CNN.com readers to Bush: Take responsibility
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(CNN) -- A year after President Bush was elected to a second term, he and his administration face an array of troubles, including rising energy prices, the indictment of a former top White House official and waning public support for the war in Iraq.
How can Bush turn his presidency around?
When CNN.com asked readers to send in their advice for the president, some suggested he admit responsibility for past mistakes and move on. Here is a sampling of those responses, some of which have been edited:
Mr. President, the very first thing to do is admit you have this country in a mess. Get rid of your advisers and begin to think for yourself. Remember your core supporters do not represent the majority of this country and you are supposed to serve the people of this country, not the other way around. You work for us ... all of us.
I believe Harry Truman could provide the best advice, with the simple words "The Buck Stops Here." If this administration would take responsibility for its wrongdoings, rather than placing the blame elsewhere or, worse still, forging ahead regardless of the wisdom of the decision, it would go a long way toward restoring the integrity of our government.
President Bush, you need to talk straight to the American people about a lot of things, from the CIA investigation to the Iraq war to gasoline prices to global warming to why there is a growing disparity between rich and poor in this country. No hedging, no passing the buck, no hidden agendas. We need inspiration from you, Mr. President. You have lost credibility at home and abroad with poorly planned and divisive policies. You need to admit your mistakes, learn something from them and surround yourself with good capable people, not ideologues.
Mr. President, your policies are right. I simply don't hear them explained well enough or often enough. Because the Democrats are doing most of the talking, it's their version the voters are hearing. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell showed the United Nations evidence of WMD (photos of mobile weapons labs, canisters of chemicals, etc.). Yet all I hear from your opponents is that we are in Iraq because you "lied." I want to know where this stuff is, if not in Iraq. You didn't lie -- it's probably been moved to Syria. Say so. You have proposed a comprehensive energy policy, but it's been hijacked by congressional Democrats. Say so. Health care costs are skyrocketing because of frivolous lawsuits. Say so. Be blunt and honest and don't let the Democrats be the only ones at the microphone.
President Bush needs to tell the American people the truth and stop lying to all of us. He needs to address the corruption in his own administration. He needs to do what he said two years ago, that if someone in his administration was involved in the CIA leak they would have to leave. Well, why is Mr. Rove still there? I am saddened by his neglectfulness in this matter. Mr. Bush needs to address the Iraq war more seriously by bringing the troops home or offering a concrete exit strategy, which he has not done to date. Mr. Bush has a credibility problem with the American people because he has not told us the truth, and he has said one thing, then done another. He has not shown that he cares for ordinary Americans over corporate America and his cronies.
President Bush needs to come clean with Americans. He needs to tell the country why he led us into a no-win war. He needs to play hardball with the oil companies, not give them more tax breaks. He needs to make good on his promise to have high ethical standards in his administration, time to get ride of Mr. Rove, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld. He needs to do a complete 180 from the direction he's leading us into.
If Bush can somehow improve the situation in Iraq, his approval ratings will surely go up. We as Americans know the reasons we are in Iraq, but people abroad not so. What Bush needs to do is to explain clearly to the citizens of the world our original reasons for going into Iraq, why we're staying longer than originally planned, and most importantly, under what conditions will we leave Iraq. This message to the world needs to be very clear and honest so anyone who doubts our reasons in Iraq at least knows our side of the story, increasing our international standing. This should be one of the first steps Bush needs to take to clean up the mess he made, and he should not shy away from it but fix it.
Just level with the people, Mr. President. Be honest. You are our leader, and we should be able to look up to you. Give us the bad news; give us the good news. Ask that people such as Rush Limbaugh stop criticizing liberals and Democrats. I am tired of hearing it; no one listens to our side anymore. Liberalism is not a mental disorder. I am liberal and conservative. I listen to both sides and form an opinion. Because my opinion may differ from yours, I don't hate you nor am I unpatriotic. We have to listen to each other and become united.
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