Thursday, April 28, 2005

Conciliatory Bush?

In a rare press conference April 28, 2005, King George II gave a short (10-minute) speech about overhauling Social Security and passing energy policy legislation, then opened the forum to questions from reporters. The only time he allowed the press to ruffle his feathers was when one Fourth Estatist asked whether use of a means test to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits would mean that Cheney would be eliminated; a somewhat testy Shrub snapped, "Hey, let's not get personal here, we're on network TV." Bush seemed in a somewhat conciliatory mood. For one thing, he didn't think that refusing to support a rules change to do away with the filibuster in imbroglios over judicial consent marked the refusenick as anti-Christian, a position bound to cost him support among the religious right.

On the other hand, he surprised the pundits when he announced, in questions concerning radical reform of Social Security, that privitization was anything but off the table. Those of us who assumed that provision for private accounts was nothing more than a conservative trial balloon, and since the barnstorming Prez had encountered such heavy opposition to the idea in all his travels across the land, meant certain death to the notion were surprised to say the least. The nod to means testing was even more unlike anything we could have expected since that proverbial one percent at the top holding something like 90 percent of the wealth would be the first to see their benefits forfeited for the public good.

But, as usual with George II dealings with the media, the most important ideas concocted by the administration were never addressed. It is no secret that the G.O.P. in general, and the far right wing conservative element in particular, has long dreamed of dismantling every last vestige of New Deal liberalism so that entitlements become a thing of the past, and money and land are tied up in the hands of a select few in perpetuity. Enter right wing fundamentalist Christians and such constitutional guarantees as separation of church and state and the separation of powers doctrine become imperiled as well.

It is also no secret that these same forces have on their agenda abolition of the United Nations. Although George II professed admiration for the organization during the press conference, he showed total disregard for it during the period before the invasion of Iraq, when he took the position that the U.S. should act unilaterally when its interests were at stake -- despite the fact that Saddam posed less a problem for us than either Iran or North Korea; despite the fact that the U.N. had ongoing monitoring for WMD; despite the fact that no American blood would have been spilled had a diplomatic solution been found. Shrub is no friend of the U.N. If he were, he would not have put up the current nominee for ambassador, an ideologue and toady with a volcanic temper and penchant for belittling underlings.

When history writes its accounts of the administration of Shrub, it will note that his administration was characterized by secrecy, obfuscation, and outright lying to advance its Neo-Con agenda. Doing away with Social Security and the U.N. are at the top of the list.

(This blog was about three times as long as this, but it's my first effort and, somehow, I managed to delete a good portion of it.)

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