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The Brittle Beast of Bush's Character

Our President's Ethical and Emotional Fragility is Increasingly Both Real AND Apparent

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, July 10, 2002.

If you didn’t hate George W. before, try again. Our President’s response to the spate of high level corruption and rather bovine accounting scams perpetrated by the posturing ethical frauds at World Com and Enron, vetted by Arthur Anderson, has been a rather sleazy and hypocritical one.

It’s not hard to see why, since he was guilty of much the same.

When head of Harken Energy before he bought into the Texas Rangers or ran for Governor, Dubya approved, allowed to happen, or set the ethical tone within his company for tax shenanigans almost exactly like that for which World Com just got nailed. The SEC caught it and changes were made, but obviously the attempt was made to see if the SEC would notice. After this was called to his attention, Bush has made the outrageous claim that his lawyers screwed up and, when that was corrected, things were lost in the mail. Believe me, things that important which major companies want to arrive on time are not sent by mail that can get lost but by registered means or courier or at least FedEx. Dubya is, in essence, saying that the dog ate his homework and that it was long ago and only the Democrats now care for political gain. Besides, his father’s SEC cleared him.

Bush is not the solution, but the symbol and embodiment of the problem. The high end businesses of this nation have developed, after many years, a huge sense of entitlement. Bush felt it and clearly still does given his angry and over defensive posture, much like he resents people who speak French in his presence. His supposed cures are less even than what Republicans are suggesting in the Congress and in some cases less that what exists now. His speech and press conferences on this topic included mind numbing combinations of words that seemed like they ought to be clichés except that nobody else would dare utter them except Bush. That may be ending.

I’ve mentioned before that something as basic as declaring cost of business expense as a capital improvement ought not only to have been caught by Arthur Anderson auditors, but by lowly department heads reading the financials and their own budgets. And, of course, the stockholders. It was done with the full understanding that nobody would complain. Why? Because it’s done all the time. For Bush to complain that a few bad apples are spoiling the basket is ludicrous. People have been doing this, a lot, for a long time. And Bush was one of them. If the Bushies start imprisoning corporate CEO’s, it is unlikely the President or his father, a former President, will survive those who want to take their ship down with a full crew complement of deserving folk.

William Saletan in Slate Magazine suggests Bush’s campaign pronouncements of a return to integrity has amounted to little more than replacing the unimportant issue of Clinton’s paramours with the theft of billions and the financial stability of the country. Gee, didn’t we know that when we elected Bush? His record is clear, smarmy, and glittering with the freebees and winks from the WASP establishment.

As your excellent broadcast concerning GWB and the recent accounting/business scandals said. But, we didn't elect him. The Supreme Court appointed him. I think we need to be reminded on a regular basis. Martin Fritter [mfritter@attbi.com]

Well, no. Even without the U. S. Supreme Court, the Gore campaign's sole issues in the Florida case would still have lost him the election whereas the Republican cause - counting 'overcounts' - would have ironically won it for him. I agree with you in all but the specifics. Damn the specifics.