I suppose it is highly unlikely that George W. Bush or any of his right-wing deep thinkers would give the time of day to anything said or thought by FDR, perhaps the greatest President of the United States in the 20th (or maybe any other) century. It is simply too much of a stretch for W. and the rest to accept and understand the wisdom underlying the great man’s words.

(Indeed, one of Mr. Bush’s current failed enterprises is his attempt to dismantle FDR’s greatest legacy, the American Social Security system, which provides a minimal amount of subsistence to old folks in their declining years.)

The thinking in the White House these days is more akin to the parting shot of a fellow from the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute, ideologically in tune with the Bushites, who delivered the following homily on Meet the Press, Sunday last, that went something like this: The social advances of women have nothing to do with the creation of democracy. In 1900 we had a democracy in America, but women didn’t have the vote. If we can succeed in establishing a 1900 style democracy in Iraq, we should be satisfied.

Ever since not finding a single Weapon of Mass Destruction, nor any sign of the development of nuclear weapons, nor any other saleable reason to declare war on Iraq, President Bush has been trying to convince the American people that the cause of freedom and the establishment of a democratic state in Iraq were reasons enough for the deaths of more than 1800 (and counting) young Americans.

This, and the nonsense about fighting terror in Iraq rather than on American shores, constituted the “noble cause” for which young Americans were expected to willingly put themselves in harm’s way. This constituted the rationale for Mr. Bush’s War.

For quite a spell it was enough for most Americans. But then, as the daily counting of American casualties began to mount, the realization began to seep through into Middle America, that Mr. Bush’s War is a war without end; that there will be never be a surrender by America’s enemies; that America, and the American Empire is out of step with the rest of the world.

And then came the lady in the ditch.

It is axiomatic in the communications business that people understand a story when they can mirror themselves in it — when they “feel” the story; when it touches basic emotions. That is why Cindy Sheehan became a media phenomenon.

There she was, a mother whose son had given his life in Mr. Bush’s “noble cause.” Mrs. Sheehan was angry about that loss. She took her anger to the ditch alongside that dusty Texas road, literally living in the ditch, as she tried and tried to get an audience with her President.

And she became the flashpoint, rallying symbol, for all the uneasiness about Mr. Bush’s War beginning to creep through the hinterland of Middle America.

George Bush and his advisers stumbled, and stumbled badly when the President refused to meet with Cindy Sheehan. The presidential PR strategy went off the road and into the ditch as well, except that the President became perceived as a cowardly and craven commander-in-chief, lacking the cojones or plain good manners to invite Cindy Sheehan for tea and sympathy.

Instead, they tried to “Swift Boat” her. That’s a term invented after a group of Vietnam veterans backing Bush in the last presidential election organized a campaign against John Kerry’s reputation as a hero of that war.

As Cindy Sheehan began to attract national and then international attention to the point that her voice was cracking from the hundreds of interviews she gave, the Bushites began to plan their counter attack on the character of this woman who had lost a son in Mr. Bush’s war.

The standard political tactic in such situations is to try and destroy the character of whoever it is that has become bothersome, and that is exactly what the Bush PR machine tried to do. This time there is every indication in the plummeting personal polls judging Mr. Bush’s performance in office, that it just didn’t work. Sixty-two percent of Americans in one poll expressed dissatisfaction with his handling of his war in Iraq.

New York Times journalist Frank Rich, a severe critic of all things Bush, put it this way: “…this White House no longer has any more control over the insurgency at home than it does over the one in Iraq.”

Ironic, is it not, that it should be a woman who can face down the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation in the history of the world, by standing for the cause of truth in a dusty ditch near Crawford, Texas.

Ironic is it not, that it is an American woman who so profoundly exposes the vacuity of the “noble cause” for which Casey Sheehan and more than 1800 other young Americans have so far given their lives — one which would place women’s rights at a level practiced in the United States over a century ago.

In case you’ve forgotten, women had few rights in them times, including the right to vote. In law, women were defined as the property of men. They still are, in the fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law, which could become the new law of Iraq, replacing the more secular approach of Saddam Hussein.

That is “freedom and democracy” by some other name, by some other political standard, by some other political definition — call it Bushocracy — where rich men are more free than anybody else, or perhaps it’s simply more of the same old political shell game.

Mr. Bush is being pushed by demands that he bring the troops home. He refuses to set any timetable, except to make vague promises about some troops coming home sometime. In fact, the Americans won’t be giving up their occupation of Iraq for some time to come; not while the CIA is building the largest station of spying in the world in Baghdad, and while 14 permanent military bases are being built in the country, and while the Pentagon aims to have at least 100,000 troops on the ground (138,000 are there now) in the year 2009.

Meanwhile Mr. Bush steps up the image-sanitizing campaign at home — making speeches that continue to tie his war to the 9/11 terrorists (even though that big lie has been desiccated many times); organizing a “Freedom Walk” for September 11 to further cement the lie in the American psyche; and bringing back a trusted adviser to construct and deliver a tissue of lies designed to repair the United States’ tattered reputation around the globe.

One thing Mr. Bush will not contemplate, apparently, is any change in the policies that have caused the decline in American prestige at home and abroad.

And that means there is not a big enough can of turd polish in the world to tidy up the image of America emanating from the White House as long as the Bushites are in residence.