What Would Jesus Do 2K4? An Ethical Guide for George W. Bush in 2004
During the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush was asked to name his favorite philosopher. He memorably answered Jesus Christ, because “he changed my heart.”
Now in 2004, it’s time to ask Bush the obvious follow-up: what would Jesus do?
Given W’s well-publicized memory lapses (“What did I do in Alabama for a year in 1972-3? When did I last do coke?”), it might be helpful to offer him a WWJD primer. As the 2004 election battle with John Kerry heats up, the President can use these as a cheat sheet for guiding his ethical behavior going forward.
WWJD2K4: The Sequel
The Valerie Plame CIA Outing. No doubt, Jesus knows betrayal when he sees it. Your administration for reasons of pure vengeance and intimidation broke the law and put the life of Valerie Plame, a dedicated American, at risk. Your response on October 7, 2003: “I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. I don't have any idea.” Don’t be a coward. Say that this behavior is outrageous, that you’ll get to bottom of this, appoint an independent counsel, fire those responsible and most of all, apologize to Valerie Plame, her husband Joseph Wilson and the American people.
Enron, Ken Lay and Corporate Governance. Perhaps the most blatant lie of the Bush tenure was your January 17, 2002 denial that Enron’s Ken Lay was a close friend, a major contributor ($500,000 worth) and a confidant, and instead a supporter of Ann Richards. (Perrspectives detailed this affront previously in “The Smallness of King George”). Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple; you call them “Pioneers” and “Rangers.”
Harken Energy. Your 1990 insider deal while on the board of Harken Energy brought you $848,560. Martha Stewart is going to jail for less. It’s time for you to come clean. Harken attorneys warned you it was insider trading. You missed the SEC filing deadline. The key SEC personnel on your 1991 case, chairman Richard Breen and general counsel James Doty, are long-time Bush family friends and business associates from the law firm of Baker Botts. Even Jesus would go to jail for that.
WMD Claims and Iraqi Intelligence. Your primary justification for the war on Iraq is in a shambles. The Joseph Wilson report on Niger and the David Kay admission of the failure of the Iraq Survey Group show that not only did Iraq not possess or imminently have the capability to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction, but that your administration knew its claims were false. Your WMD panel, with its post-election March 2005 reporting deadline, shows your cowardice in airing the truth. You have the biblical story backwards. Jesus made the blind man see; you apparently want the American people deaf, dumb and blind.
The 9/11 Commission. While taking credit for leading the nation after 9/11 in your campaign advertisements, you’ve stonewalled the 9/11 Commission led by Republican Tom Keane from the beginning. You balked at its creation, withheld key materials and cooperation from witnesses like Condi Rice, cowered at the prospect of extending its May 27, 2004 deadline, and now are offering only an hour of your time to meet with selected committee members. Jesus didn’t postpone his day of reckoning; neither should you. And He had to answer to His father, too.
The Israeli/Palestinian Question. Unlike President Clinton, you refused to put your personal prestige and political capital on the line to solve the Middle East question. The result has been years of violence and thousands dead. One of the core, underlying causes of terrorism festers and you do nothing. Instead, you and your fundamentalist followers see this as prophecy fulfilled, that the Armageddon and mass death and conversion of the Jews described in Revelation is soon at hand. That’s no basis for foreign policy; Jesus will no doubt give you a heads up when he is Coming again.
The Occupation of Iraq. The Middle East wasn’t democratic in JC’s time, and it probably won’t be in the next couple of millennia, either. Ignore Paul Wolfowitz’ fantasies of regional democracy on Mohammed’s turf, and be happy to work for peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East.
Tax Reform and The Deficit. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Mr. President, this was not a green light for the richest 3,000 families in America to inherit everything else. End your policy of upward income redistribution by preserving the Dynasty Tax, dividend and capital gains taxes, and rolling back your shockingly irresponsible 2001-3 tax cuts. Your FY 2005 budget deficit is estimated at $521 billion and your State of the Union promise to halve the deficit by 2009 is sheer fantasy. All this for a bag of silver for you and your friends…
Social Security Privatization. Apparently, you also plan to go forward with your risky Social Security privatization scheme, without producing the $1.6 trillion needed to pay for the private savings accounts AND benefits to today’s retirees. That would be the second Immaculate Conception of your presidency. (The first, of course, created it in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Bush v Gore.)
Health Care and Medicare Reform. There are 43 million uninsured Americans. Matthew 4:23-24 tells of Jesus healing the sick in Galilee and Syria; it said nothing about the United States. And your 2003 Medicare reform, whose price tag jumped $120 billion in two months, is essentially designed to destroy the program it was supposed to enhance. Even the Romans were able to complete the aqueduct on time and under budget. And that was a government project!
The Secret Energy Plan. While your economic plans impoverish the human resources living on the earth’s surface, your secret energy plan will impoverish the natural resources below it. Vice President Cheney (whom The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has already suggested may be an agent of Satan) refuses to divulge the identities of his energy Sanhedrin. His friend and fellow duck hunter Justice Antonin Scalia will do whatever he can to maintain that shroud (no pun intended).
The Environment. It took God six days to build it. Apparently, you have a four-year timeline to destroy it. The withdrawal from Kyoto, the carbon dioxide reversal, the changing arsenic standards, the gutting of the Clean Air Act (not coincidentally titled “Clear Skies”), the “Healthy Forests” giveaway to the lumber industry, the blatant distortions on global warming it’s not a pretty picture. The WWJD advice: when even the Pentagon is warning of an environmental cataclysm, it is time for you to change course.
Same-Sex Marriage. We can’t be sure if you and your Skull and Bones buddies engaged in clandestine, drunken “brotherly love” sessions circa 1967. We can only suspect that your angry culture war against 10% of Americans is projection pure and simple. The Son of God would know for sure. So knock it off.
National Guard Service in Alabama. Everybody has that drunken episode or two where they have no memory of where they were or what they did one night. Short of a severe head injury, this does not apply to entire years. Whatever it is (Community service? AWOL? Internship as a Klan fundraiser?), just own up to the obvious holes in your National Guard service timeline. The truth will set you free. Or at least set the rest of us free.
Friday Afternoon Announcements. Speaking of National Guard records, stop making announcements of bad news (National Guard records release, Medicare budget overruns, etc.) on Friday. Everyone knows you know Saturday and Sunday are days of rest for the News Cycle.
Bush Fundraising. By all appearances, you are on track to raise $666 million for your reelection. Jesus to W: “don’t go there, girlfriend.”
You’ve no doubt seen Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” by now. When Jesus said in Luke 23:24, “forgive them; for they know not what they do,” he was NOT referring to you and your administration.
So the WWJD2K4 message is simple: repent. You’ll be able to sleep at night. And so will we.