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Bush to the Nation, You’re All Cops Now

We’ve all been deputized. Like some bad imitation of Sheriff Taylor of Mayberry RFD, Bush walked to the podium last night and asked us all to do the jobs the FBI so thoroughly botched last fall. Oh yes, there was more, he also wants more status, power, and funding for the same ninnies who couldn’t shoot straight. Go figure.

Last night’s speech was nothing short of excruciating to watch. Bush’s advisors have obviously deduced that September 11 means one thing to them: ratings. And if that means pushing the president out before the primetime cameras with little or nothing new to say, then so be it.

In case you missed it, Bush elbowed his way onto national television last night to back track on his earlier opposition to making the homeland security department a cabinet-level agency. Now, it seems to Bush, it makes perfect sense to make the federal government that much bigger when it comes to law enforcement and security.

My favorite line of the speech came when Bush warned the American people to stay on our toes and take whatever threat we may see as serious and credible. It’s too bad, however, that this son-of-a-CIA-dad didn’t give that same speech to the FBI last summer. Why the hell was he lecturing us? It reminded me of the ridiculous comment he made last fall about watching out for any suspicious activity around crop dusters. How many people out there have ever even seen someone about to get into a crop duster? I haven’t, and I lived in Iowa where crop dusters are seen as godsends from heaven.

Obviously, the point of last night’s speech was purely political. Karl Rove and the Bush handlers needed something good to deflect attention away from what was a miserable month for the president. First, he had one embarrassing appearance after another in Europe where he was greeted with hecklers and fierce opposition to his warmongering. About the warmest reception he got in Europe came from the crouching Pope, and, given his current mental and physical state, I’m not even sure the Pope knew who he was sitting next to.

Next, Bush has been taking a beating for his fumbling of the intelligence data surrounding 9/11. If you think it’s a coincidence that Bush decided to have this speech just at the Congressional hearings on the intelligence mishaps were gaining publicity, well, pinch yourself and wake up soon. It’s called cutting the legs out from under a damaging story. The White House is certainly growing weary of the daily headlines pointing to an administration that seems as disorganized and undisciplined as – gasp – Clinton’s. Remember, Bush promised to be a CEO more than a president.

For a man who loved to rail against the size of government, Bush can’t seem to resist the urge to make it bigger and bigger. At least, that is, when it comes to the military, law enforcement, and intelligence (sic). Sooner or later, we’re all either going to be working for law enforcement or subjects of law enforcement.

The Republican mouthpieces out there keep cheering about how “the Democrats don’t have an issue” for the upcoming elections. That’s only because the Democrats have crawled so deeply into bed with the Republicans on so many of the issues surrounding this bogus “war on terrorism.” But any good oppositional candidate should have a field day putting forward issues that resonate with the 99% of the American public who aren’t millionaires.

Let’s see, there’s the issue of jobs, the environment, the unequal distribution of wealth, the criminal malfeasance on Wall Street, an educational system that fixates on testing before teaching, the dirty deeds of 9/11 (both from Al Qaeda and the Bush team’s FBI and EPA), energy policy, fair trade vs. free trade, the economy, and, yes, agricultural issues. Oh yes, there are issues all right. The problem is that there aren’t mainstream politicians willing to address these issues. Yet.

But, for now, we’re all stuck in the same game of political posturing, where the president can get away with lecturing the public about what we did wrong on 9/11 rather than explain what his multi-billion dollar agencies did wrong. Sure, George, we’ll all help out, but could you tell those clowns at the FBI to stay out of our way.

Michael Colby is the editor of Wild Matters . He can be reached at mcolby@wildmatters.org.

Today’s Other Features:

Tom Turnipseed
A Crisis of Confidence
in US Leadership

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