The leftist punditocracy, convinced that when Ronald Reagan died he left Bonzo in charge, seem overjoyed to cackle that George W. Bush is now a lame duck, a political irrelevance who retains no power to do any more than hand over the keys to the White House wine cellar. (Or is it now a tap room?)
Presumably these are the same kind of folk who assume it’s safe to poke a rattlesnake in the head because it’s “almost dead.”
True enough, George Bush shares with every president since 1912 the dubious distinction of having allowed the welfare-police state to expand on his watch, further dimming our freedoms and with them the flickering promise of America. (Briefs will be accepted from those who wish to seek exemptions for Warren Gamaliel Harding and/or Calvin Coolidge.)
George W. Bush does retain the power to do at least one fine thing, however. And given that it might take awhile to gather up the list of names and check them over, I will take this quiet summer moment to urge him to put a few eager young barristers on the job right now:
There are tens of thousands of Americans serving time — lots more, if we count those on parole and probation — who are the non-violent victims of the fruitless and counterproductive “War on Drugs,” a racist political contrivance which has been ongoing for 70 years and continuing without a shred of constitutional authorization.
They should all be pardoned. Yes, especially the “dealers,” many of whom are sad sacks who got talked into trying to improve their financial condition by muling in “one big score.”
Bill Clinton, who was no stranger to drug use and well-heeled drug dealers, chose to use his power of the pardon largely to cut loose those who had done — or subsequently could do — Bill Clinton some financial good.
I don’t begrudge him that so much as I hold against him the men and women he left in prison — many of whom had done no more harm than the Man from Hope and his immediate associates — because they could not pay for the favor.
George Bush may not be a paragon of Christian virtue. (Jimmy Carter was, and he didn’t make that great a president, in part because he seemed — seems — to find it hard to acknowledge the badness of men.) But Mr. Bush is neither as bad a president, nor as bad a man, as America’s frustrated and increasingly rabid taxoholic collectivists pretend.
He could do this. Of course, it would lead to one final squawk of outrage from the nanny-staters, including cadres of ruthless drug prosecutors (many exhibiting levels of hypocrisy that put New York’s Elliott Spitzer to shame) sharpening up their “kill” record with an eye to higher political office.
Which, come to think of it, may be just the one additional reason the president needs.
— — —
“Teachers try to stop Angle tax cap petition,” read the Aug. 4 “Flash.”
“The state teachers union is challenging the legality of petitions turned in by Sharron Angle to cap property taxes in Nevada. … “
Hey, I’m always accused of being “too negative,” of being “against all these reasonable, sensible laws” our lawmakers are constantly crafting.
So for once, let’s support a new state law.
The Nevada Revised Statutes should be revised (once again), to stipulate that each year on the first day of classes, every unionized tax-funded schoolmarm should be required to tell the class: “I’m a member of the teachers union, and my union is in favor of higher property taxes. In fact, we’ve opposed every attempt to limit your parents’ taxes. We do this so my salary will go up, while your parents are left with less money to buy you food and clothing. Any questions?”
— — —
Vilma writes in from Jamaica, N.Y., responding to some recent pieces I’ve done on the Americans with Disabilities Act:
“How odd you should write on this topic, today. Hear me out.
“On Monday my partner and I sold a small coin laundry and route business. Suffice it to say we both took substantial losses. Energy costs being what they are, only the most modern, most efficient laundries can survive anymore. …
“So, on Wednesday I’m folding (praise God) my last towel, when in wanders one of our ex-crew, who took a walk as soon as they learned that the laundry was closing. Being rather tired after five hours of solitary folding, our conversation went something like this:
“Me: Betsy, you want to earn a quick $10? Start folding.
“She grabs a dryer full and starts to fold, to my great relief. (I was really, really tired).
“Me: So Betsy, what are you going to do now?
“Betsy: My disability kicks in the end of August.
“Me: Disability for what?
“Betsy: My back hurts, my knees hurt, my hands hurt. I don’t know. There was no problem. …
“Hell, my back, knees and hands also hurt after six years slinging 40-lb. bags of laundry around. But despite my loss on the laundry and a propensity to buy high and sell low, I am still no pauper, so I can’t get Medicaid. …
“Obviously, the welfare bureaucrats have huge incentive to give disability to as many people as they can to increase their client base and thus ensure their job security. Their best case scenario is that we are all disabled! …
“The only saving grace here is that under-the-radar businesses like laundries and non-franchise restaurants are exempt from all those stupid handicap rules because the local fuzz know that they will fold if they have to comply.
“What a mess, eh? I just keep wondering if the Maya had that Dec, 2012 date right.
“Live free or die. Or live free and die, of starvation. …”
I replied: Hi, Vilma —
On the first Monday of the month, the line at my local post office extends the length of the lobby.
Some time back, I asked my favorite clerk what the heck all these people were doing here.
“Oh, they’re here for their checks, Vin. The eagle has flown!”
“But I thought welfare was just for moms with young kids, now. I see a lot of able-bodied men in this line.”
“Oh, it’s not welfare, Vin. They’re all on disability.”
“Disability? I don’t see any crutches or wheelchairs.”
“Oh no, Vin,” she said with a smile, tapping her head meaningfully. “They’ve got a different kind of disability. Mental disability!”
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the novel “The Black Arrow.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/.