Viewpoint: Papa Bush is president again

Viewpoint: Papa Bush is president again

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

The complexion of the new Bush administration is beginning to emerge. Some politicos and pundits are beginning to wonder out loud just who will be president—George or Dick.

But the real power behind the throne is sitting up in Kennebunkport, Maine. That was apparent recently when George Sr. heatedly defended George Jr.’s cabinet choices.

Since George Sr. undoubtedly told “Shrub” who to pick, he really was justifying his own judgment. The elder Bush most likely suggested Cheney for vice-president in order to ensure that someone with at least a couple of brain cells would be close to the levers of power.

Cheney offers several advantages in his present position. First, he’s a Washington insider who knows his way around, while Bush is still trying to locate the White House.

Beyond that, he carries some personal clout which will enhance that connected with the vice-president’s office. He has some influence on Capitol Hill.

Cheney also can get Bush’s attention and is able to point out various options if and when an internal disagreement on policy arises.

He has been a congressman, Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief of Staff, so he is not likely to be rattled at any sudden emergencies, no matter their nature.

Cheney is the man who directed military operations during the Gulf War on behalf of the younger Bush’s father. He will not be in the White House by accident.

He may not be there a great deal, however. Because of the partisan division of the Senate, Cheney may be there much of the time, casting the tie-breaker vote on controversial issues.

Meantime, the nation is still mopping up after the events of November 7 and trying to figure out what happened. Calls for investigations and reform are coming from across the land.

In Florida, the most muddled battleground of the recent contest, the supreme court of that state is calling on the legislature to adopt standards that will guarantee all Floridians will be able to exercise their franchise and that their votes will be fairly and honestly counted.

That will be a real novelty in the Sunshine State, which is noted for corruption and election fraud. The odor of those kinds of activities was especially strong this time and jolted a great many Americans who thought we had honest elections.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has named a task force to investigate problems in the election. It will look at the whole process, voting machines and all, and presumably help to develop a uniform standard of tabulation, including recounts.

Chicago also is planning a full review of its voting procedures in light of a record number of undervotes this time around. They, too, will look at the voting machines in the process.

Chicago already has optical scanner type machines, and Florida may drop its punch card machines in favor of scanners. When that comes about, the elections will be completely untraceable and unverifiable, since such machines are easily rigged.

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