The Self Made Pundit
Friday, February 28, 2003
DOG BITES MAN; BUSH LIES: While I admit that it is debatable whether it is really newsworthy that Bush is again lying about his policies, Bush’s latest prevarication about the budget is noteworthy for its victim. Perhaps getting bored with lying about Democrats, Bush is expanding his horizons to include lying about his fellow Republicans.
As today’s Washington Post reports, Bush is now shifting to the Republican-controlled Congress the blame for failing to provide sufficient funds for domestic anti-terrorism programs.
Bush, accused by Democrats of shortchanging homeland security, is blaming the GOP-controlled Congress for underfunding programs to guard against terrorism. Mr. Bush told the National Governors Association this week that Congress “did not respond to the $3.5 billion we asked for – they not only reduced the budget that we asked for, they earmarked a lot of the money” for other unrelated programs.
Bush’s finger pointing at Congress was dishonest since the reduction in anti-terrorism funds was the result of negotiations between the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans. The article indicates that in these negotiations Bush never expressed any desire for more money for anti-terrorism programs.
While Congressional Republicans are engaging in some minor grumbling that Bush is now lying about them and not just about his policies and the Democrats, their basic response seems to be “Thank you sir, may I have another.” As the Post reports:
.... In his speech to the governors, Bush said he was “disappointed” that Congress did not provide the $3.5 billion he requested a year ago for counterterrorism programs.
A top GOP House official said the Bush administration was intimately involved in negotiating the details of the $397 billion omnibus spending bill the president signed into law earlier this month. White House officials and many budget experts said the measure provides $1.3 billion specifically to local governments to combat terrorism -- considerably less than the $3.5 billion that Bush said he wanted.
“If the president wanted the money, he should have asked for it. He never did,” said a senior House GOP leadership aide. “Bush will say what he needs to say, and we understand that.”
Now, consider for a moment that this is the best defense of Bush that a top Republican can come up with. The defense is not that Bush spoke the truth or that Bush misspoke, as is his wont. No., the defense is that “Bush will say what he needs to say.” In other words, Bush is lying only because he needs to.
Well, that’s a load off my mind. While I am not a political supporter of Bush, I had been worried about his mental health lately. As Paul Krugman noted a few days ago after Bush falsely claimed that a Blue Chip survey of economists had endorsed his economic plan, Bush’s recent “mendacity on economic matters .... has reached almost pathological levels.” I was getting concerned that Bush had lost his already tenuous grip on economic reality and was descending into madness.
What a relief it is to know that Bush is merely lying for political benefit and is not a raving lunatic. It is perhaps the only silver lining in the dark cloud of his certifiably insane economic policy of meeting the fiscal challenges posed by terrorist threats, a likely war with Iraq and a ballooning deficit with more tax cuts for the rich.