Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | May 07, 2003

Bush's $1 million 'political stunt'

Rep. Henry Waxman, one of those rare congressional Democrats with a pulse (along with Sen. Byrd), is demanding the administration account for the costs of Bush's stunt landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

The costs reportedly top $1 million, but for me, the biggest cost of the stunt was this:

The Democrats issued a news release headed 'shameless' in large red type that cited the 'nerve required to delay the return of 4,000 sailors to their families after 10 months at sea in order to stage (a) photo-op.'
That's right -- our troops, eager to see their families after a 10 month assignment, were required to spend an extra day at sea in order to accommodate Bush's campaign appearance.

The Navy's excuse? The ship made good time on its return trip and the sailors still got into port as previously scheduled, but I'm sure the sailors and their families would've loved to have seen each other a day sooner.

Too bad their needs were subjugated for Bush's reelection campaign needs.

Update: Speaking of Byrd, here's what he had to say on the Senate floor:

Presidential speeches are an important marker of any President's legacy. These are the tangible moments that history seizes upon and records for posterity.  For this reason, I was deeply troubled by both the content and the context of President Bush's remarks to the American people last week marking the end of the combat phase of the war in Iraq.  As I watched the President's fighter jet swoop down onto the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, I could not help but contrast the reported simple dignity of President Lincoln at Gettysburg with the flamboyant showmanship of President Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. 

President Bush's address to the American people announcing combat victory in Iraq deserved to be marked with solemnity, not extravagance; with gratitude to God, not self-congratulatory gestures.  American blood has been shed on foreign soil in defense of the President's policies.  This is not some made-for-TV backdrop for a campaign commercial.  This is real life, and real lives have been lost.  To me, it is an affront to the Americans killed or injured in Iraq for the President to exploit the trappings of war for the momentary spectacle of a speech. I do not begrudge his salute to America's warriors aboard the carrier Lincoln, for they have performed bravely and skillfully, as have their countrymen still in Iraq, but I do question the motives of a deskbound President who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech. [...]

War is not theater, and victory is not a campaign slogan. I join with the President and all Americans in expressing heartfelt thanks and gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their service to our country, and for the sacrifices that they have made on our behalf.  But on this point I differ with the President: I believe that our military forces deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and not used as stage props to embellish a presidential speech.

The whole speech is beautiful. Go read it.

Posted May 07, 2003 04:55 PM | Comments (89)


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