The Self Made Pundit
Friday, August 08, 2003
A BUCK NAKED BUSH GETS GORED: If this country has ever had an emperor with no clothes, it’s President Bush.
With much of the news media and too many timid Democrats barely whispering whether Bush’s pronouncements are dressed in any facts, it was an absolute delight to read Gore’s speech to MoveOn.org, the "online grassroots democracy group," yesterday in which he shouted that Bush is buck naked when it comes to honesty.
While I shudder to think of the type of people who may now hit this website after searching for “Bush+naked” (there goes the neighborhood), I consider the metaphor appropriate.
As I’ve discussed in my recent posts (pick almost any post from the past four weeks), when Bush discusses his policies, he either lies with impunity or he lies with the rest of his dishonest administration. Even a statement as blatantly untrue as Bush’s whopper that the United States went to war because Saddam Hussein would not let U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq barely gets noticed by the national news media. It seems as if only when the White House admits telling untruths – as it half-heartedly did with respect to Bush’s use of the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa – does the media feel it has permission to note how scantily clad Bush is.
In contrast, Gore forthrightly discussed the fundamental dishonesty of this administration in selling its policies to the American people. As the Washington Post reports today, Gore pulled no punches:
Former vice president Al Gore issued a broad indictment of President Bush yesterday, accusing the man who narrowly defeated him in 2000 of leading a “systematic effort” to mislead the American people about the war in Iraq, the state of the economy and the future of the global environment.
In a speech at New York University, Gore said Bush threatened to undermine the fundamental workings of American democracy by ignoring “the mandates of basic honesty” in the pursuit of a “totalistic ideology” that will benefit only his wealthy friends and supporters.
“The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred method for pursuing the truth,” Gore said, “and a shared respect for the rule of reason is the best way to establish the truth. The Bush administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole process, and I think it's partly because they feel as if they already know the truth and aren't very curious to learn about any facts that might contradict it. They and the members of groups that belong to their ideological coalition are true believers in each other's agenda.”
Gore stitched together his criticism of Bush on several issues with a common thread: That in each case, deeply flawed policies were based on “false impressions” that Bush deliberately fostered in public opinion to get what he wanted.
“Here is the pattern that I see,” Gore said. “The president's mishandling of and selective use of the best evidence available on the threat posed by Iraq is pretty much the same as the way he intentionally distorted the best available evidence on climate change, and rejected the best available evidence on the threat posed to America's economy by his tax and budget proposals.
“In each case,” he said, “the president seems to have been pursuing policies chosen in advance of the facts – policies designed to benefit friends and supporters – and has used tactics that deprived the American people of any opportunity to effectively subject his arguments to the kind of informed scrutiny that is essential in our system of checks and balances.”
Gore’s speech was excellent and sharply contrasts with the forays into fantasyland we regularly get from our unclothed emperor.
The United States can hardly be considered a robust democracy if deceitful arguments from our leaders drown out attempts to openly and honestly debate the most important issues facing the nation. This point needs to be made forcefully by all political leaders and commentators that care about the health of our democratic republic.
While I was glad to see Gore saying things that need to be said, I was also saddened to hear Gore reiterate his decision not to enter the 2004 race for president.
Back in December I wrote that the republic was a little poorer with Gore’s announcement that he would not run for president in 2004. After reading Gore’s speech yesterday, I have to admit that I was wrong. The nation is lot poorer without Gore in the race.
Let’s hope that Gore continues speaking out and that the Democrats running for president speak out just as forcefully and truthfully.