GEORGE W. BUSH'S dogged denial of factory defects in the death machinery of Texas invites memories of Lyndon Johnson telling us how we were defoliating the North Vietnamese into target range. In the beginning, one could charitably concede that the two men were merely bullheaded souls, filled with false pride and false missions, trying to persuade us we needed to slaughter some criminals or a whole nation into submission.Jackson went on to speculate about how this man might conduct himself as president.
Johnson's stubbornness became massacres and suicide battles abroad and dead students at home. Bush's pathological denials have exploded into a time line that makes it easy to depict him, in the political sense, as a serial killer, indiscriminately dispensing with the despised and chuckling over their bodies.
Bush, remember, has gloated about the death penalty in more than just the presidential debates. He is the same Bush who last year ridiculed death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker, whining in mock exaggeration in an interview that Tucker begged, "Please don't kill me." Bush, who has made his Christianity part of his resume, mocked Tucker even though she said she had found Christ.
Three decades ago, a president refused to change course, and it cost thousands of American lives. In two weeks, the nation may elect a president with a similar hubris. If Bush will not change course on the death penalty, there is no telling what he will not change course on if elected president.It was all there. Even before the election, it was perfectly clear what Bush was peddling. I wonder why we bought it. Oh, that's right -- we didn't.