Monday, December 02, 2002

Studying the Signing Ceremony

Elisabeth Bumiller, White House Correspondent for the New York Times, has filed a piece on how President Bush manages bill-signing ceremonies. According to Bumiller, Bush "reward[s] friends, woo[s] potential supporters and signal[s] who is in favor and who is not."

This isn't exactly a surprise. So Bumiller really uses this theme to try to indicate flaws in Bush's character, though she grudgingly gives him credit for superior choreography in selected instances. For example, Bush showed bad manners by not inviting Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, who co-chaired a national security panel in 2001 that warned of the dangers of a major terrorist attack and called for the creation of a domestic security department, to the Homeland Security bill-signing. At least Bumiller has no reservations about the new department itself, despite her concentration on Bush's supposed faux pas.

In another ceremony regarding terrorism insurance, Bumiller notes the invited, not the excluded. In this case, Bush invited construction workers dressed in jeans and t-shirts for whom the bill, requiring the Federal government to pick up most of the insurance losses in a terrorist attack, would serve as a boon. Implying a certain cynical skillfulness on Bush's part in managing the guest list, perhaps Bumiller is upset at how the wealthy Bush mingles so easily with blue collar workers or "hard-hats" as he calls them. Ronald Reagan did this extremely well too, giving Democrats who thought they owned the working class fits. To quote the political scientist, Yogi Berra, it must be "deja vu all over again" for liberals watching another Republican president with the common touch horn in on their traditional electoral base.

Finally, Bumiller mentions the lack of ceremony at the signing of the campaign finance reform bill. Apparently, Bush went off on a fundraising trip and amassed $4 million immediately after signing the bill.

At least he wasn't renting out the Lincoln Bedroom.


Post a Comment

<< Home