FRAMESHOP:FRAMESHOP: BUSH DEAF TO "VOICE OF THE COUNTRY"

BUSH DEFIES VOTERS: Despite the resounding "No!" to his Iraq policy in the 2006 elections, President Bush continues to openly defy the will of the American people. Following the 2004 general election, President Bush proud and said that the outcome...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 11/20/2006
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BUSH DEFIES VOTERS: Despite the resounding "No!" to his Iraq policy in the 2006 elections, President Bush continues to openly defy the will of the American people.

Following the 2004 general election, President Bush proud and said that the outcome of the vote meant that the people had evaluated his policy and endorsed it:

we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election. And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me, for which I'm grateful.

In other words, Bush told voters that the time to endorse or reject his Iraq policy was in an election, and since his party won the 2004 election, that meant that the Iraq policy would continue.

Fast forward two years.  The President's party lost the elections in 2006 and lost big.  So, does the President now say that he will change his Iraq policy because the voters rejected it?  Nope.  Instead, he says that he is waiting to "hear from a variety of sources" about Iraq before he makes a decision about changing his policy.

Interesting.  Win the election and that means everything stays the same--an endorsement.  Lose the election and that means--still waiting to hear all the information. 

Sure, President Bush fired Secretary Rumsfeld.  But when we actually listen to what Bush says, it is clear that he is completely and willfully ignoring the voice of the people following the 2006 elections.

This interview exchanged took place just a few days ago during Bush's visit to Indonesia:

Q Mr. President, you've talked about the dangers of leaving Iraq too soon, but you haven't talked about what risks might be involved in adding tens of thousands of troops to secure Baghdad, as Senator McCain has suggested. What are the downsides, if any, for that approach?

And I'd like to ask the President of Indonesia, what suggestions did you make to President Bush about his Iraq policy?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Terry, we haven't made up -- I haven't made any decisions about troop increases or troop decreases, and won't until I hear from a variety of sources, including our own United States military. As you know, General Pace, who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in the process of evaluating a lot of suggestions from the field and from people involved with the Central Command, as well as at the Pentagon. And they will be bringing forth the suggestions and recommendations to me here as quickly as possible.

But, so I haven't -- there's no need to comment on something that may not happen. But if it were to happen, I will tell you the upsides and downside.

In a nutshell, President Bush has not made up his mind about raising or lowering troop levels in Iraq, saying that he will not make up his mind until he hears from a variety of sources.

Notice anything missing from that statement?  Yep.  The voice of the country!!!    President Bush seems intent on hearing all the advice he gets from the military and his advisors, but he is deaf to the voice of the country.

It is amazing to watch this willful defiance of the American electorate unfold in bits and pieces from the President.  Following the election, President Bush fired Donald Rumsfeld, apparently signaling real change in his Iraq policy.  Then he talked about looking forward to the advice of the commission on Iraq headed by James Baker.  Watching all this unfold, the American people thought that their voices had finally been heard.  They voted to put an end to the Bush Iraq policy and the President was finally going to respond.

Then, while Americans waited for change on the Iraq policy, President Bush slipped away like a thief in the night.  A trip to Asia.  Why Asia?  Who knows.  A trip to Asia at this exact moment when the big issue on the mind of every American is Iraq seemed a little strange, but we all gave him some latitude.  It had been a rough week for the President. He deserved junket to Asia.

And there in Asia it started to happen--President Bush slowly started to turn against the will of the American people on Iraq.  Amidst the banter of press conferences in Asia that almost nobody is listening to--on the eve of Thanksgiving Holiday--President Bush began to talk about the Iraq policy as if the 2006 elections had never happened.

Did the 2006 elections happen?  We have a new Secretary of Defense, sure. But did anything else change?

Funny.  It actually seems that the war is about to get BIGGER rather than smaller.  Despite the fact that most Americans want our soldiers to come home from Iraq--and voted to express that choice--it seems that the Republican Party headed by President Bush, and helped by John  McCain,  are actually considering sending MORE TROOPS TO IRAQ.

That's right, America. 

You voted to reject President Bush's policy in Iraq.

You voted to end the American occupation of Iraq and bring our soldiers home.

In response to your vote, President Bush is going to continue his policy in Iraq.

In response to your vote, President Bush is going to increase the American occupation of Iraq.

President Bush is going to send more soldiers to Iraq.

Donald Rumsfeld is gone, but the Bush policy on Iraq remains unchanged.  And it is about to get worse.

What are we supposed to say in response to all this?  Are we supposed to sit quietly and wait for President Bush to make up his mind?  No. 

The President of the United States has already begun the campaign for the 2008 Presidency. He has already begun to slowly undermine the Democratic process in this country by spitting in the face of all those Americans who voted to end this failed policy in Iraq.

Words To Watch:  Hear, Listen To
Over the next few days, Americans should be very skeptical each time they hear the President say that he is waiting to "hear" more advice or "listen to" all the options that he has on Iraq.  These words are being used to give the President the appearance of thoughtful deliberation.  In fact, the President is not deliberating over anything.  He will not change his policy unless he is forced to do so.  In outright defiance and disrespect for the voters  of the 2006 midterm elections, President Bush will continue to do exactly as he was doing before--as if the election of 2006 never happened.

What can we say in response?  The answer is very simple:

President Bush is deaf to the voice of the country.

History buffs will recognize the phrase "voice of the country," as it comes from a very distinguished source.  In his first inaugural address (1789), President George Washington used the phrase to describe his feeling of obligation to the American people:

Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years: a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my Country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualification, could not but overwhelm with dispondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficencies.

Washington's phrase describes what he felt following an election by the American people.  When the American people vote, it is not a mere symbolic exercise.   That moment--that collective vote--comes together as the thunderous voice of the country and it speaks to those who are charged with listening. 

We should not be surprised that President Bush does not live up to the example of George Washington.  But we should not wait for Bush to start listening to the voice of the country either. 

Instead, we must make that voice heard right now.

Be Heard Now
In letters to editors.

In work conversations.

In email lists.

In blog posts.

In dinner table conversations.

In carpool discussions.

In the movie theater.

In the shopping mall.

In line at the bank.

Say out loud and to everyone that President Bush is deaf to the voice of the country.

Our vote

was our voice,

but President Bush

has

heard

nothing.

Be heard now.

©  2006 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2006, Frameshop

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