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Bush Neglects his Duties While Hillary Defines Patriotism
February 16, 2002
by Mike Schiller

I was not surprised when I learned that Bush had asked Senator Daschle to limit the investigations into September 11th, but I was certainly disappointed. Such irresponsible behavior has been a defining trait of Bush's administration since his first days in office. Need I remind America of the arsenic-laced drinking water that the Bush administration wanted to feed to America's good people? Does that sound like something a man who cares about the lives of America's people would do? Hardly.

Mr. Bush pledged on September 11th to stand by New Yorkers and grant us the aid we need to rebuild. Yet he has repeatedly refused to grant us the level of funding we need to restore Downtown Manhattan. We are $8 Billion short of the funds we need, the funds Bush promised us, yet Bush has benefited from his proclamations of support for our great city. His approval ratings skyrocketed because Americans believed he would help New York recover from the terrorist attacks.

Bush lied, as has been his habit since November 9, 2000. He lied about the votes in Florida having been "counted three times". He lied when he accused Gore of trying to sue his way into the White House, when it was Bush who filed the first lawsuit. He lied when he said he would press for legislation calling for a reduction in CO2 emissions. Bush is a pathological liar, he is anti-American because he does not respect the people of America.

Bush has refused to cooperate with Congress' investigations of Enron. His administration is being sued by the GAO for refusing to hand over documents regarding their energy policy meetings with Enron executives. He has tried to divert attention away from the Enron scandal by changing the subject back to taxes. That's not much of a subject change since Bush's latest "economic stimulus" proposal was designed to give millions of dollars in retroactive tax breaks to Enron. Certainly that money would not have been used for severance packages for Enron's laid-off employees. Certainly that money would not have been used to pay back Enron's investors or the financial firms whose businesses were hurt by both Enron's collapse and September 11th. Bush wanted to give Enron as much money in back taxes as possible so that their top players could walk away with bigger bonuses before closing the company's doors for good.

New York has been robbed in three ways. The terrorists robbed us of our safety, our security, our friends and family, our symbols of freedom and prosperity. Bush robbed us of the $8 billion in aid that we need in order to rebuild. Enron robbed Wall Street of money that could have helped keep our city financially afloat after September 11th. We were attacked three times, and in at least two of those areas, Bush and Enron were responsible. We still have yet to learn why Bush is trying to suppress Congress' investigations into September 11th. For all we know, his administration could have something to hide on that count as well.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has led the charge in helping New York to get the money we need to recover from September 11th. She has taken every opportunity available to speak about the need to get this money to New York for the rebuilding efforts. She speaks about it in unrelated hearings. She speaks about it on television. She spends her days pounding the pavement to talk to people and build awareness for the fact that New York has not received the funds necessary to recover.

Bush, on the other hand, has lobbied against granting us these funds. He threatened to veto bills that would provide more funding to cities to help pay for the increased security needed after September 11th. He threatened to veto bills that would give New York money to restore lower Manhattan.

Bush has, since September, been New York's adversary in Washington, not our friend. He came to ground zero for his photo op so he could politically capitalize on the blood of the people of New York, and once his poll numbers rose, he had what he wanted and abandoned us. Our city is in pain. We have not recovered from September 11th. Our subways have not been rebuilt. Our offices have not been rebuilt. Jobs for the people who were left unemployed by the tragedy have not been sufficiently created.

Congress should not be considering large across-the-board tax breaks for every large corporation that ever paid an alternative minimum tax. Congress should be thinking about what they can do to provide targeted, direct aid to New York's financial industry, which has been more deeply affected by September 11th than any other industry. If that weren't bad enough, New York's financial industry was harmed again when Enron defrauded investors and financial firms of millions of dollars. Losses caused by the accounting schemes of Bush's biggest campaign contributor, Ken Lay. What has Bush done to help the businesses in Lower Manhattan? What has Bush done to help the working families of New York and New Jersey whose livelihoods were affected directly or indirectly by the terrorist attacks? Absolutely nothing. Bush has no interest in helping anyone who doesn't own an oil pipeline.

Bush has done nothing but work against New York. He works against our economy. He works against economic prosperity. He works against Wall Street. He works against America's working families. He works against sensible gun laws that could prevent domestic terrorists from obtaining guns in the first place. He works against accountability. He works against Congress. He works against fuel-efficiency standards that could help reduce our dependency on foreign oil. He works against the voting laws of Florida. He works against the people of America. How can anyone call that patriotic?

 
Mike Schiller recently finished writing his first book, Sentences I Freed From The Ropes They Tried To Weave Around Me, due for publication this spring.

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