March 04, 2004
It Was Like This When I Found It
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Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Homer teaches Bart the most important lesson in life? When you screw something up, just say, "It was like this when I found it!" Bart, over time, has also used the old stand-by, "I didn't do it."
I guess we've got President El-Barto or something, because one of his first new ads (free registration required to access the page, with Real Media videos) essentially blames everything bad on Clinton. Over soft piano music and slow cross-fades between still images, the commercial displays the captions:
Essentially, Bush is saying that everything bad going on is not his fault--despite the fact that most of it is wrong and, at best, misleading. The recession did not kick in until much later, and Bush ignored terrorism concerns before 9/11, essentially scrapping the plans and mechanisms built by Clinton (terrorism played against Bush's campaign for missile defense). The economy he did inherit, but the ad is misleading because Bush has failed to pull us out of it. The last recession we pulled out of in three years, but this one Bush has yet to bring us out of, especially as far as jobs are concerned. OK, so he was handed a bad economy (after the biggest economic boom in history, led by Clinton)--it's his job to fix it, and he failed to do so. His fix-all cure was to slash taxes for the rich while giving a modicum to the middle class, and then wait for a recovery so he could claim credit. The promised jobs and overall recovery as well have not come, but Bush is pretending like the dickens like it has.
But the big message here is one of pointing blame: it's Clinton's fault, then 9/11 hit, I got a Trifecta, so don't blame me, I just work here, and if you don't look too hard and squint a little, you can imagine things are fine.
This is leadership? This is accountability? Of course not. But as Kerry has pointed out, Bush doesn't have much to talk about that doesn't reek of failure or scandal. So everything has to be sanitized, whitewashed... or blamed on someone or something else. The thing is, this most likely will not fly. The American people, as a whole, are well-known to blame the sitting president for what problems exist, whether the president is actually to blame or not. And the people are not complete fools, either--the finger-pointing game will only travel so far.
In other Bush administration business lately, the independent 9/11 commission, after asking for and getting a two-month extension (which Bush tried to block through Speaker Hastert), is now telling Bush and Cheney that the commission will not put up with Bush and Cheney chintzing out on their duties. The president and VP said they would appear before the commission to answer questions about 9/11 (if they didn't it would have been a public disgrace), but they are trying to do it and avoid doing it at the same time: they say that they will visit only if the meeting is closed and private, and only for one hour each, and only before the chairman and vice-chairman, not the whole commission. In other words, they're trying to blow it off.
Well, the commission is not having any of that. They are now insisting that Bush and Cheney appear in public in front of the full committee, without the strict limitations the administration wants to inflict. (Both Clinton and Gore have agreed to meet with the full commission without time restraints.) They cannot force Bush and Cheney to comply, but if they raise a stink--especially now that the election year is in full gear--it could look pretty bad. Particularly if families of the victims come up again and start criticizing them on TV. Hastert is trying to fix things up and cover for the president again by talking to the Republican head of the commission, but apparently the commission is a bit more independent than the GOP had hoped for.
Their evasions are lame as well--a White House spokesman claimed that executive branch members do not have to appear before "legislative bodies," claiming that the White House-appointed commission (Bush insisted on appointing the commission himself to head off a Congressional investigation) is somehow "considered a legislative body." It's an executive commission! They don't pass laws.
Bush has been dodging a real investigation into 9/11 practically since 9/12--and now, with all of this coming to a head at election time, he has no one to blame but himself. Had he started the commission right away instead of waiting a few years to get it going, this would have all been in the past already.
Posted by: Joe at March 13, 2004 04:24 PM
Posted by: Luis at March 13, 2004 04:29 PM