Bush as the Incompetent Slacker He Is
May 18, 2002
By Jackson Thoreau
Well. The mainstream media is finally letting some mild criticism
of Bush seep into its coverage. Much of it is fairly wimpy,
such as Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz admitting,
"Unfairly, perhaps, it smells like the administration wasn't
being entirely candid in the aftermath."
Duh. And this is the paper which supposedly exposed Watergate?
At least the Associated Press, CNN, and others have been
letting family members of Sept. 11 victims criticize Bush
& Co. so we can all see that it's not just partisan sniping
by Democrats - as Republicans would have you believe.
"It's shameful that they knew as much as they did and didn't
warn anyone," Stephen Push, of Great Falls, Va., told the
Associated Press. His wife, Lisa Raines, was killed aboard
the airplane that struck the Pentagon. "They put the business
interests of the airlines above the lives of the citizens."
Donn Marshall of Marbury, Md., whose wife Shelley also died
at the Pentagon, more directly put the blame on Bush: "It
sort of makes you wonder where the get-tough president was
when he was getting all this information, why they didn't
react act more vigorously...The notion that American planes
might be hijacked, that should have caused more concern, even
if we didn't think that they might be flown into things."
Members of Congress are now lining up to join Rep. Cynthia
McKinney, D-Ga., in her call for an investigation into the
tragedy. When McKinney first bravely made a public request
for such an inquiry several weeks ago, she was derided by
some of these same members and the Bush White House as loony,
and her patriotism was questioned. I guess after the New
York Post blares a headline saying "BUSH KNEW," then it's
patriotic to call for an investigation.
"It now becomes clear why the Bush administration has been
vigorously opposing congressional hearings," McKinney said.
"The Bush administration has been engaged in a conspiracy
of silence...Because I love my country, because I am a patriot,
and because the American people deserve the truth, I believe
it would be dangerous, loony, and irresponsible not to hold
full congressional hearings on any warnings the Bush administration
had before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."
What most of these stories fail to point out is the incredible
fact that in the month that Bush was supposedly warned of
impending terrorist attacks, he was on a month-long vacation
at his Texas retreat. Let me put it this way: Bush fiddled
while the World Trade Center burned.
No matter what political stripe you are, such irresponsibility
by our country's top leader is mind-boggling, even by someone
as immature and mentally lazy as Bush. Perhaps Clinton or
Gore, the rightful winner in the 2000 election, might not
have been able to avert the tragedy. But at least Clinton
and Gore would not have taken a vacation in Texas for a month
right before it.
The bottom line is that Bush knew about these warnings, and
he went on vacation for a month. I repeat: Bush was warned,
and he couldn't be bothered with acting on those warnings
because he needed to relax at the ranch. Bush was in a position
to do more to warn airports and others places, and he slacked
off. A competent president would have been on the phone constantly
at least making sure everyone took the warnings seriously.
At least then we would have known the president did what he
could to try to avert it.
Never mind all that spin Bush's people put out about his
Texas ranch being the "Western White House," and how it was
a working vacation. It was still a vacation away from the
actual White House - and that's why I am even more infuriated
when Bush & Co. call it the "Western White House." That's
a slap in the face to our country's traditions and history.
There is but one White House, Bush. Either "work" there, or
be seen as the slacker you are.
Why did Bush have to spend a month at the Texas ranch after
only six months on the job? Why does Bush still take two-hour
lunches when he is in Washington, exercising at 11 a.m. when
most people are still hard at work, as he did when he was
Texas governor? Does he still play computer video games at
"work" these days, as he did when he was Texas governor?
I'm repeating Bush's August vacation so much because that
is a substantial point with which we should pound opponents,
the media, politicians, and others. I have already spent considerable
time arguing with conservatives about this, and when I bring
up Bush's vacation, they have no response. They go back to
bashing Clinton, as if he was our nation's top leader
on vacation last August.
The August vacation reminds me of Bush's father's clueless
comments on the economy, and how he attempted to bond with
the masses by suggesting that he knew how most people lived
(despite not even knowing about grocery store scanners), that
doomed his re-election chances in 1992. Especially when you
throw in other aspects, like Bush Jr. using a Sept. 11 photo
of him making a phone call from the safety of Air Force One
to raise millions for partisan Republican purposes.
But keep harping on the August vacation - that hits home
with moderates, independents, and those who don't really follow
politics. One friend, who can't even recall who he voted for
in 2000, had this response to me: "Yeah, Bush can go on vacation
for a month and ignore the warnings, while I'm working harder
and even got laid off in the process."
The slacker image resonates with people like this whom we
need to connect with, to show how incompetent Bush really
is, to get them to think about voting against him and other
Republicans once they venture back inside a voting precinct.
Just like Bush's father was painted as being an elitist, Bush
needs to be painted as the incompetent slacker he is.
When you're too busy to take a vacation this summer, just
remember: Our supposed top leader is not too busy to take
a whole month off, even when he is warned of a potential national
Jackson Thoreau is co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring
a Legitimate White House. The 110,000-word electronic book
can be downloaded here,
Thoreau can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.