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A;;….* Bush Through the Looking Glass BY MOLLY IVINS “There’s no use trying,” said Alice, “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Austin CHARACTER, SAYS GEORGE BUSH, IS THE issue. George Bush. Says character is the issue. Character, one supposes, comprises both principles and integrity. What are George Bush’s principles, this man who accuses Bill Clinton of waffling? George Bush has been on both sides of the abortion question. He has been on both sides of civil rights. More recently, he has been on both sides of new taxes. He has been on both sides of Saddam Hussein. He says he is for a balanced budget amendment while the deficit has increased to $288 billion and he has asked for more money than Congress has actually appropriated. He has been on both sides of “voodoo economics.” In 1964, George Bush campaigned against Sen. Ralph Yarborough as a staunch opponent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the first great piece of civil-rights legislation that gave blacks the right to eat in the same restaurants and drink out of the same water fountains as whites. Bush was wrong, he was mistaken and he has never admitted it. Why doesn’t he admit it? George Wallace has. ‘ As a Republican, despite his heritage from both his mother and his father as a moderate Republican, he first became active in the Goldwater wing of the party. Later, he became a moderate. Then he became whatever he has been for the past four years. Those who were around during Watergate may recall Bush’s inane, burbling denial of the entire stinking mess. Those who recall his vice-presidential years may recall why the Washington Post described Bush in a 1984 editorial as “the Cliff Barnes of American politics blustering, opportunistic, craven and hopelessly ineffective all at once.” You may recall why George Will described him in those years as the “yapping lapdog of the Reagan Administration.” George Bush and principle. There is one single issue on which George Bush has been resolute through the years, despite its unpopularity and defeat a capital gains tax cut that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Molly Ivins, a former Observer editor, is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 1992 Creators Syndicate Inc. George Bush and integrity. You may recall when he said on national television that Walter Mondale had said our marines in Lebanon “died in shame.” Mondale said they died in vain. Then Bush tried to prove with a dictionary that Mondale meant “in shame.” Texans may recall that in the early 1980s Bush tried to avoid capital gains taxes on the sale of his Houston home by claiming that his real residence was in Kennebunkport, Maine. The IRS wouldn’t let him. Since then, he has claimed a Houston hotel suite as his home. You may recall his 1988 campaign a vapid, racist exercise, featuring the flag and Willie Horton, conducted while he carefully concealed the extent of the S&L fiasco and lied about his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. In this campaign, he has descended into rank McCarthyism with his unfounded charge that there was some impropriety about Clinton’s having visited Moscow during a tour of European capitals and with his demagoguery implying that it was unpatriotic to oppose the war in Vietnam. One reason Bush won in 1988 was his famous interview with Dan Rather about Iran-Contra. Bush blustered, he fulminated, he attacked Rather. But he never answered the questions. And the reason becomes more apparent every day. He was not “out of the loop.” From George Shultz’s memo to the recent revelation of the John Poindexter cable that lists Bush among those supporting secrecy and concealment of the entire operation. A month after that cable was written, Bush made a speech saying, “Let the chips fall where they may. We want the truth. The president wants it. I want it. And FILE PHOTO the American people have a right to it. If the truth hurts, so be it. We’ve got to take our lumps and move ahead.” But he went right on with the cover-up and is still lying about it today. His entire administration is embroiled in a massive cover-up of Iraqgate, the illegal use of American gain credits by Saddam Hussein to buy weapons. To cover up this piece of folly, the administration had to interfere in and then botch the prosecution for the largest bank fraud in the history of this country. The CIA, the FBI and the Justice Department are now engaged in investigating one another in the farcical fallout. It would be more farcical if Americans hadn’t died fighting Iraq. In every campaign speech he gives, George Bush is guilty of massive hypocrisy. In every campaign speech he gives, he twists his opponent’s words \(as he does on Clinton’s stand nent’s stands and he twists his opponent’s record. He is guilty of hypocrisy about the Clean Air Act, the civil-rights legislation he was finally forced to sign, the tax bill he agreed to Sure, George Bush is a decent individual. He’s polite, he’s loyal, he’s kind to his children and he has that endearingly goofy streak \(did you catch his reference to “90/90 hindsight” the Bush has been anything but an exemplar of principle and integrity. When has George Bush stood for anything in his public life except the protection and advance of George Bush? To suggest otherwise is a sick joke. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 4r11.4 4410 7. to.N1W00.0.’8010.,