Time for your pee test, George | AspenTimes.com

Time for your pee test, George

Paul Andersen

They make high school football players take drug tests. They make government workers take drug tests. They make railroad engineers, bus drivers, airline pilots and factory workers take drug tests. So why not the president?”One thing’s for sure,” said my knowing friend Dave. “With Bush doing all that mountain biking, he’s probably smoking pot, too. Clearly, he’s living in an unreal world.”There’s nothing wrong with mountain biking, but when you are president of the United States and you are engaged in a war where people are dying every day because of your decisions, mountain biking is not where your energies should go.Now is simply not a good time for the commander-in-chief to take a month-long vacation, bouncing from his bucolic Texas ranch to the forest trails of Idaho. The president is evidently more concerned with recreation than reconciliation for the costly blunders of his administration.Bush seems to be heavily narcotized given his lackadaisical role in this volatile, often tragic, world. His recent speech about the devastation of Katrina was almost glib, and there’s got to be a chemical rationale for the “What, me worry?” Alfred E. Newman caricature presiding in the Oval Office.Consider the administration’s spin on Iraq. The Bush team claims that freedom and democracy are just around the corner, that the war is on a sound course. Meanwhile, the draft Iraq constitution is exacerbating divisions among warring factions that could spur a bloody civil war.While the Bush team basks in self-delusion, Sunni insurgents are gaining strength against the faltering American military, knowing full well that American troops lack the stomach for a prolonged fight. Our boys may win some of the battles, but not a protracted war.A buddy of mine who served in the U.S. infantry, walking point in the jungles of Vietnam, explains that guerilla warfare was so deeply motivated by the personal convictions of Vietcong troops that no measure of force was strong enough to defeat them. It’s the same in Iraq.The U.S. economy is another maelstrom for the Bush administration as it perpetuates our oil-based vulnerability. Because of a fatal lack of vision for energy independence and a shameless collusion with Big Oil profits, the Bush team has ransomed the average American for a barrel of crude.It was reported last week that the U.S. poverty rate rose in 2004 for the fourth year in a row, driven by increased poverty among poor whites. The so-called economic recovery of the Bush tax cuts has bypassed most Americans.”The economy looks pretty snappy from 30,000 feet,” commented Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, “but when you get down and look at how actual working families are doing, they’re falling behind year after year.”Smaller paychecks are being eaten up by soaring gas prices and health care costs, making for a steady drop in real income for struggling families. Still, Bush pedals blithely down Idaho’s trails during a four-week vacation that few Americans can even consider.And now comes an insane proposal to open our national parks to resource extraction, motorized recreational mayhem and a malicious lack of stewardship. It makes you wonder who is at the helm of national policy, and whether all these people are on acid.America is stumbling along like a drunken frat boy, bouncing from wall to wall in the corridor of short-sighted, narrow-minded inebriation. That’s why the president should have to pee in a cup as a safeguard against idiotic policies that promote global instability and national folly.My strong suspicion is that the Bush team has taken a few too many hits on Dubya’s bong. Either that or they’re still plumbing with lead pipes on Capitol Hill.Paul Andersen wonders if the Romans suspected Caligula. His column appears on Mondays.