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Bush’s all-talk, no-action has its price

John Hannon

Recently, the man known as “Dubya” came to Colorado to raise money for U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a staunch supporter of the entire Bush Administration agenda. He spoke to a crowd of rich folk at a $1,000-per-plate lunch, some of who paid another five grand to be photographed with the Prez. Talk about working the room.

His 20-minute stint behind the microphone netted $450,000 to add to the Musgrave re-election war chest, which was already at $1.2 million in mid-October. By contrast, her opponent, State Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, has raised a whopping $37,912. Talk about shooting mice with an elephant gun.

While I’m sure the, “stay the course” good ol’ boy did this out of the goodness of his heart for a deserving lady politician, I can’t help but wonder what all this has cost the taxpayer and why we should pay to subsidize a project, the purpose of which is to finance a particular candidate’s campaign. Talk about wasting taxpayers’ money.

I’m not sure of the exact figure, but I recall having read that the per-hour cost of commuting by Air Force One is in the neighborhood of $60,000. Talk about an expensive neighborhood!

No, Virginia, old “Dub” did not come in by Greyhound. And the airplane ride was just the beginning. The taxpayers get hit for all the salaries of the supporting cast, which, among others, included the Secret Service personnel, local police and other security, and the bus drivers that delivered the R.T.D. buses that were used to blockade streets around the hotel where the affair was held. Don’t forget the limos. “The president was remarkably upbeat,” Gov. Bill Owens, who rode in from D.I.A. with George, was quoted as saying. Way to go, Guv. Add Bill’s cost to the tab; I assume he was on the clock. Talk about ancillary expense!

Was this a one-timer? Not by a long shot. Previous outings were made to fundraisers for U.S. senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Jim Talent of Missouri. I’m sure there will be more in the future. According to Webster, a junket can be described as, “an excursion paid for at the taxpayers’ expense.” There have been other excursions, of course, not the least of which involve vacations and meetings in Crawford, Texas. Talk about being on the road.

Enough, “talk abouts.” We have a war going on in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, a goodly portion of the Gulf Coast is reeling from the worst natural disaster in our country’s history, environmental problems are overwhelming, our national debt is setting new records and there are too many other problems to count. And Dub is wasting taxpayers’ money going to fundraisers in Colorado, going on brush-cutting vacations in Texas and riding his bicycle.

Were I on the ground in Iraq serving our country, I would not be pleased with the way my commander-in-chief is spending his time. I’m on the ground here in Colorado and I think he should stay on the job.

What does stay on the job mean? When I had my own business, it meant working as many hours as necessary to accomplish the required objectives. When working for others it meant arranging my schedule according to my employer’s needs, being prompt, being productive and living up to the commitments I had made.

If Mr. Bush were to stay on the job, he would stay in Washington. That is his place of employment. It is the seat of government where all the offices, personnel and facilities are that he needs to discharge his duties as president. Attending fundraisers for political supporters is not part of the job, neither is riding his bicycle or clearing brush in Texas. Is he going to change? What do you think? Talk about staying the course!

I haven’t forgotten about you, Richard. See you in a future installment. VT

John Hannon is an Eagle resident and a regular columnist for The Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to editor@vailtrail.com


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