Credibility gulch

Some folks speculate that the mysterious bumps showing under the back of President Bush’s jacket during the first two debates were actually audio devices feeding debate lines to Bush. The White House says they were just big wrinkles.

Whatever the truth about Bush’s back, he needs more than audio prompting to sell his failed presidency to the voters. It’s clear the GOP knows this too, judging by the dirty tricks they’re pulling. Just this week in the battleground state of Nevada, employees of a a company called Voters Outreach of America, which has collected thousands of voter registrations in Las Vegas, said they personally witnessed company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats. In Reno the registrar has asked the FBI to investigate. The shady outfit has now moved its activities to Oregon and other states. Guess what? The company is funded by the Republican National Committee.

Why would the Bush team resort to such low-down tactics? Because their credibility gap is turning into a credibility gulch.

Take the Iraq war. Every rationale that Bush and Cheney have given us for this bloody adventure has turned out to be false. Instead of bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq, and making us safer, the disastrous war and occupation have ravaged Iraq, fueled terrorism, cost more than 1,100 American lives, and drained our Treasury. Meanwhile, Bush & Co. are assaulting our most basic rights and freedoms here at home.

Then there’s the economy. As our front-page story reports, while Bush prattles about an “ownership society,” Bushonomics has left working-class Americans out in the cold.

War, jobs, health care, environment, equality, democracy, even religion — you name it, this president and his top officials have lied about it.

Millions of ordinary Americans are on the move as never before, working days, nights and weekends to send this administration packing. Bush and Cheney are on the defensive. We are many, they are few. We can win!

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Bush on race, civil rights

Republican members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are agitated about a draft report on George W. Bush’s poor civil rights record. They are demanding the highly critical report get pulled from the Internet, although it was posted according to the bipartisan commission’s own rules.

The Republicans don’t want to give the surging “Dump Bush” movement more evidence of a failed presidency. Too late. This report spells out what millions of people already know from their own experience. “President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words,” it states.

The report charges Bush’s policies constitute a retreat from long-established civil rights promises. Voting rights, education, affirmative action, funding for civil rights enforcement, housing, environment, racial profiling and hate crimes are all areas where the administration comes up short.

Bush’s judicial appointments do “not support civil rights protections.” Looking down the road, the report warns, “The effect may be eventual weakening of civil rights laws.” A wake up call for voters, since the next administration will appoint two or three Supreme Court justices!

In the second debate, Bush showed his ignorance on the history of race and racism. Stating he wouldn’t appoint someone who would use personal opinion instead of constitutional interpretation, Bush referred to the Dred Scott decision, stating it was based on “personal opinion” that the Constitution allowed slavery. “The Constitution of the United States says we’re all — you know, it doesn’t say that,” Bush said. What ignorance! At the time of the Dred Scott decision the Constitution did allow slavery — the reason for the Civil War.

This editorial page has consistently listed reasons to dump Bush come Nov. 2. His woeful civil rights record is reason enough. There are real differences between the two candidates on this issue — giving all of us a reason to vote, a reason to hope and struggle for a better, more democratic future.