By Doug Newman
May 11, 2005
Posted at Bartleby's Blog.
What do you call someone who expands Bill Clinton’s last – and largest – budget by 33 percent in just a few years?
If you answered number 4, you win a gold star. (Sorry, but I have no cash prizes.)
Bush, a purported fiscal conservative, has requested a $2.57 trillion budget for the year 2006. This is $657 billion larger than the $1.9 trillion budget he inherited from Bill Clinton. Had Al Gore presided over such an expansion of the FEDGOV, the same folks that exalt Dubya would call it Stalinism.
I say this in the wake of an e-mail I recently received from a woman whom I shall refer to as PG. In all fairness, PG is no dittohead. She does not like Bush’s reckless spending, faith-based initiatives and many aspects of the drug war.
However, she had this to say about my web page:
“I don't like the absolute rabid hate of Bush. To me, that's excessive. It should be possible to criticize his policies dispassionately. It would make a better point.”
I have said a lot of nasty things about Dubya on my page since 2000, and I stand by every last one of them. I do not say them out of “hate”. I say them out of my duty as a citizen to hold my leaders accountable and as a Christian to be discerning.
Bush says he is a Christian. If so, his deeds need to be scrutinized in light of the Bible. As a Christian, I know that only God is capable of pronouncing final judgment on people. Therefore, while I cannot judge Dubya’s heart, I can evaluate his deeds.
Moreover, Bush has twice sworn an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He concludes this oath saying “so help me God.” Well, then, let us scrutinize his deeds in light of his job description, i.e. the Constitution.
The same folks who exalt Dubya condemn Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry. In many circles one does not even speak any of these names without derision and seething contempt. Indeed, I wish John Kerry had won last November. While I think he is a complete nudenik, he would have been held to far stricter accountability by those folks who claim to favor limited government. I have heard it said that while Clinton, Gore and Kerry are wolves, Bush is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
(I will say one thing and one thing only on Kerry's behalf: he spent four and a half months in harm's way in Vietnam.)
During the Clinton years, conservatives were fond of reminding us to “Love your country, but fear your government.” Under Dubya this attitude has become one of “Country and government are one, and don’t you dare criticize your government.” I would much rather live under the former scenario any time.
The same people who were death on Bill Clinton now tell us that it is absolutely crucial to stand behind Dubya. (In many circles, the name Dubya is insufficiently reverent. One must speak President Bush’s name with an appropriate tone of veneration and awe.) That Bush even got his party's nomination was the political equivalent of an intentional walk. Since then, Bush has received more such free passes than Barry Bonds could ever possibly imagine.
The folks who always tell me to “give Bush a chance” wanted to impeach, convict and crucify Clinton before he even took office. “Absolute rabid hate”, anyone? I never obsessed too much about Clinton. He was a bad guy and a bad president. However, he represented the tip of the iceberg as far as what ails this country. Moreover, the indignation he inspired was refreshing. Americans should always be so vigilant against corruption and abuse of power.
Bush’s followers tell you he is pro-life. However, the “ban” on partial-birth abortion he signed only protects the baby for about ten seconds out of a nine-month pregnancy. Moreover, it states that “Roe v. Wade [410 U.S. 113 (1973)] was appropriate and secures an important constitutional right; and such decision should not be overturned.” Indeed, Dubya has signed off on over $1 billion in taxpayer funding for abortions both domestically and abroad.
Bush’s followers tell you he opposes the gay agenda. Yet he openly supports “civil unions” for homosexuals and, in the words of one observer, "has appointed open homosexuals to high government positions at a rate that makes Bill Clinton look like a homophobe!” (If you think I am unduly harsh on Dubya, read this entire essay. It makes me look like a lightweight.)
Bush groupies tell you to support him because of his power to appointment judges. I mean, we could have had Gore and/or Kerry appointing judges. Well, for 22 of the 24 years since Ronald Reagan took office we have had Republican presidents and/or Republican Senate majorities. And we still have a rogue judiciary.
Consider Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, whom Bush nominated to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor led the charge to oust the courageous Judge Roy Moore. Moore gained national attention in 2003 for defying the arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional order of a federal judge to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama state judicial building.
