Sunday, November 23, 2008

Setting the Bar

For the last seven plus years, democrats have refused to give President Bush credit for any of his work. Keep the nation safe from a follow-up to 9-11? Coincidence. Establish a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, and in so doing place a physical check to the aggression of Iran’s Islamic radicals and take out one of the more disgusting dictators of our time? Blame him for every death as if War is normally fought without cost or pain, and ignore the clear evidence and decisions which authorized the war. Democrats have blamed Bush for things he might have done better, along with things he could never have done better and for which no prior President was blamed, and yet they consistently refuse to grant credit for any of the many accomplishments during Bush’s terms. Democrats have paid no attention to Bush’s unprecedented work in fighting AIDS and Malaria, and in developing African countries’ infrastructure. Most Americans have never heard of PEPFAR, or that two of every three sub-Saharan African countries are governed by democratic elections, an accomplishment considered impossible by most just a few years ago. In addition to a number of clear successes, George W. Bush is also notable for being the first president in more than a decade to attempt to proactively address the Social Security crisis which will begin to hit in less than 3 years from now, and for trying to create a realistic solution to border control (Bush spent more on border security than any prior president) and immigration reform. While reasonable people may and do disagree on whether a specific action should be praised, the deliberate denigration of every action by President Bush is dishonorable, and portends problems for President Obama.

It is no secret that I consider President Bush to be one of our better presidents, easily the best of the last three men to hold that office. So I understand that many who read this article will disagree with my appraisal of W. It is not to establish his reputation that I write today, however – Time will give us the judgment in better context. It is, rather, an admonition to the democrats that they may find their tactics used against one enemy, may as effectively disable their own chosen leader. After the 2002 elections, in particular, the republicans held power to a degree remarkably similar to what the democrats expect to enjoy this coming January. But it will now be their lot to try to defend their claims and keep their promises, some promises being especially hard to make real given the wild and exaggerated standards used in their speeches and campaigning. It’s one thing to note that some voters expected Obama’s administration to pay their mortgage for them and give them money, but quite another to consider how these people will react once they realize they have been lied to by the democrats.

Barack Obama has backed off a lot of his promises, wiping them from his website and choosing far more restraint in post-election comments than he ever showed during the campaign. It’s increasingly obvious that Obama is dialing back expectations before he takes office, though it is absurd to imagine that the voters will forget everything he promises, just because he cannot possibly do what he said he would do. But they’re trying hard to spin things in the most positive light – the grudging admission that raising taxes on the people who provide jobs and doling out money to people who do not even pay taxes would both be very poor plans, is being touted as ‘leadership’ by his team, in hopes that folks will ignore that the inability to keep these basic promises means either that Obama was so na├»ve that he did not understand how the office works, or that he was so dishonest that he figured no one would hold him accountable for the lies. It’s quite a double-standard: Bush is blamed for ‘lies’ which were never false or else were never intended to be misleading, while Obama is praised for clearly false and misleading statements used to win the election. The bar for expectations and standards in the Obama Administration is being set, and it seems quite a low bar indeed.


Anonymous said...

It is no secret that I consider President Bush to be one of our better presidents, easily the best of the last three men to hold that office.

You're kidding, right? I voted for Bush twice, but even I never thought he was one of our better presidents. I just thought he was the lesser of two evils.

Bush allowed the GOP Congress to run hog wild with pork-barrel spending. He imposed a costly new Medicare prescription benefit. He let Ted Kennedy write his education bill. He went into Iraq with too small a force to successfully occupy the country, then continued with this strategy for more than three years while US casualties mounted, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. He appointed incompetent cronies to oversee the Iraq reconstruction efforts, resulting in unnecessary delays. He put other unqualified cronies in charge of domestic agencies, like "Heckuva Job Brownie" at FEMA. At the SEC he installed Chris Cox, who eliminated the time-tested "uptick rule," precipitating huge market declines. Bush did nothing to prevent the subprime crisis, even though knowledgeable people were warning of it three or four years ago. And while he may have spent money on border enforcement, he did nothing - nada - to penalize employers who hire illegal aliens, nor did he make any effort to deport illegals.

At the start of Bush's term, the GOP controlled the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Now the GOP controls nothing.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

- Sauropod

DJ Drummond said...

Sauropod, you sound like one of those people who ignore any facts that do not fit your theory.

1 - You want to blame Bush for spending? OK, name the top three programs Bush submitted to Congress that, as submitted, were major contributors to the deficit. I do not think you have any idea what really caused the deficits, and the idea that the President "allows" or controls Congress is laughable in the historiocal and moden contexts.

2- Your Iraq statement is painfully uninformed. It speaks of a desire to blame the President for not being omniscient, and for listening to his generals at the times of decision. Your focus on casualities (historically mininal, if you bothered to notice) rather than the mission or the cause of the conflict, is postively liberal in its leanings.

You blame "incompetent cronies" as if you knew what happened and how they were chosen, again something right out of the DNC media guide.

In short, Sauropod, you are not just a liar, you are a bad liar.

Anonymous said...

Sauropod speaks the truth, but then again-- time does offer perspective. At the present, I would say that Bush stands to be a pretty bad president. Time could change that. His position on AIDS in Africa was one of his stronger points and time may rectify this slight to him.

But how the owner of this blog could think of him as a better president than his dad is beyond my imagination.

Security? 9/11 happened while he was president. That's not entirely his fault but absolving him of it and then touting him for "keeping the U.S. safe" from a type of attack that only happened once thus far in our lifetime anyway is a gross exaggeration of an accomplishment.

The economy? Bush had a chance to speak up against the absurdity of sub-prime mortgages and said nothing.

Medicare plan? A bogged-down boondoggle.

War in Iraq? Spreading democracy in the Middle East is all well and good but no good reason was ever given as to why Iraq was given priority over Tibet and Darfur. The ONLY *plausible* reason was that Hussein was a threat to the U.S....and most reasonable people knew he wasn't (although note that most Democrats said nothing during the laughable fiasco of a presentation to justify the war). The *threat* emanated from Afghanistan, which was given runner-up status is Bush's agenda.

What happened to this reduction of government intervention that the GOP barks about? They had the hammer and did *nothing* to reduce it. Bush was in charge of the Oval Office and did nothing to advance that position. No Child Left Behind was not quite the embarrassment it's been made out to be, but I certainly would have a hard time characterizing it as a success.

And I'm SO tired of reading straw dog arguments on blogs of all political stripes. "Republicans just want to repress all gays and shoot everything in sight." "Everyone that voted for Obama expected a handout and thinks the world's problems will be over 90 days after his inauguration." It's a detriment to intelligent discourse to paint everything with such a broad (and inaccurate) brush.

I don't think Bush was a bad president because I'm a tree-hugging liberal. I think he was a bad president because some of his ideas weren't that great, his few good ideas were executed terribly and he clearly wasn't intelligent enough to assume the position.

DJ Drummond said...

To #3, I would recommend you seriously step back and consider how much of your condemnation is based on your emotion, and how little you focused on fact. This is not to be confrontational, but to remind you that there are many opn one side who refuse to give President Clinton any credit for the same reason that others now refuse to give any credit to Bush. And as President Obama comes to his term, I am sure you would like for him to be given a decent opportunity to do the job and receive support where appropriate. You should understand that the same derogatory style you used in your comment can just as easily and likely be applied to Obama, and there is a real and significant damage to his effectiveness that such opposition will effect.

Igoring the qualifications and accomplishments of any president solely because you personaly dislike him, is to fuel a bitter and divisive smear-fest that does no one any good.