Isn't Working, George
August 21, 2001
Maren L. Hickton
The bully boss is back. Bush's month long vacation, while
providing many of us with a wonderful respite from his daily
shenanigans, was cut short by a variety of problems that he
was forced to face. So much for the big CEO who thought he
could get out of the "compound" and rule the world from his
prefab house in Texas. I guess he found out that bolting out
of town, away from all the heat in D.C., wasn't exactly the
prudent course. Not that Bush concerns himself with what is
I don't think our CEO telling the world he was on a "working
vacation" was a good idea. Besides, most Americans believe
that an entire month was far too generous a vacation to give
himself and some of our allies were really quite miffed. And
"The Heartland Tour" concept didn't really take off, either.
Especially since the only touring really noticed by the press
corps was the President riding around in golf carts entertaining
friends in leisure wear. They said he looked comfortable.
Sure, he looked comfortable. But that kind of stuff typically
doesn't go over too well with staff who may have become uncomfortable
doing the devil's bidding all by themselves. Even if he did
take a couple of side-trips to raise money for the GOP, people
aren't that dumb.
Slacker-behavior tends to not only upset some staff members,
but it can give them a leg up on you if you aren't careful.
It might explain why Colin Powell ranked third, pushing Bush
down to rank 19, in a recent Harris popularity poll. While
Bush was hammering boards building a house for Habitat for
Humanity, complete with a Band-Aid on the tip of one bashed
finger, for one photo-op - and playing with brush and tumbleweeds
in the arid dust near his ranch in another - Colin was busy
working in the interests of the American people.
I don't even think Dick Cheney made the popularity list.
But, in fairness to Uncle Dick, he was busy defending an action
that's been brewing care of "other side" Senators and the
GAO about revealing who was involved in his energy plan meetings
which he still refuses to name. So, he hasn't been too popular
lately. You'd think the President would have some compassion
for Cheney's recent health problems and help bail him out
of the clever mess he initiated. (Although, maybe he's going
to pull a Bush-41 and claim he knows nothing about it. The
whole sordid energy affair is beginning to look a lot like
Watergate if you ask me. Not that anyone is asking.)
Is it any wonder that while Bush was away his Faith-based
Initiative Director, John DiIulio, quit? I don't think so.
Why should Dilulio have to duke-it-out, 24/7, promoting the
most unpopular and legally controversial of Bush's programs
while his Commander-in-Chief and principal promoter is out
lollygagging around? I'd quit too. Especially being a Democrat
like Dilulio is. How could anyone get up in the morning and
look at themselves in the mirror while, at the same time,
attempting to support a program when they know that the GOP
seldom supports social programs unless there is a hidden agenda?
It should have been obvious to a lifelong Democrat like Mr.
Dilulio that Bush is just trying to save money by shuffling
people off to church, who would otherwise receive paid qualified
help, so he can spend saved money on his growing list of other
controversial initiatives. But I guess it took a couple of
months for Dilulio to figure out he was being snookered.
I wasn't really surprised, though, when the White House reported
that Director Dilulio, resigned "due to personal and health
reasons." (This is a familiar cover-story when someone quits
and you want to avoid embarrassment.) Ari Fleischer-PR added
that Dilulio had a "complicated challenge." I'd say so: pitching
religious organizations to sign-on to this Initiative, agreeing
to God-knows-what responsibilities, dealing with separation
of church and state issues as interpreted by various organizations,
and all the while being battered by both conservatives and
liberals. $140,000 a year for all that plus having to deal
with Bush on top of it? Forget about it. Dilulio could make
more money with less aggravation right in Philadelphia, where
he had to commute to D.C. from daily.
These are all really minor problems for the President, however.
The wet CEO hasn't learned that you can't run away from problems;
they just pile up. Like his discombobulated budget, that is
coming apart at the seams. Like the continued downward spiral
of the economy. Like the looming threats to Social Security
and Medicare. Like the ongoing war-games with Iraq. Like the
lack of direct Bush participation in the Middle East, with
the situation "drastic...serious and rapidly spinning out
of control." Like the issues surrounding the ABM Treaty and
the Pentagon's questionable approval of moving forward with
missile defense, despite worldwide fury. Like upsetting our
strategic-partner Latin American leaders by playing favorites
with financial aid.
Like the protests coming soon in D.C. against Bush, the IMF,
and the World Bank. Like the active military members and veterans,
who are increasingly skeptical of Bush's promises to them
with the depleting surplus. Like the public schools, which
must now divide up a shrinking pool of federal funds. Like
the U.S. Justice Department, seeking more data from Florida
officials to determine if minorities were discriminated against
in election 2000. Like the emergence of 2004 Presidential
candidates only eight months into Bush's term. Even Bush's
recent stem cell decision is being seriously questioned. And
then there is all the legislation and dealing with all those
damned partisan Democrats in congress where, according to
Bush, "being a dictator would be easier."
Bush has his work cut out for him. $400,000 a year for all
that? Peanuts. Maybe he'll quit, too. He could make more money
with a lot less aggravation buying a baseball team or maybe
getting a job as a CEO of an energy company right in Texas,
where he now says he will be commuting to D.C. from more regularly.