The Bush Bash

Books keep pouring off the presses on the subject of why George W. Bush should not be re-elected. I got four in my mailbox recently. Bush might be the biggest boon to book publishing since Harry Potter.

The most serious of the four books is The Bubble of American Supremacy, by George Soros. The most superficial is Bush Must Go, by TV personality Bill Press. The most left-wing is The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America, by Eric Alterman and Mark Green. It is also the most tedious. My God, but progressive writers do need a sense of humor.

The best of the bunch by far is The Bush Betrayal, by one of my favorite writers, James Bovard. Bovard is a scrupulously accurate researcher of facts. His philosophical framework is the same as that of Thomas Jefferson. Press, Alterman and Green are mad at Bush for being too far to the right for their socialist tastes. Bovard points out Bush’s betrayal of conservative and libertarian principles. Though far more leftist than Bovard, Soros also points out Bush’s betrayal of the principles of an open society.

Bovard, however, in addition to being a fine writer, has not allowed the mess in Washington to plunge him into pessimism. He can still see the humor in much of the mayhem, goofiness and outright stupidity that characterizes so much of government bureaucracy.

His tactic is to quote Bush or Bush’s step-and-fetchers and then simply point out the great gap between what Bush and his people say and what the facts are. These gaps are so many and so deep that one can fairly conclude that nothing Bush ever says should be taken at face value.

Like Bovard, I deeply resent a phony conservative — a politician who talks one way and acts exactly the opposite. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney might fairly be called reactionaries, but they are not conservatives in the traditional sense of that word. Being a big spender, a despoiler of the environment, a fearmonger, an ally-alienator, a reckless warmonger and an imperialist does not qualify for the title "conservative." Practicing secrecy and deception and displaying an open contempt for the Constitution and international law are likewise not the characteristics of a conservative.

As Bovard says: "Dying for Bush’s lies should not be considered a lofty cause. … Bush is still expecting to be cheered and revered for his courage in ‘making a tough decision.’ It is as if the more Americans who die for Bush’s folly, the more undeniable his greatness becomes."

Bovard’s suggestion, in case we are misfortunate enough to have Bush for four more years, is to greet his grandiose delusions with catcalls and laughter. Bush, he says, is as qualified to talk about freedom as Bill Clinton is to talk about chastity.

An enormous factual database exists documenting the folly of the Bush administration not only in these books but in others that have been published. Clearly the job of president is over Bush’s head. He has proven himself to be dangerously incompetent. He has surrounded himself with ideologues totally disconnected from reality. The Pentagon’s Paul Wolfowitz, considered the architect of the Iraq War, showed in recent testimony before Congress that he had no idea how many American lives had been lost. So much for this administration’s concern for the troops.

Bush’s re-election depends entirely on willful ignorance. He might well ride the sea of ignorance right back into the White House. It would not be the first time Americans have chosen the demagogue over the competent.

But if you intend to vote for Bush, you should at least read the record and not depend on the Republican propaganda machine. The current Republican Party’s almost total reliance on character assassination, guilt by association and outright distortions of the truth remind one of what was going on in the 1930s in Europe.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.