Consistent to his character, Bush passes the buck one more time
promoted by John. We haven't really talked about Mr. Bush much lately.
George W. Bush is a decisive leader at times, I have to give him credit. When everything appears to be going his way, he has proven to be all too willing to take credit for the course of action on himself. For example, notice how he uses the word "we" in every single sentence of this paragraph from the infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech, wherein Bush plots a confident course into the future:
We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. (Applause.)
Now the one thing that we know about the word "we" as uttered by George W. Bush is that it is inclusive of... George W. Bush (and some other unspecified people). Back in May of 2005, when it still looked like Iraq was a cakewalk on the surface, George Bush was squarely at the helm, and he wanted it to be known that he was at the helm, that he was making the calls.
But the war turned. "We" didn't bring order. "We" didn't find WMD. "We" failed to effectively rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. And the Iraqi leaders "we" were standing with seemed to be having a tough time getting their act together. So as the American people quite naturally began to demand a change of course in Iraq, Bush couldn't figure out what to do. Bush anxiously looked around the White House for someone to pass the buck to, but Powell was gone and Cheney was too shrewd to allow himself to be made a scapegoat. In fact, nobody in Washington wanted to take the war off his hands. So Bush went before the nation and shrugged the responsibility for the future of the war off his shoulders, and onto the shoulders of the ubiquitous "commanders on the ground."
When he got criticized for not sending in reinforcements, he shrugged his shoulders: It's not my call, it's the Commanders on the Ground...
If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job.
When he got criticized for not handing Iraq over to the Iraqis, he shrugged his shoulders: It's not my call, it's the Commanders on the Ground:
As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And when our commanders on the ground tell me that the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.
And that's how we got the failed 'Stay the Course' policy-- Bush's abdication of his Commander in Chief responsibilities, his unwillingness to make the call in an increasingly unpopular war, his failure to Set the Course, and so we got Off Course, (of course). True to his nature, when the criticism started to flow, the Decider was remarkably willing to share responsibility for his sorry lack of decsion-making with others who weren't getting paid to make those calls.
The pattern has held in other areas, too. In his response to disasters, for instance, we can remember how Bush proclaimed that the terrorists would soon be hearing from all of us ("us" meaing "George W. Bush plus some other unspecified people), while New Orleans only heard from Brownie, as the president passed the buck for Katrina, a tragedy with little upside, down the food chain of the federal bureaucracy.
And now we have another crisis: an economic swoon, with the economy hurtling towards a sharp recession. And with the country losing jobs, with the financial sector in collapse, with the dollar in freefall and the deficit skyrocketing towards 800 billion, it seems unlikely that even a prudent course of action will bear much fruit in the near term. So, with little in the way of upside in the remainder of his term, you just had to know that Bush wouldn't want to take responsibility for the course of action. And so you just had to know that it was about time for Bush to pass the buck on the economy to somebody. So I was watching Larry Kudlow interview the so-called Decider tonight, and there it was! There was the buck being passed, yet one more time:
The experts believe-- and they tell me, and I'm certainly no economic expert-- but they tell me that this economic package will have a positive effect on the economy throughout the year.
Bush on Kudlow & Company, 3/14/2008
And so it is for Bush on the $150 billion helicopter drop: It's not my call-- the experts think it will work though...
And for good measure: You're doin a heckuva job, Ben!
I've got all the confidence in Ben Bernanke, I think he's doing a very fine job during difficult times.
When Bush starts praising bureaucrats and appointees and deferring to "experts", it makes me wonder if I should start stocking up on canned goods and batteries.