Leadership of George W. Bush
By Scott C. Smith
George W. Bush's re-election campaign is underway, and the
Bush camp has but one platform to run on: Bush's supposed
leadership in the war on terror, and his leadership as the
President of the United States. Yet George W. Bush's concept
of leadership is to delegate everything, spend a lot of time
napping, and then blame someone else when something horrible
What kind of leader is George W. Bush? As a candidate, Bush
promised an administration that would operate under the highest
ethical standards. Yet even now, the Department of Justice
is investigating who in the Bush administration leaked the
name of a CIA operative to columnist Robert Novak. The operative
is the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson. Wilson believes the
leak was in retaliation for a column he wrote for the New
York Times in July of 2003.
Wilson had been dispatched in 2002 to investigate whether
or not Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium. On July 6,
2003, his column appeared in the New York Times, accusing
the Bush administration of manipulating data - soon after,
his wife's name was leaked. The investigation is focusing
on Vice President Cheney's office. Apparently those high standards
of ethics do not apply to the vice president.
On the domestic front, Bush really has nothing of importance
to hold up as an example of strong domestic policy. Bush's
answer to most domestic woes is a tax cut. And other programs
that Bush touted as a presidential candidate, such as No Child
Left Behind, remain underfunded.
Another Bush domestic policy "win" is the Patriot Act. The
Patriot Act gives law enforcement tools to investigate terrorism
by loosening procedures and situations requiring a warrant.
Police in Las Vegas used provisions of the Patriot Act to
fight such non-terrorist related crimes as money laundering
and prostitution in 2003.
Bush also seems to want to emulate Italy, circa 1930s, with
a policy that allows for the arrest and detention of individuals
suspected of involvement in terrorism. These individuals lose
all rights, are held without bail, and refused access to a
lawyer. Isn't freedom great?
Creating a healthy economy, while not necessarily the job
of the president, is something presidents take credit for.
After Bush took office, the U.S. economy tanked, and Bush,
paradoxically, has blamed both Bill Clinton and the war on
terror for the health of the economy. Right-wingers immediately
latched onto the phrase "The Bill Clinton Recession" as a
response to the millions of jobs that have been lost under
George W. Bush, and Bush himself blamed the economy, indirectly,
on Bill Clinton.
Appearing on the Feb. 13 Face the Nation with Tim Russert,
Bush stated, "The stock market started to decline in March
2000. That was the first sign that things were troubled. The
recession started upon my arrival." Yet on May 2, 2003, Bush,
in a speech to the Employees of United Defense Industry in
Santa Clara, California, stated, "I know you hear talk about
the deficit. And we've got a deficit because we went through
a recession... we got a recession because we went to war."
Needless to say, Bush's answer to most economic problems,
a tax cut, has not helped the economy much.
The platform Bush is going to emphasize more than anything
is his leadership in the war on terror and the war in Iraq.
And yes, while there has not been another terrorist attack
in the United States since Sept. 11, that's not necessarily
because of Bush administration policy. Members of Al-Qaeda
are still launching attacks at targets around the world. The
mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, remains
at large, despite a pledge by George W. Bush to capture him.
On Sept. 17, 2001, Bush told reporters, "There's an old poster
out West - Wanted, Dead or Alive... America wants him (bin
Laden) brought to justice." Nearly three years later, there
is no sign of bin Laden, and the Bush Administration does
not mention his name.
In the last several weeks, the world has been rocked by
the explosive revelation that United States soldiers were
torturing Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. Photographs
of the abuse appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes II last month. The
abuse was first reported in January, but Commander in Chief
George W. Bush claims he learned of it the same time the rest
of America did - when he saw the photographs on television.
A furious Bush, according to the Washington Post, privately
admonished Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for failing
to provide Bush with detailed and timely information of the
investigation of the abuse at Abu Ghraib.
This situation begs the question: why didn't Rumsfeld inform
his boss on what was going on at that prison? Damage has been
done to our reputation in the Middle East, perhaps irreparably.
This is the worst kind of publicity. And to think we almost
kicked a president out of office for having an affair with
It's time for George W. Bush to step up to the plate and
take action. It's time for George W. Bush to be a leader.
If he can squeeze it in between naps and lengthy vacations
to his Crawford, Texas ranch.
Scott C. Smith is a freelance writer from Beaverton, Oregon.
Scott is a regular contributor to the Democratic Underground
and Smirking Chimp web sites. Scott also writes for his web
log, What's In Scott's Head, at scottcsmith.net