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Bush Must Go review

2004.09.23 — Government | Politics | Campaign 2004 | Books | by Derek Jensen

Bush Must Go

Bill Press has a message. [official site]

Bill Press has drifted in and out of politics and news for most of his career, bringing liberal-minded sensibility to MSNBC, CNN, and radio. Bush Must Go is a clearly-written, even-handed exploration of "the top ten reasons why George W Bush doesn't deserve a second term."

For my taste, Press doesn't back up his claims well enough with quotes and statistics. Maybe he's just trying to maintain the brisk pace, but he comes off sounding more like a campaign speech writer than a studied pundit. I like Al Franken's style, which has even more wit and whimsy, but still carefully documents its claims with facts, figures, and quotes. It's meaty. Press's Bush Must Go tastes light and airy, without a lot of substance.

That's not so say that Press's arguments don't have substance. I just mean that he doesn't deliver it to us. I found nothing in it that really surprised me, let alone made me question its truth. But without the cold, hard facts, I'd feel obligated to research every point before I would feel comfortable repeating them.

Don't expect to convince your conservative brother with any of Press's arguments.

In other words, Press's arguments are sound enough to convince me, but not supported well enough to help me in debates. So don't expect to convince your conservative brother-in-law with any of Press's arguments.

Let's go thru the ten points, this time with feeling (and evidentiary citations)....

Bush lied to get us into war

It's obvious in retrospect that Bush's reasons for getting America into war were weak and naive. Press suggests that the administration purposely lied, but I don't think that's the case. They were just so bull-headed that they ignored contrary evidence and looked only for evidence to support their claims that Saddam was an immediate danger related to terrorism. The reason they wanted to invade in the first place, of course, is that they wanted to create a friendly regime smack in the middle of the region and flush with Texas tea.

He has made us less safe from terrorism

Bush squandered the good will of the world after 9/11 and claimed to create a Coalition of the Willing (COW), which consists of a few thousand Brits and Aussies and couple dozen signatures. But Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or any other known terror incident. It is a distraction that has lost Osama bin Laden and allowed al Qaeda to continue to act. Bush's clumsy war in Iraq has created more terrorists than it has killed or brought to justice. The Bushies seem to think that there is a finite number of terrorists and that the supply can be exhausted with the help of bombs.

He put 3 million Americans out of work

Bush's economic policy is bad, but it's hard to draw clear lines between it and the loss of jobs. On the other hand, it obviously hasn't helped much. His tax cuts for the rich are worst. They allowed rich business owners to weather the storm of recession and retool without hiring new workers, the opposite of what Bush intended.

He spent money like a drunken sailor

Big tax cuts + big defense spending + a big fat Medicare valentine to Big Pharma = whopping deficits. Bush also wants to build a Star Wars missile defense system, revisit the moon, and send a man to Mars. He has no concept of fiscal responsibility.

He undermined our basic freedoms with the Patriot Act

The USA PATRIOT Act and related Justice Department legal maneuvers have seriously endangered personal freedom in America. Specifically, Bush is slowly making it a crime to protest on the street, even peacefully—even silently. The right to free political speech is the most basic right of all, but nowadays police and the Secret Service think nothing of arresting people who don't immediately comply with their commands or even arresting everyone in indiscriminate sweeps. Worse, if Bush thinks you're a terrorist, he'll imprison you for as long as he wants, without access to legal counsel and without ever bringing charges against you—even if you are a US citizen arrested and held on American soil.

He sold America out to his corporate cronies

Bush loves big business like nobody since Warren G Harding. He loves oil companies most of all, but if you're a mining, lumber, chemical, energy, or defense executive, you're probably on his Christmas card list. Again and again, the Bush administration let industry executive rewrite the regulations governing their industries. This has led to rollbacks of important environmental and trade legislation that have destroyed thirty years of progress in exchange for short-term profits by the top few dozen richest old white guys.

He ruined America's standing in the world

The Project for a New American Century, which most Bushies are members of, created a grand strategy that basically says America should rule the world and ignore what anyone else says. We did, and now we have many enemies and almost no friends. His is an arrogant, closed-minded, jingoistic policy that has failed in its first goal of bringing democracy to Iraq, and will fail in every other way as well. We cannot pretend that we can bully the world because we are the good guys. Good guys don't act like bullies. And the Iraqi prison scandal didn't help either; it was Bush policy that set that machine in motion, and everyone knows it.

He's the worst environmental president ever

He basically gave the environment to big business. He's letting private land owners do anything they want on their land (like, maybe, pollute the hell out of it) and rolling back environmental legislation from the Nixon era. That's right: Richard Nixon was a better friend to the environment than George W Bush.

He broke his promises to be a uniter

The Bushies use the most vile tactics to discredit their enemies, including push-polling, misleading advertising, and outright lies from the White House. Every time the administration is critiqued, the Bushies attack the critic as weak on terror and possibly an enemy of the state.

He never tells the truth

Bush and his people vehemently deny saying things they said on camera, like saying that Iraq was an imminent threat and wild claims about WMDs or how easy it would be to liberate Iraq. They fudge the economic numbers, lie to Congress about the cost of programs, and cover up horrible scandals they are responsible for. These are important lies, and deserve punishment, unlike lies about sex.

Bonus: He stole the 2000 election

From the lies about Al Gore being a liar to the astonishing gall of brother Jeb's purging of the voter rolls to remove legitimate black voters whose names were similar to convicted felons, Bush (helped by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court) snatched away the 2000 election from Al Gore and then jammed his policies down everyone's throat as if he'd won by a landslide.


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