New message, same old Bush |

New message, same old Bush

Greg T. Spielberg
Special to the Daily
Vail, Colorado CO

Thirty percent is great for a batting average but tough for an approval rating. Five years ago, President Bush’s rating was hovering around 80, and now it’s dipped into the realm of disgraceful. Over the past half-decade, the president and his administration have proven how large the gap can be between good politics and good leadership. While Bush and company have redefined the political landscape and ways in which to obtain votes and support, a huge majority of the American population has decided the administration’s opinions and actions are unacceptable.

After pushing through hyperbolic far-wing support or criticism, the endgame is that Bush endures death by a thousand microcosms. His my-way-or-retirement attitude, as well as the insular, hard-headed mentality of the administration has worn out its independent Wild West packaging. His decisions, no long able to be covered by political spin, have turned out to be ineffective or detrimental.

To the administration’s credit, it had perfected ideological politics. Pre-election, it branded itself through “values,” a vague and malleable platform. While in the White House, Bushian politics dictated that legitimate media should be cast out and that colleagues were to follow, support, or move on. “Team politics,” they called it.

In the public race for votes, crafting a message and dictating conversation is rightfully towards the top of the list. And Karl Rove’s effectiveness should not be criticized within the context of what his team is trying to do. Unfortunately, there has been little connection between the prowess of Bushian politics and legitimate action. Outside politics, it’s called being a big talker.

Now, six years after George W. Bush took power, even the average, slow-to-critique American is sick of the vapid rhetoric the administration has provided. The divisive issues Bush employed to take to the front page ” abortion, gay non-rights, Iraq ” have crumbled into either non-action or poor action. Yes, establishing a democratic state in the Middle East is an honorable and positive initiative. However, ruling out the opinions of experienced generals and claiming “victory” 3,000 deaths before victory is in sight is (euphemistically) jayvee.

Compounding the problem was that the House and Senate both claimed Republican dominance, promoting a mutual-back-scratch mentality between Congress and the White House. So, it was beautiful ” beautiful ” to see a third of the State of the Union audience representing Democrats.

Now, six years after Bush took power, Republicans are getting their balls back and speaking out about what they think, rather than what’s most in their political interest.

Bush’s approval rating and the premature focus on 2008 candidates is more beautiful than a Democratic speaker. It shows the (albeit slow) responsiveness of the American people. It reveals that, eventually, a democratic society will identify bad government.

At the State of the Union address, President Bush called for an end to dependance on foreign oil. He asked that the country research and cultivate an alternative energy source ” one that is more environmentally friendly and less finite.

Great. Good. I like the initiative.

Unfortunately, the most identifiable M.O. of the president is that he doesn’t care about renewable energy or our country’s dependence on oil (whether it’s foreign or domestic doesn’t matter). He’s worked in the oil industry and is “from” oil country. His culture, as well as the contemporary Republican inclination, has been to support oil corporations to the detriment of the initiatives he proposed at the State of the Union address.

On Jan. 18, the House passed legislation that would rescind $14 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for oil drillers and reserve the money to develop alternative energy projects and conservation techniques, according to The New York Times.

The opposition? Oil companies and the Bush Administration. Ironically, amazingly, disgustingly, stupidly, the administration said the bill could lead to an increase in America’s dependence on foreign oil. Opposing Republicans claim the bill will create a “slush fund” for alternative energy projects.

“Slush fund” is a great pejorative that might have been accurate if alternative energy companies had the power oil companies do. And, if this AltEn initiative treats its funds like Bush has treated the federal budget, then yes, the money will become a slush fund. Fortunately, it has not yet been shown that this is the case, so the AltEn companies should go right ahead and try to save the energy world from the rapidly decreasing supplies on oil.

Remnants of the Bushian penchant for creative misleading messaging can still be found through Steve Pearce, the underwhelming representative from New Mexico.

“The San Francisco Democrats want to run the cars on the road with wind,” Pearce said.

This type of language has been right up the administration’s alley, and, thankfully, the effectiveness has run its course. San Francisco Democrats? Who might that be? And wind? Yes, I would love to see cars run on wind power. It’d make driving a lot cheaper on everyone, and the ridge above Lover’s Leap would become a great new resource.

Greg Spielberg is a Vail resident and the editor of Streetwater Gallery’s No. 2 Pencil. He can be reached at

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