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Putting Lipstick on a Pig
July 31, 2002
By Eric Munoz

Over the last year and a half our country has gone from peace and prosperity to war and uncertainty. But crisis and challenge are not new. From the dawn of depression, the onset of the Second World War, the tension of the Cold War to the present, our nation has been confronted with challenges on many fronts.

In times of crisis, Americans have looked to their leader for comfort, in times of uncertainty they have looked for direction and in times of peace they have looked for inspiration. Each president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to William J. Clinton has provided us with memorable words to soothe our fears, warn us of danger or guide our hearts. Perhaps a Napoleonic complex driven by George Bush's smaller vote total than his opponent's has led this administration's handlers to compare George W. Bush favorably with those same men (who actually were elected to the office).

A juxtaposition of Bush's words or actions to some of the more memorable words spoken by his predecessors gives a much clearer sense of just how well the 'boy who would be President' stacks up. The original quotations from each President from Roosevelt to Clinton has been expounded upon to include (in italics) Junior's take on the world as evidenced by his actions, his words or both:

Roosevelt: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And missiles from rogue states and taxes and Al Qaeda and too many government regulations and Saddam and oh, yeah, underwater scuba divers."

Truman: "The buck stops here; unless of course the last guy tried to shoot for the moon and missed. And don't forget he made out with that intern, too, which told CEO's it was OK to rob investors, and what I did in 1990 was just a difference of opinion with the SEC."

Eisenhower: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. Except for that Posse Comitatus thing that can only get in the way of the military securing decent Americans by arresting subversives in our own Country."

Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Unless of course your daddy is President and you want to dump some tanking stock before the public catches on, or you want to cash in on all your government contacts and take a CEO job in an industry you have virtually no experience in and you can use those contacts to increase your government contracts exponentially. Oh yeah, you might need to seize some land for a ballpark someday, too. Government can come in handy there."

Johnson: "This administration here and now declares unconditional war on poverty. Well not so much war if we have to have an estate tax. More of a really intense street fight, I guess. Unless of course the top marginal tax rate would still have to be over 39%, maybe it's more of an ill-will towards poverty, but an extreme ill-will."

Nixon: "I am not a crook." (No expounding needed.)

Ford: "Our Constitution works. Well, except for those 4th, 5th and 6th amendments that can make hard for us to crack down on terrorists. They could have done a better job with that 2nd amendment, too. Would it have been so hard to just say, "Anybody can own a gun?" And that whole selection of the president through a manner selected by each state legislature thing should have been thought out a little better. Who would have known the state legislators would have actually let people vote? Look what almost happened in 2000, Al Gore might have won had the Supreme Court not decided to stop the whole vote counting thing."

Carter: "America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense it is the other way around. Human rights invented America. And by advancing human rights in places like Saudi Arabia we can transform a despotic tyranny... oh wait, bad example, they have oil there."

Reagan: "Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty. And the best friend of corporate interests, uh, I mean, security, yeah, security, uh, from terrorists, that's it."

Bush I: "Read my lips, no new taxes. Just like my daddy said, only this time I mean it!"

Clinton: "It takes a long time to turn a big country around. Unless of course you're tanking it."

Maybe it's a little unfair to compare Junior to some of the greatest leaders our country has ever known. Maybe if we compare W to W things might look a little better, but then again:

"We're moving corporate accounting out of the shadows, so the investing public will have a true and fair and timely picture of assets and liabilities and income of publicly traded companies. Sometimes accounting isn't black and white."

Karl Rove and everybody else can keep trying to put lipstick on that pig, but it's still a pig and it's gonna smell like - well, you know.

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