Starting today, the White House propaganda machine goes into overdrive, working 24/7 to try and bury the many troubles of the Bush administration under a mountain of illusionary activity.
It starts with the nomination of ultra-right-wing judge Samuel Alito as a new justice for the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing the failed attempt to put Bush loyalist Harriet Miers on the bench.
On Tuesday, the President announces his program to battle the bird flu pandemic – a threat that may or may not be real but provides just the kind of fear factor that Bush likes to deploy when he’s in trouble.
It’s an old political ploy: When all else fails, scare people. Use fear to make them forget all the other tawdry things you’ve done and whip up a frenzy of passion over a threat that might not be as great as presented but makes good press anyway.
Bush, as we now know all too well, uses this tactic whenever he’s in trouble. He’s gone to the terrorism well so many times that most Americans yawn when his personal Gestapo, the Department of Homeland Security, raises the threat level over some piece of some questionable intelligence that usually turns out to be groundless.
A new Washington Post-ABC news poll out over the weekend shows confidence in Bush is lower than ever with a vast majority of Americans believing the President is dishonest and unethical.
Growing numbers of Republicans run and hide when Bush comes to their town. In Virginia, GOP gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, locked in a tight race, bagged an appearance with the President. Others have told the White House they will not campaign with Bush and do not want his support or endorsement.
And while White House spin masters try to sugar coat Friday’s indictment of now-former Vice President Chief of Staff Scooter Libby by saying the grand jury found no one broke the law by revealing covert CIA operative Valarie Plame Wilson’s name to reporters, Presidential political guru Karl Rove remains under investigation for exactly that amid mounting calls for his resignation.
When you cut through the hype, the propaganda, the spin and the talking points that spill out of the Republican National Committee offices like diarrhea, you’re left with a simple, sad fact: the man who promised in 2000 to give America “the most ethical administration in history” instead delivered another corrupt White House where lies rule, cover-ups abound and ethics become politically expendable.
George W. Bush’s White House is certainly no better than those that preceded it and is, in some ways, far worse. Watergate destroyed Richard Nixon’s presidency but he still opened up relations with China. Iran-Contra left a black eye on Ronald Reagan’s two terms but he still played a central role in ending the Cold War. Bill Clinton’s sexual appetite left more than a semen stain on an intern’s dress but he oversaw the longest period of economic health in recent history and came close to peace in the Mideast.
George W. Bush looked like a leader when he led the country in the months following 9/11 but that legacy may well be lost because of the lies he used to justify an invasion of Iraq and the unfettered use of the power of the White House to try and destroy those who dared speak out against him. His lies and duplicity have sent more than 2,000 Americans to their deaths in a war that did not need to be fought and one that we most likely will not win.
In the end, his promise of “the most ethical administration in history” was just another lie – part of a legacy of lies that will forever define his failed Presidency.