When placing blame, one size fits all
By Michael M. Bates
Are things not going well for you? Are you experiencing problems of any kind in your life?
In Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, NBC 4 television news reported on an area robbery. The thieves targeted a bank employee and one of them explained to her, "This is all George W. Bush's fault. He screwed up the economy. We just need gas money for the car."
Mr. Bush has become the fall guy-in-chief. He's blamed for permitting 9/11 to happen by not adequately conducting surveillance of possible terrorist activities. Now that he's conducting surveillance of possible terrorist activities, he's blamed for trampling on civil liberties.
A poll taken a couple of years ago found that a majority of Democrats believed 9/11 might have been caused by "U.S. wrongdoing." And, with Mr. Bush in office a full seven months before the attack, they know exactly who was guilty of those transgressions.
The popular "Bush lied, people died" is another way of placing blame, in this instance for the deaths in Iraq. It's true that the president did say, "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
Oh, wait a minute. The president who said that was Bill Clinton. But let's set that aside. It still must be Bush's fault. As Wisconsin Senator Russell Feingold noted, "It is the fault of the administration for sending them (our soldiers) into battle without a clearly defined or well-thought-out mission."
The Asia tsunamis, in some quarters, were caused by President Bush's scorn for the environment. Certainly he's to blame for being so miserly when it came to dishing out relief dollars. The New York Times editorialized: "Are we stingy? Yes." Naturally, it wasn't really us who were stingy, because we're not accountable for any of it. It was, as usual, that parsimonious George W. Bush.
When Katrina hit the U.S., there was no uncertainty who to point the finger at. Cindy "Where are the TV cameras?" Sheehan claimed Mr. Bush was "heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused."
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu pinpointed why available local buses weren't used to evacuate residents: "It's because this administration and administrations before them do not understand the difficulties that mayors - whether they are in Orlando, Miami, or New Orleans - face. . . In other words, this administration did not believe in mass transit."
President Bush can't even take a physical without playing the whipping boy. When an exam showed the chief executive in good health, the Democratic National Committee took the occasion to accuse him of ignoring children's health with cuts in physical education programs. Moreover, he's responsible for the skyrocketing rate of childhood obesity. Oh, and for rolling back athletic opportunities for women also.
After a flu vaccine shortage developed in 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry identified the guilty party. He ran television ads deploring the situation advising, "It's a demonstration of this administration and how they (sic) deal with everything."
Everything. As in everything is Bush's fault. Like the recent West Virginia coal mine tragedy. Asked why the mine was open despite previous safety violations, the former director of the National Mine Academy said: "I think it's because of the current Bush administration's policies toward mine operators. . ."
Mr. Bush isn't satisfied to just ruin the United States. He's been expanding his culpability and is now widely blamed for troubles around the world. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez set responsibility for his country's dispute with Mexico: "The one to blame for all this lamentable conflict is none other than Mr. Danger."
George W. Bush is responsible for rising gas prices, global warming, job losses, increased trips to psychiatrists, terrorist bombings abroad, poverty, nukes in Iran and North Korea, the spread of AIDS, various states' budget woes, declining literacy, mercury pollution, abortion, deficits, hate crimes, corporate scandals, low farm prices, high grocery prices, inflation, deflation, stagflation and the breakup of the Beatles. Of course, this is merely a partial list.
Even in small towns in Ohio, he's driven otherwise honest citizens into lives of crime. What did we ever do before he made himself available as the Nation's permanent perp?
Mike Bates is the author of Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths. This essay originally appeared in the February 9, 2006 Oak Lawn Reporter.
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