In an effort to show the The Fir$t Family are just plain folks, The Republican Party is attempting to recast the Fir$t Brat$ as cultured and refined young ladies out to charm the American voters, particularly those young males who can be expected to be interested in these vixens but whose political loyalties are currently dedicated to John F. Kerry.
Barbara and Jenna Bush are preparing to enlist for duty with their fatherís re-election campaign as he faces off against his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry.
How their father thanks them for their help [scroll down]
They are rumoured to be preparing for their first sit-down interview with Vanity Fair magazine - almost, but not quite, fulfilling a prediction by Barbaraís classmates three years ago that, of all the girls in the school, she was "the most likely to appear on the cover of Vogue".
That was back in May. Something must not have gone well in that Vanity Fair interview, because look at what Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter says about their father!
Graydon Carter has never shown much interest in politics. But now he has written a passionate diatribe against George Bush. Here he explains why
During his editorship of Vanity Fair, the 55-year-old has made a point of neither voting nor buying shares, a position of lofty disinterest from which he descends with a 340-page polemic attacking Bush and comparing Donald Rumsfeld to Hermann Goering.
What We've Lost: How the Bush Administration Has Curtailed Freedoms, Ravaged the Environment and Damaged America and the World is a book that has been assembled rather more than written. It audits Bush's shortcomings across every department of government, opening each chapter with one of the president's goofy quotes ("It's clearly a budget. It's got lots of numbers in it") then slamming home wave after wave of damning facts and anecdotes: that Bush tried to reclassify "manufacturing" jobs to include people who worked in fast-food joints; that teachers in Missouri were ordered to remove every third light bulb from schools to save money; that parents of soldiers in Iraq were in some cases forced to buy their children's own body-armour vests ("$1,500 retail"), plus hundreds of statistics attesting to Bush's failure to help America's poor, sick and discriminated against. Carter says he intended to write a short handbook, but that the more he and his researchers looked into it, the longer the book got.
"We had meetings on the research every couple of days; we went through 30,000 reports - it was daunting, what the Bush administration had done," he says. "I went into this thinking I knew maybe a 10th of it; I didn't know the 1,000th of it."
The thing that most shocked him was the discovery that "the Bush administration is doing everything in its power to cut back the benefits for veterans, both of past wars and of the troops in Iraq now". Does he at least think Bush believes he is doing the right thing? "I don't know. I don't know how you think you are doing the right thing by having a tax system that barely affects the middle class, and makes life so much easier for so many wealthy people. America has almost too many wealthy people and the tax cuts were designed for them."
Meanwhile, the staff at the magazine are proud he has added its voice to the political debate; if the book sells just one copy, he says, he'll "have felt I have done my part". There is a point in What We've Lost wherein the two sides of Carter meet, a classic, Vanity Fair moment in which he quotes from a phone-in that took place last year on the political TV channel, C-Span. Half way through the conversation, it becomes clear that the caller complaining about Bush is an entertainer of some sort; after pressing for her identity, to no avail, the presenter eventually says in amazement: "Is this Cher ?" It is.
The lesson is clear: when even the celebrities are getting mad with Bush, we had jolly well better sit up and listen. This year, Graydon Carter will be voting.
"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation" - George W Bush, August 2002
Making his final decision to launch an invasion of Iraq, President George W Bush did not seek the advice of his father, a veteran of the second world war and a former president who had gone to battle with the same foe a decade earlier. Nor did he seek the overall final recommendation of his secretary of defence, or of his secretary of state, the only man in his cabinet who had been decorated for military service in wartime with the medals befitting a national hero. Instead, as Bob Woodward wrote in his book, Plan of Attack, Bush consulted his God, a God who the president presumes takes sides in disputes between peoples.
Bush's reckless, unnecessary decision to wage a war of choice with a country that was neither an enemy nor a real threat is at the very root of all we've lost during his presidency. We've lost our good reputation and our standing as a great and just superpower. We've lost the sympathy of the world following September 11 and turned it into an alloy of fear and hatred. We've lost lives and allies. We've lost liberties and freedoms. We've lost billions of dollars that could have gone toward a true assault on terrorism.
It could fairly be said that in the age of George W Bush, we have lost our way.
And ended up in Alabama way back in 1972?
I don't think the debate about Bush's service should be dropped. Why? Because this posturing flip-flopper of a President continues to needlessly send American troops to their deaths while campaigning as a resolute war president. Just watch the convention script this week.
We also still need answers to the unresolved questions surrounding Bush's stint in the Texas National Guard from 1968 to 1973. Specifically, what explains the gap in Bush's Guard service between April 1972 and September 1973, a 17-month period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report for duty and records show no pay was issued though Bush was allegedly on duty in Alabama.
The White House has released hundreds of documents--after Bush said in a TV interview in February that he would make all his military records available. But the files released so far haven't answered those questions, and some documents have yet to be made public. And since February, the White House spin-machine has banned all Guard and military commanders outside the Pentagon from commenting on Bush's military record. At least a half-dozen news organizations have filed requests for Bush's files under the Freedom of Information Act, but judging from this White House's systematic clampdown on information -- including blocking the scheduled release of presidential papers from Bush I's period--it seems unlikely that the relevant documents will see the light of day -- at least until after the election.
I'd have something more to say, but listening to the convention speakers is corroding my cerubellum.
M U S T V O T E V A L U E S ... M U S T V O T E L E A D E R S H I P ... M U S T V O T E R E P U B L I C A N ... G O D S A Y S S O ...
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