Bush has done his share of waffling
President George W. Bush has crowed long and loud that John Kerry, at various times during his Senate career, has “flip-flopped” in his voting record. When you compare his record with that of President Bush, Bush’s comments sound like “the pot calling the kettle black.”In an October 2000 debate with Al Gore (in reference to Haiti and Kosovo), Bush stated “If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem. I’m going to prevent that.”In the 2000 election campaign he also preached that we should learn humility in dealing with other nations, then proceeded to tell the U.N. Security Council that the United States was going to invade Iraq, with or without their approval.In his 2000 campaign, Bush claimed to be a great uniter, and has gone on to be the most divisive president in the last 100 years. He also pinned the tired “tax-and-spend” label on the Donkey, and has proceeded to run up the biggest budget deficits in history.Although George W. Bush described himself as a “compassionate conservative,” he seems to have overlooked the “compassionate” part. When it comes to humanitarian programs for those in need, it is clear that his only interest in the needy is how they can be used to enhance his political image. Funding for these programs doesn’t match the rhetoric. A few examples follow.Under the Bush budget, funding for job-training programs, sorely needed in a weak economy, was cut $144 million, and funding for the AmeriCorps program, which he claimed to support, was cut $100 million. Funding for the Energy Assistance Program, intended to help low-income families and seniors stay warm in the face of escalating fuel costs, was cut $300 million. He is loud in his praise for the military, but has cut veterans benefits and has ignored the financial hardships of the families of reservists and National Guard members on active duty. Newly imposed regulations have made it more difficult for low-income working families to qualify for the earned income tax credit, which in the past has avoided their having to go on welfare.His favorite “No Child Left Behind” program has been underfunded by $8 billion. Funds have been cut for critical items such as Head Start, school lunches, child care, and after-school activities. Education funds to the states have been cut, forcing schools to eliminate programs like music and sports.He touts his efforts in the war on terrorism, but put it on the back burner to wage war on Iraq, which has expanded terrorism.Bush strongly opposed the formation of an agency for homeland security, but now tries to take credit for it. It, too, is seriously underfunded, dumping the burden on the states and cities. Similarly, he fought tooth and nail against a commission to investigate the 9-11 attacks, because he was afraid it might be critical of his administration. Now he thinks it’s great, and proudly proclaims he’s going to adopt measures the commission has recommended – steps he should have taken long ago to protect our ports and other potential terrorist targets.And just recently, when he realized it might be politically advantageous, Bush has acknowledged that there may indeed be something to global warming – after years of mouthing the energy industry’s line pooh-poohing it.Bush has jumped all over the map trying to justify his invading Iraq. First it was the fictional WMD and Saddam-al-Qaida linkage claims; then, when neither of them held water, it was to replace a brutal dictator; and finally he decided it was to convert the Arab world to democracy. But this probably doesn’t apply to Saudi Arabia, ruled by one of the most autocratic regimes in the Middle East, because of the close working relationship between the Bush and Saud families.All in all, Bush has made a fine art of flip-flopping and duplicity.Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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