The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.


Apr. 27, 2001

Bush meat — The Guardian (UK)
George Bush Sr., retired Gen Norman Schwarzkopf, and former Vice President Dan Quayle are members of the hunting group Safari Club International and are assisting that group’s efforts to persuade the government of Botswana to allow lift a ban on trophy hunting of endangered lions. The ban was instituted in February, when the pool of breeding males — the animals preferred by trophy hunters — dropped to dangerously low levels.

Texas trying to recover from Bush — Associated Press
Texas legislators are scrambling to “de-Bush” Texas, by plugging holes in the budget and undoing Bush-era policies. In the past few months, the state has suffered a serious budget shortfall credited to two massive Bush-era tax cuts the then-governor based on projections of budget surpluses that never materialized. The state has also banned new charter schools after years of a Bush-supported push for school privatization.

Scalia Jr. gets nod from Uncle George — Various
Justice Antonin (or Anthony to his good friend Dubya) Scalia led the charge for the US Supreme Court’s historic decision to halt vote recounts in Florida and effectively hand the presidency to George W. Bush. Now Scalia’s son Eugene is in line to be nominated by Bush to be the top lawyer for the Department of Labor. Eugene’s job in a law office where top Bush attorney Ted Olson is a partner was the source of conflict of interest allegations against his father at the time of the recount case; Scalia Sr. dismissed the allegations.

Apr. 26, 2001

Bush may not seek second term — Associated Press
Maybe he’s just teasing, but W seems to be indicating that he hasn’t decided whether to run again in 2004. “I’m doing everything I can to keep [my expectations] low,” he said.

Right of Reagan — Christian Science Monitor
When Bush was campaigning, he characterized himself as a “different kind of Republican.” Most assumed he meant more centrist, but in fact Bush “is governing as a conventional conservative whose ideology is to the right” of any GOP president in recent memory, says Al From. Bush has failed to challenge the ideology of his party’s far right on any issue, from taxes to Social Security to the environment.

Nuclear cloud around Energy nominee — Environmental News Service
Bush’s choice for Undersecretary of Energy, Robert Card, was until this week CEO of the firm charged with cleaning up the mothballed Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site in Colorado. While Card headed the firm, it racked up more than $725,000 in fines and penalites for worker safety, procurement, and other violations.

Whitman-blessed plant found to violate residents’ civil rights — Various
Back when she was still New Jersey’s governor, in March 2000, Christine Todd Whitman ceremonially broke ground at the site of a new cement plant in Camden, which was to bring jobs and other economic benefits to the area. Last week, a judge ordered the newly-completed plant shut down after the local, largely minority community complained that the New Jersey EPA violated their civil rights by not considering the environmental and health impacts of emissions from the plant.

Apr. 25, 2001

The GOP’s “Plan Wellstone” — The Capital Times
The Bush camp is reportedly putting together a high-level strategy coordinated by Bush, Dick Cheney, and White House pit bull Karl Rove to oust the populist and progressive Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., in the next election. Rove reportedly called Minnesota House Majority leader Tim Pawlenty just moments before Pawlenty was to announce his intent to run against Wellstone and asked him to step aside for Bush’s favored GOP candidate, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman.

GOP likes less government, except in school — Christian Science Monitor
Most GOP faithful wince at the idea of “big government” meddling in what they see as local issues — like public schools. But legislation now gelling in Congress would give Washington a much bigger role in evaluating public school performance, and George W. Bush is all for it.

Apr. 24, 2001

Bush “out of synch” on diplomacy — Taipei Times
Bush has enraged America’s allies by reneging on the Kyoto treaty and his own promises to reduce CO2 emissions, and by abandoning the fragile Korean peace efforts just as they were gaining ground. “Bush’s behavior,” says Ronald Meinardus, “seems to lead us away from a world in which disputes and conflicts are settled in negotiations and by dialogue, to a world in which military might and power once again take center stage.”

Bush’s poverty guru — The Observer (UK)
Myron Magnet of the Manhattan Institute has been a major force in shaping George W. Bush’s thinking on social issues, especially when it comes to policies for the poor. Magnet’s book, “The Dream and the Nightmare” not-so-subtly places the creation of the “persistent underclass” at the same moment in history as the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Magnet further blames the permissive ideals of the 60s for undermining society’s values: “We highly valued all the things that if you’re poor and you do them you’ll stay poor forever, like taking drugs, having children out of wedlock, dropping out and not being serious about work.”

100 days of destruction — League of Conservation Voters
“The opening months of the Bush administration have amounted to an environmental tug-of-war between aggressive special interests seeking to influence environmental policy and America’s interest in long-term public health and environmental protections,” says the League of Conservation Voters, which has compiled a downloadable “Citizen’s Guide” to Bush’s actions on the environment so far.

Apr. 23, 2001

Bush bombing with Brits — The Gallup Organization
A recent poll of Britons showed that 51 percent had an “unfavorable” view of George W. Bush, while just 26 percent held him in good esteem. Gallup compared the results to Americans’ view of the president, which when measured in early March showed that 63 percent viewed Bush favorably. Gallup also compared British and American views of former President Bill Clinton: 56 percent of Brits liked Clinton while just 39 percent of Americans viewed him favorably. (Thanks to Laurence Dang for the tip.)

A breeding ground for Bushies — The Oregonian
George W. Bush has tapped Frank Blake, a great friend of the energy industry, as his pick for the No. 2 spot in the Dept. of Energy. Blake belongs to a shadowy group called the Federalist Society, cofounded by his boss-to-be, Spencer Abraham, in 1982. “Considered a cerebral, if ineffectual, forum for conservative and libertarian lawyers, the society has been transformed into an unofficial placement office for the Bush administration,” notes the Portland paper. (Thanks to Blake for the tip.)

Bush’s 2004 opponent: Reich? — The Progressive
In an interview in the May 2000 issue of The Progressive, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich tells Ruth Coniff, “If there’s enough of a groundswell, I’ll run.”

The planned chaos of Florida — The Nation
John Latigua says the GOP intentionally used voter databases and faulty voting machines to disenfranchise likely democratic voters. “In all, some 200,000 Floridians were either not permitted to vote in the November 7 election on questionable or possibly illegal grounds, or saw their ballots discarded and not counted. A … disproportionate number were black.”

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