Republicans want to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster against Dubya's judicial nominees. If they deny Democrats this option, they too will lose it. And why did they not exercise this option between 1995 and 2000, when they had a Senate majority and Clinton sat in the Oval Office?
In late April 2003, Dubya landed the USS Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. Since then, over 1000 American troops have died and thousands more have been wounded. We never found any weapons of mass destruction. There were no 9-11 connections. The sham elections of January 30 put in place an Islamic dictatorship. And over 100,000 American troops – including PG’s son – are still in Iraq until God knows when.
Notwithstanding all of this, Sean Hannity has praised Dubya as a “great wartime president.” Had Al Gore been our commander in chief, Hannity would no doubt ridicule him as the most incompetent knuckle dragger ever to stink up the Oval Office.
Do you remember the Republicans’ righteous outrage when Bill Clinton lied under oath about hoeing with an intern? Can you imagine their indignation had a president Al Gore lied like a rug in order to get us into this Iraq War?
I could probably write a book about the double standard that so many people apply to Dubya. The examples of this blind loyalty are endless.
The Bible tells me to pray for those in authority. (I Timothy 2:1-2) To be sure, I come up short in this category. However, the Bible never tells me to be blindly loyal to those in authority. When, during the 2000 campaign, Bush said he was a Christian, millions of Christians spontaneously disengaged their brains.
(What is their point? In early 2000, Jane Fonda said she was a Christian. Is this reason enough to nominate her to run against Hillary in 2008?)
It’s simple: Christians have been lied to.
And lied to and lied to and lied to.
Indeed, if I sat here for the next three hours typing “lied to”, it would not be enough.
The Bible also tells me to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing and that I can recognize people by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20) That, above all else, is my plea. If it comes across to anyone as “absolute rabid hate”, so be it. I am just asking that before deifying Dubya, be discerning. Inspect the fruit on the tree. Or, if you will, on the Bush.
I have said it a thousand times before and I will say it again: BUSH IS NOT HITLER.
However, I have observed four trends during his presidency that ought to make you squirm.
The first trend is the boundless belief among Republicans in the ability of government to solve problems. When military fighter planes flew over Bill Clinton’s inaugural ceremony in 1993, a Clinton supporter commented that “They’re our planes now.” Some Bush groupie should proclaim publicly that “They’re our programs now.” Every program – Social Security, government education, Medicare – that Republicans once said they hated is more gargantuan than ever. With conservatives like this, who needs liberals? When will the growth of the federal government stop? At some point, it must.
The second trend is the willingness of Americans to seek security in our government. Millions gladly accept sneak and peek warrants, national ID cards, the grope and grab routine at airports, etc. because it makes them feel secure. (Remember what Rush Limbaugh says about liberals feeling and conservatives thinking?) They have no problem giving up a few freedoms here and there in the name of security. This was a very common belief in Germany in 1934.
The third trend is the widespread Christian admiration of Dubya. Hitler's accumulation of power was aided and abetted by the adoration of German Christians. In 2005, American Christians are largely silent while our government rages out of control domestically and wages war without end internationally.
The fourth trend is the power of the lie. Hitler and Goebbels knew that if you lied to people enough, they would believe anything. Dubya and his spin machine drone on ad infinitum about how free Dubya has made us, how secure he has made us, how he has restored pride, virtue and all kinds of other yummy, wholesome things to America and how it is now time to do a world freedom and democracy tour.
If you dare criticize him, you are a liberal, a communist, a friend of terrorists and a hater of God. This is as mindless as those who tattoo you as racist, sexist and homophobic for opposing their agendas.
Jefferson spoke of government as at best a necessary evil and at worst an intolerable one. America is moving rapidly toward a time when government becomes an intolerable evil. Millions of Americans speak, as the Indians once said, with forked tongues. One prong of their tongue says they believe in freedom while the other will accept all manner of oppression as long as it is implemented by their Great, Grand, Wonderful, Awesome, Exalted, Phantasmagorical, Christian President.
This latter prong is winning, aided and abetted by the Bush spin machine. It only hastens the onset of a totally intolerable state of affairs. It is my duty to oppose it now, while I can do so legally, rather than later, when doing so will mean a box car ride to some death camp. It is the duty of all who believe in freedom to do likewise. Silence in the face of evil is a sin.
If you would like to post this, please email me and include this URL.
Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman