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A history lesson, Bush style
Time to check in on the faulty governing of the Bush administration.

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 6/19/2005

By RICHARD AMRHINE

HISTORY TELLS US that the pen- dulum will swing back toward the left, eventually, when Americans realize we have taken our one step back and that it's time to take two steps forward.

But until then, the words and actions of a Republican-heavy Washington will range from annoying to downright frightening.

Not that taking a step back isn't sometimes an educational thing. We get to discover what the combination of tax cuts and uncontrolled government spending can do: Create record deficits. We also get more evidence that U.S. poverty rates trend upward during Republican administrations, and downward when a Democrat is in charge.

Of course we should be concerned about the Bush administration's big issues, such as a war, or quagmire, that's costing too many American lives and dollars, or an energy policy that puts corporate greed ahead of environmental concerns, or the potential for an ideologically rigged Supreme Court that could, among other things, threaten a woman's right to choose.

But we shouldn't lose sight of how convenient it is for the administration that such high-profile issues help divert attention from other actions--like budget manipulations here, or presidential directives there--that take a quieter toll on the programs we have come to know and love in America.

For example, I'm not sure what's worse: a Republican-led House subcommittee voting to strip the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of its federal funding, or the panel's chairman, Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Ohio, saying the cuts had nothing to do with GOP dissatisfaction over public radio or TV programs. "There's not enough money for everything," he said.

Let's be frank, Ralph. Public radio and television programming has been perceived as having a liberal slant, just as all mainstream media are. That's why you want to do away with it. But perceptions don't make it so. This is speech that could be censored by axing its budget, so that makes it fair game. But that doesn't make it right. That you have the power doesn't mean you're required to abuse it.


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