Friday, June 06, 2003

Lies, lies. It's all about the lies:

But for those social-con worrywarts, the world righted itself in the 2000 election. Clearly, Bush, with his it's-time-to-restore-honor-and-integrity-to-the-White-House schtick, won the backing of many voters who remained displeased--if not disgusted--by the Monica mess. Clinton did end up paying for his misbehavior. Well, actually, Al Gore did. But for conservatives, that was close enough.

Today the outrage gap is on the other foot. Bush has been misleading the public about critical elements of his presidency, and yet there has been no outcry. Sure, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been screaming about Bush's lies, as have a few other liberal pundits ( moi, included). The Democrats have taken a stab at branding him a deceiver. For awhile, they pushed the mantra, he says one thing, and does another. But that never took off. Bush's approval ratings remain in the mid-60s, not astronomically high, but higher than he deserves.

He has gotten away with much. He sold his original tax cuts package with several whopping lies. He asserted it would effectively stimulate the economy. Yet the White House noted that in the first year it would create 400,000 jobs--and cost about $200 billion. That's $500,000 a job. (Why not just hand out money?) My favorite lie was Bush's claim that 92 million Americans on average would receive $1100 due to his tax cuts. This was a phony number. Most middle-income earners could expect to get a couple hundred dollars from Bush's tax cuts. The average was only higher because wealthy taxpayers would be pocketing large amounts of so-called "tax relief." It was as if Bush had said that if nine unemployed people and one person earning $1,000,000 a year live on the same street, the average household income for the block is $100,000. That "average" would be of little use to the nine individuals out of work.