Who is the Real
By Bradford Shaw
Most conservative pundits have been labeling the Clinton
administration as a failed presidency. They point to the endless
series of investigations that the Republicans conducted against
the Clinton White House and see a pattern of scandal and disgrace.
Well, I hate to burst this immense conservative bubble, but
the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue came into
the White House as a failed president and will no doubt leave
the same way.
Due to the doubtful reliability of the balloting process
in some areas, we ended up with a flawed election, and as
a result a flawed President. In some people's opinion, George
W should have shown a little character and honesty by insisting
himself on a recount of all votes in disputed areas. He could
have demonstrated the type of values and morals that his party
expects all good Americans to possess.
After the Lewinsky investigation, didn't it seem that the
Republicans were primarily interested in people telling the
truth, even if it were to cost someone their marriage or reputation?
Didn't they stress that they weren't upset at the President
having an affair, but were upset at him lying under oath?
Wasn't the truth the most important thing in the world to
the Republicans then?
It could be said that Bush, in all candor, knew that he had
lost an honest count in Florida and didn't care about the
truth if it kept him from winning. He could have sought out
the truth, upheld his party's alleged most basic ethic, and
gained an immense amount of national respect, even if he didn't
win. He could have shown through actions and deeds that the
core concept of honesty and truthfulness hadn't been lost
in modern politics. But alas, lack of confidence in his victory
and prodding from his politically greedy family kept little
Shrub from becoming a mighty oak in the nations eyes.
This cowardice in the face of such a basic challenge, coupled
with almost no media attention to his transition to power
due to the outgoing president, doomed W to spend his pre-inauguration
time as a failed President-elect.
Another measure of success in an administration is its stewardship.
Has Shrub done a good job so far in keeping the country on
an even track, not veering to on extreme or another? Sadly,
the answer is no. His handlers have made several derisive
decisions in regard to some of the core values and beliefs
that most average Americans hold dear to their hearts; such
beliefs as a need for strong environmental protection, and
the value of a healthy and productive working class.
They have made the conscious choice of business over environment
already, with the relaxation of our national approach to global
warming. They even elected to oppose their own appointee,
Christy Whitman, who was rumored to have been thinking of
resigning over this issue. Combine this scenario with announcements
made in regard to exploitation of ANWR and other environmentally
sensitive areas of the country, and you have a failed ecological
stewardship, and ergo, a failed presidency.
Already, within the first few months of his occupation of
the White House, our duly selected president has had the opportunity
to champion the cause of the average working man by co-opting
the former administrations support for strong ergonomic rules
and protections for the workplace. A strong signal from the
Shrub camp would have guaranteed acceptance of standardized
practices and protections for all people faced with these
types of on the job injuries.
This, of course, is a doomed concept in the Bush White House
in that it might be misconstrued as anti-business in some
way. In addition, Shrub was out of town on his "Greed
is Good" tour trying to sell the nation the idea of a
nice tax cut for his country club buddies. He was far too
busy on much more important work to be bothered by the problems
of some pesky secretary with bad wrists, or some laborer with
an elbow problem. This attitude of exclusive representation
of such a small portion of our country, while ignoring the
voices of the working class, also shows George to be a failed
Yet another measure of presidential success is the reaction
that the stock market has to a given administration. I don't
do much trading myself, but thanks to the availability of
on-line trading and easy to understand portfolio management,
the nation is more invested than it has ever been in the market.
People from all walks of life have put their life savings
on the line in the market in the hopes of taking advantage
of a robust economy.
Even before he took office, Bush and his main partner in
this effort, Dick Cheney, tried to tank the economy through
hints of an inflation on the horizon. They were, at that time,
setting up the nation for acceptance of their big tax cut.
A tax cut that would be needed to stimulate a faltering economy
and prop up a down market.
This strategy is brilliant and destructive at the same time.
If we as a nation are prepared for bad economic times, the
preconceptions of responsibility for the Bush administration
are low. It couldn't be their fault, because we were warned
that the economy was going downhill, and that we needed a
tax cut to stimulate it. We had better do what they say because
they were right about the economy tail spinning, so they should
be right about the tax cut. Brilliant!
The conservative fat cats who are putting money in the stock
market, plan on investing for the long term, so a little bump
in the over-all picture means nothing to them. They don't
much care how many small investors are ruined along the way;
in fact it just makes their situation better as they pick
up bargains at the expense of average citizens who may have
lost everything saved during a lifetimes struggle.
This brutal and ugly truth is the destructive part of the
strategy, and its reprehensible greed will again label Shrub
as a failed president. The Republicans labeled Clinton as
a failed president for eight years. Eventually it took many
millions of dollars of taxpayer money, and a few unfortunate
decisions to set up a scenario in which the president looked
like a failure to some Americans.
George W Bush has never had the reputation of being overly
academic or studious. His spokesmen and handlers have never
made it a secret that he didn't do that great in school. In
the brief period that George has held the office he has already
received his first report card, and to no-ones real surprise,
he has gotten an 'F' in workplace safety, an 'F' in environmental
science, and an 'F' in economics.
So who is the real "failed president"?