Democratic Underground

The Resident's Roadshow
March 9, 2001
by Maren L. Hickton

The Resident's Roadshow

When I told some Republicans that I did not intend to vote for Bush, they called me a turncoat, a liberal, and worse: un-American. With posts all over the Internet, many wrote me to tell me what a nice guy he was, how he came from such a nice family and how I should vote for him for reasons like, "...even though he is a not the sharpest tack in the drawer, he plans to surround himself with good people." One suggested, "he looks Presidential," as if that can be discerned as a reason to vote for someone.

Many Republicans, who shared my view that Bush was not qualified, feared that they would lose their jobs if they even talked about voting for Gore at work. A friend was all hush-hush on the phone one day when I joked about Bush, stating "I have to be very careful about what I say around here. It's bad enough that I switched to Independent."

A supervisor at a Fortune 500 firm got a phone call from his boss located in another state and was told to "Stop promoting Gore at work or you will get fired." He wasn't "promoting" anyone; he simply, when asked, told any of his employees who he was voting for when the election came up in conversation. We both laughed as he told me, "One of the Bush operatives must have reported me."

Unfortunately for a lot of us, George W. has proven himself to be far less than the compassionate conservative that he billed himself, and more of a divider than a uniter. Bush, the charmer, whose nods remind me of a spring-loaded carnival toy, was out the gate selling snake oil with his "New Federalism Initiative" telling Democratic and Republican Governors that "...our freedom is best preserved when power is dispersed." So far, Bush is doing everything but that.

The insecure and self-appointed emperor, who did not win the popular vote, is not only not reaching across the aisle to bring to Washington "a new era of cooperation," but is more interested in winning his agenda -- bypassing everyone -- taking it to the road. Maybe he has to.

Reportedly, Bush has had no hesitation in spewing his wrath and threats to Republicans who cannot seem to get more Democrats onboard for his budget proposal, yet many Republicans aren't even sure that the numbers add up themselves, with good reason: THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ALL ARE YET. The President is parceling only those details of the budget that appear favorable to his agenda, as his ways and means to buffalo public support. Same goes for big business leaders and their lobbying groups who are concerned about unfulfilled promises of tax incentives in the proposed Bush budget, who also may be waiting in vain for their "Tax Relief Coalition" deal.

According to many reports, the Executive message to all is quite direct: Get with the (budget) program as is, or the federal government will make sure to ignore you, or even fight you, later. Bush's maniacal strong-arm tactics are bolstered with tax-paid direct mail sent to persuade Americans, adding more pressure to get things done quickly -- his way or no way. Nice guy, huh?

Points to ponder:

1. Since when did any President spend taxpayer money on a political roadshow after an election? We elected and are paying our representatives to sort out the details of complete Executive Branch policies and programs so that they can present all of the facts to their constituencies in a cohesive way. It is time for our representatives in the House and Senate to get out their calculators, demand details now, and resist Bush's overtures instead of walking around like a group of dazed, lame ducks, in fear of a President who cannot even speak English. It is also time for Alan Greenspan to recognize his own power and stop playing games with the public trust with his purposely ambiguous, yea, one day -- nay, the next, support of a tax cut. (We know you don't support the tax cut "as is," Mr. Greenspan. You are more concerned about your job, too.)

2. The President had some sort of an epiphany one night and decided to drop a bomb on Iraq. Not only did Bush, the tough guy, miss his marks in attempting to send a message to Saddam Hussein (as if this self-absorbed lunatic would even be able to get beyond himself long enough to receive a message of any kind), this dangerously decisive act caused fear and alienation in our NATO allies as a direct result of failing to accommodate reasonable consensus. This is dreadfully analogous to many representatives supporting the President working their districts. At a time when many districts are in jeopardy, allowing the President to rally a district, when he has not yet proven himself, is political folly. The dicey budget proposal, in its overall present analysis by many accounts, will either only improve the economy short-term or send us into a diving recession if growth projections are not met with little money available for other economic stimulus. If political venturers are involved in this kind of supportive posturing, they may also alienate their own allies: constituents at reelection time.

3. Nationalist that Bush demonstrates himself to be, his beguiling ways have not been limited to our NATO allies. George W. pandered to the military big time in his campaign, promising that he would take care of what he assessed to be a downtrodden group of men and women who provide an important service to our country. He proclaimed that we need a stronger military and new recruits, promising competitive wages and benefits for service retention. Service people voted Bush for President en masse. So he delivered a paltry pay raise and then waited a few days before he proposed the closing of more military bases to make more budget dollars available for a presently fictional missile defense system. Et tu, W?

If our truly elected representatives do not form coalitions, maybe calling a coalition something like "Don't Tread on Me," and fight back now, it may be too late for all Americans. Agreeing to any unsound policy in support of the President -- just for the sake of support or worse, the reported political blackmail of not receiving future federal assistance at the state level for failure to cooperate with our new imperialist regime, is no way to represent the best interests of American people. Especially when, at the rate the President is going, federal money will not even be there.


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