By The (liberal)Girl Next Door
According to Congressman Christopher Shays, as long as no one dies, Republican scandals don’t matter. That is setting the bar a bit high, but, okay, I can work with that. This Republican administration, aided by this Republican Congress, purposefully hoodwinked the American public into an illegal war that has cost almost 3,000 young Americans their lives, and, according to a new report from Johns Hopkins University, over 600,000 innocent Iraqi citizens as well. I’d say that rises to the level of importance. And as if that weren't enough, the Republican Congress supported and passed this Republican administration's wish list on torture and continues to look the other way when it comes to extraordinary rendition, you know, kidnapping so-called “enemy combatants” and sending them to Uzbekistan to be tortured, sometimes to death. How about murder and war crimes, Congressman Shays? Does that matter? I’d be happy to talk these issues to death, as they have greater consequences than a sexual predator in your midst. The problem for you, Mr. Shays, is that you have to defend this sleazeball as well as your leadership that protected him at the peril of our children, but, you’re right, compared to the nearly one million deaths that have resulted from GOP incompetence and hubris, a few teenaged boys used for the sexual gratification of a power-mad Congressman is really nothing to get worked up about.
When confronted with the report on Iraqi civilian deaths, our dear President, of course, simply denied the facts. Big surprise, eh? This is a man who still thinks global warming is a hoax and continues to hinder scientific research on stem cells because he’d rather pander to his right-wing religious base that think a fertilized egg is a person. To be fair, the report gives only an estimate of war-related fatalities, which it says falls between 393,000 to 943,000 people, but even on the low end that is a far cry from the 30,000 deaths the Bush administration claims, which is an estimate as well. Heading into a midterm election that is looking more and more grave for Republicans every day, Mr. Bush has no choice but to deny the accuracy of the report. Politically it’s his only option, and we know that when Bush speaks political calculus has already been applied to his words before they ever leave his lips.
Trickle-down may not work when it comes to tax breaks for the rich, but when it comes to accountability there is a top-down flow. When the president routinely denies scientific findings and exhibits a laissez-faire attitude toward accuracy and accountability, it has an effect on the myriad of government agencies charged with serving and protecting the public. When Bush stood next to FEMA’s Michael Brown during the disaster that was the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and told the world, “You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Brownie,” he sent the message that political blood is thicker than even 20 feet of water. It should come as no surprise that heads of other agencies got the message that the right answer is the one that benefits this administration, facts be damned. Thus we have NASA scientists bullied into changing their findings, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers having their findings on global warming kept from the public and EPA labs conducting tests on our water supplies that start with the desired answer and then conduct the tests. Fixing the facts to fit the policy is the true legacy of the Bush administration. No wonder they think they are never wrong. All evidence to the contrary is promptly dumped in the trash and anyone who dares utter the truth is cut loose immediately.
I get the sense that the Republican voter base doesn’t care much about the stifling of facts and the manipulation of science for political gain, but I can only hope that they have enough self-respect to stop supporting a party that holds them in such contempt. If the “values voters” will get off their high horses long enough to at least look at the facts on the ground, they will see that the GOP has nothing but lip service to offer them. They need to stop listening to Karl Rove and start listening to their own, and they should start with David Kuo, the former number two guy at the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives who has written a book about his experience with the Bush administration, titled Tempting Faith: An Inside Story Of Political Seduction, in which he reveals that Karl Rove’s office routinely referred to Evangelical leaders as “the nuts”. It’s time to face facts. The home that Evangelicals have found in the Republican Party is an abusive one, and it’s time to get out. They really should trust their first instinct and stay out of politics all together, it will only sully their religion and allow for devils like Karl Rove to take God’s lambs and turn them into Republican sheep. Don’t go over the cliff with them, cut the ties, and save yourselves while there’s still time.
(Cross-posted at The (liberal)Girl Next Door.)