QUESTIONABLE JUDGMENT

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Oct 112005
 
Authors: Tim Waddingham

In more than five years as president, the American people have seen George Bush exercise questionable judgments time and time again.

In fact, "questionable" is being very nice. Bush's decision making in his appointments has been just as successful as his decision making in handling the war in Iraq, and we all know how that is going.

Sadly, President Bush has developed a reputation for appointing inexperienced and highly ineffective people into office. As I'm sure you all know, we learned this the hard way with former FEMA director Michael Brown. With such startling accomplishments as head of the Arabian Horse Association, Brown proved to be just as incapable and incompetent of directing FEMA as the president who appointed him is of running this country.

But the American people shouldn't be surprised. We should have seen this coming way back in 2000 when Bush chose Cheney to become his vice presidential running mate. When Bush was searching for a running mate, he hired Cheney to look around and find the best person for the job.

After many long hours of researching all possible candidates from coast-to-coast (catch the sarcasm?), Cheney could not find anyone better suited for the job other than himself; not Sen. John McCain, nor any other respected Republican, but himself. So Bush decided to choose Cheney as his vice presidential running mate, based on Cheney's suggestion. Well thought out, George.

Another one of Bush's asinine decisions was to appoint John Bolton as the United Nations (U.N.) ambassador when Congress was in recess. Described as an abrasive bully who sought to remove people who got in his way, John Bolton said the following about the U.N. in response to Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, "There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States" (The Observer).

Interesting.

So the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is someone who believes the U.N. doesn't exist, or, as this next quote from Bolton suggests, someone who wishes that it didn't exist, "Nothing more should be paid to the U.N. system" (thinkprogess.org). And shockingly, conservatives still support Bush's decision to appoint Bolton. Unbelievable.

As bad as these appointments have been, the one that takes the cake has got to be John Ashcroft. In 2000, Ashcroft lost his re-election bid for senator of Missouri to a dead guy. Yes, you read that correct. John Ashcroft lost his Senate seat to former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash three weeks before the election.

Since it was so close to the election Carnahan's name remained on the ballot, and he defeated Ashcroft – from the grave. So what does President Bush do? He appoints John Ashcroft, a man who was incapable of beating a dead guy in an election, to Attorney General of the United States. Nice.

President Bush's latest decision was to nominate Harriet Miers to fill the final vacancy on the Supreme Court. In case you're unaware, Miers, or whoever is appointed to fill the final spot on the Supreme Court, will be the swing vote on many major issues.

Because of the importance and magnitude of this situation, you would like to believe that Bush would nominate someone with lots of experience as a judge. After all, he wouldn't want to appoint an inexperienced person to a crucial office AGAIN, would he? Well, yes, he would.

Although Harriet Miers does have a legal background as a lawyer, she has never been a judge before in her life. And now she will be the one person in the country who makes the decision for all of us on extremely crucial decisions such as abortion and civil liberties.

Truth be told, no one really knows much about Harriet Miers, myself included. What we do know is that she was a successful lawyer, but so was Johnny Cochran. Aside from her inexperience, she was also President Bush's personal lawyer. Apparently this is enough qualification to become the swing vote on the Supreme Court.

Who knows, maybe years from now we'll all be looking back on what a great decision this was for Bush to nominate Harriet Miers. But given the history of Bush's appointments, I have a hard time believing this one will be any different.

Tim Waddingham is a senior double majoring in political science and speech communication. His column runs every Wednesday.

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