Your Lying Eyes

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26 July 2006

Not A Bright Spot To Be Found

Charles Murray's WSJ op-ed on the deceit behind Bush's No Child Left Behind combined with Bill Buckley's recent de-certification of Bush as a conservative got me thinking whether there is anything in this administration's record that is positive. The Afghanistan campaign was certainly a bright spot, but the quagmire next door has allowed the situation there to deteriorate recently. Beyond that, is there anything even close?

His tax cuts have been followed by a rather tepid recovery, featuring lots of new government jobs, service-sector jobs for immigrants and Sarbanes-Oxley jobs for accountants driven by corporate scandals. The tax cuts no doubt helped people keep their spending up, but the clear beneficiary there has been China. There's no sign that they have led to any significant capital investment. Meanwhile our trade deficit is hideously large - and this is one deficit that we most certainly don't "owe to ourselves."

Far from reforming Social Security - a political failure - he perpetrated one of the most fiscally irresponsible acts in history by pushing through an inefficient and poorly thought out prescription drug plan. That program will surely have to be scrapped once the bills start coming due. And since foreign interests own much of our treasury securities, this is most unsettling.

While no one expected him to push an environmentalist agenda, he has failed to enact any kind of energy poliy because his only approach was to have the energy industry write on for him. He has ceased (except for some recent politically-expedient activity) to enforce our borders, allowing millions to invade our country during his presidency. He has promoted a vision of the presidency as an office that is above the law, not beholden to congressional authority - a very dangerous precedent.

The ill will he has created abroad is unfortunately exacerbated by his lack of success in pursuing his agenda. Ignoring the debacle in Iraq, we now have a very hostile Iran and an out of control situation in Leganon. The world sees the U.S. as a puppet of Israel - an image that is hard to refute as we helplessly watch the country of Lebanon being wrecked over a couple of kidnapped soldiers.

I don't know - I must be in a particularly bad mood because I can't think of anything that this administration can point to proudly right now. What am I forgetting?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush is Wall Streets, Big Oils, and the Neo-Cons president.

He has screwed everybody else, unless youre a latino or an illegal immigrant...........but he's not doing that for YOU, but Wall Street.

Ronald Reagan was my favorite president. Bush 2 has been the worst. Unfortunately, the demographic and economic changes that have occured in his tenure may drag on America like a small anchor for 20 years. He's been that bad. mh

July 26, 2006 5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's a mole. Not that there's anything _wrong_ with that, you understand.

July 26, 2006 8:05 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

I like your Bush-as-Soviet-plant theory. Though I think that lets him off a little too easy.

July 26, 2006 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He passed the Neocon Full Employment Act. Getting those thugs off the street took some doing.

July 27, 2006 4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ziel: It is too hard to say "Harlem, you were right all along"? Go on, I can take it.

July 27, 2006 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the list of Bush's blunders, you could also add that he had the chance to urge the Supreme Court to kill off affirmative action once and for all (in the Michigan Law School case), but instead he asked the Court to uphold it and so they did. Guess he figured the repubs need to dangle that carrot of minority preferences for the millions of what they hope will be new republicans that Bush is bringing in from south of the border. The man is a bigger panderer than Clinton was, and I didn't think that was possible.

And when you think about it, the only reason he has been as popular as he has, among the conservative rank-and-file, is only because he ISN'T Bill Clinton. So just because he isn't a pervert (as far as we know), conservatives are supposed to be loyal supporters of Bush.

Thanks alot Bill Clinton, for setting the bar for U.S. presidents so low.

July 27, 2006 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush 2 is an ex-alcoholic, ex-druggie trust-fund baby of the Bush dynasty. Of course, he has done nothing that advocates of limited government and liberty could call "conservative". I agree with "anonymous". Reagan was one of the best presidents we ever had and Bush 2 is a real turkey.

July 28, 2006 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Reagan is the best recent President we have had but we are wearing blinders if we don't realize his failings as well.
Irangate is no small matter.
Reagan's greatest strength is the dregs that came immediately before and after him. In a full review of Prsidential performance, I don't think Reagan would finish in the top ten. I'm sure Ziel can complete such a survey & ranking.
Reagan's economic policy was seriously flawed and he slept through cabinet meetings. The big accomplishment - fall of East Germany - would likely have occurred with any President (okay, maybe not Carter) as it was driven more by economics than politics.

July 28, 2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger Dennis Dale said...

My favorite from gcochran's possible explanations for Bush is the "Muchacho Candidate", a Mandarin Candidate from south of the border.
I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where the two presidential candidates are revealed to both be aliens from another planet. The two are standing side by side before an angry crowd laughing, telling them they have no choice but to vote for one of them. Someone says: what about a third party candidate?
"Go ahead," says one of the aliens, "throw away your vote."
The crowd murmurs in resignation.
Cut to Ross Perot in the crowd, punching a hole in his straw hat.

July 28, 2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Harlem - top ten? Let's see, real quickly chronologically we have:
Looks like Reagan makes the top ten anyway.
Iran-Contra was a problem and showed that Reagan was too old to have appropriate control over his administration (and I think he missed Casey pretty bad). But there was nothing wrong with his economic policies - except for that harsh recession at the beginning of his term, gdp growth was quite strong through the 80's. Indeed there hasn't been a strong recession since then - we had some brief turn downs in 1991 and 2001, but otherwise you could see we've had near continuous - if sometimes weak - economic growth since 1982 with very low inflation. If you recall in the 60's and 70's we had periods of very high growth interspersed with hard recessions, with prices rising all the while. You could arguably credit RR with that turnaround which is no mean achievement.

July 28, 2006 11:55 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Dennis - don't forget The Death March of the Penguins!

July 28, 2006 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have more.

July 29, 2006 2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubya's SC appointments were good, but one of them only because he was pressured into not nominating another bimbo to the court. Still, Roberts looks to have been an especially shrewd choice. We'll see.

Nixon was far worse than Bush, just on policy (ignoring Watergate). Ford was dismal. Whip Inflation Now buttons? That Eastern Europe debate question? Even Dubya isn't that clueless. The man was an older, duller version of Dan Quayle. Johnson was a disaster and Kennedy a roided-out mess. Clinton is only fondly remembered because he was a stitch with those scandals and because of the bubble economy that made lots of swine enormously wealthy. Carter is probably the worst president of the 20th century. Bush Sr. was in many ways the lowest point for Republican presidents (Thatcher had to punch him in the balls to get him to push Saddam out of Kuwait). Hapless in the extreme.

Bush Jr. has not been so great but he's got plenty of company.

July 30, 2006 9:15 PM  
Blogger Rick Darby said...

He has not left for posterity any stains on an intern's dress. There must be something else good to say about GWB, but it escapes me just at the moment.

July 31, 2006 6:13 PM  

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