by Rich Miles
George W. Bush did it to us again last night in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. He ran the same old tired stuff on us that he used in 2000, used the same old distortions of Kerry’s record and words that have been used over and over in this campaign despite numerous proofs that they were either taken out of context or outright lies. He ran that same old “you’re either with us or agin’ us” patriotism routine, and while accusing his opponent of proposing $2 trillion dollars of new spending (in what time frame? For what purpose? Who calculated that number?), he proposed numerous new spending initiatives (many of them NOT new, only recycled from the last campaign) with no mention of the cost, or where the money would come from, or even the indisputable fact that we are already hundreds of billions in debt from his policies.
And the faithful cheered in the right places, and booed in the right places (booed? Why are these people so mean-spirited?), and none of them even had the sense of history to recognize that we’ve heard this speech before.
As I listened to the soon-to-be-famous Last Six Paragraphs, I found myself thinking, “You know, this guy might almost be a human being”. If one could take Bush at face value, take him at his word, believe that what he says he’s done, and what he says he’ll do in a second term were true, I would at least be undecided, and I might even, God forbid, vote for him. But alas, it became clear that he merely has better speechwriters, and may also have taken some elocution lessons since the campaign began.
But his speech last night was the usual Bush tactic in full bloom – tell them all the wonderful things you’ll do for them, then simply – don’t do it. Don’t SAY you’re not going to do it, just very quietly don’t do it, or even more quietly, do the exact opposite of what you say. He’s used it throughout his term, and he used it again last night. As a very small for-instance, have you heard anything further about government backing of the hydrogen fuel cell research Bush promised to back in his ’02 State of the Union speech? Do you really believe a man so closely allied with the petroleum industry is seriously going to back research that, if successful, could some day make the use of fossil fuels obsolete? Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny?
If you’re still undecided about whether to vote for Bush, ask yourself this question (it requires research, so if you want an easy answer, this isn’t it): In nearly four years in office, can you name one initiative of the Bush administration – just ONE – that unquestionably benefits the American people without also benefiting, often to an obscene degree, someone close to the administration? Halliburton comes most quickly to mind, but there are others, and lots of them. If you can find even one such act, and can offer indisputable evidence that there is no such connection in it to Bush supporters, contributors, former or current business partners, etc., etc., I will applaud you. I tried it, and after hours of research over several months in, among other places, some of the most arcane government records one may access online, I wasn’t able to find even one.
Last night’s speech, at least near the end, was stirring – if it could be taken as the truth. But when four years of experience of the Bush administration has shown us that he will promise anything to get elected then simply forget about making good on the promise, that he would seem almost to prefer lies to the truth, and that he will use the scoundrel’s tool of loud patriotism shamelessly to demonize his opponent, if America puts George W. Bush back in the White House in November, then truly we deserve what we’re going to get. Remember “fool me once…”?