The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.

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August 18-20, 2001

The NASCAR president? — Rocky Mountain News
George W. Bush’s motorcade sped through the streets of Estes Park, Colo. so quickly that bystanders and protesters weren’t sure the president was even in there amidst all the motorcycle cops and SUVs. “Even Bush’s GOP supporters were astonished at the speed he moved through town,” according to the Rocky Mountain News. “Men in dark uniforms permitted glimpses of guns from the few open windows. [But] what about seeing the president? Was he really in the helicopter, with a stunt double sitting on the passenger side in one of the white SUVs? Or was the presidential profile silhouetted for an instant in one of the dark vehicles?”

US may dump another international treaty — Inter Press Service
First it was the Kyoto Protocol, then the biological weapons treaty and the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Now the US government is reportedly backing away from an amendment to the 1989 Basel Convention, a global treaty regulating the internation shipment of toxic waste. A State Department spokesman has said the US is considering rejecting a 1995 amendment to the convention that forbids rich countries from dumping toxic industrial and other waste in poor countries.

August 17, 2001

Jesus and Dubya walk into a bar… — Boston Globe
If Jesus Christ and George W. Bush “did lunch,” op-ed writer Allen Callahan suspects, Jesus would read Bush the riot act. Callahan cites the Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus’ meal with a Pharisee: Jesus loses his temper and attacks the Pharisee for his treatment of the poor. “So we know what Jesus would do sitting at the table of the decision-makers in Washington. He would tell the truth about how their fiscal conservatism and corporate welfare have further enriched the wealthy and impoverished the wretched…. He would note how the power-brokers are now trying to persuade faith-based organizations to become branch offices of a kingdom that offers less and less, too little, too late.”

IMF: Tax cut twice as expensive as advertised — Financial Times
The International Monetary Fund has released its annual review of the US economy, and it finds that George W. Bush’s tax cut will actually cost the country $2.5 trillion — nearly double the $1.35 trillion figure that dominated headlines earlier this year. The IMF encourages the White House and Congress to revise the tax plan to reflect the now-vanished budget surplus.

August 16, 2001

The invisible president — The Hill
George W. Bush may be the least-seen president since the dawn of the television age. Students of politics and media suspect it’s a winning strategy, since Bush’s public appearances in the past haven’t exactly improved his image. One observer tells The Hill: “His is a below-the-fold presidency. That’s fine for him. Bush is perfectly happy losing the battle of the buzz.” Staying off the media radar has other advantages, too. “In politics, as in the entertainment industry, the more you’re seen, the more people grow tired of you, the weaker you are,” according to GOP strategist and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed.

GOP babe brigade — The New Republic
The Republican Party is trying to put its comeliest face forward in an effort to get out the women’s vote. The effort, dubbed “Winning Women,” is being spearheaded by Liz Cheney, Dick’s daughter (no, not that one). If this is what the GOP thinks women want, says TNR’s Michelle Cottle, the party must also believe that half the population is more concerned with Condoleezza Rice’s grooming habits than, say, tax policy.

Political tissue — Associated Press
A man was arrested yesterday in Colorado for urging fellow onlookers to throw toilet paper bearing the likenesses of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, and Colin Powell at the presidential motorcade as it passed through a Colorado neighborhood. The man was fined $150 and forced to stay in a local jail until the Bush procession had left the area.

August 15, 2001

Crawford: heartland or wasteland? — Christian Science Monitor
Why does the alleged leader of the free world choose to spend a month in a tiny town on a drought-stricken prairie where haircuts go for $5 apiece, no alcohol is sold, temperatures soar into the triple digits daily, and the closest thing to a corner cafe is the local gas station? Well, there’s lots to love in Crawford, Texas — even if the rural charm is mostly lost on the national media types who are camped out there for the next four weeks.

The president of greed–
Corporate greed is back in fashion, as it was during the 1980s stock-market bacchanal celebrated in the film “Wall Street.” George W. Bush has not only legitimized the resurgence of selfishness, he has become its chief benefactor and cheerleader, writes Steven C. Day: His tax plan amounts to little more than welfare for the rich, and his policy decisions have clearly been structured to provide windfalls for his friends’ companies. No wonder, says Day. “Corporate America bet the farm on Bush. … So far at least, it’s looking like they made one hell of a good investment.”

Bush decided on stem cells months ago — Newsweek/PR Newswire
It may have looked as if George W. Bush had agonized over his decision to allow limited stem-cell research with federal funds — but appearances can be deceiving. It turns out that well before George W. Bush entertained the Pope’s opinion on the issue, the president had already made up his mind on the subject. The delay between decision and announcement was crucial, Newsweek reports, because it gave aides time to prepare a spin strategy while also suggesting to the religious right that Bush was seriously considering their moral and religious objections.

August 14, 2001

Vice-presidential backups — US News & World Report
Rumors are whizzing around D.C. about who would replace Dick Cheney as vice president should he, uh, retire. Conventional wisdom has Secretary of State Colin Powell as a lead contender, but two “dark horses” are also in the running: Former Indianapolis mayor (and one-time Bush domestic policy adviser) Stephen Goldsmith, and Bush’s chief of staff, Andy Card. According to US News & World Report’s “Washington Whispers,” Card would be named only if he agreed not to run for president in 2008.

Dubya ‘soured’ on Daschle — Chicago Sun-Times
Publicly professing one’s admiration for political opponents is the rule in Washington, even in the midst of serious, public disagreements over policy. But it seems President Bush just can’t pretend he likes Senate majority Leader Tom Daschle any longer. “He has taken a real dislike to the soft-spoken South Dakotan,” writes Robert Novak, “an attitude that was capped when Daschle attacked Bush’s foreign policy just before the president left for Europe.”

Anti-union candidate for labor post — In These Times
President Bush is considering nominating J. Robert Brame, a favorite of the religious right and a staunch opponent of unions, to head the National Labor Relations Board. According to Hans Johnson of In These Times, “No mere management ally, Brame is a standard-bearer for the religious right whose ties to the obscure Christian reconstructionist movement reveal an ardent foe of regulations protecting worker safety and labor unions’ place in society.”


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