Sep. 3, 2004
If you read a newspaper this fantastic Friday morning, be prepared to believe the impossible. The current occupant of the White House last night accepted the Republican Party’s nomination with a string of lies and nonsense that will be reported to you as if worthy of respectful consideration.
Unlikely to be noted will be the fact that while Bush babbled away about keeping America secure, he was unable to keep protesters out of his convention, where they disrupted his speech more than once when he addressed the topic of the war on Iraq.
Bush began by telling us that we’d seen a struggling economy rise to its feet. He neglected to mention that it was still bent over and preparing for a swift kick in the ass – which he wasted little time in promising to deliver, by means of “reduced regulation” and yet more tax cuts for the wealthy (making permanent the cuts that you’ll recall were intended – it was pretended — as an emergency solution to a problem that they predictably compounded). Bush also promised to “restrain” federal spending, although it is he who has expanded it – unless we play along with the pretense that war spending isn’t really spending.
Bush took credit for improving schools that have been in decline through his term in office. He took credit for helping seniors by “strengthening” Medicare, although he actually weakened it in a way that it still sounds like he wants to apply to Social Security. He claimed credit for creating jobs by cutting taxes despite the fact that this is the first administration since the Depression expected to complete its term with a net loss of jobs. Those lies were just his warm-up.
Bush blamed job loss on “frivolous lawsuits” and swore he would level the playing field with other countries, not by requiring that other countries protect the right to organize or guarantee workplace safety and a living wage, but by providing job training and funding for community colleges. Yep, that oughta do it. Oh, and Bush committed to simplifying the tax code as another way to supposedly create jobs, although the Economic Policy Institute had released a report earlier in the day on how the tax code has grown more complicated during the Bush years.
Bush promised to make the country less dependent on foreign sources of energy but proposed no way of doing so, much less any commitment to ending the practice of letting oil executives create the administration’s energy policies.
Health care is another problem that Bush promised to solve last night, not with the single-payer system that works so well in every other industrialized democracy in the world, but with a system of joining small firms together to create larger customers for private insurance companies. And individuals will get to pour their money into “health savings accounts” despite this plan to provide coverage, Bush promised.
“We will ensure that health care decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.,” Bush lied as he committed to keeping the controls in the hands of HMO bureaucrats all over the country. He also promised to enroll millions of qualified but unenrolled children in government health insurance programs, the reverse of his longstanding behavior.
Having just rammed through the largest pay cut in U.S. history by doing away with guaranteed overtime pay for millions of Americans, Bush promised more comp time and flex time, describing this scam as “family friendly.”
Although they’ll be making less money and even many making minimum wage will have no right to overtime pay, Bush plans to allow young workers to risk their money in personal retirement accounts, which he suggested are more reliable than Social Security – which is of course exactly as reliable as he chooses or does not choose to make it.
Bush didn’t just lie about himself last night, but went after Senator Kerry several times. He claimed that Kerry opposed something called “Medicare reform” although the Republicans have never produced anything worthy of the name. He claimed Kerry opposed fixing the marriage penalty and doubling the child tax credits, the two crumbs for the nonwealthy that Kerry and the Democrats fought for against Bush in a tax bill that still remained unworthy of support. He claimed Kerry was opposed to school “reform” and lawsuit “reform,” again making the mistake of trying to use the English language to label his twisted policies. Bush claimed most emphatically and falsely that Kerry is running on a platform of increased spending and increased taxes.
Bush also expressed his support for protecting marriage from couples eager to marry. That was his lead into attacking Kerry’s claim to be “the candidate of conservative values.” Of course we always have two candidates of conservative values in a presidential election, but Bush’s rejection of Kerry’s claim made no sense. He said that Kerry had praised Hollywood and had criticized Reagan. Yet who has ever praised Reagan without in effect praising Hollywood?
Mostly Bush blabbered about terrorism and Iraq and 9-11, managing as always to pair 9-11 and Iraq in the same breath. “We’re striking terrorists abroad so we don’t have to face them here at home,” he lied, adding that the U.S. is building liberty in the Middle East. Bush claimed that three-quarters of Al Qaeda’s top people had been “detained or killed,” even as Bush’s bunglings abroad are recruiting new terrorists by the hour.
Bush called the decision to bomb Iraq flat the toughest he’s had to make, despite the fact that he was pushing for an attack on Iraq within a day of reading “My Pet Goat” to the class in Florida where he found himself on Sep. 11, 2001.
Figuring he had no way of losing with the crowd he was given and the tamed corporate media spreading his gospel, Bush launched into a ridiculous claim that he respects and works well with allies abroad, in contrast to Kerry. That must explain the largest global protests in history, the crowd that scared Collin Powell away from visiting the Olympics, and the widespread animosity toward America in the foreign press.
“Freedom is their greatest fear,” Bush said of the “evil terrorists.” “And they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.”
This phrase managed to turn freedom into a weapon with which you attack someone. In reality, of course, marching in an army is the furthest thing from freedom. Only in Bush’s America could freedom be a threat.