Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Short History of the Bush Administration (Marc Cooper)

Marc Cooper constructs a useful brief outline of the Bush II experience from a series of discarded slogans:
"We will restore honor and integrity to the White House."
"Wanted: Dead or Alive."
"Mission Accomplished."
"Freedom is on the march."
"As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."
"We will stay the course."
This is a pretty ingenious approach to summing up the Bush Presidency (which, alas, still has two more years to run). With a little thought, further illuminating examples readily come to mind.

=> The first of these abandoned slogans, the Bush/Cheney pledge to "restore honor and integrity to the White House," takes us back to those far-away days of 2000. It may now seem hard to believe, but that really was a pervasive theme of Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign ... which, in reality, gave us one of the most systematically dishonest, secretive, irresponsible, pervasively incompetent, and constitutionally high-handed administrations in American history. (And remember "compassionate conservatism," "a uniter, not a divider," and all the rest?)

In 2004 a brilliant little parody in the The Onion recaptured this broken pledge with an imaginary Bush campaign statement full of direct quotations from his 2000 campaign. Read it and weep (or laugh, or both).
Addressing guests at a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser, George W. Bush pledged Monday that, if re-elected in November, he and running mate Dick Cheney will "restore honor and dignity to the White House."
"After years of false statements and empty promises, it’s time for big changes in Washington,” Bush said. “We need a president who will finally stand up and fight against the lies and corruption. It’s time to renew the faith the people once had in the White House. If elected, I pledge to usher in a new era of integrity inside the Oval Office."
Bush told the crowd that, if given the opportunity, he would work to reestablish the goodwill of the American people "from the very first hour of the very first day" of his second term.
"The people have spoken," Bush said. "They said they want change. They said it’s time to clean up Washington. They’re tired of politics as usual. They’re tired of the pursuit of self-interest that has gripped Washington. They want to see an end to partisan bickering and closed-door decision-making. If I’m elected, I’ll make sure that the American people can once again place their trust in the White House."
Bush said the soaring national debt and the lengthy war in Iraq have shaken Americans’ faith in the highest levels of government.
--Jeff Weintraub