Debating An Anti-Bush Diatribe
I received a column from liberal relatives written by Stephen Pizzo entitled It's a little long, but......Ladies and Gentlemen: The Real George W. Bush!!! I usually glance at these diatribes replete with name-calling and blanket accusations without comment. However, I decided to give it a thorough read and a response so that family members, maybe even just one, will consider that all of Pizzo's claims cannot just be accepted as truth without critical consideration. I include below my email response to the Pizzo column. Below my response is the complete Pizzo article.
I suppose this article is deemed a worthy review of Bush’s presidency and is an attempt to make reasonable arguments against his public policy and his administration. I have merely scanned the piece and amidst the general name-calling and generalizations, I glean the following issues discussed:
Accusations are made against Bush personally and his administration regarding the Plame outing. That is currently being tried in a court of law and I know much less than the prosecutor and this writer to credibly comment. Suffice it to say the prosecutor fired his weapon and bagged Libby. Other indictments are unlikely but who knows. Maybe one of the readers here can advise me.
Aspersions are made about his intelligence. Just like I am tall compared to the average man but short compared to NBA standards, a rational assessment of Bush's intelligence (or lack thereof) and its connection to whether his policies have been a success or not loses me. While irrelevant to any policy issues in the public forum, Bush’s supposed lack of intelligence requires some supporting documentation. While calling him “ignorant” or “twitching dope of man” may satisfy some of the readers, it bears no probity regarding the policies we need to assess and decide as citizens are worthy or not. Not having spent time with Bush at all, I will grant his Ivy League credentials as indicative of a reasonable level of intelligence. Anyone here know his IQ?
Bush came from wealth. What an accusation! People either come from wealth like Bush and Kennedy, marry into it like John Kerry (and not me) or earn it like John Edwards who made millions in retainers bringing medically unsound cases to trial (our tort system’s faults I would love to debate with any of you). Given the ability in America to jump from one income quintile to another based upon work ethic, education and opportunity, to begrudge anyone’s wealth is very shallow.
The claim that he is a “ Charlie McCarthy” belies the claims that he is a “Hitler” another favorite of his detractors. Hitler was not a puppet so adherents to this nickname certainly should discard it for consistency and logic’s sake.
The only attempt at public policy analysis is in the middle of the article where there are references to the Bush tax cuts, proposal to drill in ANWAR, something about Iraqi oil fields and open immigration (one thing I am certainly against). On these issues they are merely mentioned without explanation of the harm or benefits of such policy. Maybe one of the readers can explain the harm done by the tax cuts. More so, I dare you to explain how they have been harmful to the economy.
Then there is the reference to the elimination of the death tax. It is hard to follow whether the writer considers this good or bad economic policy. I offer that it is exceptional public policy along with privatization of social security. Any takers to debate those issues?
Name-calling may be emotionally satisfying but it fails as tools of communication. Likewise, I defer to the psychiatrists and to God to know the true motivations of humans in their actions. I can only judge the actions and try to assess whether they are a benefit or a harm, as respects a President, to the country. Frankly, Pizzo’s editorial is sophomoric. Is that really all you’ve got?
I have copied the article below in case any of you need to reflect on the original source of my comments. I also plan on distributing it to my bi-partisan Think Tank for further debate.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Real George W. Bush!!!
By Stephen Pizzo, News for RealPosted on October 27, 2005, Printed on October 28, 2005
For three more years America is going to be led by not just a lame duck president, but a totally discredited president.
In a poll conducted Oct 21-23, 90 percent of those asked said they believed top Bush administration officials are guilty of either illegal or unethical behavior in the CIA leak case.
So where does that leave an un-indicted George W. Bush? There really are only two explanations, and neither reflect well on him. First, he can claim his closest aides conspired behind his back while he was otherwise occupied. I call that the "Exxon Valdez Defense" -- the captain was not at the helm when a careless crewman ran the ship of state aground. Unfortunately for Captain Bush, that defense did not wash for the real captain of the ill-fated tanker. Because, you see, the captain is always responsible.
The other explanation is worse: that the President of the United States knew what was going on, maybe even participated in it.
Either way, Bush is finished as a force in American politics. How he ever got to become president in the first place -- not once, but twice -- will remain a subject social scientists will study and debate for decades to come. Because there was plenty of evidence that George W. Bush was a made man. He had accomplished nothing in his adult life on his own -- not one thing.
Of course, for those of us who have covered the Bush family for years, it's no mystery at all. The best way to think of George W. Bush is as a beard for others. At every step in his career, individuals of wealth or power groomed him, and then used him as their front man.
These benefactors had learned long ago that there was more money and more power to be had in the shadows than in the limelight. All they needed was the right person to front for them -- someone with a name, a smile, a confident swagger. Vision, dreams, hopes and ethics were not only unnecessary, but liabilities in a beard. All they needed was a person they could program, wind up and send out into the public spotlight and deliver for them.
That's George W. Bush. He fit the bill to a T. Texas oil men -- and companies with international agendas and voracious appetites for government contracts -- had found their perfect front man in GW: a kind of Forrest Gump from the Dark Side. A man ignorant and proud of it, and willing to take direction from those he considered friends.
They began by nurturing Bush's pathetic efforts to become a high-rolling Texas oil man. Though his companies failed, they made sure he never did. Then they were able to further his ascendancy by indulging his playful side, buying him his own baseball team -- a Texas baseball team. That raised Bush's public profile to just a notch below their ultimate goal: public office.
Fully groomed and programmed, they finally steered Bush towards the goal. And it worked, probably beyond their wildest expectations. As governor of Texas, their beard kept state regulators out of their hair on dollar and cents issues critical to the oil drilling and processing industries, like air quality. That alone would have been sufficient payoff for their years of cleaning up Bush's business messes.
Bagging the United States presidency was an unexpected super-bonus. Still, they knew it was a development ripe with as much danger as opportunity. After all, they knew the real George W. Bush. There was no way they could send that hayseed off to the Big Show unattended. Dick Cheney and Karl Rove were tasked with keeping their idiot prince both on message and on a short leash. God forbid he should ever make a speech, take a position, or make a decision on his own.
All went very well for the first four years. From day one, their boy delivered, delivered and delivered again. He was a gift that just kept giving:
$1.6 trillion in tax cuts, the bulk of which went to people like them;
Environmental laws watered down; expanded logging allowed in national forests
A push to open protected Alaska wilderness to oil and gas drilling;
Iraqi oil fields suddenly within reach;
Plenty of cheap labor flooding across our southern border.
And just as it looked as if he was on the way to fulfilling another assignment -- the elimination of the estate tax -- his beard fell off. It was the thing they had always feared most: the real George W. Bush went public. There it was, for the whole world to see: a chuckling, twitching dope of man standing in front of the American people, unleashed and unscripted. Worse yet, he was making his own decisions. He chose his friend and admirer, Harriet Miers, for the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
What went wrong? Where were his handlers? Busy. They dropped Bush's leash when handed subpoenas. Junior was unleashed and home alone.
It's a moment new to America -- a leader who needs to be led, and now unled. And the world is watching. It's as if the police had come and dragged Edgar Bergin offstage in the middle of a show, leaving Charlie McCarthy, wide-eyed, mouth agape and slumped alone on his stool.
So, what now?
Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including "Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans," which was nominated for a Pulitzer.