Is Bush To Blame?

How much bad news can be blamed on the Bush administration? Certainly you can't blame Bush&Co for Britney's marriage, or the cougar attacking the cyclist in Orange County. What can you blame on this administration?

What about the costs of raising the security alert level to orange over the holidays? Was it really necessary? Did we avert another potential airline disaster on par with those of 9/11? Who knows? This administration still won't tell us what it knows about those attacks. And they've classifed things they've already told us, because we weren't paying attention or already forgot. They didn't even tell the Democrat leaders that they were secretly keeping hundreds of workers in government silos for six months after the attacks, in case the apocalypse came.

What about mad cow disease? Can we blame that on Bush&Co? What about their official response? "I plan to serve beef for my Christmas dinner." (Listen up, people. The only reason why we haven't found more cases may be because we're not testing for it.)

What about the shortage of flu vaccine and the number of adolescent deaths caused by influenza this year?

What about former Secretary Treasury Paul O'Neill's comments about the Bush White House, likening George to "a blind man in a roomful of deaf people?" Is this just sour grapes on his part, or should we take him seriously?

What about the mounting casualties in Iraq? Most Americans probably don't realize how many have died since Bush declared the "mission accomplished." I'd like to see a Gallup do a poll on that. (Read on for the current answer.) Oh, and never mind the costs of Bush's staged photo op landing on the USS Lincoln or his lies about the banner and delaying the ship's return to port.

These men and women who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are our fellow citizens, boys and girls, who proudly joined the military to defend our country, who are being cynically put in harm's way by a President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense and National Security Adviser who consider them little more than physical assets in their misguided "preemptive" foreign policy.

That's why Bush hasn't attended a single soldier's funeral. That's why the press isn't given access to funerals or showing us images of the body bags.

Some people seem to think that Bush will be difficult, if not impossible, to beat in November. They say that the economy is picking up. (Tell that to the more than 3 million who are unemployed.) And although there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, they say that most Americans believe that Bush&Co are doing a swell job running the country. They say that his announcements on plans to put men on Mars and give temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants are sure to win him more votes.

They say that Bush will have too much money to not win against the Democratic nominee, especially if it's Howard Dean. They say that Howard Dean can't beat Bush because he's too liberal, too conservative, too short, too angry, too inconsistent, too much like George McGovern, too much like Michael Dukakis, from too small a state.

Call me naive, or just foolishly optimistic, but I think that American voters are smarter than that. They don't like what Bush has done, and they don't like being lied to.

Granted, not everyone knows the truth yet about the Bush presidency (or the Bush and Reagan presidencies for that matter), but they're finding out, and they're not pleased. Those who know the truth must proclaim it loudly and consistently. And when bad news happens, point to the man in charge.

(356 US service members have been killed in Iraq since May 2, 2003. Total coalition casualties are 591 and counting. Between 6,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed.)