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George Bush - Failed Christian, Failed CEO

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At his March 21st press conference President Bush admitted that the war in Iraq will continue as long as he is in office. Yet, before the invasion he thought that the occupation would be a cakewalk. Given his record, why do Americans believe anything that Dubya says? Why can't they see that he's a failure?

On March 21st, in response to the question, "Will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?" Bush replied, "That will be decided by future Presidents." Nonetheless, at this press conference, and in all his recent public statements about Iraq, Dubya expressed confidence in the progress of the occupation, "I believe we're going to succeed." Recent revelations about the planning for the invasion indicate that the President was similarly upbeat about the prospects for a rapid transition to a stable Iraq. A recent New York Times article indicated that Bush "envisioned" a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable" [and] predicted that it was 'unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.'"

Nonetheless, The most recent Gallup Poll indicates that 32 percent of Americans persist in the belief that George Bush has "a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq." In the Vietnam War, when public opinion turned against the war, it was not divided along Party lines. However, the Iraq war has become intensely partisan. If you are an independent or a Democrat, then you feel that Iraq is a mess and the President doesn't know what he's doing. If you are a Republican then you believe that Iraq will be fine and Bush is a stalwart leader.

Those of us who are not Republicans wonder how can one-third of the country be so out of it? What accounts for the fact that a delusion has such a persistent effect? The answer is that most Republicans daily repeat the same mantra over and over, "The President is a Christian; I shall ask no questions."

Whether the President actually is a Christian is controversial. Where I live, we judge people by what they do, rather than what they say. Judged by this conduct, Bush certainly isn't like the Christians I know. Whether they are "big C," bible-thumping, go to church several times a week Christians, or "little C," go to church on Easter, and think "Jesus was a good guy" Christians, they all believe in ethics like telling the truth and, at least once in a while, admitting a mistake. But there are a bunch of American Christians that believe the end of the world is coming soon, right after Bill O'Reilly goes off the air. Apparently, they are the same Christians who have absolute confidence in Dubya; that chant, "He's doin' a heckuva job."

The ones I can't understand are the non-Christian, conservative Republicans who pledge allegiance to Bush as their CEO. I must be missing something, because I keep expecting them to have more sense.

Dubya's carefully crafted image as America's "CEO President" ignores the reality that he has consistently been a failure as an executive. He's made dreadful mistake after mistake, but never learns from any of them. As an oilman, baseball executive, governor, and now as President, George Bush has been a figurehead executive, the public face of an enterprise where the real power lay somewhere else. His oil businesses were notable disasters, although he never suffered financially, as friends of the Bush family bailed him out. Because George W was buffered from reality throughout his adult life, he never had to come to grips with his failures. The lessons he didn't learn are painfully evident in the occupation of Iraq, where Bush has committed each of the classic CEO mistakes and hasn't recognized any of them.

George's first failure was invading Iraq without a plan for the occupation. Management 101 teaches that it is impossible for a CEO to have a realistic plan without taking into account time and budget constraints. Failed CEO Bush never absorbed this lesson and the Iraqi occupation has no limits. "We will set no timetable for withdrawal. A timetable will help the terrorists."

When their projects go disastrously off-course, CEOs find it difficult to pull the plug. Typically, they plead for more time; insist that they see the light at the end of the tunnel. President Bush claims, "The progress in the past year has been significant and we have a clear path forward." Beleaguered CEOS argue that to even talk of shutting down a project demoralizes those working on it. President Bush maintains, "It would send the wrong message to our troops who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve."

So it's one thing to excuse the ultra-Christians who support Dubya: they've got lemming mind. It's quite another thing to explain the economic conservatives who steadfastly defend the President: they're either blinded by greed or amazingly stupid.

Recently, those of us who oppose the Bush Administration have begun using the "F" word, 'fascist," to describe it. Certainly that fits. But there's another "F" word that also works: "failure." George W. Bush is a failure as a President. Whether you see him primarily as a Christian or as America's CEO, he's a failure.

Say it loud and say it proud: Gimme an "F". Gimme an "A"... What's that spell? F-A-I-L-U-R-E. That's the Bush legacy, failure.
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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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