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In the first grade or earlier, most of us are told a morality story about young George Washington. As a tyke, he cut down his father’s favorite cherry tree. Confronted by papa, George said manfully: “I cannot tell a lie. I did it with my little hatchet.” The story is a myth, but the moral message is clear: don’t lie.
Fast forward about three hundred years from George Washington’s childhood to our present president, George W. Apparently, W was not told the moral message of the cherry tree incident, or he was never absorbed it, for he can’t seem to tell the truth about anything, constantly lying about things both large and small.
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George’s latest flat out falsehood came around his naming of Hank Paulson to be the new treasury secretary. We now know that at a May 21st meeting with George at the White House, Paulson agreed to replace the incumbent secretary, John Snow. Yet, at a news conference four days later, Bush was asked the direct question of whether he had any indication that Snow would soon be leaving. “No,” replied our prevaricating president, “he has not talked to me about resignation.”
Reporters later inquired with the White House press office about George’s untruthful statement. Oh, tut-tut, they were told, it was merely “an artful attempt” by the president to keep Paulson’s appointment a secret.
OK, children, are we clear on the moral lesson now? When you do it, it’s a lie. But when the president does it, it’s “an artful attempt” to keep secrets. And throughout his life, Bush has been very, very artful at keeping secrets – from the secret about his National Guard service to the one about those weapons of mass destruction.
This is Jim Hightower saying… If it had been George W instead of George Washington at the cherry tree confrontation with papa, W would’ve said: “I cannot tell a lie. It was done by terrorists who have hatchets of mass destruction.”