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I must say that I am surprised America seems poised to embrace yet another waffling, double-talking, pandering, pass-the-buck politician for president of the United States.

The moistened-finger-in-the-wind front-runner, Gov. George W. Bush, has steadfastly refused to take a meaningful position on the re-emerging scandal of Waco — perhaps the largest government-sponsored slaughter of American civilians since the Indian wars — that took place right in his own state of Texas.

Recently he refused even to assess the performances of Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh, both of whom should not only be fired, but prosecuted — she for her role in the wanton mass murder and he for his part in the massive cover-up that followed.

But, worse yet, he said his own state officials should take a hands-off approach to the investigation. Let me remind you that it was primarily the questions raised by Jim Francis, Bush’s own chairman of the Texas Department of Public Safety, that put Waco back on the nation’s radar screen after far too long.

Bush says that if Texas investigated Waco now, it might appear that he was using the Waco tragedy for political purposes.

Maybe he’s right. Perhaps, if he feels that way, Bush should put justice ahead of his own personal political ambitions and bow out of the race. But under no circumstances should Waco be swept under the rug to protect his candidacy.

That appears to be just what is happening. Sen. John Danforth’s probe is severely limited — not only by his own establishment credentials but by his stated mission only to examine the siege and incineration of the Branch Davidian church rather than the question of why federal storm troopers launched an unprovoked attack at Waco in the first place.

This is typical of the “leadership” demonstrated by Double-U as Texas governor. It’s yet another indication he is totally unfit and unprepared to be president of the United States.

This is a Republican governor who does not believe in the sovereignty of the states. How can we expect that as president he will reverse the course of his predecessor on federalism and renew respect for the constitutional principles of states’ rights?

The federal government is in full cover-up mode again on Waco. A truly independent investigation by state authorities would not only be totally appropriate, but a prerequisite to seeking the truth — especially given the timid nature of the Republican Congress.

But Bush won’t have any part of that. I, for one, don’t believe, for a minute, that Double-U’s decision has anything to do with his desire to remain above the political fray. Much more likely is the fact that it was his father’s administration that planned the initial attack. His Dad has a lot of explaining to do with regard to Waco. So far, he has managed to escape any accountability for the Gestapo-like assault by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Double-U evidently wants to keep it that way.

I know that after nearly eight years of Bill Clinton even George Bush Sr. starts to look good. I’m sure that’s part of the appeal of Double-U. But his Dad wasn’t any good. It is only an illusion. Let’s not forget that, America. You were right in rejecting him, just faced with a worse alternative.

Double-U has pulled this kind of double-talk before. He has passed the buck on what should be legitimate issues for the governor of the state of Texas by pretending they are exclusively federal matters.

Months ago, Double-U refused to question the most outrageous kinds of U.S. military exercises taking place in his state. That was a preview of his more recent lack of leadership. This is a guy who obviously believes the proper role of the federal government is to tell states what to do and that states have no business questioning the decisions of Washington.

America doesn’t need another president like that.

I get the feeling Bush really wants to be president because it’s a good career move or because it is expected of him as the elder son of a former president. He’s certainly not up to the job of undoing the damage that has been done to this country by years of bad government — including the four years of his father’s administration.

Read my lips, America. No more Bushes.

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