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.


May 26, 2001

White House blamed for Senate debacle — Boston Herald
In politics, there’s always a fall guy, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card just may be that man for the GOP in the aftermath of the Jim Jeffords defection. Card reportedly led the Republican leadership’s campaign to lean on Jeffords to come back in line with party orthodoxy, and may have alienated Jeffords enough to drive him right into the arms of the Democrats.

The Ted Olson Files — American Prospect
Ted Olson’s confirmation as solicitor general squeaked through the Senate this week, but the controversy surrounding Olson isn’t about to die down anytime soon. A peek into a still-secret report about Olson’s relationship with Kenneth Starr’s chief witness, David Hale, may reveal just how much Olson knew about the GOP’s “Arkansas Project” — and, by extension, whether he testified truthfully about his role in the so-called “vast right-wing conspiracy” to bring down President Clinton.

May 25, 2001

McCain slams GOP over Jeffords departure — Senate.gov
In a press release following Jim Jeffords’ announcement that he is leaving the GOP, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lashed out at the Republican leadership’s attitude and tactics toward dissenting members: “Although we have lost our majority in the Senate, I do believe Senator Jeffords’ departure can have a positive impact on how our party responds to members who occasionally dissent from party orthodoxy. For his votes of conscience, he was unfairly targeted for abuse, usually anonymously, by short-sighted party operatives from their comfortable perches in K Street offices, and by some Republican members of Congress and their staff. Perhaps those self-appointed enforcers of party loyalty will learn to respect honorable differences among us, learn to disagree without resorting to personal threats, and recognize that we are a party large enough to accommodate something short of strict unanimity on the issues of the day.”

Jeffords is a product of Vermont politics — Guardian (UK)
Jim Jeffords’ move away from the Republican Party says less about the contentious nature of the US Senate than the shifting political climate of his home state, ventures the Guardian . “[W]hat is really changing is Vermont, whose politics are moving leftwards in that odd backwoods way that makes New England the least predictable of all US political regions.”

May 24, 2001

The potential defectors — Various
Sen. James Jeffords may have pulled the trigger first, but other senators on both sides of the aisle are teetering between party loyalty and defection. In particular, Georgia Democrat Zell Miller, who was rumored to be considering joining the GOP just a few weeks back, has started feeling the heat from GOP leaders who want to restore their majority. He has pledged not to make a move “at this time.” Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee is chafing at his party’s agenda, but says he won’t be switching… yet. Both men are likely to feel pressure from both parties to make a strategic move.

The quick-fix myth — Hartford Courant
Bush touts his tax cut as a magic solution for everything from flagging consumer confidence to the slowing economy. He even suggested that passing it quickly would put money in citizens’ pockets to help defray the rising cost of gasoline this summer. But taxpayers won’t see a penny of relief until autumn at the earliest — and most of the tax cut package will be phased in over the next 11 years. Hardly an overnight miracle, notes the Courant.

May 23, 2001

GOP donor fete raises eyebrows — Houston Chronicle
A reception for deep-pocketed GOP donors hosted by Vice President Dick Cheney Monday at the National Observatory (which is, we were surprised to learn, also Cheney’s official residence) has campaign-finance watchdogs seething. Observers are drawing comparisons to the Clinton Administration’s White House coffee klatches and Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers, which were then characterized by Republicans as improper use of federal property for fundraising. Golfer Ben Crenshaw, a big GOP donor, spent the night in the White House as Bush’s guest.

“Who’s next — Mother Jones?” — Salon
In his commencement speech Sunday at Notre Dame, a “shameless” President Bush quoted Dorothy Day, a prominent historical figure in the progressive Catholic movement, in order to burnish his “compassionate image,” reports Joan Walsh. The move was so cynical and cheap that Walsh asks, “Who’s next — Mother Jones?”

May 22, 2001

Bush’s former professor calls him a ‘spoiled brat’ — Japan Today
Yoshihiro Tsurumi, who was George W. Bush’s professor of macroeconomics and international business at Harvard’s Graduate School of Business in the 1970s, says his recollection of the future president was that he was a “spoiled brat,” “totally dependent on his father,” and “more conservative than his father.” Said Tsurumi, “It’s safe not to have a romantic illusion about President Bush” when it comes to his policy toward Japan and China. (Thanks to BuzzFlash for the tip.)

Bush’s Florida lawyers get cushy administration jobs — Slate
Controversial solicitor-general nominee Ted Olson is hardly the only lawyer from Bush’s Florida legal team who has — or may yet — get a plum job in the administration.

Administration to resist chemical weapons ban change — Guardian (UK)
The Bush Administration doesn’t yet seem to have met an international treaty it didn’t want to trash. This time, it’s the 1972 international ban on chemical and biological weapons. The administration is apparently preparing to scuttle a proposed amendment that would establish a protocol for verifying compliance.

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