presents The Angry Liberal
October 21, 2002
Homeland Security Department: Let's Talk about Real Workplace Flexibility
by The Angry Liberal
Well, it looks like the homeland security bill is dead until at least after the election. Republicans are, of course, blaming Democrats for the bill's current plight. Never mind that a Democratic version of the bill could be passed today if Senate Republicans would stop blocking a vote on it. I will say that again: The Senate has a bill that could pass right now if the Republicans would stop blocking a vote on it. Despite this undisputed fact, both bozo-in-chief Bush and every Republican on the planet are blaming the Democrats for failing to pass legislation that they themselves are blocking. Welcome to Republican Reality.
The bill's key sticking point is whether the 170,000 members of the proposed Homeland Security Department will be afforded union protections. Bush insists that he simply cannot run a Homeland Security Department unless he has the freedom to fire lifelong government employees to make room for his unqualified friends and worthless relatives. In addition, how can Bush expect to cut taxes again for his rich supporters if he can't pay for it by eliminating health insurance for the Homeland Security Department? Union representation would just slow Bush down, making him justify this sort of arbitrary abuse before he could enact it. Dubya needs the ability to treat the employees of this department like cannon fodder in order to run a lean, mean Homeland Security machine. That's his position and he's sticking to it, even if it means there will be no department in the near future.
So Republicans maintain that a government agency staffed by union employees would hamstring the government, right? Let me tell you the story of a problem that has hamstrung the government in a way the Teamsters couldn't even imagine.
I don't think it's disputed by anybody that the United States is currently in the midst of a foreign policy nightmare. War with Iraq seems imminent. North Korea admits to possessing a secret nuclear weapons program. Al-Qaida appears to be preparing to strike again. With this in mind, I give you the foreign policy credentials of one George W. Bush, as recorded by USA Today less than three years ago:
WASHINGTON - In the latest of a series of foreign policy gaffes, Texas Gov. George W. Bush failed to name three out of four world leaders when he was hit with a pop foreign affairs quiz by a reporter Wednesday.
Andy Hiller, political correspondent with WHDH-TV in Boston, asked Bush to name the leaders of four current world hot spots: Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan.
Bush was able to give a partial response to just one: Taiwan.
''Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan?'' asked Hiller. He was inquiring about Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf, who seized control of the country on Oct. 12.
''Wait, wait, is this 50 questions?'' asked Bush.
Hiller replied: ''No, it's four questions of four leaders in four hot spots.''
Bush said: ''The new Pakistani general, he's just been elected - not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that's good news for the subcontinent.''
Kids, this foreign policy illiterate is our president. He is clearly not qualified to be in charge of a superpower during a period of peace and prosperity, let alone in the midst of a foreign policy crisis. Despite Bush's utter lack of competence on the world stage, Americans are powerless to remove or reassign him until 2004. Bush claims he needs flexibility to hire, fire and reassign Homeland Security Department workers for national security reasons, yet Americans cannot use the same rationale to remove the proposed department's leader. During this crisis, we can't reassign Bush to some department more in line with his qualifications, whatever those may be. We're stuck with an unqualified and incompetent employee to head up this crucial department until the next election. Why aren't any Republicans complaining about that little workplace problem? The most egregious and stifling union rules imaginable could not possibly hamstring the proposed Homeland Security Department as much as having it run by a foreign policy amateur like Bush.
If I were a Republican, I would lay a little low on the "hiring and firing according to ability and merit" rhetoric. A world that demanded that sort of fairness would see George W. Bush shoveling out stables somewhere on a Texas ranch.
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© 2002, The Angry Liberal
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