Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Molly Ivins: Bush -- Bad Taste, Full of It

Remember the 9/11 Firefighters

Molly Ivins takes the Democrats to task for accusing Bush only of "bad taste" for including 9/11 scenes in his campaign commercials:
Dammit, the problem is not that the ad is in bad taste, the problem is that Bush screwed the firefighters in a famous case of his favorite bait-and-switch tactic, and now he has the chutzpah to exploit them anyway -- and that, my friends, is gall. Bait, switch and then claim credit anyway.

For those of you who have forgotten what happened (apparently including the entire Bush campaign) shortly after the 9-11 attacks, President Bush promised a $3.5 billion aid package to provide equipment and training in dealing with such attacks to local police and fire departments. For over 18 months, no money appeared, and when money finally did appear, it was nowhere near the promised levels (hey, he had to cut those taxes for the richest 1 percent of Americans).

Furthermore, the New York City firefighters who worked Ground Zero were specifically screwed. They were promised $90 million to monitor the long-term health effects of breathing in all that ash for months while they cleaned up. The money was to have been included in the overall post 9-11 aid package for New York City, but it got shifted to another bill that Bush rejected the following August. About half the workers screened before the money ran out suffered from respiratory problems.