Newsweek: Bush’s Iraq mess driving…

Newsweek: Bush’s Iraq mess driving voters to Dean

From Howard Dean’s blog

newsweek coverIn this week’s Newsweek, Howard Fineman reports that President Bush’s failed Iraq policy–the centerpiece of an administration of deception and irresponsibility–may well be his undoing. “If presidencies are destined to crumble,” writes Fineman, “the cracks tend to appear first in the Granite State.” He profiles a New Hampshire Republican who has switched parties to vote for Howard Dean:

Hilary Cleveland of New London, N.H., goes way back with the Bush family. Her late husband, James Colgate (Jimmy) Cleveland, was a Republican in Congress, where his paddle-ball partner in the House gym was George H.W. Bush. Hilary served on the Andover board with Barbara Bush and was finance chair of Bush’s primary campaign in New Hampshire in 1980. She organized locally for George W. in 2000. But the other day, upset over the war in Iraq, she left the Republican Party, changing her registration to “undeclared” so she could vote for Dr. Howard Dean in the Democratic primary in January. “You don’t go to war without valid reason,” she said, “or international support.” Bush’s call for $87 billion in new spending on Iraq offended her Yankee sense of thrift: “I believe in fiscal integrity and balanced budgets, and spending so much doesn’t seem sound.”

The story also notes that Senator John McCain, who defeated Bush in the 2000 New Hampshire primary, has for the first time began to distance himself from the fiasco overseas:

“This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam,” McCain declared, “in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground.”

The same issue analyzes the cronyism and lack of vision that has turned Iraq into an $87 billion money pit:

Six months ago the administration decided to cut corners on normal bidding procedures and hand over large contracts to defense contractors like Bechtel and Halliburton on a limited-bid or no-bid basis. It bypassed the Iraqis and didn’t worry much about accountability to Congress. The plan was for “blitzkrieg” reconstruction. But by sacrificing accountability for speed, America is not achieving either very well right now. . .

Numerous allegations of overspending, favoritism and corruption have surfaced. Halliburton, a major defense contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been accused of gouging prices on imported fuel.