Mr. President, Why Do You Mock Us?

Reading the news this morning I have but one question for President Bush: “Why sir, do you mock me so?”
What do I mean? Well, President Bush has this weird habit of saying things I like that make good headlines. Just when I think perhaps I’ve misjudged, or at least underestimated Our Fearless Leader, I read the fine print and then I feel conned.
For example, Today the White House announced more of President Bush’s ongoing plans for outer space, today stating that America will build a new spacecraft to go to the moon, build a moonbase, and eventually send someone to Mars.
Now, on the surface this sounds really cool. Building a moon-base (albeit years past the Space: 1999 deadline), going to Mars, all that sounds great. But then I read the details – and I realize that this isn’t a manned mission to Mars – this is going to be a Corporate Mission to Mars, with Halliburton, Bechtel and the Gang who pay for the re-election effort in 2004 in charge. Judging by their performance rebuilding a small Third World country (Iraq) I can only imagine how much we’ll be paying for fuel, let alone a whole new spaceship and moonbase.
Plus there are endless questions about how this initiative will get funded, if at all, given the bloated debt a small war in Iraq has already cost us. If it is costing a trillion dollars or more to pay for Iraq, how much money will it cost to occupy the moon? And once the realities of paying for this bold, well written speech come to pass, how likely is it we’re going to actually go to the moon?
Reality sets in. President Bush has burned me again. A great headline, a great talking point, a debatable “issue” that will most likely disappear post-election 2004. If we actually get to the point of funding such an initiative, it’ll be scaled back to the point of ineffectiveness (similar to what President Nixon did in the early 1970s, giving us the half-assed Space Shuttle program in the first place). Corporations will get lots of money for “feasibility studies.” Nothing will happen.
Take another example: President Bush’s “bold” immigration proposal. It sounds great: finally addressing the swiss cheese that is immigration reality in this country, and dealing with the fact that most people who are here illegally are here to work at jobs provided by US employers. It seems to provide some sanity to the debate. And of course Mr. Rove has made sure that Latino voters read all about it.
Then the fine print: There really is no plan – just an outline with many loopholes and open ended pieces which if altered by Congress or the President can take what at first glance is a reasonable proposal, and distort it into something really nasty, or unworkable.
Of course, that’s not anyone’s concern today – we have Mr. Rove’s soundbites to “debate” as “issues” and once the election is over, we can toss these bite-sized factoids out the window, and President Bush can do whatever he feels like, free of any worry about the fallout.
Especially irritating is the ultimate mission of such an initiative – to “link up U.S. employers with willing foreign workers” – aka cheap workers – not the well-being of said individuals, or the well-being of states who have to contend with a large foreign population such as California or Texas. It’s more about making sure no one gets carted off to jail for hiring illegal immigrants and making sure wages are low for everyone (including U.S. Citizens), not about ensuring a workable situation for the people involved.
It’s almost a bait-and-switch, but the switch is so nebulous, and so hard to pin on the actual President himself, it’s easy for him to deny there was a switch in the first place – just “unforeseen new obstacles.” It’s a neat trick, something I would have never thought Bush was smart enough to pull off, but this more of Rove’s fingerprints than Bush or Bush the Elder’s.
The list goes on and on. Bush supports hydrogen fuels for future use by the US – great! We can finally tell the oil companies and the OPEC nations to go to hell and save what’s left of the environment with something cheap and clean. Then I read it’s to be derived from petroleum products, not sea water or other sources, thus defeating the purpose and advantage o such a plan. Fooled again.
The big one of course was that whole Iraq war thing we had sometime last year. The headline was great – save the world from WMDs and make the world safe for democracy at home and abroad. Sounds great – then you find out it’s more about securing oil reserves and spending money on donors to the Presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004.
Is it even physically possible for this President to propose a policy that’s altruistic, for the people, and not connected to a future benefit for Halliburton, et al? Hmm.
And people wonder why Howard Dean speaks so passionately about why we need to replace the president, and wonder how his supporters can be so irritated at the president…I only wonder why it is more Washington Democrats and “Democratic” political insiders don’t.
PS: Friday’s column will be posted late as I’ll be on the road to the California Democratic Party convention in San Jose. The kind folks at the CDP have given me a press pass so I plan on writing short updates throughout the weekend as I get access to the Web. If I get access to a digital camera, I’ll be posting pictures as well!
� 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

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