Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Promise Gone By Is Bygone

Yesterday, after claiming victory in his campaign to be returned to the White House, Pres. Bush promised to reach out to Americans who opposed his election. Here were his words, as quoted in a Washington Post article: "To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation."

But today is a new day. At a press conference outlining his second-term priorities (at which Bush told reporters they could ask only one question each, with no follow-ups), Bush said, "I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals." I guess that means the 51% who voted for him, not the "whole nation." And then he proceeded to hold up his "mandate" and show it to the assembled members of the press: "I earned political capital in my campaign and now I intend to spend it."

So what was he doing in his first term? Was he governing as if he didn't have a mandate--which of course he didnt? If he's only now going to "spend his political capital," then what was the massive curtailment of civil liberties aka the Patriot Act? What was the invasion of Iraq over the objections of tens of millions of people worldwide? What was the detention of over a thousand Iraqi and Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo without charges, evidence, trial, or access to attorneys? Was all that Bush's idea of how he should govern when he doesn't have a mandate? I truly shudder to imagine how Bush will spend his "political capital" now if that is the case.

No comments: