Monday, November 1, 2004
Lucky George - What Ashley Doesn't Know
Lucky George - What Ashley Doesn't Know
By Jack MacMillan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 30 October 2004
George Bush forfeited this election when he openly declared the
war, the recession, and the deaths on 9/11 to be his lucky trifecta,
joking on fourteen occasions about the good fortune those tragedies had
brought to him and his wealthy supporters.
The evidence? His own words, published on the White House website.
Two speech transcripts there show Budget Director Mitch Daniels
reporting that shortly after 9/11, while discussing the recession, the
war, and 9/11, Bush turned to him and said, "Lucky me! I hit the
A trifecta, of course, is racetrack jargon for the big payoff you
get for picking three winners.
After 9/11 Bush took his trifecta joke on the road, using it as a
laugh line at thirteen Republican fundraising events in the winter and
spring of 2002. You can find all thirteen speech transcripts on the
White House website. Just search "trifecta."
So why did Bush think his audiences would find the recession, the
war, and 9/11 so funny? The answer lies in his tax agenda. In the
summer of 2001, rising federal deficits caused pressure to rescind the
tax cuts. Wealthy contributors were worried. The trifecta joke
Bush had promised to never run a deficit, he said, unless "we had
a war, or a national emergency, or a recession." Now, to their relief,
he would be free to fund the tax cuts with borrowed funds (i.e. our
children and grandchildren's future burden, akin to asking your
children to pay for and go hungry while you give away the family's food
money to your wealthy friends).
That's why the White House transcripts always show the strange
notation (Laughter) whenever he lists the three events that others read
as tragedy. They knew the punch line in advance. "Never did I dream
we'd get the trifecta. (Laughter.)"
For four months he repeated the joke to more than a dozen elite
audiences who laughed because they understood the equation. War,
recession, and national emergency excused the deficit. Deficit
financing made their tax cuts possible. Good luck for all. Funny to
Bush's shockingly egoistic response to 9/11 cannot be dismissed as
"old news" when his chief political strategist Karl Rove begins the
final weekend of the 2004 campaign defending the use of 9/11 families
at a New Hampshire campaign rally by saying: "9/11 is one of the great
unifying moments, whether we like it or not, for America."
"Lucky me!" The president's own words establish a premeditated
intention to turn that unifying moment into a divisive campaign weapon.
Time and again Bush positioned himself beside the widows and children,
and even the coffins, of 9/11 victims. What will those families feel
when they discover how often he left their sides to joke about the
deaths of their loved ones?
You've probably seen the emotionally charged commercial with
George Bush hugging Ashley, a young woman who lost her mother on 9/11.
What will Ashley feel when she learns how often Bush laughed about the
event that took her mother's life? How do you feel about that?
In the first presidential debate Bush told of his efforts to
console the widow of a brave man who died in Iraq. Can she now trust
that those consoling words were offered in good faith?
Leadership depends on trust. Can we now trust the judgment of a
Commander-in-Chief whose first response to war was "Lucky me! I hit the
Bush has often insisted that the campaign is about character.
Please take him at his word. Go back and read the White House
transcripts. I don't believe that anyone, Republican or Democrat, can
read those tasteless jokes and see the frequent notations of laughter
without concluding, as Bush once said of 9/11, that "this changes
The research link above: with sites on topic.
REMARKS BY OMB DIRECTOR MITCH DANIELS - ... for war, recession, or emergency. As he said to me in mid-September, "Lucky me. I hit the trifecta.". And it is quite likely, now ...