In analyzing the actions of this Bush White House, it is necessary to understand the underlying rationale that guides this President: do everything differently than my father did.

This is not done by W as a sign of parental disdain; quite to the contrary, it is a sign of his love and caring for his father. In fact, this George Bush has previously described his father’s 1992 defeat as “the worst year of our family’s life.”

Karl Rove and G.W. Bush – desperate not to have 2004 end up like 1992 – are using a Jerry Seinfeld episode as their ruling mantra: do the opposite. In that show, the always-failing George Costanza tries a new approach to women: he will ‘do the opposite’ of what he would have done. And do you know what? He suddenly ‘scores’ with the women who would have rejected him.

So this Bush is determined not to repeat the mistakes that he believes cost his father reelection:

A) Retreat from a firm promise. While ‘Dad’ backed away from his “Read My Lips” pledge not to raise taxes, this George Bush has remained steadfast in his tax-cutting determination.

B) Finishing Saddam off. The Bush Family somehow reviews the 1992 debacle – and subsequent attempted assassination attempt on G.H.W. Bush – and believes that if they had finished Saddam off in 1991, history would be different. Thus this Bush’s determination to ‘get’ Saddam this time.

C) ‘Own the right of the GOP.’ There is no Pat Buchanan able to garner 33% of the GOP primary vote in New Hampshire now. Indeed, Team Bush has very smartly kept the entire GOP together – and thus likely faces no primary opposition next year.

D) ‘Caring’ about the economy. In 1992, that President Bush – so preoccupied with foreign policy – earned the reputation of ‘not caring’ about the deteriorating economy. This turned out to be a deadly label from which he never escaped. Clinton capitalized on this seemingly callousness by invoking his internal motto, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That, plus the 21% of the vote siphoned off by Ross Perot, cost Bush I a second term.

OK, here we are just 20 months away from the next presidential election. How is G.W. Bush’s ‘do the opposite’ strategy working?

Not great, frankly.

Almost every day another Democratic candidate announces for president. Why? Because they see Bush as vulnerable next year.

And the economy is deteriorating – just at a time when it needs to start turning around in order for it to be humming along smartly next year.


He is toast because Bush can not allow those 200,000 troops to come home empty handed.

But the aftermath and the incredible spending to fight the war and to rebuild Iraq cannot help a limping economy recover.

Ironically, despite this Bush White House’s attempts not to repeat the mistakes of 1992, they are facing the very same problems the first Bush White House faced: a lousy economy following a war in the Middle East. And, like his father, this President Bush will be blamed for the weak economy in November 2004.

What does not exist – yet – is a new Perot to suck key votes away from Bush and enable the Democrats to win.



Yesterday it the NEW YORK TIMES it was announced that a rich group of liberals – led by Sheldon and Anita Drobny of Chicago, longtime backers of the Clintons and Al Gore – are donating $10 million to finance a “liberal talk show network” around the country.

Their purpose?

To counter what they see as the conservative slant of talk radio hosts around the nation and thus to alter the ‘political’ trend to the right in this country.

Guess what?

This will be a total flop.

Because these lefties just don’t get it.

For liberals there already is a liberal talk radio network. It is called National Public Radio.

For other talk radio listeners, the very last thing they want to hear is liberal ideas. And this is what liberals like Bill Clinton, who recently complained about the influence of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, and these Drobnys do not understand: the great majority of talk radio listeners are sick and tired of the basic liberal message of more government to solve our problems.

In fact, talk radio listeners are more discerning than average people. They are also better read, more knowledgeable and more interested in current events.

Liberals like the Clintons and the Drobnys have disdain for average people and believe Rush and Sean are ‘brainwashing’ their listeners into towing the GOP line. Nothing could be farther from the truth; these listeners are already conservative – and are ecstatic in a pop culture crammed with anti-Americanism to find someone with whom they agree.

No wonder the Clinton News Network (CNN) on TV has fallen in the ratings to Fox, which appeals to the very same audience as do most talk radio shows. CNN’s on-air bias and culture are out of synch with cable news viewers the very same way liberal talk radio host don’t ‘fit’ the basic talk radio audience.

