Proposal for a 2004 Campaign Theme

Picking up where AB left off with this post, here’s my proposal for the theme of the anti-Bush 2004 campaign:

Time after time, George Bush’s policies fail to work. The Bush presidency has been a complete failure.

You probably recognize this as an elaboration of Gephardt’s excellent “miserable failure” line from the Democratic debate in New Mexico. But the real fun comes with the specific examples you can play with. Here’s how to play: Simply take any of Bush’s policies, and then couch it in terms of how his policies have failed to do what he said they were intended to do.

Here is the beginning of a list of specific failures:

1. The job market: Bush has repeatedly said that his economic plan, consisting exclusively of tax cuts that go largely to the wealthy, would help the economy; it has not. The White House said that the 2001 tax cuts would create millions of new jobs “and provide a foundation for economy-wide recovery in 2002” – but nearly two years later, no improvement in the job market is evident, and jobs continue to disappear month after month. His economic plan to has utterly failed.

2. The budget: Bush promised that “he would not burden future generations with the nation’s pressing domestic problems.” He has failed, and instead will run up record deficits not just now, but as far as the eye can see. Bush has repeatedly talked of the need to “restrain government spending.” Yet government spending during the Bush administration – with the help of a Republican Congress – has risen at a faster pace than any time since the 1960s. His management of the US budget has been an abject failure.

3. Osama bin Laden: On Sept. 13, 2001, George Bush said “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him!” After two years of somewhat distracted searching, he has failed to find him.

4. Afghanistan: Bush vowed to eliminate al Qaeda and the Taliban, to create a “stable Afghanistan” that would no longer harbor terrorists, to relieve the country’s oppression by religious fundamentalists, and to “eradicate narco-trafficking out of Afghanistan.” But both al Qaeda and the Taliban are still alive and well, Afghanistan is not stable, religious oppression is still rampant, much of the country is still a safe-haven for terrorists, and the country has flooded world markets with cheap narcotics over the past two years. Another huge failure.

5. Iraq: You don’t need my help with this one.

6. Korea: Clinton had successfully gotten North Korea to cease its nuclear weapons program and allow UN inspectors into the country, and was on the verge of getting North Korea to give up its long-range missile program. Bush failed to finish the deal on long-range missiles, however, and North Korea now has a vibrant long-range missile program. Bush also tried to keep them from restarting their nuclear weapons program; he failed. Since then, he has tried to get them to give up their nuclear program. But North Korea continues developing nuclear weapons, is on the verge of testing one, and is more dangerous than ever before. His North Korea policy is a spectacular failure.

7. The Middle East: Bush tried to let the Israelis and Palestinians work out an agreement on their own. When that strategy failed, he tried to design a roadmap to peace, and hoped that the roadmap would work with minimal American intervention. But the cycle of violence seems to get continually worse rather than better. Yet another Bush failure.

8. Political discourse: Bush promised to be a uniter, not a divider, and to change the tone of politics in Washington. However, he has failed (I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise), and US politics are more divisive and partisan than they have ever been in recent history.

9. Add your own favorite examples! It’s fun for the whole family!