Truth and Its Neo-Consequences

Coming from where I am from, a "straight-talker" is someone who isn't necessarily articulate but one who is up-front and honest in speech and actions, even if what he is doing, or what he has done, offends the moral and aesthetic sensibilities of those who disagree.

So you can imagine my response to a president who before the Iraq invasion talked incessantly about WMDs, but who is now making his central theme: "We are staying on the offensive - striking terrorists abroad - so we do not have to face them at home." Why didn't you say that from Jump Street?

Coming from where I'm from, a person who isn't physically taking part in a fight but who tells his enemies to "bring it on" - knowing full well that those actual warriors doing his bidding are the only ones in harm's way - is called something that rhymes with plunk. Take the word plunk, remove the 'L' and you'll catch my drift.

Or to put it another way, I'm talking about someone who writes checks with his mouth that his behind can't cash. And that's why I think this "character" debate being played out on the presidential election campaign stage is ridiculous to the point of being absurd. I'm not the only one.

Of course, you expect that coming from an "anti-Christian, un-American, Marxist, Commie, left-wing, terrorist-sympathizer" like me, right?

But it goes deeper than that. Sure, you might expect Bush administration criticism from someone coming from where I'm from. But what you might not expect is a thorough critic, or better yet, a more thorough unveiling of the Bush administration from an avid fisherman and hunter who has been a NRA member for the past 30 years - someone like Mark Umile.

In case you haven't heard, allow me to introduce you to him. Umile is a 45-year-old registered Independent. "I'm part of what they call the hook and bullet crowd," he told me the other day.

"And I've always supported moderate Republicans like (former Pennsylvania governor) Dick Thornberg and even Tom Ridge," said the Philadelphia native, who is now a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker.

His most recent project was to author the book Bush Unplugged: The True Patriot's Guide to George W. Bush, published by True Patriots' Press (www.bushunplugged.com).

Umile is also a longtime listener of the Rush Limbaugh radio talk show. So he decided to take Rush's advice to heart.

"When listening to Rush during the Clinton years, whether he was talking about Whitewater, Travelgate, Troopergate, this gate, that gate or even the Vince Foster suicide episode, Rush was always quick to tell his listeners, 'if you ever want to get to the bottom of any political intrigue, my friends, follow the money! Follow the money trail."

And so he did. Bush Unplugged is the result. It's a straight-talking exploration of the man "W" and the myth.

"While writing the book," he told me, "I would email chapters to conservative friends of mine and it freaked them out. What happens is when you learn the whole story and you're a conservative you get caught flat-footed. And then you're outraged that you've been duped and betrayed (by Bush).

"What we're dealing with here is an information gap," he said, adding that if conservatives took Rush's advice seriously and followed the money trail, they would realize they are the victims of the biggest neo-con in American political history.

He begins the book with a quote from an unknown patriot. "Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time, and your government when it deserves it." Then, in Chapter 1, he covers Bush's Vietnam years and follows the money trail through Texas oil dealings on down to the president's forays into Major League Baseball.

"Love him or hate him, the overwhelming majority of us have formed rigid opinions about Mr. Bush based solely on what we've learned about him from mainstream [media] ... Beyond that the man's professional, political and personal history remains a complete mystery to the vast majority of our fellow citizens - and for good reason," he writes in the book's introduction.

The narrow-minded true believers probably won't bother to read Umile's book, but if you're looking for an honest, thoughtful and Republican-leaning assessment about President Bush, this book is for you.

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