Bush and the Big Eraser
by Bradford Shaw
During the past three months, we as Americans have had an
opportunity to observe our new President in office, through
statements and public action. Most fair-minded people would
have to agree that he doesn't give the impression of being
overly scholarly or intellectual in any way.
Lurking beneath the surface of his apparent ineptitude is
a need to exercise the one skill honed by Bush throughout
his academic career, the compulsion to erase things.
This skill, perfected after many long hours of writing down
the wrong answers to quizzes and homework assignments, and
then having to erase them in favor of something closer to
what the instructor wanted, has left our resident in chief
with what could be called an "obliteration compulsion."
This compulsion has direction, however, and has been directed
at the forward thinking plans and executive orders of the
Clinton administration. Bush and his staff have been zealously
digging into former President Clinton's executive orders and
actions in an effort to bring the country back to the aged
standards and policies of past failed administrations. So
far, the list of items that Shrub has planned to retrograde
are: arsenic standards, workplace safety, emission standards,
the Kyoto agreement, Planned Parenthood, the Cops on the Street
program, RU486, the cigarette lawsuit, drilling in the Arctic
National Refuge, and further exploration and exploitation
of our national monuments and parks.
With every new news cycle, we are treated to devastating
environmental or reproductive policy decisions by Shrub's
"government by committee" administration.
As his handlers program his presidency, Shrub gleefully pulls
out his "big eraser" to undo any forward thinking
or progressive programs or policies thoughtfully put in place
by the Clinton White House.
The President Giveth, and the Resident Taketh Away
Environmental protection has always been highly important
to Democrats and Independents, as well as those in the pro-environment
crowd. These three groups have always worked and sacrificed
for the sake of saving something more important than money:
the planet on which we live.
Unfortunately, this scenario just doesn't work in the present
White House. George has emphasized again and again that his
administration is built on a business model, not a governmental
paradigm. This policy direction leaves little or no room for
environmental protection, in that such actions are usually
costly to business due to the added staffing and budgeting
needed to proceed in a legal and responsible manner. His people
have stated that to accept the Kyoto agreement would be unfair
due to the fact that China wasn't included along with a few
other nations. Well, so much for George's ability to establish
The USA as the leader in environmental action for all nations.
In terms of workplace safety, emission standards, and the
arsenic standard, Bush claims that these decisions were made
in the last few hours of the Clinton administration. They
question why these actions weren't initiated earlier in the
Clinton Presidency. I'm sure they have forgotten that they
were busy dogging the former President twenty four hours a
day about his sex life, not allowing him any opportunity to
concentrate on proposed legislation or executive action until
just days before he left office. Even if he had proposed these
actions earlier, logic leads us to the opinion that the Republican
Congress would fight him on every issue, and that is the political
truth of the matter.
Addressing the remaining ecological issues, the blame for
these poorly thought-out policies has to lie at the feet of
George W Bush. His recent announcement of an intention to
exploit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as other
national parks and monuments in an effort to find more natural
resources for the nation is somewhat disingenuous to say the
least. A more accurate statement would be that he needed to
open up these areas for drilling in order to pay off the big
oil companies who helped bankroll his run for office.
When you think about it, what else could we as Americans
expect from a Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate
who both made their fortunes in the oil industry? George is
pulling out his big eraser to wipe away any rules and regulations
that might stand in the way of profit for his big-oil buddies.
He is also wiping away conservation policies held dear to
the American people since Teddy Roosevelt's time. Teddy Roosevelt
was a forward thinking, although somewhat hawkish President.
He anticipated the future need for a National Park system,
and initiated the protection and conservation of many endangered
lands in the western United States. He did all of these things
while maintaining his conservative nature, a behavior and
attitude not yet comprehended by the Bush administration.
Such a policy could not exist in the Shrub itinerary, in that
it may have a negative impact on the profit line of the various
big business machines that paid darned good money to have
their interests asserted in the oval office. So far, this
business investment has paid off many times over.
If Thine Policy Offendeth Thee, Erase It!
Other non-business policies left over from the previous President
are currently being reviewed, or simply erased outright.
It's rather difficult to pinpoint exactly why President Clinton's
program of increasing the number of police officers on the
street is anti-business, except to point out that the funding
for such a project might interfere with Shrub's attempt to
give his corporate buddies a great tax cut. It would appear
difficult to sell a tax cut to the American people, who are
sick of deficit woes, without cutting a few federal programs.
In these times of economic austerity, all government programs
will indeed need to cut the fat from the budget in order to
continue to function in the light of the new tax cut. It just
seems rather idiotic that society as a whole has to suffer
the loss of increased police protection in order to save money
to give back to the richest one percent of the country.
In addition, the decision regarding RU486 seems to be out
of the realm of business, unless you figure in the need for
an underclass. Big business will always need a cheap labor
force in order to meet the day-to-day demands of commerce.
If the labor pool was decreased as a result of the elimination
of unplanned pregnancies, the pool of available workers would
decrease and either labor unions might actually have a strong
say in workplace safety and reasonable workplace compensation,
or more undocumented foreign workers would be needed to fill
the labor gap. Neither alternative would be attractive to
Again, as with the other issues mentioned, Shrub is following
a business plan. Keep the masses producing cheap unskilled
labor, and the corporate coffers will fill. The current administration's
attitude toward the cigarette lawsuit, however, is much more
transparent. Some of the biggest contributors to the Republican
effort last year were the big tobacco companies involved in
the federal lawsuit pursued by Janet Reno's office. Now that
John 'Ashtray' Ashcroft is the Attorney General, the suit
is being under funded, to no one's great surprise. He says
that the suit could go forward, but failed to ask for more
money to pursue it. This action effectively killed the tobacco
suit, assuring corporate funding for the GOP for many generations
Mr. Ashtray tells us that the country simply can't afford
this expense at this time, but were also told that 40+ million
dollars is reasonable for funding an investigation into the
former President's sex life. Once again, Bush pulls out his
big eraser and the problem appears to go away.
The Final Erasure
From statements made throughout the first 100 days of the
Republican occupation, it appears as if Shrub plans to keep
erasing things that don't agree with him or his party. His
pro-business, anti-environment policy is in its infancy, and
more revision of past decisions are currently in the works
for future deployment. He has talked openly about needed changes
in our energy policy, which will allow for further exploitation
of protected lands and endangered species. He has opined that
an overhaul of the tax system and Social Security system are
planned for enactment in the near future. He has stated his
opinion that further tax cuts are needed soon, and more government
waste can be eliminated. Shrub's big eraser will have lots
of exercise in the next 3+ years.
The only bright side to this otherwise bleak political picture
is that as good, patriotic Americans we are obliged to use
the eraser ourselves. If current trends hold, it looks as
if we will be using Shrub's big eraser on his mistaken Presidency.
We will have an opportunity to wipe his political existence
away in 2004. With one swipe of the electorate, we will get
rid of the confused, misguided, and somewhat greedy occupant
of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue once and for all. This last act
with Bush's big eraser will wipe the slate clean of his ill-thought-out
business plan, and will truly restore dignity to the White