Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bush, Cheney leave a government in ruin


By PAT MURPHY

Look at the collapse of the U.S. financial structure another way: It's the Bush-Cheney coup de grace, the final blow, to a federal government crippled in stages since they swore to "faithfully execute the office" (and) "to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Historians must decide whether destruction was calculated as part of Cheney's ominous scheme to expand powers of the Oval Office, or whether Bush and Cheney were utterly incompetent and hoodwinked voters twice about their managerial skills.

Both are true.

Bush and Cheney were born without virtues of selfless civic service. Power and wealth were tastes. Bush was a spoiled scion who walked away from his brief Air Force pilot career to become an alcoholic with a succession of ne'er-do-well business flings requiring bailouts. Cheney had "other priorities" when his country called and he dodged military service five times with draft deferments. His adult life has been politics, except for five years as CEO of Halliburton, whose multi-billion-dollar fortunes blossomed through political connections.

Rather managing government for good, Bush and Cheney misused and abused it, driven by unworkable, nostalgic theories and promises about deregulation's inspiring prosperity plus their personal obsession to reign rather than serve.

They've left government in ruin.

The Justice Department recruited greenhorn grads of rightwing religious law schools, whose credentials required fealty to the Christian faith and devotion to the GOP, and fired those unwilling to go along.

The Environmental Protection Agency became industry's best friend when the House ordered vigorous enforcement and promoted the myth that global warming is a hoax.

The Defense Department's military branches were deployed recklessly to the point of exhaustion for a political crusade that plundered U.S. financial resources.

The Food and Drug Administration withered when its budget was butchered to relax enforcement. Consumer sickness and death followed.

Tax laws were drastically altered to reward corporations' outsourcing jobs overseas with tax breaks. U.S. unemployment soared and so did jobless welfare.

When dereliction and outright lawlessness surfaced—such as the White House's hiding official business by using the Republican National Committee's e-mail system or illegal wiretaps—Justice officials turned a blind eye or the White House hid behind "executive privilege" while the Democrat-controlled Congress merely sputtered meaninglessly, not menacingly.

Then the meltdown, a bastard child of bipartisan complicity—Bush-Cheney regulators encouraging the debacle through lax policing and Democrats pushing for easy credit among high-risk borrowers.

A new poll published Tuesday finds a record 77 percent of Americans say the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

Really?




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