A treat for the rich to whom the government pays huge taxes is obviously a trick designed to kill the post-Clinton economy once and for all. Just in time to enhance Democratic presidential prospects in 2004, the Bush-controlled government yesterday released a witches' brew of transparent lies to the effect that the economy grew by 7.2 percent in the last quarter, the highest such increase in the nation's GDP since the last time a Clinton signed a book contract.
The numbers were disturbing in other ways. For one thing, it was a unilaterally achieved preemptive quarterly strike. Did Kofi Annan or Dominique de Villepin or the BBC or Joe Wilson and the government of Niger say it was okay for the U.S. to go it alone economically? Moreover, doesn't anyone in the Bush administration care that each time the United States becomes wealthier the result is growing worldwide resentment of the U.S. to the effect that the U.S. is left less secure?
As John François Kerry put it, the whole thing reeks of fraudulence.
"[Bush] promised he would go through the United Nations and honor the inspections process. He did not," Kerry said in a candidates' debate. Instead, Bush refused to allow U.N. inspectors into Fort Knox and the Treasury Department, and as a result the unilateral dollar is worth jillions more than the multilateral euro. Gen. Wesley Clark was even blunter, pointing a manicured finger at the man responsible for America's cash flow: "The buck rests with the commander in chief, right on George W. Bush's desk."
That would be the desk on which other things rested during the Clinton presidency, though let's not let our minds wander too far afield. As we were saying, Bush economic policies are destroying the fabric of our nation and shaking international stability. On top of that, they're turning Democrats into cynics and opportunists, the very people they thought they would never ever have to become.
There's the matter of their frequent presidential debates. At last check they've been holding two a week, if not three. In the public mind these are confused with Seinfeld reruns. Flip a channel and there's Jerry and Kramer munching on cereal in a show taped seven years ago. Flip the next channel and there's Johnnie or Howie or Dick acting like the soup Nazi toward the incumbent president. For all anyone knows and doesn't bother to confirm, these so-called debates are repeats from several months ago, an ice age in TV terms.
They're particularly noteworthy for their lack of star quality, which of course could change if the Democrats' Elaine -- Ms. Hillary -- finally stops playing hard to get and gets with the program. That means she announces, the nine little guys and bit players get written out of the script, and soon she has the show to herself, whereupon it's promptly canceled. What happened to Elaine post-Seinfeld will happen to Hillary post-Clinton. At least it will clear the air, which is what Ms. Hillary wants, fearing as she always does for air quality in Lower Manhattan.
The Clinton model never fails to survive in some form. The talk in Washington is that the unindicted final Clinton-era chief of staff John Podesta has launched a snazzy brand-new fabulously endowed Center for American Progress think tank and institute of higher learning in the nation's capital. But before he knows what positions his outfit will take, he and his associates will embark on a listening tour. After which they may announce that they're leaning toward the center, or maybe the left, or some finely calibrated mix of center-left, or center-left-right, if that's what it takes. Sounds terrifically exciting.
The Podesta institute has already announced its first genius awards, headed by Eric Alterman, a.k.a. as Paul Krugman without the economics degree. According to sources close to the White House press corps, Mr. Alterman is coming out with a book advancing a fresh thesis: President Bush is a liar.
We could have told him so ourselves. Just other day Mr. Bush made reference to a rowdy and drunken period in his pre-political life. The audience ate it up. Think they'd like him as much if he admitted to having been a normal, quiet, unprepossessing young man? Of course not. Besides, that's when EOW's like that Alterman character would really go after him -- you know, for not being the kind of happening guy who went to Woodstock.