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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 29 - November 4, 2003

Opinion Columns

Look who’s
badgering Bush

Commentary by Pat Murphy

So long as Bush critics could be flipped off as a cluster of wussy Democratic liberals more obsessed with politics than patriotism, the White House was free to engineer its ruinous policies.

Congressional Republicans, after all, are there to confirm as mere hired hands in the neocon drama to drastically alter foreign and domestic doctrines.

Oops! Something has happened. Republicans who’re far from being wimpy lefties are attacking the president’s policies.

Not the least of them is Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who gave grief to Bush in the 2000 election and periodically rubs Bush the wrong way by not following the GOP script.

McCain has landed several bruising blows on the White House. (Since Bush boasts he doesn’t read newspapers or watch TV, but relies on "objective" staff briefings for what’s happening in the world, the incurious president presumably just nods when aides tell him what should be done. Aides therefore are masterminds of controversial policies.)

In this week’s Newsweek, McCain accuses the White House of conducting the same sort of misinformation campaign about Iraq as was conducted during the Vietnam War. What’s happening on the ground in Iraq isn’t what the public is told, he charges.

McCain also has uttered the heretical—global warming is real. Horrors! Bush’s "objective" advisers (a) reject global warming studies and (b) believe industry has a laissez faire right to poison the atmosphere.

On Thursday, the Senate will debate a McCain bill (co-authored by Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman) that would limit industrial emissions. GOP defenders of pollution should provide quite a sideshow of rhetorical contortions.

Finally, McCain’s attack on the proposed overpriced Pentagon lease—rather than purchase—of 100 Boeing 767 refueling tankers as a ripoff is gaining attention. A major Washington Post investigative report on Sunday reveals names and tactics reaching all the way to the Oval Office in what a first year criminal prosecutor could see as a conspiracy to unnecessarily fleece taxpayers out of several billion dollars. Does anyone foolishly believe Attorney General John Ashcroft will investigate?

Even the indisputably conservative columnist David Brooks, senior editor of the neocon Weekly Standard magazine, thrashed Republican supporters of the lease deal.

"If this deal goes through, it will be a sign that all those fine young crusaders who campaign as fearless fighters against the ways of Washington are slowly but corrosively turning into the sort of creatures they despise," Brooks wrote Tuesday in the New York Times.

Bush’s tone-deaf, if not insolent, Defense chief, Donald Rumsfeld, added to the White House’s image of insulting manners. He angered the powerful Armed Services Committee chairman and indispensable Bush ally, Sen. John Warner, by rejecting his criticism of Lt. Gen. William Boykin’s evangelical speechifying about God vs. idol-worshipping Muslims. (Boykin’s "idol" information isn’t even correct: in mosques, Muslims have no figures to worship, unlike Christian churches with crucifixes and statues).

Sadly, these harsh rebukes of Bush & Co. are coming from Republicans. Democratic leaders for their part seem clueless.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.