only some 2 1/2years earlier. The PhilippineConstitution mandates theholding of presidential electionsevery six years, and theinauguration of the new

    President to "begin at noon onthe thirtieth day of June nextfollowing the day of the election." Moreover, it is provided that apart from "impeachment for,and conviction of " culpable constitutional violation charges and other high crimes, the sittingPresident can only be removed in cases of death or permanent incapacity.

    Both Heirs --"Idiot" and "Evil"

    Both the young Bush and Macapagal-Arroyo have registered presidential legacies that appear tobe diametrically opposed to those left by their respective fathers.

    The George H.W. Bush legacy practically contrasts with that of the son, with the criticisms of theyounger Bush mainly revolving around foreign policies.

    The administration of George W. Bush has been very controversial, to say the least. He has beenvariously referred to as the "war criminal," "liar," and "idiot heir," among others. His warcriminal tag has to do with his unilateral invasion of Iraq and use of torture. The bashing theyounger Bush gets for being a "liar" is related to his war image--for justifying the Iraq invasionwith what would be later proved to be false claims of Saddam's possession of

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    chemical/biological weapons and links with Al Qaeda. Bush's "idiot heir" label, which made therounds of cyber space soon after his election, is based on the supposed Nostradamus predictionabout his presidency, and later claims of his Iraq-war-related incompetence that led to the currentfinancial crisis. That famous "prophesy" is found in Quatrain 78, which is said to read as:

    Who could have guessed thatGeorge W. Bush will err big time?

    To an old leader will be born an idiot heir,weak both in knowledge and in war.The leader of France is feared by his sister,battlefields divided, conceded to the soldiers.

    The above is supposed to be the English translation of the Frenchoriginal:

    D'un chef vieillard naistra sens hebete',

    Degenerant par scavoir & par armes:

    Le chef de France par sa sceur redoute',Champ divisez, concedez aux gendarmes

    ( p. 132 of Carlo Patrian's Nostradamus: le profezie, 1978).

    In dire opposition to her father's legacy of a clean presidency, Gloria Arroyo's administration hasbeen marked by an almost never-ending litany of controversies and corruption scandals thatessentially question her moral and legitimate right to govern. She has called been a lot of names,such as "Fake President," (alternatively, "Bogus President"), "evil," and "liar, cheat, and thief,"and even the "Most Corrupt President in Philippine History."

    (Far Right) Young Gloria Macapagal : Picture ofinnocence unsustained

    The more outspoken members of the Catholic Church,which were unofficially part of the conspiracy thatforced Arroyo's installation as the 14th PhilippinePresident, have eventually also come to accuse her ofbeing a liar, cheat and thief. Dubbed a "liar" just like theyounger Bush, the daughter of former PresidentMacapagal has similarly lied multiple times to the

    people she is supposed to serve. Perhaps the mostnotable incidents are those public pronouncements

    denying her complicity in the EDSA 2 coup, and her failure to honor her 2002 promise not to runfor president in the 2004 polls. She is called "cheat" because of the majority belief that shecommitted electoral fraud in 2004. Arroyo is called "thief" and "Most Corrupt" because of theperception of how she and her cohorts plunder the nation's wealth, based on numerous corruptionexposes that include Jose Pidal, Malacanang bribery incident, fertilizer scam, and the NBN-ZTEdeal.

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    The hard-hitting The Daily Tribune and fiery journalist Ellen Tordesillas have almost beenroutinely calling Arroyo as "fake President" or"pekeng Pangulo,"in reference to the power-grabshe and other conspirators engaged in against the popular and sitting President Estrada back inJanuary 2001. At the height of the congressional hearings on the NBN-ZTE bribery scandal, thekey witness, Jun Lozada, testified to how one of her cabinet men has described her as "evil."

    Controversial Ascent to Power, Both Sealed by the Supreme Court

    The circumstances of Bush's and Arroyo's occupancies of their respective presidential residencesin 2001 are both highly controversial, as their claims to power have both been subjected to legalchallenges. While Bush won in a regular election, his victory in November 2000 was marred byallegations of fraud. For her part, Arroyo was the vice-president in 2000 until a coup d'etatconspiracy in the guise of popular uprising deposed the democratically elected President Estrada.Their claims to power were legitimized by the respective American and Philippine SupremeCourts whose interventions are thought to constitute overstepping of their constitutional duties.

    Bush's inauguration on January 20, 2001 was precededby a highly-charged drama of a close election, andinvolving recounts of disputed Florida votes. Al Gorewon the national popular vote, but lost the electoralvotes. Recounts and litigation followed beginningNovember 2000, with the Gore team contesting theFlorida results based on claims that the Republican Partyelection volunteers tampered with the applications forabsentee ballots. The Florida Supreme Court orderedstatewide manual recount, which was later stopped whenthe High Court stepped in with a 5-4 decision that effectively handed over the state's 25 electoral

    votes to Bush. The younger Bush, was thus able to cl