Does This Smell Familiar?
October 06, 2005, 1:00am

Cronyism, corruption, incompetence, high crimes and misdemeanors with the Bush Administration, the list goes on and on. I can’t help but feel like I am back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was embroiled in a complex web of political scandals. Today, there may be no Watergate Hotel, but as a result of this administration’s overwhelming incompetence and arrogance our deficit has ballooned, we are entangled in an unwinnable war and hundreds of thousands of young men and women have been sent to be maimed and killed, all in the name of keeping America safer. After the President and the Federal Government’s shameful response to Hurricane Katrina, the American public finally got a sobering view of how little the Bush Administration has accomplished to actually make America safer.

On September 11, the country was shocked by the terrorist attacks, although the President was warned repeatedly of al Qaeda’s imminent threat and still chose not to act. With Hurricane Katrina, the Government had predictions from forecasters, scientists and environmentalists well in advance who uniformly predicted the intensity and destructiveness of a serious storm. Even local New Orleans residents knew that the levees would not hold up with a storm that strong. But once again, this President’s lack of foresight and inability to act and react in times of emergency caused unnecessary destruction, chaos and death in the Gulf Coast. How many more people must lose their lives before there are investigations and ultimately a well deserved, long over due impeachment of this president?

I guess with a friend like Karl Rove, a master manipulator who turns the Administration’s destructive failures into public relations coups, the President doesn’t need to take responsibility or be held accountable. And by stacking the courts, the cabinet and major federal agencies with close friends that are not qualified, the President has virtually insured that he will be insulated with people who not only feel indebted to him, but who are also hesitant to challenge his poor decisions.

Previous Presidents have been known to appoint friends to positions with inflated titles and minimal responsibilities. However, President Bush has taken cronyism to a dangerous level. Michael ‘Brownie’ Brown, a former commissioner of an Arabian Horse Association, was appointed director of FEMA, the largest governmental emergency response and recovery agency. His absolute incompetence during Hurricane Katrina, forced him to step down from his position. Scott Gottlieb, a doctor-turned-stock picker, is now Deputy Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, an agency entrusted with assuring the safety of everything from new vaccines, medications and dietary supplements. Karen Hughes, Bush’s former senior political advisor and friend, is now Ambassador and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Hughes, who has little if any foreign policy and overseas experience is now in charge of burnishing the American image abroad, with a special focus on raising respect in the Arab world for democracy. At the Department of Homeland Security, Julie Myers, a well-connected White House aide with minimal experience, will soon take over a crucial post in ensuring that terrorists cannot enter the country again. And most recently, President Bush nominated Harriet Meirs, White House lawyer and longtime friend to the Supreme Court. Meirs’ has no judicial experience and more importantly no track record from which to be evaluated. Again, the list goes on and on’

Arrogance and power mixed with stupidity has characterized most of the actions of this current Administration and based on recent reports, most of the actions of the Republican leadership. Tom DeLay was forced to step down from his position as House Majority Leader due to his recent indictment on conspiracy charges by a Texas grand jury. Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, are under investigation for the federal crime of outing a CIA operative. David Safavian, Bush’s top procurement official at the Government Services Administration barely had time to resign last month before his was arrested for a lobbying scandal. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is under investigation for insider trading. Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Dick Cheney, has won no bid contracts worth more than $1.7 billion in Iraq, and most recently was awarded numerous government contracts, along with other major Republican controlled companies, to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. With this recent news, Halliburton’s stock has soared in the last month. Talk about benefiting from a tragedy. The oil industry has also greatly benefited from the Administration’s loyalty. The incomprehensible invasion of the petroleum rich nation of Iraq was a gift to Bush and Cheney’s oil cronies. As the price of gasoline skyrockets, Americans are forced to empty their wallets in order to fill up their gas tanks. As a result of Bush’s policies, big oil companies are getting richer and richer. With leadership like this, it is not surprising that this country is heading quickly in the wrong direction.

The other night on 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney pointed out that the United States is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into in the first place. He posed the burning question that has now come to the forefront of many Americans’ minds: ‘We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today. Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what?’ Our government spends egregious amounts of money on guns, tanks, nuclear arms, bullets’more so than any other country. And yet, we have staggering poverty, under funded schools and a global warming emergency. Bravo to Andy Rooney for making these connections. It seems after Hurricane Katrina the media’s coverage has finally shifted. Harder questions are being asked and answers are being demanded. But there is no chance for impeachment when all branches of government are controlled by Republicans. Only when Democrats have a majority in Congress can we finally have the power to say Enough is Enough!