Gathering Storm In Washington
Gosh, sometimes things get really bad in Washington. And the past few weeks have not been too kind to Bush. (This is probably one of the reasons he has been carrying a chip on his shoulder and is happy to be scrapping by using those negative ads against Kerry even if this is playing in Kerry's court and not his own. Bush should be running on his own record of accomplishment, not as someone who is "not as bad as that other guy".)
One of Bush's bigger problems is keeping the base happy while undermining the opposition and peeling off the independents. (I think Bushco finally realized they probably have lost the Democratic vote no matter what, so it is now the independents that are in play.) But, chickens eventually come home to roost (so to speak). Bush and his administration have been playing fast and loose with facts for a very long time, and finally some of the base, especially those who don't necessarily worship the ground he walks on, are getting darn right pissed that he cannot be straight with them. Josh Marshall points to a Knight-Ridder article tonight that says the White House not only knew about the discrepancy of some $130 Billion difference in the Medicare bill to add a prescription drug benefit, but even went so far as to threaten to fire the government's chief Medicare actuary if he told the truth.
Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which produced the $551 billion estimate, told colleagues last June that he would be fired if he revealed numbers relating to the higher estimate to lawmakers.
"This whole episode which has now gone on for three weeks has been pretty nightmarish," Foster wrote in an e-mail to some of his colleagues June 26, just before the first congressional vote on the drug bill. "I'm perhaps no longer in grave danger of being fired, but there remains a strong likelihood that I will have to resign in protest of the withholding of important technical information from key policy makers for political reasons."
Remember how angry some of the more conservative Republicans were after they voted for this bill only to find the cost was much more than they had been led to believe? Well, now some are even angrier to realize it wasn't just an oversight, but an outright lie. Even so, some, like Rep. Sue Myrick who was upset by the new price tag, don't think this was a sign of the administration trying "to pull the wool over our eyes". Geeze, Sue, if this wasn't on purpose, then why do you think they did it?
Do you think that Republicans will finally figure out, the Bush administration believes lying and cheating is fine to promote their goals, even when dealing with friends? Or perhaps they'll start to worry about the Bush belief that facts and data are just putty to be twisted and discarded whenever they don't conform to Bush's gut beliefs?
Updated for clarification and grammer.