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Who is the Real Failed President?
March 23, 2001
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 president.

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"?

 

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