In the 1979 movie, Being There, Peter Sellers plays a mentally-retarded gardener whose simple-minded platitudes about gardening, combined with behaviors learned from watching television, are so mistaken for homespun wisdom that he ends up being considered as a Presidential candidate.
Substitute brush cutting for gardening, and Neocon warnings about terrorism for television, and you pretty much have George W. Bush! Like Sellers’ character, Bush has the ability to live his life based on a few simple sayings that he applies to every situation. Among the simple life rules he appears to follow are:
• Jesus loves me and wants me to be rich
• Stand by those who say I’m great
• I’m the decider
• No taxes.
There are a few others, but certainly no more than his remaining countable digits (and probably even with his shoes on!)
Lately, the “No taxes” idea seems to be the one he’s applying to the SCHIP debate, as he staked out his most recent position:
"If they keep passing this legislation, I will keep vetoing it," Bush vowed, saying the latest version is even more expensive than the first, which he vetoed October 3.(snip)
"I'm going to use my veto pen to prevent" Congress from raising taxes, the president promised.He later enforced his desire to keep things simple, with the demand that Congress send him single-issue legislation:
"There are now reports that Congressional leaders may be considering combining the Veterans and Department of Defense appropriations bills, and then add a bloated labor, health and education spending bill to both of them," he said.At this point, the Democrats should use Bush’s expectation of simplicity to their advantage, by saying the following:
"Congress should pass each bill one at a time in a fiscally responsible manner," he said. Bush also urged Congress to send him a "clean defense appropriations bill and a war supplemental bill."
Look, if we can’t afford to provide the medical care necessary to keep kids healthy long enough to pay off the debt for the Iraq war, then we have no choice but to “pay as we go!” Then, they should chop up the elements of funding the war and send them to the President one by one, each with an associated tax that will cover the cost in a fiscally responsible manner that won’t burden the kids whose health care we can’t afford.
Send him legislation that includes the estimated cost for Haliburton, along with a “Halliburton Tax,” and another with the estimated cost for Blackwater, along with a “Blackwater Tax.” They should send him legislation approving funds for a phased troop withdrawal, without a tax (since removal of troops will spare future generations the cost of extended military activity, so they will have it to pay for health care) , but include another separate bill for any costs associated with an ongoing military presence in Iraq, along with a “War tax.”
Then, sit back and let Bush be the Decider!
(hat tip to Swopa for reminding me of one of my favorite movies right at the time I was looking for an opening for this post)