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Twelve months of Dubya


 Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and

A little over a year ago, this January 2002, George Walker Bush, was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States of America. He came to office after a long drawn post-election battle which was finally settled by a controversial and unprecedented ruling by the United States Supreme court. The ruling was applauded by some Americans but in my view it stunned most Americans, and indeed, the whole world.

There have been reviews of the first year of this Administration by pundits from different ends of political ideology. The government and its spokesmen too, have showcased their achievements in the past one year. We may want to go beyond what has been fed us and take a cursory glance at the one year of the second Bush in the White House.

After Bush was given keys to the White House, as some claim, by his father's friends on the Supreme Court, he quickly surrounded himself with more of his father's buddies. The anthem in Washington was: The adults are back!

The truth is that these were not men and women in George Stephanopoulos, Paul Begala and Dee Dee Myers' league. The adults were back with their old attitudes. However, their age showed early on as the new administration stumbled through its few months. They secretly covered it by fueling the residue of the Clinton scandals to deflect attention from their lack of preparedness at the time.

First, came the allegation that Clinton White House staffers had vandalized and stolen some things and generally caused mischief. Secondly, stories were planted in the media that the departing President had looted the White House. And the clincher was the Marc Rich pardon.

Series of hearings were held in Congress while some Republicans suggested impeaching the departing President for a second time.

The new administration achieved a feat which many politicians had been praying for. The American media was exposed for what it really is: a spineless and hypocritical machine. They, who chose for themselves the job of being society's watchdog, were easily manipulated and intimidated by the new Bush White House. The President touted his credentials as a "uniter, not a divider." Yet, in the first few months of his administration, he polarized Washington more than ever. Republicans lost the Senate to the Democrats after Jim Jeffords resigned from the GOP and decided to become an Independent. Nobody seriously questioned the new President's much touted credentials.

White House press corps were told to hold the Administration's version of issues as gospel. They walked away from briefings, looking lost and helpless. The Conservatives had labeled the media a "liberal army" and they did not want to appear guilty of the charge so they abdicated their duties. The reporters let the White House spoon-fed them information without question. Even when it was discovered that the White House had been less than truthful, the journalists excused them. For instance, nobody questioned them on the allegations of vandalization of the White House by the departing Clinton staff.

It seemed like the President's prayers were answered when the economy went south. Before his Inauguration, the President and his Vice had tried to talk down the economy and finally their prayers were answered. The President and his lackeys started singing the tax cut mantra. For every problem facing the country, the President reasoned that the tax cut will soothe its pains. If a man complained his wife couldn't conceive a child, the President and his staff would reply: 'A tax cut is all you need to have a baby!" The President got his tax cut with the help of harassed and intimidated liberals in Congress. The way this tax cut is designed makes the rich richer;

Over 49% of it goes to the top 1% of Americans.

The President took the side of big business as opposed to labor when he reversed the ergonomics regulation. The EPA director was put out to hang as she promised legislation on emission controls while the President took a different view despite promising the contrary in a speech as Candidate Bush. He moved on arsenic levels in drinking water, but quickly retreated when the whole nation rose in opposition.

The President got his nominee for Attorney General, Ashcroft, confirmed by the Senate.

Emboldened by that, he nominated mostly hard core conservatives for the Federal bench. It is still a work in progress.

Masterfully, the Conservatives put Bill Clinton in the news with a negative bent while the President continued wobbling. The American people focused on the so-called misdeeds of the former President which made them give the new one a high approval rating for not having rumors of secret lovers floating around. By the end of September 10, the President had a job approval rating hovering around 51%. Then came September 11th.

All hell broke loose as some fundamentalist terrorists flew two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, while some of their brothers-in-terror did the same at the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania. By the end of the day, more than five thousand Americans were reported missing or dead. The President went into hiding for hours until he was told that Conservatives were up in arms and he hurriedly returned, with tears in his eyes. As usual the White House tried spinning lies to the people. They claimed Airforce One, the President's plane, was also on the target list of the terrorists.

The problem with that claim is that no one knew who the terrorists were at the time of making the claim. Besides, American airspace was being patrolled by US fighter planes and also, the President's plane was being escorted by fighter planes. The White House quickly withdrew that claim when it became apparent that Americans were not buying it.

The whole world rose in unity to condemn these terrorist acts. America launched a war against the alleged perpetrators, Al Qaeda. Their protectors in Afghanistan, the Taliban Regime, refused to give them up and had to face American fire power. With successes at the war front and feelings of patriotism at home, the President's approval rating rose to unprecedented levels. The President had promised to make the perpetrators of the terror on American cities and people pay.

He delivered; big time. Politicians in Washington put aside their differences and rallied around the President. It has been suggested that if President Al Gore was in office he would not have had the unreserved support this President is getting from the other side in his war efforts.

In January, with Ted Kennedy at his side, the President signed the Education Bill which most members of his party felt was a sale out. His promise of providing school vouchers as part of his Education Bill had to be jettisoned. His stimulus bill has yet to go through the Senate. It has been renamed: The Economic Security Bill. Obviously, anything security sells in this climate.

Clearly, the President has achieved some successes. He has delivered on some of his major campaign promises. There have also been monumental failures, especially on the economic, environmental and energy fronts. More Americans are unemployed now. The seventh largest company in America, Enron, has gone under, leaving thousands of workers and investors with billions of dollars in losses. Most of the directors and operators of Enron are buddies of President Bush and other Republican big wigs. Could the President have done something to salvage the company?

We shall examine that next week. KMart has also filed for bankruptcy protection. How many more will go?

This White House has continued the habit of blaming Bill Clinton for their failings and not sharing credit where necessary. They take credit for the success of the American military without giving credit to the regime that left the military they inherited. However, they are blaming Bill Clinton for the terrorism attacks, the recession and everything else even after one year of being in office. Certainly this is not adult behavior.


Elendu is a contributing editor of and This commentary will appear in the print edition of USAfrica The Newspaper. He writes every Friday, exclusively for

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