Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Remember when the AARP angered many members by endorsing the Bush prescription drug plan? You'd assume the president would want to express his gratitude. You'd be wrong:

Bush to Skip AARP Gathering of 25,000

President Bush and 25,000 AARP members will be in Las Vegas at the same time this week, but the Republican incumbent won't drop in on the organization that gave a boost to last year's Medicare prescription drug law.

The 35 million-member AARP invited Bush and Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry to speak at the Las Vegas meeting. Kerry, who opposed the Medicare law, is on Thursday morning's schedule, AARP spokesman Steve Hahn said Tuesday.

The Bush campaign said it is dispatching first lady Laura Bush to the AARP meeting....

This reminds me of a passage in Nicholas Lemann's New Yorker article on Bush:

...not long after his inauguration, Bush held a White House screening of the movie "Thirteen Days," about the Cuban missile crisis, partly as a way of fostering a warm relationship with Senator Edward Kennedy, of Massachusetts, whose brothers were lionized in the movie, and who is the most important Democratic senator when it comes to education issues. Several Kennedys, including the Senator, attended the screening, and it looked as if a happy across-the-aisle partnership had begun....

Once the [No Child Left Behind] bill passed, there were no more chummy phone calls from Bush or invitations to the White House for Kennedy and [Representative George] Miller, [also a Democratic supporter of the bill,] and then, when the next federal budget came out, in January, the amount allotted to No Child Left Behind was ninety million dollars less than Kennedy and Miller felt they had been promised. Subsequent budgets brought the same pattern: no contact with the White House, and funding far below what Bush had indicated he would commit. The Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, has referred to the biggest teachers' union as a "terrorist organization."

Bush got what he wanted from the AARP, just as he got what he wanted from Kennedy and Miller, and now they're expendable -- servants he can kick after they've shined his shoes.

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