Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Coming up on two years since the 2008 election...OK, conservatives, George W. Bush: looking better now, or worse? 


  1. As a liberal, all I can say is that their silence speaks volumes. The man was an unmitigated disaster--there isn't a single thing going wrong in America today that doesn't have its origins firmly and obviously in the Bush administration. On top of that, he was a war criminal who ought to be in the dock in Belgium.

  2. Michael -- no, it's like this every week. There are just fewer conservative commenters here (alas). Actually, someone commenting "see, they can't defend themselves!" and someone else saying "no, it's like this every week" is sort of a tradition of its own by now.

    Sometimes I think of commenting here instead of at the liberal post (I consider myself a moderate who leans left on social issues and is mixed/probably just completely inconsistent on economic and also foreign policy issues), but since I have some partisan Democratic identification and most of the Republicans I dig are Northeastern moderates who make a big deal of bucking their party at least from time to time, I don't think I have standing.

  3. On a visceral level, Bush must seem better now due to how many of Obama's intentions have failed, as well as Obama's inability to control the narrative when he has succeeded, as noted on the other thread. Stepping back, the broad historical outlines of Bush's Presidency seem to be starting to take shape, and that picture isn't pretty.

    Bush's (not actually) permanent tax cuts are crippling politically, and potentially crippling economically as well. Guantanamo Bay might not have been a bad idea when it was feared that waves of terrorists would wash onto our shores; 9 years after 9/11 that site is increasly problematic for the US, with politicians immobilized by namby-pamby NIMBY concerns. Iraq has seen the flowering of democracy via vicious ethnic cleansing (which is, you know, one way to go about it), and Af-Pak...where do you begin.

    2 years on, all these milestone Bush experiences share a troubling characteristic: that leadership Bush style was about "doing" stuff, not particularly "solving" stuff, and that, as long as you get some good exercise in doing so, there's nothing wrong with kicking the can down the road. It increasingly seems like historians will remember Bush's presidency as a notoriously open-ended one - sort of like what a Presidential Administration might be if it were a schoolboy's book report.

    Cause if you're writing a dissertation, you have to assert or find something new and significant that is also conclusive; a younger student writing a book report is pretty much just looking to stay on topic. I guess Bush sort of did that.

    Historians will marvel at many oddities of the Bush 43 regime, I predict that his strange 'review' of his White House years, just prior to Obama's inauguration, will be right up there among the favorites.

    Do you recall that nationally televised address? He sounded a bit like a kid giving a book report, yes? That's why the prediction here is that it will follow him into history.

  4. Hmm… I suppose Bush looks worse – at least to me. Because of his lack of control of the size of government and the budget, we conservatives are stuck with Obama increasing both and saying, “don’t talk to me about deficit spending…blah, blah, bah Bush.”

    President Bush increased the size, cost and scope of government: Drugs for seniors and No Child Left Behind are the best examples. As a conservative, I oppose this expansion. These programs are idiotic and expensive. Heck, the left can’t stand NCLB – even if it does mean more money!

    The left (most of your readers) delights in bigger government. They desire to have more public services: healthcare, student loans, mortgage assistance, etc. Bush has given them the opportunity to make these dreams come true. Sure the Republican congress helped, but the president has the upper-hand to oppose wasteful spending and he certainly should not propose costly programs. Goodness, the left should love him!

    Bush looks better on TARP these days. President Obama should have taken credit for TARP and not complained about “bailing out Wall Street.” I think he voted for TARP…either way it appears to be gaining credibility these days. So that might be a plus.

    Your readers are confused on Gitmo. It’s a plus for Bush – just ask O. Some of the WOT is good, some bad – again, just ask O.

    The bailout of GM and Chrysler was a mistake – it has only delayed their demise and has weakened Ford, the one American car company that will ultimately survive.

    I’m not prepared to speak to Iraq and Afghanistan, at this point. But they aren’t looking all that great these days either.

    So, thanks to Bush, we have a government increasing in size and on the verge of bankruptcy. Therefore, he doesn’t look better. Oh well, maybe I’ll get a small reprieve Nov 2nd…

  5. More on TARP:

    I had forgotten much about TARP – especially how it was altered to bailout more than the banks - the auto industry and mortgages for instance. The President attacks the part that worked (well maybe not AIG) and proposed much of the part that failed. Brilliant.


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