EMAIL PAGE THREE
COLUMN FIFTY-NINE, MAY 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
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HOW BAD THINGS REALLY ARE
feeling of a coup
Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2001 18:05:32 -0400
of a Coup
Mar 31, 2001,
from NYTimes.com was sent to Portside by
dave@d... "a good thumbnail sketch of how bad things really are with
BOSTON -- We
are learning something these days about the power of a willful
Day after day
headlines tell us of fundamental policy reversals. Mr. Bush spurns the global
effort, going back to the first Bush presidency, to reduce global warming. He
calls off talks with North Korea about its missiles, casting doubt on the whole
attempt to ease relations between South and North. He proposes to rethink U.S.
aid programs that help dismantle former Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological
A string of
Bush administration decisions has halted steps to protect the environment.
Arsenic in drinking water, roads in national forests and so on: limits are going
to be "restudied."
given for the environmental decisions have been almost insultingly unconvincing.
Christie Whitman, administrator of the
explaining to senators why he opposed the Kyoto protocol on global
public opinion as well as for science is evident in the environmental decisions.
A striking example is what has happened to a Clinton regulation that prohibited
road-building in about a third of the national forests.
The head of
the Forest Service, Michael P. Dombeck, resigned the other day and sent a letter
to his boss, Ann M. Veneman, the secretary of agriculture. He respectfully urged
her not to abandon the ban on roads.
so," he wrote, "would undermine the most extensive multi- year
environmental analysis in history, a process that included over 600 public
meetings and generated 1.6 million comments, the overwhelming majority of which
supported protecting roadless areas."
plea is not likely to move the Bush administration. It postponed the effective
date of the road-building regulation for 60 days for further review. And in the
meantime its lawyers have not defended the regulation in a lawsuit brought
against it by the Boise Cascade timber company and the state of Idaho.
public would almost certainly vote to protect roadless parts of the national
forests, as it would to reduce the amount of arsenic in water.
public is not the audience that concerns Mr. Bush and his appointees. They are
out to please the interests that supported and financed his campaign: timber
companies, mining companies and the rest.
Nor is Mr.
Bush moved by the arguments of respected Republican elders. As he ordered a
review of the program for dismantling Soviet weapons, former
motto, a Washington quip has it, is "Do it my way or no way." That
catches the willful quality of these first months. But there is more to the
story than that.
This is the
most radical administration in living American memory. I use the word
deliberately. Today's right calls itself "conservative," but it is not
that. Conservatives want to conserve. That is why Teddy Roosevelt started the
national parks and the conservation movement. George W. Bush and his people are
driven by right-wing ideology to an extent not remotely touched by even the
haven't seen the half of it. As Mr. Dombeck said of opening the national forests
to road-building, the decisions "will have implications that will last many
All this from
a man who ran as a "compassionate conservative," concealing his
hard-edged ideology, and who could not get half the voters to vote for him even
in that guise. ##
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DUMBYA'S BIG LIE
Bush: "Values Candidate?"
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 22:39:45 -0400
NUMBER OF AMERICANS SAY
since 1877, when Rutherford B. Hayes took the oath of office, has come to power
with less legitimacy than George W. Bush.
the popular vote by a record margin of more than half a million, President Bush
shares with Hayes the dubious distinction of being the only other man whom many
Americans believe also lost the electoral vote as well.
as last weekend, according to a CNN poll, 48 percent of all Americans did not
believe that the man now residing in the White House won the election "fair
of the widely reported Florida recount conducted by the Miami Herald and USA
Today, trumpeted in headlines as proof that Bush won the election, are unlikely
to change this perception. Properly understood, those results show no such
thrust of the Herald account is that Bush would have increased his lead under
most scenarios had the U.S. Supreme Court not intervened to stop the counting.
Yet an astonishing fact is buried deep in the article: had all 67 counties
examined all the "under-votes" (those ballots which seemingly did not
record a clear vote for president), Gore would have won Florida -- and the White
of victory would have been by 393 votes under the most inclusive standard and by
299 votes under a more stringent standard. In this thicket of competing ways of
conducting the recount, the only reasonable conclusion is this: who won hinges
almost entirely on which standards are applied.
to office lacking a popular mandate, Bush has compounded his political problems
by steadfastly refusing to govern from the center.
good part because of his carefully cultivated image as a “compassionate
conservative" and a "different kind of Republican," he quickly
revealed -- through his nomination of John Ashcroft, his reversal of new Labor
Is running a
deeply deceptive campaign, they wonder, the way -- as Bush promised time and
again during the campaign -- to restore honor and integrity to the White House?
In the final analysis, however, Bush's greatest vulnerability may come neither
from his lingering legitimacy problems nor from the growing sense among
Americans that the man now in the White House campaigned for president "in
borrowed clothes" (as Bush once famously said of Al Gore), but rather from
the simple but jarring realization that he does not share their fundamental
gap between the president and the American public has been revealed most
dramatically on the environment, where a series of provocative acts -- the
has been Bush's policy on the environment that even the National Wildlife
Foundation -- a centrist group with 4.5 million members, about half of them
Republicans -- has sent the administration a message: "Mr. President,"
said NWF President Mark Van Putten, "stop the war on our environment and
our national heritage."
moderates like Van Putten angry and a growing number of congressional
Republicans already jumping ship on the environment, the vulnerability of the
Bush administration -- and of its philosophy of corporate profits above all --
is more and more apparent. Already, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll
released this past week, 60 percent of the public believes Bush cares more
The veil of
moderation, which permitted Bush to win the White House, has now been stripped
away to reveal the president for who he is: a man willing to place the narrow,
short-term interests of big business over our environment, our health and our
These are not
the values of the American people. And as this becomes increasingly clear, the
man who came to the presidency as the "values candidate" will
ironically have to face a formidable, and perhaps fatal, values problem of his
Karabel is a professor of sociology at the University of California at
2001 San Francisco Chronicle. ##
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