He’s battered and bruised and his enemies are coming at him from all sides, and if he wants to survive, President Bush is going to have to put on the gloves and come out slugging.
For months he has sat back and allowed the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media to portray him as dishonest, incompetent and a liar; and until the other day he had said not a word in his own defense.
I attribute his refusal to get down in the gutter where they live and slug it out with his detractors to two things: seemingly bad advice from his White House staff, and the fact that he is just too darn nice to want to strike back.
To get back on his feet he needs to do two things: clean house and get rid of the staffers who have served him so poorly, and listen to a bit of wisdom from the late baseball coach Leo Durocher – “Nice guys finish last.”
With respect to his White House staff, I have never seen an administration where nobody is willing to fall on their sword for their boss. They sit around and allow the president to fall on his own sword, and also leak unfavorable information about what’s going on inside the White House to make themselves look good to the Bush-hating media.
Nobody at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. takes responsibility for anything. On Capitol Hill a lot of the Republicans are running for cover, trying to dissociate themselves from Bush. Yet the president doesn’t fire anybody in the White House, and he doesn’t veto any of the costly junk legislation Congress sends up for his signature.
Recall what was said about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign. He was roundly criticized for failing to respond to the charges made against his war record by the Swift Boat vets. He thought the whole thing would go away, so he never tried to answer the charges until it was too late and the damage had been done.
Now we have the president making the same mistake, refusing until now to counterattack against the Democrats for their totally false accusations that he lied the U.S. into the Iraq war. They’ve been making these phony charges for months on end, yet we heard not a word from George Bush in response, even though the record proves the Democrats are lying, and lying through their teeth. And because he ignored them, the Democrats continued to dip deeper and deeper into the slime pit to cast more and more mud at George Bush
As a result of his inaction and the failure of his staff to man the guns and fire back, one of the most honest, decent, Godly human beings in America has allowed himself to be painted as a corrupt and lying politician who sent Americans to die in an unjust war brought on by his alleged falsifications of the facts.
The dishonesty of the Democrats is appalling. Their slanders of this good and decent man make slime are made to look pure. It is also appalling, however, that their lies and slanders went for so long unanswered. The fault for that lies solely with George Bush. His staff, no doubt, played a large part in that failure, but he let them get away with it.
The fact is that because of his deep religious belief and because he is a nice guy, he has become his own worst enemy. He is unwilling to bring down the axe when he needs to. It’s said that he has a hot temper and tends to scream and yell at his staff. He needs to go further. He needs to fire the whole lot.
Remember George Tenet, the Clinton holdover CIA chief who assured him that it was a “slam dunk” – that Saddam Hussein had tons of weapons of mass destruction? Bush should have fired Tenet, but he instead he allowed him to retire and gave him the Medal of Freedom.
It’s time for President Bush to pick up his sword and adopt a policy of “no more nice guy.” In politics as in sports, nice guys really do finish last.
©2005 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561