10/18/2005 12:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Boy Scout Bush: No Merit Badge for Preparedness

When it comes to crafting his public image, George Bush is the Oval Office equivalent of a Boy Scout: he’s always prepared (in reality, W never made it past Cub Scouts. Their motto? “Do your best”. Uh, okay…)

Why leave things to chance when you can script your friendly chats with our troops in Iraq? (Nice touch having that Iraqi soldier go all Sally Field on you, Mr. President. He likes you… he really likes you! Or at least, that’s what the script said).

But when it comes to dealing with the problems that have plagued his presidency, Bush has repeatedly been caught with his pants down (in a much worse way than the previous occupant of the White House).

A failure to prepare has been the signature of this administration. They weren’t prepared for 9/11 (even though the red lights had been flashing for years). They weren’t prepared for the intensity of the Iraqi insurgency (they expected flowers thrown at our feet, not roadside bombs). They weren’t prepared when Katrina came ashore (indeed, they had set the scene for the devastation by failing to fully fund the levee repairs, and by turning the directorship of FEMA from a cabinet-level post to a cushy spot for campaign cronies). They weren’t prepared for gas to hit three bucks a gallon (how else to explain the ‘please drive less’ response? That must have taken about 5 minutes to come up with).

Everything seems to take these guys by surprise.

And they continue to make the same mistakes, failing to prepare for the next set of crises.

We’re not prepared for the next terrorist attack. This administration has refused to shore up our ports, our railways, and our nuclear facilities. We’re not prepared for the devastation that global warming might bring. This administration is too busy denying that it’s even a problem. We’re not prepared for the coming energy crisis. This administration wants us to drive less but won’t raise fuel standards and won’t invest in alternative sources of energy. We’re not prepared for the next hot spot to erupt. This administration’s obsession with Iraq has stretched our military forces way too thin. We’re not prepared for a possible bird flu pandemic. This administration has allowed our national health care system to fall into disrepair.

This isn’t leadership. In fact, it’s an utter failure to lead. Which leaves the rest of us just sitting around waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Sorry, George… no merit badge for you. Even if you are “doing your best”.