Karl Rove’s desk was conspicuously assigned near the Oval Office during George’s 8-year reign of terror – not simply to augment Rove’s prestigious role as “Bush’s Brain,” but to advise Dubya constantly about his standing in the polls and how best to market wars and other “noble” proposals such as energy, tax cuts for billionaires, de-regulation, and privatization. Most importantly, Rove’s job description included coaching his boss what to say and when to say it. GWB may have seemed inarticulate, but the jest of his words originated from the “Brain.” Otherwise, he’d been totally dysfunctional.

The political guru ran a show worthy of Joseph Goebbels’ envy. Since the “Architect” was anointed with such unprecedented power for a fluffer, actions were poll-driven, not smart nor in the best interest of the country. The “Decider” (based on advice from the “turdblossom” coach whispering in W’s ear) made choices to advance his personal politics over those of the nation.

Iraq was Cheney’s creation but Rove’s sell-job. There would not have been the invasion had not Karl Rove marketed it to America. That was his job as puppet master; guess who the puppet was?

The politicization of the White House naturally spilled over into the Justice Department where judges were hired and fired based on the decree of Karl Rove who personally measured how effective they were in promoting the Republican Party and damaging Democrats. Essentially, Bush didn’t make the appointments; Rove did.

These may seem as strong allegations about the former president and his underlings. But as more facts come to light and intelligence becomes declassified over time, it becomes even more apparent the Bush-Cheney administration was treasonous. The deliberate, premeditated lies about Iraq’s WMD and nuclear capabilities should have been investigated by the succeeding administration.

Unfortunately, the incoming Democratic majority – true to character: timid and passive – killed probable investigations and prosecutions that involved any member of the predecessor or his entourage. An apprehensive, overly-cautious Democratic leadership was more fearful of giving birth to future political retribution than delivering justice. Fear was more honored than upholding the law. Nixon would have been exonerated by Obama’s standard.

The selfishness demonstrated by both administrations since 2001, although expressed and motivated inversely, is apparent. The Republican Party is selfish in that it wants to hold permanent dominance; the Democratic Party is selfish in that it is more fearful over its own future than that of the nation. Both parties harbor driving dreads. The GOP fears all enemies, foreign and domestic, and thus over-reacts and does so mercilessly. And irrationally. (“Blow ‘em all up and let God sort ‘em out.”) All things are absolute to the unreasonable; nothing is abstract.

On the other hand, the Dems see most issues in the abstract and are apprehensive about potential revenge from the opposing party, aka Watergate push-back. Hence, the party is distracted from governing strictly for the people. Of course, the Republican ensemble couldn’t care less if Democratic colleagues show restraint plus an absurd eagerness to compromise away core values; it will attack vehemently regardless. Democrats seem to never recognize that recurrent pattern.

The two parties are like the old married couple, Archie and Edith Bunker, who are regulars at a local restaurant. The server approaches to take orders. Archie has his in mind before setting foot in the establishment [since they’d been there dozens of times] while Edith takes several minutes to plow through the familiar menu, only to change her selections several times.  Archie thinks in terms of absolutes; Edith thinks in terms of abstracts. The man has his mind made up while the woman is indecisive and unsure. How remarkable is it the couple remains wed?

Republicans (the male figure that admires conflict, is decisive yet obtuse) and Democrats (the female figure that desires peace and security, yet is disturbingly indecisive and timid while suppressing upright standards) are the odd couple, the Bunkers of Queens. America doesn’t truly want to live with either, but what choice does it have?

This depiction is not false equivalency, but rather an assessment of the ultimate manifestations from both. Their varied paths lead to the same destination: America’s downward spiral.

Government gridlock is the product of fear-driven politics, not simply partisan posturing. The GOP and DNC are both afraid of losing control – of losing hold on power. The direct effect is a nation paralyzed due to circulation blockage to most parts of the body. Needs are never met; only pet issues make it through the House or Senate to placate the donor/lobby class or are passed by voice-vote for some toothless ceremonial statute.

An effective leader, on the other hand, is neither fear-driven nor chained to polls. He/she takes action on what he/she sees around the corner. The most accomplished presidents discount polls, focus groups, and personal ambitions when they realize an event or trend will impact his/her constituents adversely at some point in the future, and then they act accordingly to prevent or at least to minimize the damage.

Of course, George W. Bush didn’t accept this leadership concept. His tenure was purely poll-driven demagoguery. Want a war? Wage a fear campaign. Make the American people think Saddam was about to unleash a “smoking gun” in the form of a “mushroom cloud.” Deliberately lie the nation into a needless war to boost Halliburton’s profits and other energy conglomerates. Sell the public absolute lies and use the best political guru in American history to do so.

But we expect more from his successor, Barack Obama. After all, didn’t we put him in office to clean up Bush’s messes? Now it’s our turn (or so we imagined). But what a disappointment when our champion played the centrist card to appeal to the right. We became the abandoned bride whose husband sneaks out of the honeymoon suite to be with a hooker on the corner of K and Wall Streets.

No wonder America is eyeing Chris Christie for 2016. The Jersey governor is plain spoken and fearless to say what he means and means what he says. Christie seems to care less what some poll indicates or how a focus group views him. He even dissed his own party after Sandy to meet the needs of his people. The country craves true leadership, even if it’s Republican.

Democrats need a Chris Christie. (Perhaps Bill Clinton is wooing him now to switch parties despite the gov’s anti-union stands.) But a fiery progressive leader is what’s been missing since the days John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Will Rogers. If we just had a fire-brand that wouldn’t cave at every turn and serve us marshmallows for the main course, maybe America could be steered away from the rocky shore.

Bill Clinton let it slip the other day what he really thought. He implied Obama was letting the polltakers get the best of him. Clinton’s comments, I believe, weren’t merely about Syria, but presidential leadership in general.

"What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they're not telling you not to do these things," Clinton said, according to Politico. "They hire you to win … to look around the corner and see down the road."

President Obama would, indeed, get more respect if he refused to concede core progressive principles but instead “looked around the corner to see down the road” – the disastrous climate change that will overwhelm the entire planet, the collapse of China due to over-speculation combined with an outrageous building binge, and the crumbling American infrastructure.

“Looking around the corner” was not the focus when David Axelrod failed to recognize the Tea Party movement in 2009-10. Obama’s political consultants were asleep at the wheel when Obama (and the nation) needed them most. Karl Rove, on the other hand, identified 2010 as a critical mid-term election where Republicans could win most statehouses, thereby guaranteeing the party’s lock on elections for the decade (via redistricting, gerrymandering, suppressing the minority vote, and reshuffling the Electoral College).

These critical words about my President and his staff should not be misconstrued. The last three years of Obama’s last term can be better than the five previous if he and the DNC would only heed the words of the base, the bride abandoned for the rightwing whore on honeymoon night (a graphic metaphor, but true).

I am a Democrat – not because the Democratic Party is “perfect” – but because it better represents the views I share about the nation’s future, social and economic justice, racial equality, and a prosperous nation anchored in reasonable economic thought. I admire Obama and have supported him from Day One. But I am independent in that I express agreement or disagreement whenever my party or president strays from foundational progressive principle.