Hey, will the real George W. Bush please stand up!
There are so many versions of this guy—grotesquely fashioned in the ideological laboratories of the neo-con chickenhawks and the Machiavellian noodle of Carl Rove—that maybe the crafted image of the swaggering Texan straight-shooter whose word is his bond will begin to be seen for the charade that it is even among the voters who have fallen for his cons.
There is, of course, the con that he is actually the “elected” president the country, stolen by election tampering from the Florida attorney general and the blatant prejudice of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court.
Then there’s the larceny of his, and his VP’s, friends at Enron (who just might walk), not to mention some questionable little stock shenanigans when George was in the energy business himself. Somehow this is off the political screen for the moment in that the VP refuses to turn over any records that would indict him.
Oh well, all that is, if not forgiven, swept nicely under the carpet thanks to the antics of Mr. bin Laden, the man who really made George Bush “president.” Somehow, out of the smoke and rubble, and out of a hole somewhere in Nebraska, this failed businessman, ex-boozer, draft-dodger, born-again Christian, dolt, became an overnight Mr. Kickass (if, of course, it’s a sure thing).
But there are other versions of George the political chameleon. There’s the George Bush who had campaigned against the idea of preemptive wars and nation building who morphed into the wannabe Johnny Appleseed of democracy in the Middle East.
There’s the George Bush who had all these domestic agendas but has strapped the country with the largest public debt in our history at a time when states and local governments are in desperate need for some of their money to come back to them rather that Iraq, Afghanistan and Halliburton.
There’s the George Bush who campaigned on reducing the size of government but has an administration that, it is reported, spends $21 more per capita than the Clinton administration—after handing much of the $296 Billion surplus he was handed by his predecessor to his rich corporate cronies.
Remember George Bush who said to hell with the UN, and then ended up back there looking for some imprimatur for his preemptive war that would get him a real coalition.
And the George Bush who campaigned as a “free trader” but was quite willing to pander for votes in Pennsylvania and West Virginia by installing a tariff on foreign steel. But when the WTO and those obstreperous countries of “Old Europe” threatened retaliation that might even affect more voters in other states, Mr. Kickass caved again and rolled over on the steelworkers.
The Democrats may have a slate of candidates with nine different personas, but at least their nine different personas are not in one candidate.
Stand up George, and be counted. Then sit down, George, preferably on your ranch, and let somebody with some integrity sit in the Oval Office.
©2003, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 12.6.2003)