by Ken Alford
Friends said, "If Bush is elected, at least he will have
'competent advisers' around him - people like Colin Powell
and Christie Whitman." In hindsight, maybe that is not such
a comforting thought.
Recents comments and changes in policies should give us pause.
Secretary of State Powell ventures out into the world, confident
in his moderate opinions and his many experiences in foreign
affairs. On the safe assumption that he could comment on the
recent progress made in Korea, he makes statements that are
immediately contradicted by the President of the United States.
The "competent adviser" has become the competent "subject".
Foreign leaders question our policy. Are rational people in
Christie Todd Whitman, most moderate of present-day Republicans,
comments in public about Mr. Bush's commitment to the improvement
in CO2 emissions into our atmosphere. It was a safe comment.
After all, Mr. Bush had made the pronouncements in his debates
with Al Gore.
No sooner it was said than it was contradicted by Mr. Bush.
Strike one against Christie Whitman. As proof of her loyalty
to Mr. Bush and his policies, she is called out to make an
even more painful declaration. Mr. Bush will no longer accept
the new standard for the amount of arsenic allowed in our
drinking water. We need further scientific study, she says.
Such a trivial matter, arsenic in our drinking water. Strike
two against Ms. Whitman.
What does it all mean? If Mr. Bush is not listening to his
moderate advisers then who is in charge? Either he is making
the decisions himself or the most radical of his advisers
have his ear. In either event, it is great cause for concern.
Even his strongest supporters do not feel Mr. Bush is capable
of leading without input from his advisers. The moderates
dare not speak a discouraging word. Because Republicans demand
loyalty. The Bush family demands loyalty. They demand loyalty
that will cover for embarrassing facts. They demand loyalty
that will hide ineptness and crime. They demand loyalty that
protects them from character attacks.
Those that disagree will find themselves on the outside -
as we are already discovering.