Democratic Underground

Dubya Cannot Hide His Spots
July 5, 2001
by Ken Alford

The sharp pencils are out at the White House. Karl Rove has assembled all his nervous poll takers and heavy political thinkers to map a strategy to get the pResident back on the right track. Or perhaps to get him off the "right" track?

Recent numbers have shown the "Great Pretender" dropping dramatically in the polls. Even his right-wing co-conspirators in the House and Senate have deserted him on recent votes. His crowning achievement, the irresponsibly huge taxcut, is not that popular with the general public. It could turn into a millstone around his neck if the surplus disappears more quickly than now predicted. He could be forced to use the Medicare or Social Security surplus to mask the deficits that are likely to appear before the 2002 midterm elections. And, as we all know, both Parties have promised not to touch these funds. So what scheme can Rove and his merry band of pranksters contrive?

First of all, they now realize what a mistake it was to "diss" the enviromental issues. Approving more arsenic in our drinking water was not a wise decision. Neither was the decision to support their oil friends to drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Their dilemma is to convince the American people that they are more "environmental" than portrayed in the "liberal media" or to convince them that they are not that cozy with the Big Oil companies. The odds are that they will attempt the former.

Also, his true nature is beginning to take shape in the public's eyes. Most politicians run their campaigns from the left or the right - to appeal to their base voters - and then govern toward the center. Uncharacter- istically, this pResident campaigned from the center and has governed from the far right. His nominations of John Ashcroft, Ted Olsen, and Elliott Abrams have only validated the fears of many of his supporters in the center.

So, what should be the new strategy? Thanks to Jim Jeffords, the Democrats are now in control of the Senate. Their first vote was on the very popular Patient Bill of Rights - which the pResident has threatened to veto. As governor of Texas and for the first few months in the White House, he thought "bi-partisanship" meant getting one or more Democrats to go along with his "programs." It has never dawned on him that "bi-partisanship" may mean he has to compromise with someone else's programs.

The "Great Pretender" must do more than simply shovel taxcuts and platitudes to his supporters. When he loses the House in the next election, they will turn on him like a wolf with rabies. Abraham Lincoln once asked a friend, "If you call the horse's tail a leg, how many legs would the horse have?" "Five, of course," said his friend. "No," said Abe, "Calling a horse's ass a leg doesn't make it so." And so it is with the present Resident in the White House. A leopard cannot change its spots.

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