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When, exactly, does the Bush presidency kick in?


Last updated 10/20/2006 at Noon

With increasing predictability that would be comic if it weren’t so outrageous, responsibility for Bush failures is being slung out farther and faster. It’s the fault of the generals, the troops, Clinton, staffers, the media, Democrats… The funniest recent “responsibility re-assignment” is Tony Snow’s blaming North Korea for the recent crisis. (It’s like a football team’s coach blaming their loss on the other team.) Now, in his sixth year of total unilateral control of the government, when something inescapably fails, the strategy is still: deny, but if forced to acknowledge a mess, blame someone else. Is he such a weak leader that given all this time and power he couldn’t have altered the course in six years?

If only the dog hadn’t eaten his homework, he might have had the ability to come up with more than single solutions, stubbornly perpetuated in the face of failure: for instance, his economic policy, tax breaks for the richest two percent, which have failed to help the ever-shrinking middleclass and have also created record deficits, is tenaciously championed; an alternative diplomatic tact than simply going limp upon taking office on international crises like the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and North Korea (calling them names every few years is not how grownup statesmen handle adversaries); a Plan B for Iraq when Plan A failed. He might have been able to oversee and better evaluate the performances of those to whom he so liberally relegates responsibilities and may have been able to find qualified experts outside his immediate circle. Moreover, he would have been equipped to tolerate, even value dissent from his experts rather than fling mud at them when they are finally disillusioned. He might have read his Presidential Daily Briefings and taken a keener interest in the tasks that make up his job, with the patience, even interest, to hear and absorb the long versions. Most importantly, he would understand that the Constitution was carefully constructed to protect us from the tyranny of a monarchy, the kind of monarchy he is systematically trying to create for himself and the office of the Presidency.

Anna Monday


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