Real Story: In the Doghouse at 100 Days
by Maren L. Hickton
At 100 days, Bush was flattered with poetic embraces by the
Pollyanna press, with seductive headlines such as, "Less is
More," touting him as some sort of worldly CEO of America
the beautiful. The fanfare included variations of a similar
theme discussing the "mature" President -- as if we should
expect anything less -- with the veep proclaiming in interview
and article that Bush is really the man running the show.
Bush credited himself for changing the tone in Washington
with "civility in politics." Granted, the current facade at
the White House is splendid, complete with a full cast of
dressed-for-success stuffed shirts wearing stylish nooses
around their necks all holed-up in private meetings with no
cell phones going off. But those who ascribe to the notion
that Bush is "dramatically less visible" by his own design
should consider adjusting their periscope: The real story
at the White House is who's going to be able to control Bush's
leash and who's in current possession of his muzzle.
Now that the pomp and circumstance of well-moussed dos and
Survivor spoofs are over, I think it's high-time we cut the
By every indication, Bush has demonstrated no interest in
having any kind of dialogue with the Democrats in the House
or Senate from his first week in office and continuing. He
introduces legislation first, care of appointed GOP sponsors,
with a planned end run on debate and negotiations second.
He targets only those Democratic members of Congress who appear
to be insecure in their own districts to support his agenda
with his egoism feeding a frenzied delusion where he is convinced
that bipartisanship equals being polite and doing what he
says. That is not civility.
By what mandate did Americans ever agree that we wanted a
House of genteel Representatives voting by Executive Branch
Are we expected to cave-in to the fact that while there
is a divisive off-balance of power in all branches of government,
it automatically gives license to the new administration to
ignore the will of the majority of the people?
Do any of Bush's actions, by any stretch of the imagination,
demonstrate civility, which includes an appearance of consideration,
tact, deference or courtesy?
I, for one, not only want, but expect, "in-your-face" representation
-- with Representatives voting by the consensus of their constituency,
not by party directives. To suggest that any member of Congress
lacks the ability to negotiate with a requisite level of decorum
and/or abide by the rules on the floor is ludicrous. Being
polite, for polite-sake, or compromising conscience for the
sake of Party solidarity has absolutely nothing to do with
taking care of the business of this nation. Throwing up hurdles
and constructing gridlock is sometimes necessary to prevent
bills from becoming law that could do irreparable harm to
the people of America and this country internationally.
The President doesn't even offer the illusion of civility,
here or abroad.
Plenty have said it before and I will say it again: Bush is
not qualified to be President. He lacks maturity not only
on the basis of his range of business experience, but also
on a social level. While I am sure that his parents dearly
love him, they did him a great disservice by not expecting
him to stand on his own two feet. Every oil business venture
that Bush initiated or was involved in, starting with Arbusto
Energy, Inc., a small company of his own, ended up being sold
at a loss or he was bailed out -- one way or another, before
going bust. Bush was quoted as saying, "I understand small
business. I was one." Hardly. All of his business dealings,
including his purchase of the Texas Rangers, reveal that Bush,
with the help of his family, was nothing more than a money
changer. Buy low, sell high, and if the SEC starts an investigation,
call your dad. Repeated personal failure may be the root of
Bush's twisted moral gyroscope and unwritten agenda which
in summary we can dub, Bush's Big Business Initiative. Bush
had a disastrous record as Governor of Texas, with plenty
of squawking lately about the big mess he left behind, yet
he brazenly continues to toss the same old rubbish out there:
big business first and to hell with everybody else.
With regard to Bush's social skills (giving Bush the benefit
of the doubt that he has had probably 15 minutes to think
for himself since taking office), the China accident did become
an incident that we should not forget. Not because the Chinese
have "started to behave more aggressive lately," but because
the press secretary failed to muzzle the President before
he started all the tough talk about what we may do if other
countries do not do what we say. This was after Bush bombed
Iraq for no apparent reason, after he offended many world
leaders due to his failure to have regular direct dialogue
with them -- leading to the comment that Bush is an "isolationist,"
and the Administration's continual propensity to rebuff pleas
for third-party intervention from allies seeking our help.
The President can't, on the one hand, make policy that the
United States is not going to involve itself in nation-building
and, on the other, decide we will become arms dealers or the
world's missile defense contractor and expect that countries
will not become apprehensive and react to these kinds of fears.
Diplomatic communications are particularly critical during
any transition period, especially when world news reports
question a President's motives and commitment to find consensus
on a variety of issues within his own nation. The lost seat
on the U.N. commission that probes human rights occurred from
failure to act due to arrogant assumptions on the part of
the new Administration and is an absolute disgrace. If we
accept GOP nationalism, common sense dictates that governing
from this perspective needs to be seriously redressed and
brought forward to global world operations in the 21st Century,
before more Bush mistakes are made.
3. Less is rude
President Clinton's numerous contributions to the wealth and
security of this nation resulted from his superior diplomatic
skills and many trips abroad that some thoughtless people
complained about because they failed to understand this worthwhile
investment. Clinton understood from the beginning that confident
world leaders do not hide in an oval office, appearing like
some kind of snob -- expecting other world leaders to come
to you; you go to them. He went to them, not only because
he was regularly invited, but because he was a proactive leader
who demonstrably cared about the world realizing that what
transpired in other parts of the world, without a doubt, affected
us. Clinton formed solid friendships with many of these world
leaders with long distance travel and phone usage, resulting
in improved U.S. relations. The Bush administration reports
money the new administration is saving Americans from less
international calling, while former key relationships are
A respected President does not buck welcome home or other
celebrations because he has social phobias or because he'd
rather go to his ranch to relax. He attends these events and
shakes hands simply because it is the right thing to do. This
has nothing to do with being a "headline hog" since these
gatherings are supposed to be about the event and not about
the President. The reason Clinton got so much ink was because
the press swooned to their knees and made Clinton a celebrity.
The conservative press is typically better behaved, so Bush
needn't worry about such things.
When environmental or other major groups send the President
e-mail's or petitions (especially when most Americans are
more concerned about the color of the earth as opposed to
the color of money -- the President's favorite subject), the
White House should not be so foolish as to return these e-mail's
to the sender, ducking under the rhetoric of "jammed servers"
and other assorted nonsense in press releases, dismissing
these issues. Americans should expect to receive, at minimum,
an acknowledgment -- with a level of attentiveness to the
matter measured by the weight of the request, not by the whims
of the President's staff.
In summary, I hope that Mr. Bush soon recognizes that while
he may be the CEO of the business of America, the people are
the majority shareholders. If the President doesn't soon reach
out in a constructive way to form consensus concerning both
national and international issues with all of our Representatives
and get America's real priorities in order quick, the upper
hand of Republicans in the House will be discarded by suit,
easy come-easy go, in the next round of elections.