Democratic Underground

What's The Commission On $1.6 Trillion?
March 20, 2001
By Jerry Fees

E.J. Dionne Jr, in one of his recent columns, warns Democratic foot soldiers that we'll need to lay off George W. when it comes to making cracks about his intellect if we plan on doing something about him anytime in the near future. Beating up on him has the negative effect of lowering expectations and plays into the hand of the Resident (I just can't make myself call this guy the President). Dionne makes the point that if we take for granted that Bush is an idiot, we underestimate him.

To underestimate him is to not take the threat he poses to our view of the role of government in our society as seriously as is warranted. By trivializing him in front of the nation we allow him to take the role of populist as opposed to the true role of the ultra-Conservative he has shown himself to be. He goes on to worry that casting Bush as a dullard is a self-defeating proposition and that in the long run it's a serious mistake.

It's been a lot of fun beating up on Junior these last couple of months and the prospect of having to lay off initially didn't set to well with me. I gave the whole argument some thought these last couple of days and have come to the conclusion, when E.J. is right, he's right.

Now please don't get me wrong. You'll never read anything from me that extolls the intelligence or "brain power" of the Pretender in Chief. My friends over at tell me that I have no objectivity because I can never say anything good about their hero Bush. With the admonitions of Mr. Dionne Jr in one ear and the cries for objectivity in the other, I've come up with this. If George W. hadn't been born with that silver spoon in his mouth and actually had to work for a living, he'd have made one hell of a salesman.

"Why?" you say. Let's start by looking at a few of his campaign promises and how they are slowly falling by the wayside while his supporters turn the other cheek and refuse to acknowledge they've been deceived. He's sold his supporters a bill of goods and they could care less.

The military, according to old 5/4, was in terrible shape and the Clinton/Gore administration was guilty of nothing less than treason for their absence of diligence in the area of military preparedness. I specifically remember the number $45 billion being discussed as the figure he intended to spend to get the situation under control and while I'm not the least bit surprised by his lack of veracity and his overriding desire that there be enough money in the national purse to afford him to pay back the $400 million he borrowed to get elected, I am surprised that his supporters aren't more alarmed about this obvious falsehood.

The apologists, of which there are many, argue that a month does not an administration make and one budget does not make him a liar. My point is that the military must not have been in quite the mess he led us to believe and this is one fine example of his salesmanship and willingness to deceive in order to further his goals. Anyone want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge? It's a one-owner property.

All of the promise he made regarding Social Security, Medicare reform, school vouchers and so on and so forth seem to be items up for negotiation now that he's been selected and yet his supporters argue that this is just the price of doing business in today's political world. It's OK if he doesn't exactly do what he promised as the ends justify the means. Sounds a lot like a President we had that was actually legitimately elected to the office and hounded unmercifully by the guardians of truth and justice. I guess it's fine for a President to talk out of both sides of his face as long as he keeps an elephant somewhere on the property. Anybody for a used 57 Buick? The interior is like new.

Now how about that bipartisan world we were all going to venture into hand in hand. It appears that them boys what loaned him the $400 million want their money back right pronto and if he's got to ram a tax cut down the throats of the spineless Democrats in Congress in order to get it, well so be it. The hell with being bipartisan. Bush's idea of the whole concept is obviously "my way or the highway".

The best part of the tax cut argument is to listen to the apologists talk about their understanding of the way it's going to work. In the last couple of weeks, there was an article in our local newspaper, The Des Moines Register, that said no matter how much you made, under $300,000 a year, your tax cut was going to be $360 or less in the first year. (The article made no mention of what those who make over $300,000 a year will get and I found that interesting in and of itself.) I don't think that's anything close to what the Bush supporters understand they'll be getting in their upcoming tax refund checks.

Now I will admit that there are so many sets of numbers floating around that I am without a clue as to who is telling the truth. I realistically suspect, that with my income level, I'm not going to end up with squat. At least not the $40 per week I heard one woman on C-Span say she was going to use to buy her medicine with. She lives in a one income family that gets government assistance because they are barely getting by. Somewhere she got the idea that her low-income family, already on government assistance, was going to qualify for an additional tax refund of over $2000 in the first year. Who do you suppose is going to break the news to her when it doesn't quite work out that way? Where do you suppose she got the idea in the first place? We've got this little thing we call a pyramid game and all you have to do is give us $100 and you'll be rich by the end of the month.

Another letter to the editor in our local paper, from an average Joe, talked about how he was going to spend the $1600 the great salesman from All Hat and No Cowboy, Texas was promising. The real problem here is that this guy thinks because The Shrub put that oversized check, made out to The Average American for $1600, in front of him that he's actually going to get it. They forgot to explain that the $1600 amount was what you get in year six or sixty and that by the time your $1600 return rolls around the Congress' to come will have altered these proposals time and time again. How about some oceanfront property Georgie has for sale out by Garland?

My favorite confidence game is the one he's playing with the budget. (I've made this point before and I love it so much I can't help myself.) He's proposing a 4% increase in spending and he knows damn well the Congress will have to increase that to send up a budget that even begins to meet the needs of the people. By doing this he automatically gives himself a debating position pitting himself against those mean old congressman who want to just throw your money away on frills and the like. I hate to admit it but I am in awe of this one. It's a masterstroke. He's got two seats at his next inauguration he can let you have for $100 a piece if you're interested.

Finally, I want to make one last point about how he's planning on using his faith-based racket - if he ever gets Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's permission to go forward - to woo the African-American vote. He's going to use this program to inject some money into their communities. You don't suppose he's trying to help them forget that he and his party did everything they could to disenfranchise as many of them as possible in Florida last November do you? He's using a little "got to give a little to get a little" theory here and I hope the good folks in the African-American community take his money, as much as he hands out, and then go to the polls against him in record numbers in 2004. This is one I'd love to see backfire on His Fraudulency. The justice would be karmic in nature and I look forward to the prospect of it being dispensed in heavy doses.

He may not be stupid as E.J. Dionne points out, but he's as slick as old Willie ever was and it helps that his flock is yearning to have the fleece pulled over it's collective eyes. I for one am done talking about how stupid George W. Bush is, even if it's true, but I find it rather ironic that the right spent the last eight years decrying the lack of honesty in the White House but now that we've got a new lead salesman it's all part of the game. I say buyer beware.

Jerry Fees is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Comments or Complaints?


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