Sunday, October 03, 2004

Georgie One-Note

By Rich Miles

October 3, 2004

Excuse me...could you folks up there in New York spare a few minutes for a perspective from the heartland? Thanks. I'll try to be brief.

Several years ago, a national columnist - I don't remember who it was, though I suspect I'll find out quickly if he or she reads this - said that, on the topic of George W. Bush's intelligence, the real issue was "not how dumb he is, but how dumb he thinks we are." When I read this, I found it a cogent observation, and filed it away in the "true" column of my belief structures.

Nothing I have seen anywhere in the intervening time has done anything to alter my first impression of this observation. Consider the following more or less undisputed facts:

The war in Iraq, touted as a way to make the world safer for Americans, has degenerated into a bloody, costly, mismanaged debacle, where even IRAQIS aren't safer. Yeah, cuts!!

More than 45 million Americans have no health insurance, and the ones who do have it are seeing their premiums and ancillary costs skyrocket. Yeah, but tax cuts!

The national economy, despite recent minor advances, remains stagnant in most sectors, except for the ones in which it has declined. Yeah....ummm....but, tax cuts.

Net job losses remain, despite administration claims that they're going away. But, but, cuts.

The administration tells us that there is no such thing as global warming, and so no need to protect the environment. Yeahbuttaxcuts...

Repeated analyses of the effects of tax cuts show that, just as Al Gore told us they would in 2000, the overwhelming preponderance of the four tax cuts since Mr. Bush took office have benefited the top 1-2% of income earners. Yeah, but...well, tax cuts!

Mr. Bush continues to tout his plan to semi-privatize Social Security, despite having dropped the issue since the 2000 campaign, and despite numerous expert analyses showing that such a plan would bankrupt the system in a relatively short time. Yeah. But. Tax cuts.

State income and sales taxes are being raised dramatically all across the country (Ohio is a case in point, but by no means unique) to cover the shortfall from reduced federal funding of existing programs. Yeah, but...well, you know.

And the federal budget continues to rack up massive record deficits that will take decades to pay off, largely due to irresponsible tax cuts. Yeah, but....oops.

This is how dumb Mr. Bush and his advisers and his spineless, pusillanimous cronies in Congress think we are. They seem to believe that no one would vote out a president who is cutting their taxes, no matter what other damage is being done to America and the world by that same administration and its flawed policies.

This is in fact the favorite campaign tactic of the Bush administration - distract us from what's really going on with something that will make us think they're really doing something to help the American people, and hope we don't notice the sleight-of-policy. And sadly, it seems to be working, as evidenced by the fact that polls tell us the race is still close.

Mr. Kerry's call to repeal tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 a year - people most of us consider to be rich - will, if he is elected, be fought tooth and nail by those same "rich" folks, who just coincidentally are often the people who are making major contributions to reelect Mr. Bush, and in far too many cases are the very people in Congress who will vote on such an initiative.

And the American people continue to suffer on oh, so many levels. But hey! There are tax cuts!

But don't get me wrong - I don't mean to suggest that Mr. Bush is a one-issue candidate. Lest we forget, God wants him to be president, and those who disagree are unpatriotic. That too, for reasons I need not detail here, is a campaign issue.

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