Bush is at it again!
George W Bush is gaining a reputation for being a "teflon" president. Nothing seems to stick to him, even when he is caught lying over and over again. A big part of the problem is that the media doesn't seem to follow up or publicize sufficiently any of his lies. The right wing talking heads with their charges of liberal bias have sufficiently scared the media to the point that it won't pursue any of these stories for fear of appearing that they are "again" attacking the President. The result of course is that they treat him with kid gloves. Compare this with President Clinton, and the 24/7 playing of his Monica Lewinski lie, and it becomes obvious.
Bush has been caught lying about an awful lot, but there are three times I wanted to talk about today.
The first is his lying about the wiretapping. The Bush Administration has been running wiretapping activities on American Citizens on American soil without judicial review, something that is illegal. Bush has claimed that it doesn't matter that it is illegal, it was necessary to protect Americans from terrorists, although they have NO evidence that it has helped in any way.
Bush lied about this when he brought up the subject himself at a town hall meeting. He brought it up because at the time he was supporting an extension of the Patriot Act, and he was trying to make the act more acceptable by assuring people that there were still protections under the law. He said :
"any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires-a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."
This of course was a bald faced lie, since the wiretapping program had been running for quite some time, and no court orders were being sought. Some may claim that he was lying because he wanted to protect the secret program so terrorists wouldn't know about it, but if that was true he simply wouldn't have brought it up in the first place. In reality he was lying about this issue because he wanted to fool the American people into supporting the Patriot Act extension by telling them there were constitutional checks in place... checks that he was currently overriding and breaking.
The result of him being caught lying? None. The Daily Show with John Stewart played the clip over and over, but there was no real mainstream media coverage. Bush gets the pass.
The second incident is actually one that has happened many times, and was just repeated a day or two a go. This is Bush's continued insistence that the reason we had to invade Iraq was because Saddam was defying the U.N. weapons inspectors and wouldn't let them in. This is patently false. The weapons inspectors WERE in Iraq, and they WERE inspecting sites. The Bush Administration asked them to leave when we were about to start bombing. At the time no-one was claiming that Saddam wasn't allowing inspectors in the country. They might have complained that he wasn't co-operating fully, but the truth is that he was. He told them he had no WMD, and he didn't. He provided documentation explaining what happened to all the WMD, and we rejected it as lies, although it was likely true. He was allowing inspectors into his sites, and we pulled them out.
Bush has repeated this lie many times, but he did so again at a press conference earlier this week. Why does he do this? Mostly because it is the only excuse he has left after he has had all his other ones debunked by the facts. The real reason is that he has to lie to protect his political legacy.
The result of this lie? Nothing. In fact the media will report him saying this lie over and over without ever calling attention to it. Bush gets a pass.
The final lie I wanted to talk about today was the bombshell that was dropped yesterday by Libby
. Libby is Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, and he is currently under indictment for leaking classified information (namely that Bush critic Joe Wilson's wife Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent). In the past Bush and Cheney have both denied any knowledge of the leak, and have even gone as far as to say that they want a full investigation. Bush himself said he would fire anyone who was involved. Well looks like he needs to fire himself and his Vice President.
Libby is claiming that Bush and Cheney were both involved, and that they instructed him to leak the information. This is a huge issue! Why? Because Bush cannot claim that he lied to protect a secret program. What he actually did was reveal an undercover officer. He cannot claim that he did it to protect Americans, because in reality it hurts Americans when our CIA agents can't be secure in their cover. The only reason to lie was to distance himself from a blatant political move designed to punish a critic... one who was discrediting another Bush Administration lie about uranium, Africa and Iraq. He lied to the American people about his involvement, and he lied to cover up other lies about Iraq that got us into the war there in the first place.
When does it end? Will he finally be held accountable? Well I am sure Bush will deny the accusations, and he has a point; Libby is under indictment and that is a common claim, "I only did it because I was told to by my superiors." As much as I would like to think that this will hit Bush hard, the truth is it will slip off his Teflon shoulders like everything else. He will not be held accountable. In fact his approval rating is so low that the only people left who are supporting him are those who will reject this accusation out of hand. The rest of us will have our fears confirmed, and he will continue along on his merry way, lying continually to the American people.
It is a disgrace.