The Drobnys and the Clintons think the problem is the ‘medium’ – when in fact their problem is their message. Big Government, a culture of lies, and an amoral personal approach to life encompasses today’s liberal point of view. And that simply won’t sell to the millions of patriotic Americans who use talk radio as a way to commune with like-minded citizens in a new form of national Town Hall.

Liberals – who have caused most of the problems we have in this country – now call themselves “progressives” because most people cringe at the thought of listening to more “liberals” and more “liberalism.” It is typical liberal/leftist thought to try to jam a talk radio network down the radio industry’s throat from the top down just the way they have jammed social and economic policy from Washington down to average Americans.

America – thank goodness – does not work that way. In radio, if a host can’t get good ratings, he/she is getting canned – period! Al Franken, an entertaining comedian, is going to have to earn an audience – not be given one by fiat.

So many liberals have tried – and all have failed. True, there are pockets of liberalism like New York City and Berkeley where a leftist can survive on the air. But to make such a host a national figure just is not going to happen.

What the Drobnys and Clintons need to do is simple: forget trying to hijack talk radio as a medium to infect with their failed message. Instead, they need to change their message first – and then see if there is an audience for it.


John LeBoutillier will be on CNN's TALK BACK LIVE for the full hour today, Friday Feb. 14th -- 3PM-4PM. Topics include the UN inspectors' report today.


1) Why is the Bush Administration so angry and surprised over the intractability of the United Nations – especially when Vice President last summer warned that inspections were a total “sham”? Why are they upset over the very ‘slow-as-molasses’ process they agreed to?

2) Why is using the UN and the art of ‘diplomacy’ acceptable when it comes to North Korea’s nuclear program and intercontinental missiles but unacceptable for dealing with Iraq?

3) Why does G.W. Bush believe Russian President Vladimir Putin – now on the record calling for more inspections in Iraq – has a ‘soul’ and is still a friend of the US yet bitterly condemns German Chancellor Schroeder and French President Chirac, who echo the same position on more inspections?

4) Why – after 9/11 and the unanimous world opinion in favor of American retaliation – did we not go after Iraq then?

5) Why is Iraq more of a threat today than 17 months ago? What has changed to suddenly make Iraq more of a threat than they were right after the 9/11 attacks?

6) Why do we not use ‘surgical strikes’ - now - with our satellite-guided bombs to neutralize each and every Iraqi military site, warehouse suspected of holding Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), weapons factories and underground bunkers? If the threat to us is so grave, why not neutralize that threat right away.

7) Why not ‘take out’ the Al Qaeda training site - now - in northeast Iraq like we did all the training camps inside Afghanistan?

8) Why – 12 years ago – did then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell immediately declare downed Navy pilot Michael Scott Speicher dead – even before any investigation had been done?

9) Why – in the ramp-up to this Iraqi conflict – did the Bush-Cheney-Powell team suddenly re-classify Speicher as a potential POW?

10) Why do we dangle ‘safe exile’ to Saddam and his henchmen – including keeping their ill-gotten plunder of Iraqi oil funds - when we have accused them of ‘crimes against humanity’ punishable by the World Court in the Hague?

11) Why is Saddam any different than Slobodan Milosovic or the other butchers now on trial for their lives there?


Why does the Bush Administration move up to 200,000 troops, five carriers and tons of equipment to the Middle East to capture or kill Saddam Hussein but no such effort has yet been made to capture or kill Osama bin Laden?

Why – after the fall of Afghanistan in late 2001 – has the Bush Administration dropped the capture or killing of Osama as its top priority?

Why has G.W. Bush dropped his “Wanted: Dead or Alive” statement?

Why has G.W. Bush not even mentioned Osama bin Laden since last July?

Why is the Bush Administration so obsessed with Saddam’s ‘regime change’ that they will now even resort to using Osama’s latest tape as proof of a ‘link’ between the two Mid-East madmen?

Why did the Bush Administration suddenly alter their policy of not playing Osama’s tapes in public for fear they contain coded instructions to sleeper cells?

