The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Bush is the Worst, Period

One of my students, after reading John Jose’s column, jokingly commented that I hadn’t been fired. I told her to stick around.

I have to admit, though, I laughed at Mr. Jose’s headline. I liked it even more than the time I wrote it.

Mr. Jose, however, wasn’t the only person upset by my last column. In a way, I judge the success of what I’ve written by the degree of incoherence of the people who criticize me. Some people seem to forget, amid their desire to be pedantic or their eagerness to hurl electronic epithets, that I write opinion columns – emphasis on opinion. I don’t even get paid for it. I guess that makes me an amateur.

Although opinion writers should follow certain guidelines, they are not required to be balanced – or even fair. Nor are they required to offer a solution to whatever problem they might be bitching about at the time.

As Mr. Jose said of himself in a recent column, “I certainly don’t have all the answers.” I don’t even pretend to. In my last column, I quoted heavily a CEO who had written a column arguing that if Bush were a CEO, he should be fired. I didn’t claim to come up with the idea. I simply repeated it.

Whether my analogy (actually Warren Hellman’s analogy) is apt or not for a freshman rhetoric paper is irrelevant. The point was, and still is, that Bush, the first president to have an MBA (from Harvard, no less) is neither a good president nor a good CEO. But if it will make anyone sleep better, I’ll explain how the analogy is, in fact, apt.

One of the principle tenets of conservatism (read: Republicanism) is that the private sector can do everything better than the government. During the last six years, George W. Bush, the Harvard-trained MBA whose only success in business was trading on inside information, has attempted to prove that assumption – and failed.

If you’re surprised, don’t be. Bush is, after all, the country’s first C-student president, whom the academic counselor at Phillips Academy told to apply to multiple colleges because he feared the academically incurious George wouldn’t get into Yale. He’s the man who was turned down by UT Law School and was later accepted to Harvard Business School thanks to a white elite version of affirmative action.

If small government is the hallmark of the conservative movement, Grover Norquist, the liberal-bodied libertarian who once said he wanted to shrink government so small that he could drown it in a bathtub, is its poster boy. Like Norquist, Bush & Co. not only want to shrink goverment, they also want to melt it down so they can extract all the gold.

Small government is one thing. Opening the government coffers to corporate pirates is another.

As soon as Bush was elected, he recruited an unprecedented number of private-sector gurus to revamp government programs. The first-ever MBA president was determined to apply corporate principles to governance. He even allowed industry lobbyists to write legislation for everything from energy policy to the Medicare prescription program.

The problem is that the only ones who have benefited from the hostile takeover of our government are the corporatists.

Remember the trucks loaded with ice driving around aimlessly around the country in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Governmental bureaucracy at its worst? No, corporate welfare at its worst. Bush’s new corporate model suggested it would be more efficient to contract out those services that FEMA had previously managed to do with relative success.

You may have seen in the news recently the horrific conditions that wounded Iraq soldiers have been forced to endure at Walter Reed Army Medical Center: rats, cockroaches, mold, falling ceilings, peeling walls. Signs of a broken governmental bureaucracy? No, the Bush Pentagon’s decision to privatize maintenance of the hospital.

One of the first things International American Products (IAP) did after taking over the contract was fire more than half of the government employees who were responsible for maintenance and upkeep at Walter Reed. Economics 101: The more people you fire, the lower your overhead, the more money you get to keep.

And who, exactly, is IAP? The same inept company that FEMA paid millions of dollars to drive ice everywhere in the country – except to the Gulf Coast where it was needed.

Even as the Pentagon was conducting an investigation into IPA’s fraudulent billing of its Katrina contract, Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon granted a $120 million contract to the company that couldn’t deliver ice to New Orleans to take over maintenance at Walter Reed.

Bush Economics 101: Why pay government workers to do what you can pay a corporation, who donated to your campaign, twice as much to do with half the results?

From corporate tax cuts to oil industry handouts to no-bid Halliburton contracts, the private sector has been raking in the cash hand-over-fist at the expense of American taxpayers.

In the meantime, Bush, who borrowed money to start every business venture he failed at, has run up the country’s credit card (issued by the First Bank of China) so high that the government can barely pay the interest on the debt, while cutting taxes for the top 2% of Americans and services to children, the disabled, the elderly, the working poor – and veterans.

As for the troops, whom the first corporate president has used as pawns in a dangerous game of chess to tap Iraq’s vast oil reserves, they’ve literally been left lying in urine-soaked beds, watching rats play tag on the floor around them.

So, CEO, president, whatever you want to call him, George Bush is the worst. Ever. As for my solution, since we can’t fire him, there’s always impeachment.

About the writer:

George Henson is a Spanish professor at SMU. He can be reached at [email protected].

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