"Mister Frodo, can you expand upon your thesis which, if I'm reading it correctly, seems to be entitled in a rather banal manner as "Bush, and Other Bullshit?"
Frodo was nervous. The oral exams are the culmination of the years of study leading to a doctorate. Gandalf would show him no favoritism, and defending positions before an intentionally hostile panel of wizards is a daunting task, even for Harry Potter.
"Yes, Professor, it is banal, but so is the damage inflicted upon Middle Earth by what I subjectively refer to as the most insidious of the American Presidencies."
"You must be capable of documenting a value judgment such as that, Mister Frodo."
"Professor, let me answer your concern by repeating three phrases from the times in which we have lived, and to use them to demonstrate my point."
"Proceed, but I am skeptical of the less than scholarly approach suggested."
Frodo was sweating, perhaps as much as if he were inside the Cave at Mount Doom. "Professors, please recall the following 'You Can't Legislate Morality,' 'We Aren't the World's Policeman,' and 'The World Knows That America Will Never Start a War.'" Frodo leaned over the podium standing on his tip-toes, so that he could look into the eyes of the panel seated before him. "The Presidency of George W. Bush has taken time-honored national values, summarized in these three phrases, and cast each of them from the American vocabulary. The result being that instead of a 'Pax Americana' in which the peoples of the world share in and grow prosperous because of noble ideals, suffering and violence are the rule, rather than the exception."
Gandalf stared directly at Frodo, not the slightest hint of emotion on his face, and he was certainly more emotional than were any of the other panelists.
"Gentlemen, the President has exercised his Constitutional Veto on but one occasion in more than five-and-a-half years. He vetoed the expenditure of federal funds to sponsor stem-cell research. There was no reference to any article or section of the Constitution in his denial of the majority-approved legislation. He did so simply because his personal values were in conflict with the legislation. The President, de facto, determined legislation on the basis of his own sense of morality. He did what we, as a people, have accepted, as a matter of routine, that we would not do."
"You may proceed, Mr. Frodo."
"In the second instance Professors, let us recall that it was Washington himself who warned the new nation against foreign entanglements and alliances. Washington feared that European powers would drag the Continentals into their squabbles, thereby frittering away the wealth and the strength of the Americas. Washington was not trying to isolate the new nation, he was trying to direct her to develop her own institutions for all the world to admire. In stark contrast, George W. Bush has proceeded in exactly the opposite direction. Foolishly, he has attempted to install similar institutions in foreign lands, and then to protect them against change from within. He would not allow institutions to develop over time, rather he destroyed what was there, and set up systems which were unsupported by the committment of the populace."
"The result being?" asked Gandalf.
"The result being that our troops are policing the systems, all with the hope that institutions will evolve and police thenselves. The evidence of failure is the existence of militias and the spread of sectarian violence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The effect is that our troops are the policemen of the world."
There were no questions of Frodo. He took the silence as an authority to proceed to the final point.
"John Kennedy was quoted as saying that all the world knew that the United States was slow to anger, and that War was a last resort in the American psyche. Admiral Yamamoto, in fact, referred to the Americans of December 8th, 1941, as a "Sleeping Giant," awakened by treachery and the fact that all other avenues before war had been exhausted. By giving Congress the authority to declare War, the Founding Fathers acted to ensure that no President would exercise powers that could endanger the principles of democracy. George W. Bush, whether by deliberate act, or by simple incompetence, took this nation into a war that was premature at least, and unnecessary at worst. It is certainly conceivable that the subsequent death and destruction are the result of personal pique at Saddam Hussein."
"Can you support that assertion."
"No Sir, and it is not a statement of fact, it is a statement of perception for the student of this period in American, if not World, History. No matter what else is said or implied, the President of the United States took our country to war, and he did so by obfuscation of fact and by force of personality. He may, or he may not, have done so deceitfully. The effect is, if I may anticipate Sir, is that the perception of the World, and even our own peoples, has changed. We are no longer a shining light in the world."
"Thank you Mr. Frodo. Since we don't seem to have any further questions, the panel dismisses you and we will inform you of our decision in the near future."
Frodo wiped a tear from his eye as he exited the lecture hall. He wished that everything he had said had been wrong. Gandalf and the panel felt the same way.