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Saving A President


In his first year in office, the widely-followed Cook Political Report had this assessment of George Bush’s early months as president: “Looking back over his first five months in office, President George W. Bush and his administration started off to a strong, fast start but now, his future seems far less certain.  Not only are Bush’s overall job approval ratings slumping, but his disapproval ratings are climbing (and) after a strong start, the last three months have been less than auspicious for this new President. The good news….is that they have plenty of time before the next presidential (or) mid-term elections.  The bad news is that they have a lot of repair work to do and had better get started.”  They wasted little time doing it, but no one (at least the pubic) knew in June what lay ahead in September.

 

George Bush entered office with an approval rating around 50%.  It rose a little at first, then slumped moderately as the Cook Report suggested.  Everything changed dramatically September 11.  Bush’s rating skyrocketed instantly hitting a temporary high around 90% and remained above 80% through year end.  That momentous day transformed a mediocre president overnight with some observers incredibly comparing him to Lincoln, FDR and Churchill combined.

 

It was laughable then and ludicrous now for a pathetic caricature of a president and man so hated he’s barely able to hang on to avoid what growing vocal numbers in the country demand – his head and removal from office by impeachment along with Vice-President Cheney.

 

Today again, George Bush finds himself in a precarious  position at the least.  He insists on maintaining a failed policy a growing majority in the country wants ended.  As a result, his approval rating is scraping rock bottom in polls likely “engineered” to keep it from winning all-time bottom honors as the lowest ever for a sitting president. Dick Cheney is less fortunate, however, at a bottom-scraping 12% that’s the lowest ever for a president or vice-president by far and then some.

 

With that in mind, here’s how the Cook Political Report assesses things as of June 29, 2007: “….after six and a half years of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Republican ‘brand’ has been badly tarnished.  As a result, it would take an enormous amount of luck for Republicans to hold the White House or win back control of the Senate or House, let alone (do all three)….the GOP (will need) a long and painful rebuilding process (and) recapturing the White House or congressional majorities (is) unlikely in the near future.”  The report suggests a possible Republican apocalypse even though it notes Democrats have failed to end the Iraq war, have only delivered on one of their six major platform planks (increasing the federal minimum wage), and are scorned as well.

 

With 18 months to go, what’s a president to do to hang on, run out the clock, and leave office through the normal front door process of his term expiring, not the result of the Senate voting him out earlier by “the (required) Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present” – hard as that is to do as history shows.

 

Politicians know, and especially presidents, when in trouble – change the subject. It’s being changed by ignoring reality, aided by healthy offerings of the usual kinds of industrial strength corporate media hyperventilating.

 

It features George Bush and his supportive generalissimo and other top brass in Iraq in the lead.  They continue asking for more time, insist the disastrous “surge” is working, say it just needs a chance, and that withdrawing too soon would trigger a bloodbath on the order of the Cambodian killing fields according to an earlier preposterous April claim.  Unmentioned is the continued bloodbath caused by the US presence that won’t end until all American and other hostile foreign forces are withdrawn.

 

That won’t happen according to recent reports with the National Review Online and other sources recently saying the administration intends to escalate its strength on the ground, not curtail it.  More troops may be brought in, and the Air Force is increasing its hardware.  The powerful B 1 bomber is back (capable of carrying 24 ton bombs) and making multiple daily and/or nightly strikes.  A squadron of A-10 “Warthog” attack planes were sent as well along with additional F-16C Fighting Falcons.  Bombing runs have intensified dramatically, and the level of violence, deaths and destruction overall is increasing. The Navy is contributing as well with the USS Enterprise sent to the Gulf that may or may not replace one of the two Fifth Fleet carriers already there.

 

In recent months, the Air Force also doubled its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts using Predator drones (capable of striking targets as well as spying), high altitude U2s, and sophisticated AWACS planes.  It all points to one thing on the ground and back home.  Congress can debate all it wants.  No Iraq withdrawal is planned, the conflict is being escalated, and the only issue on the table is selling the present course to the public with Congress already signed on showing debate is for show, not for real.  The hard sell is beginning by the timeworn, yet tried and true, sure-fire method of scaring people to death to go along and in this case threatening them as well.

 

George Bush’s Continuing War on the First Amendment

 

On July 17, George Bush issued another of his many presidential “one-man” decrees titled “Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.”  More than any other chief executive in the nation’s history, this President abuses this practice egregiously as another example of his contempt for the law. 

 

Economist and journalist Ferdinand Lundberg (1905 – 1995) wrote in his extremely important and revealing book “Cracks in the Constitution:” The US Constitution “nowhere implicitly or explicitly gives a President (the) power (to make) new law” by issuing “one-man, often far-reaching” executive order decrees. However, Lundberg explains “the President in the American constitutional system is very much a de facto king….(he is) by far the most powerful formally constituted political officer on earth.”  He has “vast power (and) stands in a position midway between a collective executive (like the British system) and an absolute dictator.”  Lundberg wrote those words over 27 years ago when George Bush was busy making millions (the result of friendly bailouts) from successive oil business ventures that flopped.

 

George Bush’s family connections delivered for him in business, in spite of his ineptitude, and finally gave him the grand prize of the presidency he exploited fully ever since.  For him and those around him, the law is just an artifact to be used, abused or ignored at his pleasure. He earlier usurped “Unitary Executive” power to claim the law is what he says it is and in six and half years in office issued more signing statements (over 800) than all past presidents combined. The result is he expanded presidential power (already immense as Lundberg explained) at the expense of the other two branches by shifting it dangerously toward unlimited executive authority, otherwise known as tyranny.

 

The Constitution has no provisions for “Unitary Executive” power or the right of the chief executive to issue signing statements that hasn’t deterred this President from doing as he pleases. There’s also no authorization for issuing Executive Orders, as just noted, beyond the following vague language Lundberg explained constitutes the “essence of presidential power….in a single sentence.”

 

Specifically, Article II, section 1 reads: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” That simple statement, easily passed over and misunderstood, means the near-limitless power of this office “is concentrated in the hands of one man.” Article II, section 3 then almost nonchalantly adds: “The President shall take care that the laws

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