The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Feb. 23, 2001

Furor over columnist’s Chelsea rant — Online Journal
Conservative columnist John Derbyshire is under fire for a column he wrote Feb. 15 in which he pilloried Chelsea Clinton, and made reference to Stalinist and Nazi practices of exterminating the families of “despots” and “enemies of the people.” Critics say Derbyshire (who is unrepentant) should be investigated by the Secret Service for making what they call veiled threats on Chelsea’s life. (Thanks to BuzzFlash for the tip.)

Armey accuses NAACP of ‘reverse race-baiting’ — Associated Press
House Majority Leader Dick Armey has written a letter to Kweisi Mfume, head of the NAACP, saying Mfume’s organization tries to politically harm Republicans by labelling them racists. “I believe there is a phenomenon in American politics today that could justly be called ‘racial McCarthyism’ or ‘reverse race-baiting,'” Armey wrote.


Feb. 22, 2001

Bush Sr.’s controversial 1993 pardon — Various
George H. W. Bush commuted the sentence of a Pakastani heroin smuggler — who had been serving a 55-year sentence in South Carolina — just before the end of Bush’s presidential term in 1993. (Rep. Henry Waxman of California referred to the little-known pardon during his testimony Feb. 8, 2001 before the House Government Reform Committee, which is investigating Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich.) Bush only pardoned two other federal prisoners during his term, and his administration never explained the rationale behind the unusual last-minute offer of clemency, but some critics say the smuggler may have had secret ties to the DEA or CIA. (Thanks to Henrietta and Rick Cummings for the tip.)

Faith-based for your comfort — San Francisco Chronicle
Columnist Jon Carroll says: “We now have a faith-based presidency. We need to have faith that we have a president. We have a person in the White House who is called the president, but it is hard to imagine him doing the job. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. We do not see him working, and yet we believe he is. We do not see him thinking, yet we believe he is.”

Pat Robertson says faith-based initiative encourages cults — San Francisco Chronicle
One of the unanticipated results of Bush’s faith-based initiative could be renewed intolerance between religious groups who will now be competing for federal funds. Pat Roberston, for one, is concerned that some religions he doesn’t subscribe to — such as Scientology, Bush supporter Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, and the Hare Krishnas — will have equal access to public funds. One can’t help but foresee a “WWJD Smackdown” on cable in the future.

Marc Rich calls off party for himself — Blick (via Yahoo)
The German paper Blick reports that billionaire luck-out Marc Rich has decided that throwing himself a huge party to celebrate his controversial pardon might be a little much. So he has cancelled the festivities, which had been planned for this Friday at the swank St. Moritz ski resort in Switzerland. Rich had themed the fete “A Night in Las Vegas.”

Clinton’s NYT rough draft — Modern Humorist
You almost don’t have to spoof Clinton’s stumbling over his controversial pardons. His New York Times op-ed Sunday — and the corrections which followed it — have provided plenty of groans. But leave it to the cut-ups at Modern Humorist to take the absurdity to the next level, with this fictional “first draft” of Bill’s Times piece.


Feb. 21, 2001

Nancy Reagan disses Dubya — New York Post
The cuddly Mrs. Reagan calls George W. “the village idiot,” according to gossip doyenne Cindy Adams. Finally, the woman once dubbed “The Dragon Lady” by her husband’s staff and the Dems have something they can agree on!

Lynne Cheney apes Tipper — Associated Press
Lynne Cheney has made the risky, original move of coming out against shock rapper Eminem. Sounds an awful lot like another vice president’s wife we all know and sort of miss but not really.

How much will the Bush tax cut save you? — Quicken
Your friendly neighborhood Bush Files editor discovered, using Quicken’s handy Tax Estimator, that her share of Bush’s $1.6 billion tax cut is a whopping $496. Almost enough to make her register Republican. Not.


Feb. 20, 2001

Bush a moderate? Puhleeze — Los Angeles Times
The appointment of Ted Olson as solicitor general — a traditional staging area for prospective Supreme Court justices — shows how dedicated Bush is to forcing his right-wing agenda, despite his protestations that he is a moderate, says Robert Scheer. “It may be legal, but it’s still a coup d’etat,” Scheer says.

The two faces of George — The Guardian (UK)

“George Bush completes his first month in office today, having pulled off the seemingly impossible – cloaking his lack of a mandate under the banner of bipartisanship while pursuing the most radically conservative agenda since the Reagan era.” Also: The Guardian rates the Bush administration’s “bipartisanship” in the first month. Guess what? Dubya fails miserably.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend