As a senior at Yale, I’m surrounded by people applying for jobs or graduate schools. In our interviews, we strive to present ourselves in the best way possible, and we trust that we will be judged on our records as students, workers and people. On Nov. 2, We the People of the United States will make a decision as the employer for a very important job: the office of the president. In deciding whom to vote for, we should cast blind partisanship aside and choose as logically and carefully as employers around the country choose their employees. Just as they will seek employees who will best serve their interests, so should we review the resumes and interviews of the candidates based on our interests on issues such as the economy, Iraq, civil liberties, education and the environment. I’ve spent the past four years reviewing President Bush’s application, and I’ve come to what I think is the most logical conclusion. Consider this my anti-recommendation.
First I should clarify my perspective, and I challenge the 50 percent of Americans who will disagree with me to read beyond my next sentence. I am a Kerry supporter. I supported him months before he formally declared his candidacy, after hearing him speak eloquently and intelligently about the complicated problems in our country and in the world. Though he is sometimes too serious and sound-byte challenged, he has the experience and the honesty to turn this country around from the disastrous path we have taken with the current administration.
Over the last four years, Bush has presided over the only net loss of jobs in any administration since Herbert Hoover, losing over 2.2 million jobs. This supposedly fiscally conservative politician has turned a $281 billion surplus into a $521 billion deficit, with promise for even more debt. According to the Bush campaign, it was Clinton’s fault for handing over such a fantastic economy with a budget surplus, only increasing their chances for economic decline. By that reasoning, Bush is doing a good, compassionate job in keeping the economy generally down: His successor will have less of a chance to mess things up.
The Bush supporters among us would say that it is also Osama bin Laden’s fault for perpetrating the tragedies of Sept. 11. To be sure, those attacks had some ill effects on the economy. Not enough, however, to forget the deficit created by a tax cut for the rich, the generalized fear propagated by the Bush administration to stay in power, the excessive restriction on students and workers immigrating from abroad, or the favoritism for companies such as Halliburton and Enron. As the job interviewer or admissions committee that we must be, surely the economy cannot be one of Bush’s strengths.
Let us shift now to the president’s 19-month-old war in Iraq. When the entire world, including some of his most prominent advisors, was telling Bush that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that rushing into war would set off a powder keg that would burn for years, he relied on his faith and ideals. Steadfast, strong and in a terrible rush, he plunged the United States into the devastating war in which we find ourselves today.
How can we be surprised that inspections have conclusively shown that there are no weapons of mass destruction, when Hans Blix said so in 2002? More importantly, how can we be surprised that in a war, people die, atrocities are committed, and bombs don’t convince terrorists that the United States is good after all?
We know now what was on display for people to see in 2002: Invading Iraq practically single-handedly only helps to sharpen terrorists’ crosshairs on the United States. Almost two years into a devastating war, we have lost more than 1,000 soldiers, many of them my age or younger, and Iraq is arguably more dangerous than before. No matter how benevolent an invader tries to be, invaders will kill fathers, brothers, sisters and mothers, accidentally bomb innocents, and handle prisoners roughly. By not including other crucial allies in NATO and the United Nations, we have given an almost exclusively American face to the invaders, and a new generation of young terrorists can confirm “the U.S. is the devil” propaganda with their own experiences. On the other hand, we at least control Iraq’s oil, and prices are incredibly high. Oil companies are happy.
Scanning the rest of President Bush’s resume, we see underfunded education, attempts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and a renewed push to develop better nuclear weapons. We also notice that the government can now invade our privacy without a warrant, something prohibited since the Bill of Rights amended our Constitution. Oh yeah, and did we forget Star Wars? Not the movies, the missile defense program into which we sank billions and never heard from again. This president has failed his employers, the People, at almost every opportunity.
As an employer, I would not have invited Bush for an interview after seeing his resume. We gave him three debates, just to be sure. Though I should admit I hoped he wouldn’t perform well in the first debate, I was ashamed that my president would perform so badly. All the spin in the world could not convince me that this emperor’s new clothes really did exist in those debates. After the first interview, I would not have invited him back for a second round. Though he improved in the last two interviews, they were only confirmations of the first.
George W. Bush is a nice God-fearing guy, a common man who makes mistakes like the rest of us. When he doesn’t get annoyed at mildly tough questions or any kind of criticism, he’s sometimes funny and charming, and I may even admit that it would be fun to watch a football game or grab a burger with him. That is, after I fire him. On Nov. 2, I hope voters across the United States consider Bush for his performance and not for his spin, and learn from Donald Trump: Bush deserves a nice, quick, “You’re fired.” Hand motion included.
Rodrigo Cerda is a senior in Davenport College.