Newsweek’s Alter Suggests Bush Has Stolen Democracy From America

In the upcoming issue of Newsweek, senior editor Jonathan Alter suggests that the tactics of the Bush administration have acted to lessen democracy in America.

In a piece entitled, “The Price of Loyalty is Incompetence,” Alter states, “The same president who seeks democracy, transparency and dissent in Iraq is irritated by it at home.” The premise of the article is that Bush and Company require rubberstamps of approval from all who work in the administration without any dissent if one wants to continue to be part of the team:

“Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill presciently says a second tax cut is unaffordable if we want to fight in Iraq—he's fired. Bush's economic adviser Larry Lindsey presciently says the war will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion (an underestimate)—he's fired. Army Gen. Eric Shinseki presciently says that winning in Iraq will require several hundred thousand troops—he's sent into early retirement.”

According to Alter, loyalty, even if the results are sub-par, will be duly rewarded: “By contrast, CIA Director George Tenet, who presided over two of the greatest intelligence lapses in American history (9/11 and WMD in Iraq) and apparently helped spread ‘oppo ammo’ to discredit the husband of a woman who had devoted her life to his agency, receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

The conclusion?

“The good news about the president's bad week is that even his conservative backers are no longer willing to keep quiet when they think he's wrong. And Fitzgerald was so impressive that the normal White House response—to savage the critic—was not an option this time. So Karl Rove survives, but the fear he stoked is easing. Four years after September 11, we're beginning to get our democracy back.”

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