Saturday :: Jul 5, 2003

Bush Asks For Accountability And So Should We

by Mary

One of the best ways to undermine Bush's seeming invincibility is to use his own emphasis on standards against him. As Steve noted before, Bush gets very high marks for his character. Many people really like his style and think that he is a straightshooting guy who will do what it takes to make things whole. I've had more than one exchange with people who express their trust like this:

But the fact is - I...Trust...George Bush. I know not everyone does. Many downright loathe him. I trust him. I met his father many years ago, and I know three people that know him personally, and the stories I hear and what he says convinces me that if something does go wrong, he'll do his best to set it right. (emphasis added)

Going after Bush as a liar won't be nearly as effective as using his own incompetence and laziness to reinforce the impression that Bush's best just isn't good enough for the country.

In order to do this, I suggest we set up a series on accountability and competency. Bush talks a lot about accountability. It is one of the techniques he uses to undermine people's belief in institutions such as schools. Here is how he put it last week :

You've also got to measure in order to begin to effect change that's just more -- when there's more than talk, there's just actual -- a paradigm shift. That's what measurement does. It provides the foundations for significant change.

Accountability is important. But accountability without consequences means nothing. So in other words, if you measure and find success, there needs to be -- something needs to happen, which is praise. And parents will say, well, gosh, if that's successful, I think we'll continue sending my child to that school. But if parents don't have any options other than a public school system, there's no accountability -- really no accountability. In other words, if there's nothing else can happen, if you find failure and you're stuck, why measure? (emphasis added)

Measuring Bush's record should be a big part of the truth squad. Every week or month, we should have someone check: what is the progress on the 9/11 commission? What is the Bush record for providing information? Are they being obstructionists or are they helping the commission get to the bottom of what happened?

Same with Iraq. We can measure: How many soldiers are dying? What is the record for elections? How effective is the rebuilding? What about the hospitals? How many days has it been since the last bombing?

Billmon has several posts up today that show how it can be done well.

Other types of things to look for are words about Bush's incompetency which can be laid to his laziness or indifference. Here is an example of what I think works for this:

Preparation for going to War: Months.

Wall Street Journal: 'Turn Toward Iraq' Has Been Made

Dave Eberhart, NewsMax
Monday, June 17, 2002

The Bush administration has decided to attack Iraq and military preparations should be ready within six months, the Wall Street Journal reported in a page one story this weekend.

Preparation for the aftermath: Hours.

Restoring Services to Iraq Remains a Challenge: NPR Interview with Retired Lt Col Sam Gardiner

Linda Wertheimer, Weekend Edition
May 10, 2003

Lt Col Sam Gardiner was an advisor to the Bush White House on preparing for the humanitarian issues after a successful compaign in Iraq.

Q: Could this kind of thing been anticipated?

A: Umm, let me be honest. I briefed some people in the administration before the war. One of the officials said to me (a very high official), "We've already had an hour with the President on the humanitarian system. We're done talking about that." You see, if we had been prepared to deal with the humanitarian crisis, it would have delayed the war and as I detected, nobody was interested in that.

By simply reinforcing his incompetence and laziness and reminding people that Bush says people should be held accountable, I think we can have a very powerful tool to undermine the trust in Bush's ability to fix things. And with all the things going wrong, we should have lots of examples.

It will continue to be just as important to express what a Democratic administration would do instead. But I think the blogosphere can help there as well.

Mary :: 6:10 PM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!