Two hundred and twenty years later and the system still works! Hooray! Rick Santorum, Don Rumsfeld -- Good Riddance! George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove tried to use the trauma of 9-11 along with their war of choice in Iraq to impose on our country a "unitary executive" branch dictatorship. In 2002, the Bush Republicans used the deceitful run up to the Iraq war -- WMDs and "mushroom clouds" -- to spread fear, and then smeared the patriotism of their opponents, (such as Senator Max Cleland's war record). They succeeded. They repeated this game plan in 2004, spreading fear and smearing John Kerry's military service. They succeeded again. In 2006, they tried the fear and smear strategy, but this time they failed miserably.
We should not only hold Bush accountable for this mess, but his army of enablers. We need to hold the right-wing think tanks accountable too. They should be taken out of the law-writing business. The Heritage Foundation dominated the wrong-headed thinking of Bush's domestic and foreign policies. The American Enterprise Institute "fellows" were cheerleaders for going into Iraq. The Hudson Institute, Hoover Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, and all of the others should be held accountable for being the brains behind Bush's dismal and murderous failures. They have shoved down our throats privatizing Social Security, cutting functioning government agencies like FEMA, and kick-down-the-poor "trickle down" economics.
Bush's failures are also the failures of Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber. Fox and the rest of the corporate media enthusiastically endorsed every one of Bush's power grabs. The over-paid and lazy elite Pentagon and White House correspondents, when they weren't yucking it up with Bush at expensive dinners, were lobbing softballs, and repeating his deceptions free of fact checking or any questioning of the frame Bush's PR machine imposed on the issues. The Pentagon press corps adored Donald Rumsfeld the entire time he was sentencing thousands of our young men and women to premature deaths. They never called Rumsfeld on his startling incompetence and hubris.
We should also remember that the Republicans' probable standard bearer for 2008, Senator John McCain, helped Bush and Rove all the way. McCain strongly supported going into Iraq. During the 2004 campaign, he had been joined at the hip with Bush the whole time Rove was shamelessly "Swift Boating" John Kerry's military record. McCain, the "maverick," sometimes put up symbolic criticisms only to fall into line every time when it really mattered. He would then appear on TV shilling for Bush's latest power grab, including the odious Military Commissions Act, passed in the election season of 2006 to frame the debate as one on "security," and to smear the Democrats as "cut and runners."
In 2006, John McCain campaigned vigorously around the country to maintain one-party rule. McCain supported John Bolton for the United Nations, and backed Donald Rumsfeld until the bitter end. He advocates privatizing Social Security. He has no problem with the pharmaceutical companies reaping windfall profits from the 2003 Medicare bill, and he failed to demand any real ethics reforms even after the Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, and Jack Abramoff scandals. Now McCain will try to reposition himself as Bush critic when he is anything but. We must ask the question: Where was John McCain when the Bush Administration was digging a deep hole in Iraq that has cost us $380 billion and 3,000 American lives?
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