Why are the Bush Administration poll numbers tanking? Well, in my opinion, it's all the lying. The American public can forgive mistakes, so long as they are not done with some malignant intent. Apparently they can also overlook some incompetence, so long as they believe the President is working hard at his job.
But when the public begins to think they have been lied to -- repeatedly -- that love goes sour. Very sour. And lately, for the Bush Administration, it's been all about the lying.
For instance, with the UAE ports deal, we were publicly told there was an investigation done with regard to potential national security. Well....not so much, according to Rep. Peter King (R-NY):
And what bothered me about the whole thing, and I was asking questions at the beginning. I said I had concerns about it. And when I met with people who are on this committee, I was told upfront - this is before they got their act together - that they did no investigating. There was no investigation done. And then I’m watching "Meet the Press" a week ago Sunday, and Secretary Chertoff was on, and he was saying, 'Well, if the American people knew what a rigorous investigation was conducted, they wouldn’t have any concerns.' That’s when I realized they’re not telling us the true story here, and that’s why I’ve come out against the deal, and at least until there’s a form of investigation.According to USATodayOnDeadline (via FiredUpAmerica), quoting CNN's Ed Henry, Rep. King spoke with members of both Department of the Treasury and Homeland Security on this "who were involved in this CFIUS process, and he asked them did you check out whether or not DP World, the company involved, had ties to al Qaeda, and he is telling CNN he was told, quote, Congressman, you don't understand, we don't conduct a thorough investigation."
And, gee, who could have known that the situation in Iraq would devolve into civil war? Erm...the CIA, well before we ever entered the country for a war of choice? But, the President didn't know about this, right? Well, actually, he did. (Or at least, ought to be charged with knowing, since the information was prepared for him to...you know...do his job. He owes our troops in uniform that much before sending them into harm's way, don't you think?)
"If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication," Pillar wrote, "it was to avoid war -- or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath."And yet, the American public was told stories about flowers and candy greeting our troops...and that Saddam had nuclear capabilities (he didn't), and WMDs (he didn't), and that oil revenue from Iraq would pay for the war (it isn't). Oh, and that Saddam was trying to get nuclear materials from Niger (he wasn't).
Pillar describes for the first time that the intelligence community did assessments before the invasion that, he wrote, indicated a postwar Iraq "would not provide fertile ground for democracy" and would need "a Marshall Plan-type effort" to restore its economy despite its oil revenue. It also foresaw Sunnis and Shiites fighting for power.
Pillar wrote that the intelligence community "anticipated that a foreign occupying force would itself be the target of resentment and attacks -- including guerrilla warfare -- unless it established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam."
Dick Cheney would never drink and shoot? (He did.)
Medicare reform is going to save seniors money and make things easier for them to get their prescriptions? (You've got to be kidding me.)
The President promises to fire anyone involved in leaking the name of a CIA NOC to the press? (Rove still working in the West Wing with his security clearance intact, and Libby only resigned the day he was indicted for multiple felonies.)
Fiscal responsibility? (hahaha -- the Congress is about to raise the federal debt ceiling...again...this time to raise it above the current level of $8.2 trillion. We'd better all hope China stays happy with us, because they own a lot of our debt right now.)
Any domestic spying is done with a warrant? (Well, that's a quaint little Fourth Amendment notion, now isn't it? And a big fat lie. And it's now being challenged directly, just fyi.)
And now, yesterday, we learned that the President was told -- directly -- by state, local and federal officials that Katrina posed a "catastrophic" threat to the Gulf Coast. And that the President said the federal government was "fully prepared" to assist in every way. And we all know how well that turned out, don't we?
Here is what the President said to Elizabeth Vargas on February 28, 2006, about what he knew:
VARGAS: When you look back on those days immediately following when Katrina struck, what moment do you think was the moment that you realized that the government was failing, especially the people of New Orleans?We were told that Dan Bartlett had to put together a DVD of news snippets for the President several days after Katrina hit on the 29th to show him what was going on -- is THAT when the President realized things weren't going well? Days after the hurricane -- and only because a staffer made him watch a video to catch him up with the news...while he was still on vacation...for days after the catastrophic hurricane?
BUSH: When I saw TV reporters interviewing people who were screaming for help. It looked — the scenes looked chaotic and desperate. And I realized that our government was — could have done a better job of comforting people.
Then there was this gem, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." from the interview with Diane Sawyer on 9/1/05. (Crooks and Liars has the video clip.)
Having seen clips from this latest tape obtained by the AP, it is going to be very difficult for the White House to spin us back to that veneer that the President was "engaged" in the hurricane planning process -- given that he asks no questions during the briefing, sitting in a conference room at his vacation home in Crawford, with a sparse staff of advisors, all the while state, local and FEMA and other disaster officials are clearly ramping up in the Gulf region. (C&L has video on this as well.) You see things like this on the tape:
Bush was dialed into the conference Sunday at noon Eastern time from a meeting room at his ranch in Crawford, with Deputy Chief of Staff Joseph Hagin at his side.Did I mention that President Bush remained on vacation...for days afterward, even after the worst possible scenario came to pass.
"I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm," Bush said, gesturing with both hands for emphasis on the digital recording. Neither Bush nor Hagin asked questions, however....
"This is, to put it mildly, the big one," Brown said. "Everyone within FEMA is now virtually on call."
Yesterday, Jack Cafferty was reading viewer e-mails on the subject on CNN's Situation Room. Someone wrote into the show with a quote that is particularly apt: "Only the Bush Administration could take a disaster of Biblical proportions, and make it worse."
If you are going to lie about not knowing how bad a disaster will be -- then you should be certain that no video of you being told it will be a disaster exists. In this case, there have been so many preceding lies, the hope this Administration can hold onto at this point is that the American public will just chalk it up to the way things work in Washington.
Except, at the moment, the Republican party controls Congress and the White House. And when you add in all the Abramoff investigations and guilty pleas thus far and the entire GOP KStreet operation, the Duck Cunningham bribery pleas and continuing investigations, the Tom DeLay indictment and investigations and all the rest of the mess, you get a very ugly picture of what the current party leadership of the Republican party has been doing. And it sure as hell doesn't look like the public's business from here, now does it?
It's all about the lying. No accountability, no taking responsibility, none. This President comes off as an irresponsible frat boy who is more than willing to blame anyone else to get his own ass out of trouble. That may work when you are 19 (although it wouldn't have worked with my parents, I can tell you that), but one would think that the President of the United States would hold himself to a higher ethical standard on this. Especially given a situation where people lost their lives.
You want accountability? Then restore some balance in Washington. Elect Democrats to Congress -- because the only way this President is ever going to see some checks and balances is from the opposition party. And lord knows THIS President needs some serious oversight.
No more lies without accountability. Period.