Democratic Underground

It Isn't Working, George
August 21, 2001
by Maren L. Hickton

The bully boss is back. Bush's month long vacation, while providing many of us with a wonderful respite from his daily shenanigans, was cut short by a variety of problems that he was forced to face. So much for the big CEO who thought he could get out of the "compound" and rule the world from his prefab house in Texas. I guess he found out that bolting out of town, away from all the heat in D.C., wasn't exactly the prudent course. Not that Bush concerns himself with what is prudent. Ever.

I don't think our CEO telling the world he was on a "working vacation" was a good idea. Besides, most Americans believe that an entire month was far too generous a vacation to give himself and some of our allies were really quite miffed. And "The Heartland Tour" concept didn't really take off, either. Especially since the only touring really noticed by the press corps was the President riding around in golf carts entertaining friends in leisure wear. They said he looked comfortable. Sure, he looked comfortable. But that kind of stuff typically doesn't go over too well with staff who may have become uncomfortable doing the devil's bidding all by themselves. Even if he did take a couple of side-trips to raise money for the GOP, people aren't that dumb.

Slacker-behavior tends to not only upset some staff members, but it can give them a leg up on you if you aren't careful. It might explain why Colin Powell ranked third, pushing Bush down to rank 19, in a recent Harris popularity poll. While Bush was hammering boards building a house for Habitat for Humanity, complete with a Band-Aid on the tip of one bashed finger, for one photo-op - and playing with brush and tumbleweeds in the arid dust near his ranch in another - Colin was busy working in the interests of the American people.

I don't even think Dick Cheney made the popularity list. But, in fairness to Uncle Dick, he was busy defending an action that's been brewing care of "other side" Senators and the GAO about revealing who was involved in his energy plan meetings which he still refuses to name. So, he hasn't been too popular lately. You'd think the President would have some compassion for Cheney's recent health problems and help bail him out of the clever mess he initiated. (Although, maybe he's going to pull a Bush-41 and claim he knows nothing about it. The whole sordid energy affair is beginning to look a lot like Watergate if you ask me. Not that anyone is asking.)

Is it any wonder that while Bush was away his Faith-based Initiative Director, John DiIulio, quit? I don't think so. Why should Dilulio have to duke-it-out, 24/7, promoting the most unpopular and legally controversial of Bush's programs while his Commander-in-Chief and principal promoter is out lollygagging around? I'd quit too. Especially being a Democrat like Dilulio is. How could anyone get up in the morning and look at themselves in the mirror while, at the same time, attempting to support a program when they know that the GOP seldom supports social programs unless there is a hidden agenda? It should have been obvious to a lifelong Democrat like Mr. Dilulio that Bush is just trying to save money by shuffling people off to church, who would otherwise receive paid qualified help, so he can spend saved money on his growing list of other controversial initiatives. But I guess it took a couple of months for Dilulio to figure out he was being snookered.

I wasn't really surprised, though, when the White House reported that Director Dilulio, resigned "due to personal and health reasons." (This is a familiar cover-story when someone quits and you want to avoid embarrassment.) Ari Fleischer-PR added that Dilulio had a "complicated challenge." I'd say so: pitching religious organizations to sign-on to this Initiative, agreeing to God-knows-what responsibilities, dealing with separation of church and state issues as interpreted by various organizations, and all the while being battered by both conservatives and liberals. $140,000 a year for all that plus having to deal with Bush on top of it? Forget about it. Dilulio could make more money with less aggravation right in Philadelphia, where he had to commute to D.C. from daily.

These are all really minor problems for the President, however. The wet CEO hasn't learned that you can't run away from problems; they just pile up. Like his discombobulated budget, that is coming apart at the seams. Like the continued downward spiral of the economy. Like the looming threats to Social Security and Medicare. Like the ongoing war-games with Iraq. Like the lack of direct Bush participation in the Middle East, with the situation "drastic...serious and rapidly spinning out of control." Like the issues surrounding the ABM Treaty and the Pentagon's questionable approval of moving forward with missile defense, despite worldwide fury. Like upsetting our strategic-partner Latin American leaders by playing favorites with financial aid.

Like the protests coming soon in D.C. against Bush, the IMF, and the World Bank. Like the active military members and veterans, who are increasingly skeptical of Bush's promises to them with the depleting surplus. Like the public schools, which must now divide up a shrinking pool of federal funds. Like the U.S. Justice Department, seeking more data from Florida officials to determine if minorities were discriminated against in election 2000. Like the emergence of 2004 Presidential candidates only eight months into Bush's term. Even Bush's recent stem cell decision is being seriously questioned. And then there is all the legislation and dealing with all those damned partisan Democrats in congress where, according to Bush, "being a dictator would be easier."

Bush has his work cut out for him. $400,000 a year for all that? Peanuts. Maybe he'll quit, too. He could make more money with a lot less aggravation buying a baseball team or maybe getting a job as a CEO of an energy company right in Texas, where he now says he will be commuting to D.C. from more regularly.

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