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The Fall of the House of Bush

by Deborah Leavy Sunday, May. 28, 2006 at 5:20 AM

Hubris, meaning pride or arrogance, is a very human flaw. Bush wanted a war with Iraq more than he wanted to catch Osama and thought he could manipulate the American people into confusing the two and supporting a war under false pretenses.

Deborah Leavy: 'The fall of the House of Bush'

Posted on Tuesday, May 23 @ 09:59:30 EDT

This article has been read 6060 times.


Deborah Leavy, Centre Daily Times

HUBRIS, meaning pride or arrogance, is a very human flaw that in Greek mythology often led to tragedy.

Daedalus, flying with wings of feathers and wax, thought he could go up to see the heavens, but the wings melted when he flew too close to the sun, and he plunged into the sea. When Arachne boasted that she was just as good a weaver as Athena, the goddess turned her into a spider.

Pride goeth before a fall. It is one of the seven deadly sins. You'd think people would learn, but it gets 'em every time.

Too much pride has been a theme of the Bush administration. After capturing the presidency by judicial decree, they governed as if they had a mandate, running roughshod over those who disagreed with them.

Winning the second time by a clear but narrow margin, Bush declared, "I've got some political capital, and I'm going to spend it."

Spend it he did, and now there's almost nothing left.

The arrogance is mind-boggling. Bush has taken unprecedented powers for himself, using the war on terror to justify his imperium. The tyrant is the child of Pride, said Socrates, and we are coming much too close to tyranny.

Bush thinks he can ignore the law by keeping secrets from Congress. That he can change laws passed by Congress by issuing contrary signing statements. That he can trample the Constitution and amass detailed data on more than 200 million Americans who aren't suspected of any crime. And that he can claim he's just doing it to fight the terrorists, while he leaves the ports unguarded - and that we will believe him. Such hubris!

Bush wanted a war with Iraq more than he wanted to catch Osama bin Laden, and thought he could manipulate the American people into confusing the two and supporting a war under false pretenses. His secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was confident he could fight the war on the cheap with not enough soldiers to secure the peace and not enough body armor to secure the soldiers. When it didn't work out, he shrugged and said too bad, "You fight with the army you have."

They fooled some of the people, but the majority are now disillusioned. People see lives and money squandered in a war that has recruited more terrorists and made America and the world less safe.

Vice President Cheney thought he could meet in secret with oil executives to set energy policy, and that nobody would remember when gas prices went over a gallon. He thought he could embarrass Joseph Wilson by arranging to out Wilson's wife Valerie Plame as a CIA agent without anyone knowing he did it, but Cheney aide Scooter Libby has been indicted and the vice president's handwritten notes show him to be deeply involved.

Bush thought he could ignore the cries for affordable health care while deductibles and co-pays for Medicare and Medicaid went up. He thought he could cater to the needs of drug and insurance companies instead of the needs of ordinary Americans.

But people still need relief from high medical and insurance costs and the number of uninsured has climbed, while Bush's poll numbers - like Daedalus - have plunged.

Bush tried to dismantle Social Security and failed.

He called his initiatives "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests," but let polluters off the hook and lumber companies cut trees on federal land. He callously replaced federal dollars for education with federal rules and unfunded mandates, and left states and schools without the money to implement the new requirements.

He thought he could cut taxes for the rich and leave a ballooning deficit for our children and grandchildren to pay, without people catching on. He thought Karl Rove could sell it all to us, like snake oil, but now Rove may be indicted and Republicans running for reelection are running the other way from the president, who has one of the lowest approval ratings - 29 percent! - of any president ever.

Some of us believed all along that Bush would be a terrible president. We feared for civil liberties, our health and security, the environment and the progress we've made as a nation in so many areas.

Now most Americans, including many who voted for Bush, don't like the direction the country has been going in.

We won't say we told you so. That would be hubris, and it could lead to another tragedy - like Democrats losing the next election.

Deborah Leavy is a public policy consultant. E-mail her at

Source: Centre Daily Times

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