Andy Stone: What? Limbaugh says Bush is a liar?
I can’t believe it. I just heard it, but I still can’t believe it.Rush Limbaugh – the top dog among conservative talk-show hosts – just announced that President George W. Bush is a liar.Limbaugh told the millions of people who listen to his radio show that President Bush has been lying to the American people, to the United Nations and, in fact, to the entire world.Limbaugh said it loudly, clearly and – I have to point out – gleefully. When a liberal suggests that Bush is lying, the conservatives call that liberal a traitor for “undermining our president in a time of war.” But now it’s the arch-conservative calling the president a liar.Of course, I should note, Limbaugh thinks it was just wonderful that the president has been lying to the world.Here are the details: Last weekend, Ari Fleischer, Bush’s spokesman, said that Bush had declared that the only way Iraq could avoid war was total immediate disarmament and getting rid of Saddam Hussein.That, as Limbaugh explained, made everything perfectly clear. All the nonsense the president and his sidekicks have been spouting about going to war to enforce U.N. resolutions was exactly that: nonsense.This isn’t about U.N. resolutions – all the United Nations requires is disarmament. This is all about getting rid of Hussein.Remember, that was the first thing Bush talked about – “regime change.” Then he was persuaded to go to the United Nations, so he started talking about enforcing resolutions. More recently, he started talking about spreading democracy throughout the Middle East. He even talked about invading Iraq as a way to settle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.But he’s been lying. (And, bear in mind, it’s Rush Limbaugh pointing this out, not me.)Bush doesn’t care about U.N. resolutions. He doesn’t care about democracy for the Middle East. He just cares about one thing: getting rid of Saddam Hussein.Why he wants to do that is a separate matter. There’s no point in arguing about it right now. What’s clear is that he wants to do it, he desperately wants to do it – and he doesn’t care what lies he has to tell in order to get his way.Remember when a president telling a lie was a big deal?Let’s see, that was way back in … oh yeah, now I remember, the Clinton administration.Bill Clinton lied under oath and the Republican Party was determined to see him impeached for that grievous offense.George Bush lies in a major speech to the United Nations and in a series of speeches to the American people and, by golly, those same Republicans are hailing him as a hero.Bill Clinton lied about his sex life.George Bush is lying about launching a war.It kind of makes you nostalgic for Clinton, doesn’t it?Bill Clinton – sadly defective and thoroughly unpleasant human being that he may have been – was actually pretty honest about his politics. He just lied about his sex life.George Bush is probably completely honest about his sex life. But when it comes to politics … well, it isn’t so much that he lies – it’s more as if he has no idea that there actually is such a thing as the truth.It’s not as if this is the first time he’s lied to us.Remember, way back in the campaign, when he said that, when he was president, the United States would be a “humble” nation.Well, we’re certainly not being “humble” these days, are we? We’re on the verge of defying the United Nations, most of our allies and millions of people around the world who have demonstrated against the war.Bush also said, back in the 2000 campaign, that we shouldn’t indulge in “nation building” – and certainly not with U.S. troops.Now he’s talking about rebuilding not only Iraq, but the entire region. And doing it with the U.S. military.Now, you might argue that circumstances have changed since 9-11, and that’s certainly true. But changed circumstances don’t mean you change your core principals.When Bush was elected, he said we needed a tax cut because the economy was booming. When the economy immediately went into a swan dive, he said we still needed a tax cut – because the economy was so bad.Circumstances changed. Bush didn’t.But that was when it came to something as important as tax cuts.For trivial things like war and peace, the lives of millions, the fate of the world … when it comes to that stuff, our president will say whatever the heck he wants.Just as long as he gets his way.Just as long as he gets to declare war and throw Saddam Hussein out of Iraq.I’m not certain he really even knows why he wants to get rid of Hussein. He just does. He just really, really does … and he’s got the ball and he’s running toward the goal line and everybody on his team is screaming, “Go, George! Go!”And he’s finally going to be a real hero. He’s going to score the winning touchdown!Well, gosh, compared to that, what’s the truth?Nothing but a minor impediment.[Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. He, too, likes to get his way and lies when it is convenient. But he has never scored the winning touchdown. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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The past sneaks up on us in the strangest of ways, and I don’t mean bounty hunters flashing those “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters in our faces.