The Self Made Pundit
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
THE FAITH BASED PRESIDENCY: President Bush is on a faith-based roll.
Having successfully used his faith-based approach to lead America into war, Bush is now directing his awesome power of wishful thinking toward the economy.
Bush undoubtedly realizes (or at least has been told by Karl Rove) that he cannot ignore America’s lackluster economy without jeopardizing his hopes to actually be elected to the presidency in 2004. Unfortunately for America, the Bush administration’s idea of doing something about its dismal record on the economy is sending out a squad of cheerleading secretaries to tell states Bush narrowly lost in the 2000 presidential election that prosperity is just around the corner. As the Associated Press reports today:
An administration bus tour aimed at selling the benefits of President Bush 's latest tax cuts turned into a listening tour as Cabinet members heard heartfelt expressions of concern about the massive loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Treasury Secretary John Snow, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao declared that Bush is committed to doing everything he can to get the economy humming again, but they also said increased job anxiety is probably here to stay because of the competitive nature of the global economy.
The bus trip was scheduled to conclude with three Minnesota stops on Wednesday – a session on job training at the famed Mayo Clinic, a session with investors in St. Paul and a concluding discussion at the headquarters of retailing giant Best Buy in a suburb of Minneapolis.
Each stop in the tour, which began Tuesday in neighboring Wisconsin, was designed to highlight different aspects of the recently enacted $330 billion tax cut package, which features lower tax rates, expanded child tax credits and sharp cuts in the taxation of capital gains and stock dividends.
Democrats and other critics contended the whole tour is a prolonged photo opportunity for the administration to mask a dismal record on the economy that includes 3 million jobs lost since Bush became president and record budget deficits.
A small band of demonstrators staged a counter-bus tour that shadowed the administration tour, complete with protesters holding signs that read, “Read Bush's Lips ... No New Jobs.”
It sounds like those critics and demonstrators don’t have the right attitude. How can Bush’s faith-based approach work its magic if people refuse to believe in Bush’s “reality”?
One of the defining characteristics of Bush’s presidency is his approach that if you believe in something strongly enough it becomes reality. This is the faith-based presidency.
You can find Bush taking this faith-based approach in practically every major decision of his administration.
The prime example, of course, is Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq. Bush wanted to believe that war was justified because Iraq was an imminent threat and had ties to Al Qaeda and so he did, ignoring reports that there was no substantial evidence supporting either justification.
The effects of this faith-based approach to foreign policy was recently described by a nuclear proliferation expert who worked for the Bush administration. As The New York Times reported in a July 12 article about Bush’s use of the discredited African uranium report in his State of the Union address:
Greg Thielmann, a proliferation expert who worked for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, added this week: “This administration has had a faith-based intelligence attitude: ‘We know the answers, give us the intelligence to support those answers.’ When you sense this kind of attitude, you quash the spirit of intellectual inquiry and integrity.”
Bush is using the same faith-based approach to the economy. Bush has wanted to drastically cut taxes – primarily for the wealthy – since the 2000 presidential campaign. At that time, Bush pushed for such tax cuts as the right thing to do since America had a strong economy and a sizable budget surplus. Even though the economy has done a 180 degree turn under Bush and the deficit is now exploding to record levels, Bush is still prescribing the same medicine of tax cuts for the wealthy.
While Bush and his crew now claim that tax cuts focused on the super rich will help the economy to recover, they are once again asserting something because they want it to be true, not because there is evidence to support it. If Bush really wanted to stimulate the economy, he would have proposed tax cuts for people who would spend the money this year, not tax cuts that have virtually no stimulative effect because they lower rates for the wealthy in future years.
Since Bush’s presidency is based on faith, it makes perfect sense that he is addressing America’s economic woes by sending out his squad of cheerleading secretaries. If the cheerleaders can convince voters to have faith in Bush’s economic stewardship – despite his disastrous economic record – Bush will have succeeded in turning his wishes into reality.