President should admit to problems, even without solutions

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2005

I have to admit; the last time I offered President Bush advice in this column he did not really use much of it. I can only assume that he missed the Ironton Trib on the day I wrote the column. So, with confidence that he will read the paper today, I will take the time to once again offer good advice for the current problems the administration faces.

Yesterday Harriett Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. If the president has not nominated someone by today, allow me to offer some great advice. Mr. President, do not listen to your ultra right wing friends on this one. If you nominate someone who is known to reject Roe vs. Wade you will satisfy about 30% of the nations' voters at the expense of 66% who believe that some form of abortion should be permitted within the United States. Further, wouldn't such a judge be, by definition, an activist judge, a category of judge you have said you oppose. You see, there are now 30 years of case law based upon access to abortion, so reversing this case law, given minority public support would have an outcome of legislating from the bench, i.e., activist judicial activity. Avoid this problem. Nominate someone that can actually generate a consensus, based upon both their background and qualifications. Let the debate be entirely about credentials, not the impossible-to-resolve social issue of abortion.

Mr. President, your loyalty to people close to you is one of your best known attributes, one we can both admire and point to as a potential weakness when it appears that (excuse the expression) cronies staff the government instead of competent managers. Should Mr. Rove and/or Mr. Libby be indicted by Mr. Fitzgerald please accept their resignations and allow the government to go forward even with the loss of trusted friends. Sometimes, the country and its needs must come before relationships, and in this case, the undermining of the White House by retaining individuals under federal charges would disable your administration for the balance of your term as president. The charges may later be dropped and your trusted associates exonerated, but that can't be unfolding within the White House.

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Let's face it; it isn't working telling us every 30 days that the war is going well in Iraq. It is not going well. Over 100,000 Iraqi citizens have died. We just reached 2,000 American soldiers who have lost their lives, and over 15,000 seriously wounded. Almost 50% of returning veterans are going to VA hospitals with issues of post traumatic stress. The war is costing the nation almost a billion dollars a week. The Pentagon estimates that 95% of the insurgents are Iraqi, inviting the possibility that what is now happening is a civil war, not a war against terrorism (that is your latest claim, right. It has honestly been hard to keep track.) Our efforts to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure have been failures, as the dangerous terrain has prevented reconstruction. The new constitution may end up creating a theocracy more than a democracy. I could go on, but it is time to have a policy for how to manage the war that the American people can understand. We need a path to peace and a real measurement of progress. You cannot sustain the war without more support than you now have from the American people.

Mr. President, There is more, but think about this: Be candid with us, we can take it. Tell the people the problems, even if they don't all have neat solutions. Stop telling us everything is great. We read. We observe. Everything is not great, and that is okŠas long as we know you know that.