Candidate Bush in 2000 promised to usher in a new era of personal responsibility.
Well, it’s about time!
I think personal responsibility – accountability, if you will – is something that we are desparately short of in these trying times. And I for one applaud young George’s suggestion that we renew our focus on holding people accountable. Well done, George. Go and get yourself a pretzel!
And of course, the arch-enemy of accountability is hypocrisy, so let’s begin the new era with a review of George’s own accountability. Let’s start with the war in Iraq, shall we?
George was pretty sure that Saddam represented a grave threat to America. He said in defending his invasion, “Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people.” In fact, he wasn’t just saying there is a body of intelligence which strongly suggests that Hussein has WMDs. He was certain; he knew it; “there was no doubt.”
“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
“'I’m confident that our search will yield that which I strongly believe, that Saddam had a weapons program.”
And as for the connection between Al-Qaida and Saddam, Bush said, “We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”
So, when confronted with unmistakable evidence that both propositions were wrong – that Iraq in fact did not have WMDs, and that it did not in fact have any meaningful contacts with Al-Qaida, the President took full responsibility, and humbly apologized to a forgiving nation.
Oh, wait, no he didn’t. First, he just lied:
“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.”
But then he argued that he didn’t really say WMDs at all. He had meant to say WMD “related program activities,” which in fact was born out. And as for Al-Qaida, well, they never really meant that there were ties between the 9/11 attack and Iraq, just between Al-Qaida terrorists and Iraq (which would be true for dozens of countries, of course, including the US, who had “ties” to Osama Bin Ladn himself during the USSR’s Afghan war.
OK, so Bush isn’t big on accepting responsibity for leading the US into a war by mistake. (A pretty big “oopsie” by any measure.) What about taking personal responsibility for his domestic policies?
Well, when he proposed a massive tax cut, fears of a deficit arose amidst a weakening economy. However, George was sure that deficits wouldn’t materialize: “we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens.” Whew! Hang on…
We ended up having record deficits. Which is a problem, according to George:
“Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt. . . I agree. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now.”
It turns out, though, that taking responsibility for these deficits means that they’re not really that important after all, as Vice President Cheney explained: “ Reagan proved that deficits don't matter.”
But surely the massive tax cuts were designed to create jobs, right?
“He has proposed a jobs and economic growth plan that would help create 510,000 new jobs this year and a total of 1.4 million new jobs by the end of next year. The president will not be satisfied until everyone looking for work can find it. “ – White House press release
The President’s plan will help the economy to create 1.4 million new jobs by the end of 2004.” – same
So, when the economy failed to produce any additional jobs, and in fact ended up actually losing jobs, the President took personal responsibility, right?
I think by now you know the answer. The failure to create jobs is given the “bush’ treatment: first it is denied -- “we have too created jobs.” Then it is argues that job creation isn’t really relevant, and that the paltry level of jobs is in fact more than adequate, since those without jobs are too stupid and/or lazy to actually get one, so that the job loss is in fact not real since everyone who deserves a job has one. Plus you can always sell things on e-bay.”
And before we conclude this screed, who can forget candidate Bush’s accusation against President Gore in 2000: “If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that.” Thank God!
Coming Next: The Republicans’ Dire Predictions Are Always Wrong