Magic Tricks: The Political Deceptions of the Bush Administration

What makes magic so fun is that at the moment the show starts many of us are willing to suspend disbelief. Naturally, we understand that there is a logical explanation as to how the trick is performed, but knowing the ins and outs of a magic trick is like knowing how a sausage is made; we’d know the details but we’d never enjoy the consumption of it as we once did. Great magicians truly believe in the tricks they are performing and understand that what makes a magic trick effective is the art of misdirection. A magician must direct the attention of the audience to one area while conjuring the effect unnoticed in another. Whether it is by slight of hand or introducing an assistant, the key of misdirection is to have the audience focus on something other than where the trick is manufactured.

Politicians understand these same principles when it comes to creating public policy and use them effectively to control the populous in such a way that many will not ask obvious questions as to the motivation behind those policies. The Bush administration is engaged in a political magic show where bills introduced to Congress act as the slight of hand while the real trick takes place in the form of Federal regulations.

The President of the United States has almost free reign to write or rewrite Federal regulations, and since these regulations are not subject to Congress approval, they generally go into effect with lower profile than they would if they were submitted in a bill to Congress.

While the media, Congress and the public at large are paying attention to debates on Stem Cell research, an Amendment to ban Gay marriage and preoccupation with the Iraq War and the War on Terrorism, the Bush administration is making changes that would normally come with severe opposition and would never cut the muster had Congress had a say in the matter. Knowing that, no scrutiny will result in the changes made to many obscure regulations. The Bush administration is rewarding corporations with regulation changes that are in direct opposition to the interest of the general public.

The classic misdirection that the administration uses when they do find themselves defending the regulation changes is that the free market is a better place to determine these regulations, or that the size and complexity of these regulations have outgrown the means for the public to pay for them. They will also use the competitive global market for American companies argument. Meaning that over-regulated companies will not be able to compete with companies in China or Mexico that are not burdened with regulations.

Now, that is easy to say and there is a valid argument to be made about some regulations, but no one will disagree that the EPA, FDA, OSHA and many of our labor laws meant to protect workers and the public take precedence over the interest of corporate profits. With that said, the administration’s primary motivation is to ease regulations that many industries, especially in the environment and labor arena, are directly related to the financial support that the Bush camp is getting from corporate America. The following is a list of regulation changes made in the past two years that help the corporate bottom line but will adversely impact the environment or workers.

- The administration, at the request of lumber and paper companies, gave federal Forest Service managers the right to approve logging in federal forests without the usual environmental reviews.

- The Mine Safety and Health Administration published a proposed new regulation that would dilute the rules intended to protect coal miners from black-lung disease.

- The Bush administration dropped a proposed rule that would have required hospitals to install facilities to protect workers against tuberculosis.

- The Department of Labor, responding to complaints from industry, dropped a rule that required employers to keep a record of employees' ergonomic injuries.

- The administration's 2004 budget proposed to cut 77 enforcement and related positions from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

- Last August the administration relaxed its clean-air rules by allowing thousands of corporations to upgrade their plants without having to install expensive pollution-control equipment.

The changes made are not in the best interest of the public, but the public is distracted with other issues and will not notice the changes until they are implemented and enforced. The Bush administration is not the first to use Federal regulations as a means to bypass Congress. However, this administration uses its power to an extent not seen in the past.

Their first trick was an illusionary one that turned Bush into a moderate Republican. Then came the “Three Card Molly” where they showed the WMD card and low and behold, the Queen of Heart was not where we thought it was. With these Federal regulation changes, the administration is engaged in a nicely conceived magic show whereby the trick is not performed for the audience, but played on it.

However, politics is the one arena where the audience has at least one trick up its sleeve. It’s called a vote. And in the 2006 Congressional election and in the 2008 Presidential election we can judge the show the Bush put on for two terms and determine if we want more of it. I’m waiting for the final curtain call for the magician currently residing in the White House so he can do a trick made famous by the Great Houdini – a disappearing act.


7 Responses to Magic Tricks: The Political Deceptions of the Bush Administration

  1. Cynthia Says:
    James this is excellent!!!

    These people have us so distracted we so many different things including ID that we are lost in a sea of deception..
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