Folks sure do love Bush

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I heard this morning that President’s Bush’s public relations campaign is working; with 56 percent of the American people now saying he’s doing a good job. I try to understand why he’s so popular, but I just don’t get it. I understand social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, rugged individualism, and all the rest of the basic tenets of the Republican platform, but what I don’t understand is how Bush is still considered &uot;moderate&uot; by most people and &uot;compassionate&uot; by many more.

I’m not saying Bush doesn’t have compassion for some people (I wanted to insert &uot;rich white guys&uot; in parenthesis at this point, but decided it might be considered crass) but he strikes me as being fairly callous. When the attacks on our troop continued after he declared victory in Iraq, Bush summed up his feelings with &uot;Bring ’em on,&uot; apparently unconcerned that it would be our sons and daughters in uniform undergoing the onslaught.

The rest of the world doesn’t consider Bush or the United States very compassionate these days, either. In fact, most people in the world now fear the U.S. according to recent surveys. Once upon a time (three years ago) people wanted their nations to be more like ours, loved our way of life and our ideals, and admired our willingness to help others. Somehow Bush’s message of &uot;compassionate conservatism&uot; has been lost on the cowering masses who now consider the U.S. to be an aggressive, dangerous, reckless bully.

Bush hasn’t shown much compassion towards the CIA operative who lost her position, must now fear for her life, and who’s trusted allies in nations hostile to the U.S. are now compromised (at best). When asked about the investigation into who leaked this CIA operatives name to the press, Bush said he didn’t know and that we would probably never know. Bush displayed no concern that U.S. laws were broken, no concern about the agent’s safety, no concern about her sources, no concern about the lack of intelligence, and no concern about rooting out the person or persons in his administration responsible for deliberately compromising this patriot’s position in the intelligence community.

In fact, it sounded to me as if Bush were telling the leakers, &uot;Don’t worry. Nobody’s going to catch you if you keep quiet.&uot;

Now he’s launched a PR campaign to set the record straight about Iraq. Basically, it was good we went to war because Saddam was a bad ruler, killed and tortured Iraqi civilians, and might one day have decided to make weapons of mass destruction that could have been used by terrorists against the United States.

Before the war, of course, Saddam had the WMDs, including a thriving nuclear weapons program that posed an immediate threat to the security of the US. When the inspectors returned last week with the bad news (to Bush’s credibility) that no WMDs have been found, Bush asserted that as proof he had been right all along! That’s right, the inspectors could only find a few scraps of paper indicating that if Saddam had the material, the wherewithal and wasn’t under threat of attack by the UN if he developed them, he’d probably mix himself up a batch of anthrax. Well, there ya go. Attack!

All this reminds me of the novel &uot;1984&uot;, but I’ll develop the similarities in a future column – I need to refresh myself on some of the techniques used by Big Brother to keep everybody confused, complacent, and compliant. Bush apparently mistook this novel to be a primer on how to rule effectively.

If Bush wins another four years in the White House, I wonder what the taxpayers in 15 years will be saying about us as they:

– Pay high taxes just to settle the national debt,

– Can’t enjoy the beauty of the country because the nation’s infrastructure has gone to pot because there’s no money to fix roads, bridges and airports,

– Remain isolated from the rest of the world because of the way we ran roughshod over the United Nations,

– Struggle to find work in a sick economy that lacks a manufacturing base because all the businesses moved overseas, thanks to unfettered corporate greed and official policies that encouraged it,

– Boil their water and wear breathing masks outside because the air and water are poisonous, thanks to the Bush administration’s &uot;relaxed&uot; environmental standards,

– Are forced to care for their parents because Social Security is just a footnote in the history books,

– Pay all their parents’ medical bills because Medicare and Medicaid are an even more obscure footnote in those history books,

– Worry about North Korea, which is a nuclear power ruled by a paranoid madman determined to destroy the U.S.,

– Worry about Iran, which is a nuclear power ruled by extremist Muslims who have declared jihad against the U.S.,

– Worry about Iraq, which is ruled by extremist Muslims who have declared jihad against the U.S.

– Look enviously at the democracies of France, Germany and the rest of the Western World, which no longer have diplomatic or trade ties with us because our government can’t be trusted, and

– Wonder what Bush’s War had been about since Iraq does possess weapons of mass destruction, is developing a nuclear arsenal, is a terrorist training ground, and has plenty of oil to pay for its ongoing terrorist war against the United States.

Is that a bit harsh? Can this great nation fall that far that fast because of what President Bush and his administration does? If we reelect him it can. And even if we don’t reelect him, our children are probably going to have it harder than we had it.

I’m afraid that we may already have witnessed the Golden Age of America – 1945-2000. During this period of time, our democracy expanded to include all citizens of the United States, we became the richest nation of Earth, the vast majority of our citizens could earn decent livings and raise the standard of living for every member of their families, and we became not only the world’s most powerful nation, but also the acknowledged leader of the free world.

Since 2000, our has declined. Yeah, we’re powerful, but we’re losing the respect of our friends and creating more and more enemies. The US middle class has decreased sharply in recent years.

I heard today on the news that since the fall of Baghdad, recruitment for al-Quada has soared.

Well, that’s enough of that. I’m still no closer to understanding why Americans love that Bush so much.