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.


June 23, 2001

The Army wants Enron — AP
New Army secretary Thomas White is pushing to allow private contractors to run utilities on military bases. “I see no reason whatsoever why the Army is in the energy business,” he told the Associated Press. White’s last job was as vice-chairman of Enron Power Corp., a leading candidate to take over such services. The Pentagon has already awarded Enron one contract and is considering its bids to run utilities at several other bases. White has yet to divest his $25 million in Enron stock. Moreover, Enron’s current CEO, Kenneth Lay, happens to be a personal friend of George W. and was one of the top three GOP contributors in the last election. (Thanks to Barbra Stickler for the tip.)

Your tax (savings) at work — Salon
House Democrats and a handful of Republicans almost blocked $30 million in funding for a mass mailing to 91 million Americans letting them know their tax rebate check is in the mail. The Congressional critics carped that the letter, which is supposed to resolve confusion over a detail in the tax break, is essentially Bush administration propaganda; it pointedly describes the tax cut as one which “the United States Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law.” New York Democratic Senator Chuck Shumer said the letter “sounds more like it came from Ed McMahon than President Bush.” But Republican Tom DeLay prodded six Republicans into changing their vote. (Thanks to Mark Chapman for the tip.)

June 22, 2001

See Dick fund-raise — Roll Call
Suddenly, post-Jim Jeffords, taking care of congressional Republicans is at the top of the White House’s agenda. A plan to raise funds for GOP campaign coffers is emerging, but strategists are keeping George W. Bush’s involvement in fundraising events to a minimum. Instead, reports Roll Call, “[t]he White House plans to send a number of surrogates out on the hustings to stand in for the President, including first lady Laura Bush and former President George Bush. Mrs. Bush will join the elder Bush, Vice President Cheney and several Cabinet-level officials in raising dollars and bolstering the morale of vulnerable GOP incumbents in both chambers.”

Bradley prepping for rerun? — Des Moines Register
Bill Bradley insists that his visit to Iowa this weekend has nothing to do with a potential 2004 presidential bid. But pundits are skeptical: Bradley has visited the state — which figures large in the primary season — once already this year, and his wife made a conspicuous swing through Iowa a few months back. Bradley lost badly to Al Gore in the Iowa caucuses last year, and said the state “rewards entrenched power.” He dropped out of the race shortly afterward.

June 21, 2001

Mining lobbyist tapped for Interior — Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Steven Griles, a longtime lobbyist for the National Mining Association, is in line to become Gale Norton’s right-hand man at the Department of the Interior. Griles served in the department in the Reagan administration, when he allowed the controversial 1986 sale of about 17,000 acres at $2.50 per acre under terms of the General Mining Law of 1872. Among those who defended Griles’ decision at the time was Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming. Groups working on the long-shot campaign to persuade the Senate to reject Griles’ nomination include Friends of the Earth, The Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund.

Democrats get ready for bench press — National Review
Senate Democrats are preparing a framework for evaluating George W. Bush’s nominees for federal judgeships, Bryan York reports — but Republicans suspect they are merely building a case for rejecting the nominees out of hand.

June 20, 2001

Oh good, another book about election 2000 — Various
This time, it’s the prolific Alan Dershowitz who has penned 288 pages entitled “Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000,” a book recounting — you guessed it. Dershowitz argues that the court’s majority let politics outweigh legal principles. The opus joins a glut of similar treatises, including Vincent Bugliosi’s “The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President,” “The Miami Herald Report: Democracy Held Hostage,” and “Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency,” by Jake Tapper. The other side of the argument is less well documented, but there’s always “At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election,” by Bill Sammon. For partisan sniping, you can’t beat the Amazon.com customer reviews on any of the above-mentioned titles.

The logic behind the rationale — Slate
President Bush is still trying to explain to allies abroad exactly why we need his missile shield, but he’s having a little trouble with his logic, says Robert Wright. The Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty is outdated, Bush has argued, because it is a remnant of the Cold War: “The new threats are threats based upon uncertainty. The threat is that somebody who hates freedom or hates America or hates our allies or hates Europe will try to blow us up.” Wait a minute, says Wright. Isn’t that exactly what we were worried about during the Cold War?

June 19, 2001

Dubya’s wandering eyes — Associated Press/New York Post
Bill Clinton’s persona has become synonymous with lecherous behavior and babe-ogling. Just last week, he was captured by The New York Post appreciating the finer things at a wedding. But the camera doesn’t lie; President Bush has his moments, too.

Bush stunned by size of US arsenal — Reuters
President Bush, who is pushing a complex, expensive missile shield to protect the US from nuclear attack, was reportedly unaware of the enormity of America’s own arsenal when he was first told. “`I had no idea we had so many weapons. What do we need them for?'” Bush said, an unnamed source tells Reuters.

Whack-a-Bush — Kookazoid
It isn’t PC, and it’ll probably piss off the Secret Police, er, Secret Service — which several months back investigated a kid who jokingly asked God to “smite” Dubya in a college newspaper editorial — but it was bound to pop up sooner or later: A chance to give the president a virtual black eye.