Sunday, July 03, 2005

I'm So Confused....

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m not some fancy Washington political operative. I’m just a simple country lawyer.

There’s a lot about politics I don’t understand. And I have to confess, a lot of the things coming out of the White House lately have only deepened my confusion.

Take, for example, President Bush’s speech this past Tuesday over at Fort Bragg.

First off, I thought the speech was going to be about Iraq. But Dubbya kept talking about 9/11, mentioning it no less than five times in the 28-minute speech. What’s puzzling about this is that President Bush said in September 2003 that “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11 [attacks].”

And I’m still trying to figure out why, in a speech that was supposed to be about our war on “terra” as Bush pronounces it, he quotes the man behind 9/11, Osama bin Laden. All this does for me is point out the most glaring failure of that war: the fact that that murdering scumbag is still running around loose. (Bin Laden, not Bush. Unlike some Republicans during the Clinton years, I would never refer to the president as a “scumbag” or accuse him of murder without good evidence. I may be a little rough around the edges, but I have some class.)

Speaking of 9/11, the attacks of that grim day seem to be on the administration’s mind a lot these days, which I suppose is a good thing. But recently, Presidential henchman Karl Rove said something that left me scratching my head. Rove rather nastily remarked that after 9/11, liberals “saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” Conservatives, “he said, “saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.”

Here’s what I don’t understand about this. Three days after the terrorist attacks, the Senate voted 98-0 and the House voted 420-1 for a resolution authorizing Bush to use force against those responsible. Teddy Kennedy voted for the resolutions. John Kerry voted for them. John Edwards voted for them. Every single Democrat in the Senate and all but one in the House voted for them.

No one in Congress called for therapy or indictments. So is Karl Rove, of all people, saying there are no liberals in the Senate and maybe only one in the House? That even Teddy Kennedy isn’t liberal? And why hasn’t this amazing reversal of position not been more widely reported?

Anyway, back to the puzzlers in Tuesday’s speech.

When President Bush was discussing whether or not we need to set a “timetable” for bringing the troops home, he had this to say Tuesday night: “Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out.”

But back in 1999, when the subject was Kosovo, Bush said this about timetables: “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.” So you can see why I’m a little bit confused. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 53 percent of Americans now think that going to war in Iraq was a mistake, and 51 percent wanted a timetable for withdrawal.

So Bush’s speech was supposed to rally Americans behind the war. Except that they tried sending Dubbya out to push Social Security reform. And the more Bush talked, the less support his plans got, until 64 percent of those responding to the Gallup Poll disapprove of the way the administration is handling Social Security.

The problem is that George Dubbya Bush in the most uninspiring and inept public speaker since — well, since his dad. He comes out with howlers like, “I enjoy taking on the issue [Social Security]. I guess, it’s the mother in me,” and “[Terrorists] never stop thinking of ways to hurt this country, and neither do we.” And this is the man you send to make the case?

It’s like these people don’t know what they’re doing. But that can’t be the case, can it? So I guess I’m confused.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage. Since he didn’t want therapy or indictments for Osama and his boys after 9/11, we guess he’s not a liberal either.

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