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George W. Bush's Tip-Top Flip-Flops

July 16, 2004
By Kurt Kurowski

When John Kerry chose John Edwards as his presidential running mate, Republican flacks and slam-hammers scurried on to "news" shows, shouting into each other's gullets how Kerry had once again "flip-flopped." This time, it was over his decision for a vice-president, and was based on negative comments Kerry made against Edwards during the primaries.

As the sane and sober conservative commentator Lou Dobbs recently said on his cable news show, "They must think we're stupid." Mr. Dobbs pointed out that in the 1980 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan chose George H. W. Bush as his running mate after making negative comments against Mr. Bush in those primaries.

In any event, one can now see the clear love our team of John-John have for each other. So who's the uniter now, huh, George? Have you hugged your vice-president today?

Reaching up on well-heeled but cramping tip-toes, the overly-paid lugubrious loudmouths of the right feign dismay that anyone would vote for someone, like say, Bill Clinton or John Kerry, who are so dither-headed as to pay attention to the polls. This is seen as more evidence of the flip and the flop.

Well, take that thousand-dollar bill out from between your teeth, Kate O'Beirn, and tell us: why should Kerry be any different from Bush in this regard? Every White House has its own internal polling, and they're more accurate than the media-driven or purchased polls for public consumption.

I'm not alone in noticing that every time Bush's poll numbers drop we get a vague terrorist warning or Mr. Bush giving one of his speeches so famously devoid of fresh content but replete with self-congratulation. And on some particularly irritating occasions we have had to endure both.

Of course Bush listens to the polls, he'd be a bigger idiot than some people already say he is if he didn't.

With Bush's recent approval ratings at a well-earned all-time low we observed the desperate spectacle of his administration giving non-specific warnings about an upcoming attack. (Without even changing levels on our five-fresh-'n'-fruity-colors-paint-chip alert system.)

Sharply on the heels of those threats about threats, Bush gave a speech in which he angrily insisted that we're safer now. The Hypnotist-in-Chief made that suggestion no less than seven times in fifteen minutes.

I'm tempted to say get a clue, but why bother when the evidence is staring you in the face? We're less safe now that Bush has stuck his paw into the beehive of Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 or terrorism or anyone's freedom, and had everything to do with the flow of honey.

If you remember the recent report on increased world terrorism, evidence which the White House - perhaps simply out of habit - tried to "amend," you might be less likely to agree with the Hypnotist's lovely assistant, Dick Cheney. He went solo on the road to let us know that he don't need no stinking evidence to make his claim that Saddam Hussein and imminent terrorism against America were two peas in a pod.

Well, an "f" and a "y" to you too, Mr. Cheney, sir. While I can appreciate your opinion, please stop telling us that bulls have tweeters. You and your ward are starting to look crispy on the edges of crazy. And that's pretty uncomfortable for us to watch in our White House. Nixon may be dead, but Nixon's not forgotten.

And FYI, when the poll numbers drop and no other form of obfuscation seems to help, and you once again start screeching about writing homosexuals out of the Constitution, remember that to all Americans who actually revere the Constitution such behavior makes the White House look hopelessly nuts.

Many on the Right are straining their ever-vibrating uvulas as they yammer to themselves about how John Kerry is unable to make a decision he can stick with. But when a leader makes a decision that turns out to be a deadly disaster, reasonable people will expect that leader to change his course.

With billions in profits at stake in Iraq, that is the very thing Bush will not do, and to the dumbfounded astonishment of the rational world, Bush, Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul (hocker-comb) Wolfowitz, et al. continue to insist that their naked failures are spun from the finest most noble cloth that you ever did lay your eyes upon. Suitable for swaddling! (Or so might say Karen Hughes, the Bush team's most intrepid purveyor of cheerfully creepy nonsense.)

And so it goes. One man's flip-flopping is another man's common sense. Good leadership can nevertheless still drive us into a ditch, but who wants to be stuck in a ditch? Aside from a minority of hard-core partisans and profiteers; no one. But because the truth is unfortunately no longer a friend to most Republicans these days, flip-floppery is one of the diversionary games the Bushies will play.

It's an old game, one memorialized in television syndication by way of The Simpsons' Sideshow Bob character who once used charges of flip-flopping against his rival for mayor. Sideshow Bob is the embodiment of all we find in our three branches of Government today; he's a Republican, a criminal and an accomplished clown.

I myself have no real quarrel with flip-flopping. In one of the earliest known indictments of the anally-retentive, Ralph Waldo Emerson called consistency "the hob-goblin of little minds." But since some on the right so obviously do have a problem, I think it only fair we let them know about George.

To honor old Sideshow, of whom I'm fond, allow me to engage in a silly little round of political pat-a-cake, (or depending on your tolerance for profanity, "grab-ass"). I present to you George W. Bush, running for his first term as president and second term as White House flip-flopper:

  • Bush is against a Homeland Security Department; then he's for it.
  • Bush is against a 9/11 commission; then he's for it.
  • Bush is against a WMD investigation; then he's for it.
  • Bush is against nation building; then he's for it. (Even before 9/11 it was part of his foreign policy, PNAC. So drop the "everything changed after 9/11" malarky.)
  • Bush said he'll provide money for first responders (emergency services); then he doesn't.
  • Bush is against deficits; then he's for them.
  • Bush is for free trade; then he's for tariffs on steel; then he's against them again.
  • Bush said he'll reduce Greenhouse gases; then doesn't do it.
  • Bush is for a patient's bill of rights then; then he fights against it.
  • Bush say that "help is on the way" to the military; then he cuts benefits.
  • Bush talks about helping education; then he cuts funding.
  • Bush says the U.S. won't negotiate with North Korea; then he says we will.
  • Bush campaigns at racist Bob Jones University; then says he shouldn't have.
  • Bush says he will demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq; then he announces he won't call for a vote.
  • Bush says the "mission accomplished" banner was put up by the Navy; then he admits it was his advance team.
  • Bush is for fingerprinting and photographing Mexicans who enter the US; then he's against it.
  • Bush is for a state's right to decide on gay marriage; then he's for amending the constitution to prevent it. (Cheney, whose daughter is a lesbian, shared this flippety-flop big time. "Gee thanks, dad." "Don't fret, hon, daddy's only playing up to the rubes!")

And there are almost one hundred more examples, all accomplished in only three and a half years. Just imagine how proud his mother must be.

From what I understand of the Republican horror of flip-flopping and the integrity deficit it indicates, and given Mr. Bush's record as a flip-flopper, many Republicans will now be forced by conscience into a third party vote, or into not voting at all. But maybe Rush Limbaugh can give them dispensation, I dunno.

My own problem with George exists elsewhere. The fact that some of those above mentioned flip-flop points also qualify as flat-out lies makes flip-flopper George W. Bush not only the biggest carp landing at the bottom of the rowboat, but the slipperiest as well.

In other words; it's the slime, stupid.

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