The Self Made Pundit

I'm just the guy that can't stand cant. ___________

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Tuesday, September 02, 2003
BUSH’S TRIFECTA OF DECEPTION: In his Labor Day speech to highway construction workers in Ohio, President Bush was true to form in defending his disastrous economic policies.

Bush lied, evaded responsibility and distorted the scope of the problem. Lucky Bush, he hit the trifecta.

Bush sought to evade responsibility for having the worst presidential record on job creation since Hoover by trotting out what is fast becoming his favorite recurring lie about his economic policies. Once again, Bush pretended that the economy’s continuing to lose jobs despite the end of the recession is really positive news because it means that he courageously rejected the advice of his hordes of Machiavellian advisers that pleaded for him to push the economy into another depression so that the eventual recovery would be more impressive. As today’s New York Times reports:

Mr. Bush again promoted his tax cuts, telling the crowd that they prevented the economic downturn, which the administration says it inherited, from getting worse. “They tell me it was a shallow recession,” he said. “It was a shallow recession because of the tax relief. Some say, well, maybe the recession should have been deeper. That bothers me when people say that.”

Although this tale of Machiavellian advice is fast becoming Bush’s favorite lie in defense of his administration’s record of lob losses, Bush does have trouble keeping his story straight. As the Self Made Pundit discussed last month, Bush claimed at first that it was one evil adviser that urged Bush to push for higher unemployment:

"Someone said, well, maybe the recession should have been deeper in order for the rebound to be quicker."

Within a few days, however, this heartless adviser had morphed into a hypothetical consultant:

“Economic historians would say that the recession of 2001 was one of the more shallow recessions. Some would probably say, well, maybe you shouldn't have acted and let the recession go deeper, which would have made – may have made – for a more speedy recovery,” Bush told reporters after meeting with his Cabinet.

When reporters pressed White House Spokesman Scott McClellan to explain Bush’s evolving tale, McClellan seemed truly befuddled as to the identity or even the reality of Bush’s phantom of economic doom:

As to whether any particular individuals had actually urged Bush to deliberately let economic conditions worsen, McClellan said: “This goes back to conversations that people have said publicly and that – I don't know the specific person, though. I couldn't tell you.”

Proving that he is the living embodiment of Lincoln’s adage that no man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar, Bush now recalls multiple evil advisers, claiming that “people” said “maybe the recession should have been deeper.”

Bush’s lie about his phantom adviser or advisers is nothing more than a transparent attempt to evade responsibility for his administration’s disastrous record of being on track to be the first presidential administration since Hoover’s to see a decline in American jobs.

Bush also engaged in his usual distortion of the scope of the problems facing America. When the problem being addressed is a call to action – such as the supposedly imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war with Iraq – Bush maximizes the problem and exaggerates. When the problem is one Bush bears some responsibility for – such as America’s loss of jobs under his stewardship – Bush minimizes the problem.

Bush egregiously minimized his horrendous economic record when he announced that he was taking the decisive (dare I say BOLD?) step of hiring a new assistant secretary of commerce to do something or other about the loss of “thousands of manufacturing jobs” during his administration:

Mr. Bush said that in creating the post, he would address head-on the loss of what he said were "thousands of manufacturing jobs" in recent years.

Unfortunately, the approximate number of “thousands of manufacturing jobs” lost during the Bush administration is 2,500 thousand. As the Times reports, while Bush may only be aware of a loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs:

In fact, around 3 million jobs have been lost since Mr. Bush took office, about 2.5 million of them in manufacturing.

Given the scope of America’s losses in jobs – not to mention losses in such things as fiscal discipline and credibility – I doubt that hiring one assistant secretary of commerce is a sufficient response to the Bush administration's problem of losing things. I hope Bush has the BOLDNESS to expand his vision and propose a Department of Lost Things.

With a full-scale cabinet level department behind him, the Secretary of Lost Things could not only look for those millions of lost jobs, he could also search for the lost budget surplus and those missing weapons of mass destruction.

If Bush does adopt this proposal, I think I know the right man for the job. I recommend that Bush nominate as Secretary of Lost Things that phantom adviser who urged Bush to push the nation into another Great Depression. Given the phantom adviser’s shifting reality, he would be invaluable in tracking down any of those lost things that might have slipped into another dimension. Who knows, he might even find Bush’s honesty in one of those alternate dimensions and restore it to Bush.

Then again, Bush’s honesty is probably as real as that phantom adviser.