Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Restructuring hands Bush more power

This is a parody of an article I read in my local newspaper today.

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush ordered a stunning overhaul of America’s political system on Monday in what he called an effort to unite the country against terrorism.

If enacted, as expected, the proposals would strengthen his already pervasive control over the legislative branch and regional governments.

Bush, meeting in special session with Cabinet members and regional government leaders, outlined what would be the most sweeping political restructuring -- and his most striking single step to consolidate power -- in America since its independence from Great Britain in 1776.

Critics immediately said it would violate the constitution and stifle what political opposition remains.

Under Bush’s proposals, which he said required only legislative approval and not constitutional amendments, the governors of the country's 50 states would no longer be elected by popular vote but rather by local legislatures -- and only after the president's nomination.

Seats in the lower house of congress, or The House of Representatives, would be elected entirely on national party slates, eliminating district races across the nation.

In the last mid term elections, those races accounted for all of the independents and liberals serving in The House.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that have shaken the country, Bush argued that the country needed a more unified political system.

His proposals on Monday, however, made it clear that for him, unity meant a consolidation of power in the executive branch.

Across the short spectrum of political opposition in today's America, reactions ranged from stunned disbelief to helpless anger.

John Kerry, the leader of the main opposition party, The Democrats, called the proposals "ill-conceived."

Ralph Nader, a liberal leader, said they represented "the elimination of the last links in a system of checks and balances."

Ted Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, said that rather than unifying Americans against terror, the proposals would simply disenfranchise them from politics and the state.

"All these measures," he said in a telephone interview, "mean we are headed toward a dictatorial form of government."

The electoral changes require the approval of congress, but because Bush’s Republican Party controls The House of Representatives, The Senate and is said to have The Supreme Court “on its side”, that is almost a foregone conclusion.

Nader said that although Bush’s proposals "contradict the letter and the spirit of the constitution," challenges to them would be futile.

"Unfortunately," he said, "with Republicans controlling all three branches of government, there are no checks and balances here in America in 2004.”

In the wrenching days since Saudis and other terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, Bush has appeared publicly only a handful of times, yet has never admitted the government's failures and weaknesses in fighting terrorism.

Until Monday, however, he had offered only the invasion of Iraq as a retaliation against the Saudi lead attack upon The United States. He has exhorted Americans to continue on with their everyday lives, especially spending their hard earned pay, but with a suspicious eye on those around them, including their neighbors.

In the years since The Supreme Court selected him as The American President in December of 2000, Bush has steadily consolidated political power in the executive branch, often by the sheer force of his will. His campaign style has taken away the power of the electorate to make sensible decisions.

He and Attorney General John Ashcroft have created THE PATRIOT ACT which grants more power and freedom to federal agencies to investigate American citizens, even without the citizens’ knowing that they are being investigated.

He also used Corporate America’s vast power over television and government resources, as well as his extensive personal popularity, to reward loyal governors and punish or push aside disloyal ones.

The proposals on Monday, however, went further than any of the other steps under Bush’s watch.

Bush has faced unusually pointed criticism from the public and in newspapers after the 1000th military death in Iraq this past week.

Appearing to bow to pressure, he agreed to a public inquiry into the attack, though one controlled by The Administration, whose members he appoints. From that, the 9/11 Commission was formed.

Bush proposed the unification of counterterrorism efforts in a single agency, citing the examples of "a whole number of countries which have been confronted with the terrorist threat."

This, of course, is one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Bush also called for banning "extremist organizations using religious, nationalistic and any other phraseology as cover" and toughen penalties for crimes committed by terrorists, even minor ones. He suggested putting this wording into the next phase of The PATRIOT ACT.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Please feel free to post a comment.

To friendship,
Michael