There are two proportionate reasons for rejecting President Bush's bid for re-election. Both the United States and the world are a mess. Mr. Bush is responsible for both messes. The first president ever to claim de facto infallibility, Mr. Bush tells us that he follows his instincts in decision-making after praying over the decision and talking to God. He admits no mistakes -- how could anyone who has a direct link to God make a mistake! In his next administration he will receive more divine inspirations which will make both the country and the world even more messy.
Consider the American economy. He has turned the biggest budget surplus in history into the biggest deficit because he wanted to give more money to the "haves and have mores" as he called them. He has presided over the largest job losses since the Great Depression. He has stood idly by while hundreds of thousands of American jobs have been flown overseas. His reform of health care has made it more expensive and more difficult for the elderly. He declines to rein in the greed of the drug companies and thus drives many Americans to Canada -- of all places -- to buy the medicines needed to stay alive. He has cast doubt on the future of Social Security. He has been on the bridge during the current absurd panic over flu vaccine; the deaths of those elderly and children who are not able to obtain flu shots are on his hands. What if one of those who die is your parent or spouse or child? He has not lifted a finger to help the many Americans whose pensions are being eaten up by greedy employers. Oil prices are climbing rapidly and the stock market is tanking.
We want four more years of this stuff?
Fecklessly he started the ill-advised and ill-prepared war in Iraq in which some Americans have to come close to mutiny to protect them from orders to bring contaminated fuel in badly equipped trucks to units that won't accept it. He misled the American people about the weapons in Iraq and the involvement of Iraq in the World Trade Center attack. He is disgusted, he tells us, by the kidnappings and the beheadings, the car bombs and roadside bombs, the ambushes and murder of civilians, but the bad decisions he and his cabinet made were mandated by God and could not have been mistakes. Pat Robertson tells us, however, that Mr. Bush told him that God had disclosed that the casualties in Iraq would be light. Maybe that was God's mistake!
Do we want him to continue with these god-driven policies for four more years? Eleven hundred dead Americans already. How many more thousands will have to die before God will tell Mr. Bush to get out of Iraq? How many tens of thousands more Iraqis will have to die?
The world is a mess because the United States is the natural leader of the free world and the American president the natural president of the free world. He blew the capital of support and sympathy that flowed to the United States after the World Trade Center attack by his "Bush Doctrine" that turned him into the bully of the free world. Next year the Poles will leave Iraq because the Polish people don't like the war. The Poles -- our strongest allies in Mr. Rumsfeld's "New Europe" -- are fed up with us! Four more years of divine inspiration and what will be left of America's power and prestige? We will still be a giant but like Gulliver a tattered giant chained to the ground by our president's madcap inspirations.
The pope is infallible only in certain limited circumstances and on specific matters. Unlike the pope, Mr. Bush apparently sets no limits on the policy decisions that will be made by conversations with God. We want four more years of those decisions?
The president, like every human, is entitled to his own relationship with God. He is entitled to use that relationship to make decisions, to justify them later, and to stick to them no matter what happens. Many Americans will accept such decisions because they believe he is a "godly" man. Not everyone else has to tolerate four more years of his divine right to govern.
Even if the election is close, Mr. Bush will win it. His lawyers are ready to go back into court and the supine Supreme Court will give the country four more years of divine right rule.
Do we really want that?
© 2004 Chicago Sun Times