From Molly Ivins
But I like to remember the little things, those itty-bitty things that really made it special. Those touches of style. The je ne sais quoi of it all. Like choosing Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to announce his administration would oppose affirmative action in the University of Michigan case, calling it "divisive," "unfair" and "unconstitutional." Classy timing. Of course, Bush (Andover, Yale, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Harvard Business, three failed oil companies rescued by Daddy's friends, set up by Daddy's friends in baseball and given a huge cut for a tiny investment) never experienced affirmative action in his life. Made it all on his own, pulled himself up by his bootstraps -- black people can do it, too.
Timing is kind of a Bush specialty. In February 2001, the day a major earthquake hit the Northwest, Bush killed a federal program designed to help communities deal with the effects of natural disasters. Of course, Florida in an election year -- different story.
You probably don't remember the time he visited the Youth Opportunity Center, a job training site in Portland, Ore. Hailed it as a model, praised the center and its staff. A month later, he cut it out of the budget.
Here's one of my faves. In his big address of 2002, Bush said: "A good job should lead to security in retirement. I ask Congress to enact new safeguards for 401(k) and pension plans." The Bush plan allows companies to switch from traditional fixed-benefit plans to what's called cash-balance plans. It saves corporations millions a year -- in the case of large companies, as much as $100 million. Older workers can lose up to 50 percent of their pensions. The Bush rules not only permit the conversions, they also give cash-balance plans a tax advantage, as well as protection from age discrimination lawsuits. It's the perfect Bush plan: Corporations get to screw workers, and they get a tax break for it -- plus, nobody can sue.
Bait and switch is a constant Bush tactic. Right after 9-11, Bush went to Ground Zero and threw his arm around a firefighter and assured him and other rescue workers he was with them. It was the photo-op seen 'round the world and was endlessly memorialized at the Republican convention. Except in August 2002, Bush pocket-vetoed $150 million in emergency grants for first-responders. The New York firefighters never got their money.
My favorite mixed metaphor: "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom-shaped cloud."
I have so many other favorite moments -- hilarious promises like $15 billion for AIDS in Africa. Those amusing judicial nominations, so bad even the spineless Democrats finally had to filibuster. All the precious photo-ops with the little children of color just before he squashed some other program to help them. The time they threatened Turkey, our oldest democratic ally in the Middle East, with a military coup so we could bring democracy to Iraq.
It's been a ball. But I've had enough.