View from Lodi, CA: Prolonged Bush Honeymoon Will End Soon

Two weeks ago, Bill Maher was a guest on CNN`s “Larry
King Live


Maher about the

cancellation of “Politically Incorrect
.” King wanted
to know if it were true that the White House leaned
heavily on ABC to dump the comic after Maher`s

statement that it was not the Al Queda
terrorists who were cowards, as stressed by President
Bush, but the U.S. government.


is that it takes courage—perverted and
misguided though it may be–to slam jumbo jets into
skyscrapers. Conversely, in Maher`s opinion, dropping
bombs on caves from thousands of feet above your target
is gutless.

Maher, no fan of politicians and a harsh critic of
President Bush, told King Bush is barking up the wrong
tree when he warns of the threat to the U.S. posed by

“the axis of evil.”
According to Maher, the “axis”
of marketing companies, the corporations they represent
and the politicians in their back pocket is America`s
most pressing threat.

I agree with Maher. The war on terrorism is a very
effective vote getting tool for Bush. A total cynic
might observe that Bush is milking the deaths of nearly
3,000 people for maximum political gain.

And since candor about the White House affiliation

does not translate into votes, we are
conspicuously not hearing much about that.

The big question is how much longer Bush`s
presidential honeymoon–traditionally a mere 100
days—will last.

We`ve heard that Bush`s high poll numbers reflect the
public`s support of how he handles terrorism. But is the
public paying attention or does it simply feel that it
is unpatriotic to challenge Bush?

More than six months have passed since Bush promised
that Osama bin Laden would be “brought to justice dead
or alive.” Today Bush, out of embarrassment, never
mentions bin Laden`s name.

Almost overnight, Saddam Hussein has become our main
target. According to Defense Secretary

Donald Rumsfeld,
bin Laden has vanished.

Evidence mounts that the White House and key


. officials were

asleep at the switch
just before 9/11.

Egypt`s President Hosni Mubarak

the latest indictment. Mubarak revealed
that when a secret agent recruited by Egypt infiltrated
Al Queda, he learned that a major attack against the
U.S. was imminent.

Although Egyptian intelligence didn`t have the
particulars, the information gathered was passed along
to the appropriate American officials. “We informed them
about everything,” said Mubarak.

But no one paid heed.

On June 4,

Congressional hearings
began to determine just who
knew what and when it was known. Finger-pointing between
the FBI and the CIA continues.

Americans are having a hard time determining whether
or not the attacks might have been prevented based on
the available bits and pieces of information. But one
thing is certain: we`d feel better if we knew that the
agencies jumped right on the few clues they had.

As the questions about 9/11 become more pointed and
harder for the administration to wiggle out of, things
are heating up over Enron, too.

Under heavy pressure from Congressional Democrats,
the White House is slowly releasing facts about Enron`s
access to the administration.

What is known is that Enron and its employees donated
more than $1 million to the Bush campaign, the Bush
inaugural ball and the Republican Party.

Bush aides used the Enron jet during the summer
election campaign and the post-election chaos in

Former Enron C.E.O. Kenneth Lay rarely missed a White
House function: the inaugural ball, the Easter egg hunt,
T-ball games.

Lay was more interested in lobbying for favors that
might save Enron from bankruptcy than he was in the
outcome of T-ball games. Enron`s generosity to the Bush
campaign put Lay in an excellent position to cash in.

Vice-President Dick Cheney remains an enigma in the
Enron affair. His steadfast refusal to turn over

of his energy task force contacts creates
more suspicion about the Enron-White House relationship.
In a different political climate, people would be
calling for Cheney`s head.

Enron and 9/11 are adding up to trouble for Bush.

The war on terrorism is floundering. In a

recent speech
, Bush

, “We`ve got to do a better job on our borders,
understanding who`s coming into the country and who`s
leaving and why they`re here and why they haven`t left.”

As always, talk is cheap.

By September 11, 2002 Bush`s approval rating will be
below 50% and dropping. The closer we get to November
2004, the more challenging Bush`s re-election prospects

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the

Lodi News-Sentinel