March 9, 2001
by Maren L. Hickton
When I told some Republicans that I did not intend to vote
for Bush, they called me a turncoat, a liberal, and worse:
un-American. With posts all over the Internet, many wrote
me to tell me what a nice guy he was, how he came from such
a nice family and how I should vote for him for reasons like,
"...even though he is a not the sharpest tack in the drawer,
he plans to surround himself with good people." One suggested,
"he looks Presidential," as if that can be discerned as a
reason to vote for someone.
Many Republicans, who shared my view that Bush was not qualified,
feared that they would lose their jobs if they even talked
about voting for Gore at work. A friend was all hush-hush
on the phone one day when I joked about Bush, stating "I have
to be very careful about what I say around here. It's bad
enough that I switched to Independent."
A supervisor at a Fortune 500 firm got a phone call from
his boss located in another state and was told to "Stop promoting
Gore at work or you will get fired." He wasn't "promoting"
anyone; he simply, when asked, told any of his employees who
he was voting for when the election came up in conversation.
We both laughed as he told me, "One of the Bush operatives
must have reported me."
Unfortunately for a lot of us, George W. has proven himself
to be far less than the compassionate conservative that he
billed himself, and more of a divider than a uniter. Bush,
the charmer, whose nods remind me of a spring-loaded carnival
toy, was out the gate selling snake oil with his "New Federalism
Initiative" telling Democratic and Republican Governors that
"...our freedom is best preserved when power is dispersed."
So far, Bush is doing everything but that.
The insecure and self-appointed emperor, who did not win
the popular vote, is not only not reaching across the aisle
to bring to Washington "a new era of cooperation," but is
more interested in winning his agenda -- bypassing everyone
-- taking it to the road. Maybe he has to.
Reportedly, Bush has had no hesitation in spewing his wrath
and threats to Republicans who cannot seem to get more Democrats
onboard for his budget proposal, yet many Republicans aren't
even sure that the numbers add up themselves, with good reason:
THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ALL ARE YET. The President is parceling
only those details of the budget that appear favorable to
his agenda, as his ways and means to buffalo public support.
Same goes for big business leaders and their lobbying groups
who are concerned about unfulfilled promises of tax incentives
in the proposed Bush budget, who also may be waiting in vain
for their "Tax Relief Coalition" deal.
According to many reports, the Executive message to all is
quite direct: Get with the (budget) program as is, or the
federal government will make sure to ignore you, or even fight
you, later. Bush's maniacal strong-arm tactics are bolstered
with tax-paid direct mail sent to persuade Americans, adding
more pressure to get things done quickly -- his way or no
way. Nice guy, huh?
Points to ponder:
1. Since when did any President spend taxpayer money on a
political roadshow after an election? We elected and are paying
our representatives to sort out the details of complete Executive
Branch policies and programs so that they can present all
of the facts to their constituencies in a cohesive way. It
is time for our representatives in the House and Senate to
get out their calculators, demand details now, and resist
Bush's overtures instead of walking around like a group of
dazed, lame ducks, in fear of a President who cannot even
speak English. It is also time for Alan Greenspan to recognize
his own power and stop playing games with the public trust
with his purposely ambiguous, yea, one day -- nay, the next,
support of a tax cut. (We know you don't support the tax cut
"as is," Mr. Greenspan. You are more concerned about your
2. The President had some sort of an epiphany one night and
decided to drop a bomb on Iraq. Not only did Bush, the tough
guy, miss his marks in attempting to send a message to Saddam
Hussein (as if this self-absorbed lunatic would even be able
to get beyond himself long enough to receive a message of
any kind), this dangerously decisive act caused fear and alienation
in our NATO allies as a direct result of failing to accommodate
reasonable consensus. This is dreadfully analogous to many
representatives supporting the President working their districts.
At a time when many districts are in jeopardy, allowing the
President to rally a district, when he has not yet proven
himself, is political folly. The dicey budget proposal, in
its overall present analysis by many accounts, will either
only improve the economy short-term or send us into a diving
recession if growth projections are not met with little money
available for other economic stimulus. If political venturers
are involved in this kind of supportive posturing, they may
also alienate their own allies: constituents at reelection
3. Nationalist that Bush demonstrates himself to be, his
beguiling ways have not been limited to our NATO allies. George
W. pandered to the military big time in his campaign, promising
that he would take care of what he assessed to be a downtrodden
group of men and women who provide an important service to
our country. He proclaimed that we need a stronger military
and new recruits, promising competitive wages and benefits
for service retention. Service people voted Bush for President
en masse. So he delivered a paltry pay raise and then waited
a few days before he proposed the closing of more military
bases to make more budget dollars available for a presently
fictional missile defense system. Et tu, W?
If our truly elected representatives do not form coalitions,
maybe calling a coalition something like "Don't Tread on Me,"
and fight back now, it may be too late for all Americans.
Agreeing to any unsound policy in support of the President
-- just for the sake of support or worse, the reported political
blackmail of not receiving future federal assistance at the
state level for failure to cooperate with our new imperialist
regime, is no way to represent the best interests of American
people. Especially when, at the rate the President is going,
federal money will not even be there.