Why does the Bush Administration refuse to declare war on our real enemy: fundamentalist Islam?

Why does the Bush Administration insist on linking Saddam to Osama – when Osama was clear in his disdain for Saddam’s ‘infidel’ regime?

Why are we obsessed with this looming war against Iraq – when the Orange Alert comes because of Al Qaeda threats?

Why did this administration go to such great lengths not to implicate Iraq in the 9/11 attacks – despite compelling evidence from the Czech intelligence service (BIS) – showing lead hijacker Mohammed Atta meeting in Prague with a top Iraqi intelligence agent?

Why is George Tenet – a former Democratic senatorial hack – still running the CIA after the massive intelligence failure known as 9/11? And why is he the only Clinton holdover still in the Bush senior hierarchy? Why are the two George Bushes – father and son – so in love with Clinton’s intelligence chief?

Why has some aspect of the US government protected Saddam as far back as the ending of the Gulf War in 1991? Why has this government element used leaks to try to prevent this administration from carrying out its stated goal of ‘regime change’?

Why has the US Government failed so miserably to solve the 2001 anthrax attacks? Why can Colin Powell brandish a small vial of simulated anthrax to scare the hell out of us but we still have no clue about who mailed out envelopes filled with spores to the media and US Senate?

Why should we believe one word our government tells us?


The pace of pre-war diplomatic activity – aimed at stopping the war – has noticeably increased since Secretary of State Colin Powell’s UN presentation last Wednesday.

1) The French-German idea – floated during the weekend – and apparently supported by Russia’s Vladimir Putin - is to flood Iraq with thousands of blue-helmeted UN peace-keeping troops in support of hundreds more UN inspectors. In other words, Saddam stays but is neutralized by a ‘peaceful’ UN invasion coupled with ongoing inspections for the next year or so. This instead of a massive – and violent - military invasion that would undoubtedly cause much bloodshed.

Analysis: Presented properly, most Americans might like this idea because, while it doesn’t remove Saddam, it does reduce his power, keeps the US from being the ‘bad guy’ in the eyes of the Muslim world and allows the United Nations to take the prominent role in ‘disarming’ Saddam.

Of course, under this plan Saddam survives. And that all is what he wants – and exactly what Bush does not want. Period.

The so-called allies – especially Russia, France and Germany – want to keep their influence, contracts and past ‘dirty deals’ with Saddam. This new plan allows that – and keeps the US from getting control of the lucrative Iraqi oil fields.

Look for more on this – or variations of such – beginning today with Putin’s arrival in Paris.

2) Waiting for the “Screaming Eagles.” The war is not going to begin – contrary to a million leaks and speculations – until the Army’s 101st arrives. And they haven’t even left yet. Shipping time for their more than 200 helicopters is three weeks – once they depart this week. Plus, at the other end, time to unpack and test the choppers and get everything into place. That means a month from now – at the earliest – for the war to begin. And that coincides with the various diplomatic dances inside the UN and NATO.

3) Hans Blix and Mohammed Elbaradei will make their report on Friday – Valentine’s Day. Prediction: it will have enough grains of optimism in it for many countries to ask for more time and thus stymie the Bush Administration’s call for a second UN resolution.

Lesson: Saddam only gives ground when faced with utter and complete destruction. The Bush Buildup has clearly frightened Saddam, thus this weekend’s concessions to Blix and Elbaradei.

But more pressure needs to be applied to really get Saddam to either disarm – or step aside.

The problem is that for Bush to apply that pressure effectively he needs Russia and France – longtime Saddam allies – to join in that pressure. And right now they are more against Bush than against Saddam.

The Bush Team needs to do something new to swing the momentum back to their side since this weekend’s flurry of diplomatic activity.

4) How many months has it been since President Bush first repeated his Iraq mantra, “It is a matter of weeks, not months”?


1) Secretary of State Colin Powell used a combination of intelligence yesterday at the UN: electronics intercepts, satellite photography and reports from defectors. He claimed that the intel proved “beyond a doubt” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But what is good for the goose is good for the gander. The very same combination has proven beyond a doubt for thirty years that we left behind US POW’s in Vietnam – and that they are still alive.

