LEE IACOCCA ON BUSH - "Where Have All The Leaders Gone?"

(05/11/2007)


Back in 2000, famed automotive tycoon Lee Iacocca (left) campaigned for George W. Bush for president.

After watching Bush’s presidency, Iacocca grew disillusioned.

He has written a scathing attack on America’s current leadership - "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?"

Iacocca writes:

We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane, much less build a hybrid car.

But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, ‘Stay the course.’ Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.”

I hardly recognize this country anymore. The president of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies.

Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don’t need it).

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do.

And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions.

George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. ‘I just scan the headlines,’ he says. Am I hearing this right? He’s the president of the United States and he never reads a newspaper?... As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he’s ready to go. ...

Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences.

He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths. For what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed?

To show his daddy he’s tougher?

The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster.

A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy...

Swagger isn’t courage. Tough talk isn’t courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the 21st century doesn’t mean posturing and bravado...

Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. president, 400 and counting. He’d rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing.

He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake...

Maybe George Bush is a great guy to hang out with at a barbecue or a ball game. But put him at a global summit where the future of our planet is at stake, and he doesn’t look very presidential.

Those frat-boy pranks and the kidding around he enjoys so much don’t go over that well with world leaders...

Bush brags about being our first MBA [master’s degree in business administration] president.

Does that make him competent? Well, let’s see. Thanks to our first MBA president, we’ve got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we’ve run up a half-trillion-dollar price tag (so far) in Iraq...

George Bush doesn’t have common sense. He just has a lot of sound bites. You know, Mr. they’ll-welcome-us-as-liberators-no-child-left-behind-heck-of-a-job-Brownie-mission-accomplished Bush ... I think our current president should visit the real world once in a while...

It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself.

It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down. On Sept. 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history.

We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for 20 minutes with a baffled look on his face. It’s all on tape...

It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero. That was George Bush’s moment of truth, and he was paralyzed.

And what did he do when he’d regained his composure? He led us down the road to Iraq, a road his own father had considered disastrous when he was president.

But Bush didn’t listen to Daddy. He listened to a higher father. He prides himself on being faith-based, not reality-based. If that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I don’t know what will.

So here’s where we stand.

We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.

We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.

We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy.

Our schools are in trouble.

Our borders are like sieves.

The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

Excerpted from Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.
Copyright © 2007 by Lee Iacocca. All rights reserved.


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