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A “dunce hat” pledge

 In my opinion, the presidential administration of George W. Bush may be the worst in American history. I did not start out disliking Bush, but consider the facts:

* Well into economic recovery, the U.S. government had a budget deficit of $319 last year. It is expected to grow to a record $423 billion this year.

* Our nation’s trade deficit hit a record $804.9 billion last year. That did not stop the administration from proposing even more free-trade agreements.

* The prescription-drug benefit which the administration proposed and enacted has created a new $17 trillion unfunded liability according to Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan Administration Treasury official. This compares with an $11 trillion unfunded liability for Social Security.

* Administration policies have shifted the burden of taxation from those who can afford it to those who cannot afford it.

* The Bush administration has illegally tapped the phone lines of U.S. citizens and deliberately encouraged the practice of torture. It has cancelled U.S. support for the International Criminal Court which would hold political leaders accountable for crimes against humanity and has pressured other countries to violate their obligations under this treaty.

* Refusing to ratify the Kyoto treaty, the Bush administration insists that there is no threat from global warming.

* The Administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina was inept.

* The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a country which poses no immediate threat to the United States, violated traditional norms of acceptable behavior among nations and, under the Nuremberg Principles, fits the category of “crimes against peace” whose definition includes “planning, preparation, initiation or waging a war of aggression”. This unnecessary war has resulted in thousands of U.S. and Iraqi casualties, destabilized Iraq politically, furnished a magnet for Jihad, and turned world opinion against the United States.

* Now, under its “transformational” approach to foreign policy, the Bush Administration is contemplating regime change in Iran through equally violent means.


This is an extremely poor record. Yet, while I hold the Bush Administration primarily responsible, one cannot overlook the complicity of Congress in creating the mess. Congressional Republicans seem slavishly obedient to President Bush while Congressional Democrats are too busy playing political games to be an effective opposition.

I am tentatively running for a seat in the U.S. Senate as a proposed candidate of Minnesota’s Independence Party. If I am nominated and elected, I make this firm pledge: For a minimum of one-half hour each day that Congress is in session, I, as a newly elected U.S. Senator, will appear in a public place (such as the steps of the Capitol) wearing a dunce hat. This act will be symbolic of my belief that the U.S. Congress has been duped by the Bush Administration and by a variety of special interests to go along with policies that are harmful to the American people. I will pledge to continue this practice until my term of office ends or certain conditions are met. (These as yet unformulated performance measures will likely pertain to continued U.S. military activity in Iraq and Iran.)

What difference does it make whether Mark Kennedy or Amy Klobuchar is elected to the U.S. Senate - any more than it mattered that Mark Dayton, a Democrat, currently holds that seat? They’re all part of that politically astute crowd that wants not to appear foolish by resisting what the Bush administration proposes. For the sake of my country, I will place myself in the role of a fool. I will immediately make myself the most hated and despised member of the U.S. Congress by wearing that dunce hat; it’s the best way I know, as a freshman Senator from Minnesota, to produce real change.





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