For example, our government has numerous radio intercepts – sounding very similar to the ones played yesterday at the UN – of Laotian and Vietnamese military radio communications about “moving the American prisoners” or “moving the Americans.” (I myself with my own ears have heard some of these.)

We also have satellite photography of fields and rooftops where captured US airmen have placed their ‘E&E’ codes – those combinations of numbers and letters that correspond only to one particular US pilot.

And then we have thousands of refugee and defector reports correlating to the very same POW’s referred to in the other intelligence.

Of course there is one major difference: the US government wants to nail Saddam and depose that regime but the very same US government does not want to admit we abandoned POW’s in SE Asia and that they are still being held against their will.

2) Suddenly NASA has shifted their thinking on the Columbia crash. All of a sudden – despite the video of the foam insulation hitting the underside of the left wing – NASA now says, “there had to be something else that caused” the crash.

This after a spate of internal NASA memos keep surfacing in which NASA engineers specifically warn of the damage from foam breaking off the external boosters or fuel tank and impacting the orbiter and damaging the tiles.

Sounds like a major case of CYA, eh?

Yesterday Senator George Allen - on the Senate floor - mentioned how one of the astronauts, Dave Brown, a constituent, had been worried in space about damage to the left wing. According to the Senator, Brown had emailed his concerns to his parents from space and had photographed the wing, too, although he could only see the top of the wing.

NASA – getting more and more panicked over the flak they are receiving – denies that there were any emails.


3) Last night – in a state of ‘Iraq exhaustion’ – I cruised through the TV stations and stopped on The Bachelorette. Oh my! No wonder the state of relations between men and women is so bad these days!

I haven’t watched any of these so-called ‘reality shows’ – for good reason. What a farce!

The woman – Trista – is cavorting simultaneously with three men - all the while “looking for love.”

What a joke it all is. If this is how young Americans learn about love and commitment, then no wonder the divorce rate is over 50%. If young women are hot tubbing with different guys in their search for ‘love,’ then no wonder so many women complain “there are no good single guys.” And no wonder so many guys treat women so cheaply.

And if the youth of this country learn about dating and romance from Hollywood’s ridiculous view of “reality,” then our society is doomed to fail.


There was one odd item in the WASHINGTON POST story Sunday about the shuttle crash. White House Chief of Staff Andy Card was up at Camp David with the President. They had originally planned to have British Prime Minister Tony Blair up there but the foggy conditions prevented helicopter flights. So Friday afternoon the two leaders had their meeting in the White House residence instead.

Then the Bush party went up to Camp David for the weekend.

Saturday morning, according to this story, Card was “watching NASA TV at Camp David when the accident occurred.” He then immediately went over to Bush’s cabin, Aspen, and told the President what happened.

The fact that the White House Chief of Staff is even watching the landing of a space shuttle on a Saturday morning – while at Camp David in the middle of the Iraq crisis – raises a big red flag.

Was he previously informed that NASA was worried about tile damage from the launch?

How much ‘internal chatter’ about a risky landing was there?

Did NASA expect trouble on an otherwise routine landing?

How many other officials suspected trouble Saturday morning?

Did NASA tell the astronauts and their families of the extra risk with this landing?

These and many other questions are hanging in the air as NASA tries to figure out what happened.

It seems possible that right after the launch NASA officials grew worried that there may have been serious damage. Perhaps they then had ‘high level’ meetings about their worries and, as a potential CYA measure, informed Andy Card.

It is odd that the White House Chief of Staff would watch a shuttle landing. Such a routine event – early on a Saturday morning – in the midst of Blair, UN inspections, Powell’s upcoming intelligence revelations to the Security Council, seems to be something that a White House big shot would pay no attention to.

If he had a ‘head’s up’ that something might have been amiss, then we need to be told. And it will come out – eventually.

Haven’t we all learned that cover-ups are huge mistakes? It is always better just to square with the people.

NASA has a wonderful safety record over 40 years of manned space flight. They now need to also have a wonderful ‘candor’ record.