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So They Said
July 26, 2002
By Frederick H. Winterberg III

I've never been one to say "I told you so," but in this case I can't help it. As a matter of fact, over fifty million Americans spoke up on November 7, 2000, and said the same thing I've been saying: George W. Bush is unfit to be President of the United States. And now, finally, the people, the press, and even the businesses that supported Bush are realizing what the rest of us knew all along - that shoehorning an incompetent moron into the oval office wasn't such a good idea after all.

Way back in the campaign, in the early days of 2000, we heard the press telling us how "likeable" George W. Bush was, as opposed to "stiff" and "uptight" Al Gore. Nothing I have seen of Bush, from the early days of his campaign up until now, have suggested anything "likeable" about him. He comes off as an uninformed, ignorant child who has lived his entire life with a silver spoon in his mouth, and that might be the nicest thing I can say. But the press kept telling us how "down to earth" he was. So they said.

When questions were raised as to Bush's ability to manage U.S. foreign policy, given that he had absolutely no experience and no knowledge of the world outside of Texas, we were reassured that Bush would have a topnotch team of advisers to guide him. And how has this dream team performed ? We saw 3,000 civilians slaughtered last September in terrorist attacks, attacks which there was ample warning of, yet the Bush Administration saw fit to ignore. We've seen the situation in the Middle East, specifically the conflict between Israel and Palestine, debilitate into a bloodbath, in no small part because this administration preferred to stay disengaged until the situation was already out of control. We've seen them throw the ABM treaty, the cornerstone of nuclear weapons deterrence for the past thirty years, out the window so they can pursue their (and the weapons contractors) pie in the sky dream of national missile defense, which is essentially Reagan's star wars fantasy repackaged. Never mind that it has been proven that we don't have the technology to make it work; never mind that the threats we're facing today aren't intercontinental ballistic missiles (as 9/11 pointed out to anyone who can put two and two together). Never mind that this will likely start the nuclear arms race up again. We've seen them create a "strike first" policy of defense, in which they say we can go after anyone we want, any time we want, if we feel they are a threat to our security, which may very well encourage more terrorists to take a pot shot at us; why not, they're being targeted by us anyway, why not strike first ? But hey, remember folks, these guys are the supposed adults, as they told us when they came into office "the adults are back in charge".

So they said.

Then, the media told us how Bush's business experience would be a big plus in running the country. He would be the CEO, with Cheney as his COO, and they would run this country like a business. On this point, they were actually right; the state of the country is looking more and more like Enron every day. Due in no small part to the business reforms the Republicans passed (over Clinton's veto) in 1994, we've seen company after company melt down in the past year under the weight of their own accounting fraud. With many of the regulations that would have stopped this kind of chicanery thrown by the wayside, many companies started using every accounting gimmick in the book to pump up their balance sheets and make them look more attractive to investors. Unfortunately, once the truth came out, investors lost confidence in the stock market and started pulling their money out. This in turn has put the markets in a death spiral, wiping out people's pensions and retirement accounts right before their very eyes. What has Bush done ? Three times now in the last few weeks he has spoken about the issue; three times the market has gone into a free fall as soon as he opened his mouth. Overall the stock market has lost 36.9% of it's value since Bush was sworn in as President, the worst initial 18 month performance of any President in the last 75 years. Then again, anyone that took even a cursory look at Bush's business career could have seen this coming, as he made his fortune running other people's businesses into the ground while enriching his own personal fortune. How could this have happened ? They told us his business background would be good for business !

So they said.

At this point in time, I don't think George W. Bush's performance as President can be rated against anyone else's; there just isn't another case of such breathtaking incompetence to compare it to. He has managed to take a country that was in fine shape, maybe the best shape it's been in in decades, and drive it into the ground in 18 short months. Under Clinton we had peace, prosperity, unprecedented growth, and some sense of security. Under Bush we have had horrific terrorist strikes, war without end, curtailed civil rights, skyrocketing unemployment, recession, federal deficits instead of surpluses, and a stock market that has lost more than a third of it's value since Bush's ascension to the oval office. While he can't reasonably be blamed for every malady we're experiencing, he does deserve the lion's share of the blame, however hard his administration tries to pin the blame on his predecessor (apparently, in Bush's world, the buck stops anywhere but at his desk). Considering the circumstances, the honorable thing to do would be to step down, the entire administration, and let someone qualified take over; but Bush, who thinks of the presidency as his birthright, would never admit to being wrong, much less resign. No, he will continue to wreak havoc, here and abroad, until he is either impeached or voted out in 2004.

As of the last few weeks, the media seems to finally be awakening to the fact that the emperor has no clothes. Some even seem to be reaching the conclusion that many of us reached long ago; Bush not only has no clothes, he has no brain, no morals, and no idea how to be President.

So we said.

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