As the newspaper says, "When the story of our time is written by future historians, there will be but one question asked: When confronted with the malevolence and mendacity of the Bush administration, how did the people in positions to do something about it react? Does Vermont want to go down in the history books as standing up to the worst president ever? We, the people of Vermont, have the chance to affect the outcome of this story. We must seize this opportunity."
That's why I wrote my latest book, Born to Cheat, to lay out the heavily-documented case in gory details why Bush is the worst president in U.S. history, and the people around him egging him on, namely Cheney and Rove, are just as big cheaters, liars and thieves as he is. If we aren't allowed to lay out the case in court or in Congress, we must do so in the court of public opinion.
My book also gives clues as to why Bush, Cheney and Rove commit such deceit to this day by showing how it has been a pattern throughout their lives beginning in their youth, and no one held them accountable then as now. As the title suggests, Bush would cheat in sandlot baseball games as a kid in Texas. Someone who was there told me he wasn't tough enough to be a playground bully he was more like a control freak. When his team got behind and was about to lose, he would suddenly change the rules to give his team a better chance to win. It was like, "Okay, now we're playing to 15 instead of 10, and y'all have to bat left-handed." Sound familiar?
Some of this win-at-all-cost mentality was not Bush's fault he had it ingrained in him by his parents, especially Barbara Bush, who sometimes would keep the poor boy inside drilling his mind with math flash cards while his friends got to play outside. Can you imagine spending an afternoon wanting to be outside with your friends and having Barbara Bush yell at you, "No, Georgie! Two plus five is seven, not eight, you idiot!" That kind of torture would damage a lot of boys and might help explain why Bush later tortured frogs and signed executive statements approving of the torture of detainees in Iraq.
Bush's dad helped by always looking the other way when Bush broke the rules and even aiding his cause in some cases, such as when he appointed a friend to head the SEC after Bush made illegal stock trades. Bush knew he couldn't really measure up to his dad's athletic and academic success so he took the shortcut to try to get his father's approval.
Rove, meanwhile, had parents who were probably even more screwed up than Bush's. His father left the family when he was young and had little to do with Rove, in another case of hypocritical Republican family values. His stepfather turned out to be gay, and for some cruel reason, chose Christmas Day to tell them and leave. His mother gave up and committed suicide shortly thereafter. And Rove has been trying to take it out on the entire country ever since.
Cheney had fewer excuses than Bush and Rove I still don't get why he is such an evil a**hole. His father was even a Democrat who worked for the federal government as a soil conservation agent. Following high school, Cheney attended Yale University, but he cheated his chance at an Ivy League education, skipping class to drink and play cards, reportedly flunking out twice after failing grades. Cheney was more interested in water balloon fights, even attracting a visit from campus police due to his hoard of water balloons in his bedroom. Hoarding water balloons was against Yale dormitory rules, after all.
In 1972, as the Watergate break-in story broke, these men engaged in all kinds of deceit. Bush coordinated the campaign of an Alabama Republican Senate candidate. Among his acts was to distribute campaign materials that included a "doctored tape" of a radio debate that distorted the Democratic senator's position on bussing, making him look like he favored bussing.
Rove had been doing worse for a few years by then. In 1970, Rove posed as a supporter of Alan Dixon, a Democratic candidate for state treasurer in Illinois, and stole stationary from the campaign. He then created a flier that lied about offering free beer, food and women at Dixon's campaign opening event on the official stationary and distributed thousands of copies to homeless centers and similar places. Hundreds of the homeless showed up, effectively disrupting the event.
Rove spent the Watergate years in similar actions and even was paid by Republican organizations to lead seminars on college campuses, lecturing young Republicans on how to engage in dirty tricks of their own. You think all the phony fliers and dirty tricks in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 and other places were just coincidences? They were born during Rove's Watergate-era seminars.
Cheney was an actual Nixon aide during this time, and he somehow escaped indictment for his role in the scandals. Cheney became a Nixon aide by kissing the butt of Rumsfeld, who was then considered a more up-and-coming politician in Republican circles than Cheney, and engaging in a bit of espionage and burglary of his own.
After Nixon appointed Rumsfeld to lead the Office of Economic Opportunity and become a presidential assistant with a White House office in 1969, Cheney seized the day. As an aide to Wisconsin congressman Bill Steiger, Cheney rifled through Steiger's papers to find a note from Rumsfeld asking for advice in his new position. Cheney wrote a memo to Steiger on how to run a federal agency, and Steiger passed it on to Rumsfeld. A few weeks later, Rumsfeld offered Cheney a job as his special assistant.
During Watergate, Cheney and Rumsfeld publicly distanced themselves from Nixon, while secretly offering support. Rumsfeld offered to become a foot soldier to back Nixon. Cheney argued with colleagues that Watergate was merely a political ploy by Nixon's enemies.
Rumsfeld and Cheney then avoided Watergate fallout despite being key Nixon supporters and became big players in Gerald Ford's administration, with Rumsfeld chief of staff and Cheney deputy chief of staff. They "staged a palace coup," according to a Rolling Stone article. They pushed Ford to fire Defense Secretary James Schlesinger and phase out Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger as national security adviser.
During Watergate, H.W. Bush headed the Republican National Committee and did everything he could to keep Watergate quiet. In 1973, Bush even came up with a phony plan to divert attention by accusing the late Carmine Bellino, a committee investigator for the U.S. Senate committee investigating Watergate, of trying to bug the hotel where Nixon stayed preparing for the 1960 debates with JFK. The investigation into that lie and dirty trick went on for more than two months, causing delays in the Watergate committee's proceedings. Bellino was eventually cleared, but not before Bush almost helped derail the Watergate investigation.