by Walter Brasch
Every president has a political philosophy that guides him and, sometimes, the nation.
George W. Bush believes he has divine inspiration to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, and to make his subjects adhere to whatever beliefs he holds for the moment. His political philosophy is a chunk of swiss cheese that is being forced down the throats of a lactose-intolerant nation.
During his first campaign for presidential office, he preached a doctrine against nation building and pre-emptive military strikes. But, within a year of his inaugural he was already planning to export his version of democracy to the world. Within two years, he had begun plans to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iraq and to create a “regime change.” That “nation building” plan, however, has proven as strong as a bridge built by non-union labor working for a corrupt contractor.
As the “commander-in-chief,” which he is not hesitant to use on almost every occasion, he found out he could move billion dollar warships as easily as the toy boats and rubber duckies in his bathtub.
George W. Bush, in attacking Bill Clinton for putting troops into Bosnia, demanded deadlines for withdrawal. But, for the war he created in Iraq, and which looks like the quagmire that became the Vietnam War, he has decided that deadlines were blueprints for failure, that “It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing.”
As president, George W. Bush pushed the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires extensive testing of students to see that they meet Republican-approved goals. Within months of the creation of the program, teachers were forced to “teach to the test,” rather than to improve a student’s education. Yet, President Bush becomes infuriated when critics suggest he has failed every test of success in Iraq, and defiantly tells a nation worn down by the cost of a failed foreign policy that it’s impossible to measure success in war.
When the majority of Americans declared, in poll after poll, they opposed the use of torture, even against al-Qaeda operatives, the commander-in-chief decided the majority didn’t matter.
He has disregarded the wishes of the people who believe in better health care for all Americans. Shortly after he took office, President Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyota Agreement, signed by 37 industrialized nations. His response was to gut the environment and, against the findings of an overwhelming majority of scientists, has not only claimed that global warming isn’t a problem, but has suppressed the views of government scientists.
In almost every campaign speech, even those after he was elected, he pontificates about fiscal responsibility, personal freedom, and less government in the lives of people. His fiscal irresponsibility has led to deficit spending and a national debt that our grandchildren will still be paying; he launched an extensive spy system against Americans, and believes there needs to be even more legislation—Constitutional amendments, specifically—to ban flag burning (an issue the Supreme Court has already dealt with) and same sex marriage.
When the Republicans controlled Congress, the smirky President demanded that the senate adhere to an “up-or-down” vote on all of his appointees—a majority vote was all that should be needed to approve his candidates. His belief, echoed by the nation’s elected Republicans and googles of conservative radio talk show hosts, opposed the entire history of the Senate that allows debate until 60 or more senators vote to end that debate. President Bush invoked that ‘up-or-down” vote on the appointment of John Bolton, who had a long history of opposition to the United Nations, to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. President Bush demanded “up-or-down votes” in the Senate to approve his nominees to the federal courts, ambassadorships, and the cabinet. It’s democracy, he bleated. Majority vote. Majority rules. Of course, he conveniently forgot that had he truly believed in majority vote, Al Gore would have been president.
Nevertheless, after the Democrats took control of Congress, President Bush saw the light and decided that up-or-down votes didn’t matter. The President’s lieutenants blocked an up-or-down vote on the “surge” in Iraq. When the House voted 247–176 and the Senate voted 63–37 to allow federal funding for stem cell research, the oh-so-moral President decided the majority and up-or-down votes didn’t matter, and vetoed the proposed legislation.
When Congress voted to require phased withdrawals from Iraq, President Bush vetoed that legislation. When the Senate, by 53–38, voted “No Confidence” in Attorney General Ambrose Gonzales, the President ignored the wishes of the majority; the “Decider-in-Chief” decided that he would continue to mismanage the country without judicial or Congressional advice or overview.
To an audience at Tsinghua University, President Bush said that “life in America shows that liberty paired with law is not to be feared. In a free society, diversity is not disorder, debate is not strife, and dissent is not revolution.” How his Administration created and enforced the USA PATRIOT Act; how he and his Administration have routinely and maliciously suppressed the rights of dissent, linking dissent to treason; and how he and his Administration have consistently shown the disregard for to Bill of Rights puts the lie to what he told Chinese students was his philosophy of government.
In forming the Constitution, this nation’s Founding Fathers rejected the concept of the divine right of kings. It’s doubtful the President has read the Constitution. Perhaps if he had, his philosophy, like swiss cheese, would not be so full of holes, and he might not be so cavalier in thinking he has divine wisdom to shred that document as easily as one shreds a pound of cheese.
[Walter Brasch’s current books are America’s Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government’s Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights; ‘Unacceptable’: The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina; and Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture. They are available through amazon.com and other on-line sources. You may contact Dr. Brasch, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website, www.walterbrasch.com.]