Monday, December 8, 2008

The Legacy of George W Bush

I've been putting this off for a while, as it's easier to work on the news and opinions of the day than to drag up all the old crap of the prior eight years. But, with little more than a month left (and Christmas and the grandeur of The Office of the President-Elect *gag* eclipsing his final days) its time to take a hard look at the legacy of President George W Bush. To do so will require to examine some of the key events and legislation that has marked the two terms he has been our president. Most of my info on this does come from Wikipedia in case you're wondering.

One note before I begin, though. This assessment will be based on whether he followed the conservative principals we elected him for back in 2000, and without standard Bush-hater assumptions that he's a liar, a bitch for the oil companies, and an overall soulless bastard. As such, I will not be tolerant of rank moonbattery in the comments section. I will say that every president (Democrat or Republican) has believed what he was doing was right and the motivations of anyone who assumes the drizzling shitstorm that is the presidency are not wholly selfish. To quote John Adams: "No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it." So with the though of how thankless the job really is, let's begin:


The 2000 Election or Dude, Where's my Mandate?

First of all, George W Bush was elected president in 2000. The bullshit chant of 'selected, not elected' is nothing more than sour grapes on crack. Our system only works, however, if we accept the results of the election, and (if it's as close in Florida as it was) the normal recount process. I'm not going to argue every charge, counter-charge, or bullshit argument. Bush was ahead in the initial count, and stayed ahead until the Supreme Court stopped the incessant recountery. And after 2004, there was So like I've told the bitter Republicans this year: Suck it up. It's over, he's president.

However, due to the murkiness of the final result, the Bush administration started out late and with excessive uncertainty, without much of a mandate, and with a (larger than usual) hardcore bunch of people with venom for blood with no objectivity whatsoever screaming for impeachment or blood. Of course, this meant, despite control of Congress, it was kind of shaky for the first eight months.


9/11 and the War
or The War to End All Bipartisanship

The first defining event of the Bush administration was the terrorist attacks of that dark day. From it, Bush was handed a mandate to fight a new kind of war against an enemy without a country and with an evil resolve that makes the Japanese of WWII look like the (surrender-happy) French in comparison. In the beginning, The president (and many of his programs) had bipartisan support. But as issues arose and campaigns marched (and we slowly forgot), it degenerated into partisan bickering. Which brings us to the fronts of the war:

Afghanistan - An easy and clear-cut enemy in the beginning, the Taliban were direct sponsors of Al Qaeda, and Osama Bin Laden himself was hiding there. We whooped them, but missed Bin Laden. But as the Afghans are wont to do, they didn't bring much of a democratic process to the table. In addition, their porous border with Pakistan, plus the nature of this tribal area, has made it pretty damned hard to get to him. In addition, Iraq has sucked a lot of attention and time and troops from the theater. But with victory there, we can reengage and find the bastards, a policy likely to continue into the Obama administration

Iraq - The mother of all political messes. (Note: this part is not a vindication or condemnation of Bush, merely an attempt to lay out the facts as simply as possible) After Saddam Hussein's continued threats, defiance, and general asshattery in defying the US and the UN since his defeat in the Gulf war, as well as intelligence to support that he was moving to make another play with his WMDs, coalition forces from 20 nations entered and liberated Iraq from the tyranny of the Hussein regime. However, the happy ending did not come. For three years, an insurgency of both Saddam's stalwarts and Al Qaeda transplants, as well as sectarian violence that had been suppressed for decades tore at Iraq, costing us 4000+ soldiers, and many more Iraqi lives. During this, free elections were held in Iraq, Bush was reelected, and the fervor of antiwar sentiment continued to grow here at home, fueled heavily by the Hate Bush Brigade.

However, after the troop surge of 2007/2008, the situation has stabilized and we are rapidly approaching the day where we will leave Iraq, for better or worse, with an elected government. And the success or failure of Iraq (yet to be determined) will be the greatest factor in Bush's legacy concerning the war.

The Patriot Act
- Both this and FISA are war measures, designed to combat a specific threat that uses our legal system and free society as a weapon against us. Now there are elements of each that need to be examined, moderated, given oversight, and sunsetted. But precedent is with the president on this, as the security (and survival) of the country demand that every action that can be taken to fight our enemies must be taken, with the subsequent oversight designed to determine if it waas right to do so. In that light, these measures, which are designed to target foreign terrorists operating around the world and here in America, it is not necessarily excessive, or a clear violation of Constitutional rights. However, it became more fodder for the Haters, giving them tisted reasons to compare him to Hitler (as opposed to Lincoln (suspending Habeus Corpus) and FDR (Japanese internment camps)).

GITMO and Waterboarding - The Geneva Conventions wer esigned to give soldiers in conflicts legal protections and to bring some sense of civilization (ha) to war. However, they were not designed to accomodate the terrorists of the world, who fight undeclared wars on civilian populations. The purpose of GITMO is to secure these murderous pieces of shit until we can either try them for crimes or hand them over to their countries of origin to be dealt with. Both detention and harsh interrogation techniques were used, to gain the intelligence required to continue to hunt down the enemies of peace. Naturally, this was more fodder for the "human rights for the inhuman" crowd. President-elect Obama has stated he intends to close GITMO and eliminate these interrogation thechniques, which he apparently terms as torture. Their elimination, and the results of such, may show Bush's decisions on these in a different light.


Compassionate Conservatism and Domestic Days

or The Manchurian Conservative

George W Bush was elected on a promise of a return to the conservative days we enjoyed under Ronald Reagan. And after eight years of Clinton, featuring leadership by poll, a graduate course on parsing the word, and other things that came to a head (gotta love 3 double entendres in once phrase) before he was impeached, conservatives were screaming to elect anybody else. And compared to his main primary rival (the damn-near liberal John McCain), almost anybody would have been more conservative. Except Algore (who deserved to lose because he couldn't even win his own home state).

Unfortunately, the "compassionate" part of "compassionate conservative" (as I have noted elsewhere) does some things to conservative principles that are just wrong:

The Bush Tax Cuts - I've never met an across-the-board tax cut I didn't like. The idea of removing tax burden from the people who pay it without prejudice is always a good idea in my world. With conservative principles that dictate reducing the size and scope of government, and a Republican Congress that will continue the shrinkage, it's a win-win situation. And that extra refund check for every taxpayer was pretty nifty too.

No Program Left Behind - When nifty ceased on the homefront it was replaced by the growth of more programs, some with a conservative spin in them (No Child Left Behind), others being expansion of the same thrice-damned programs that have been creeping outward from Washington since we were first saddled with the entitlement monkey back in the FDR days (Medicare drug benefits). Money and programs to fight manmade global warming, AIDS, poverty, and to add another department to the government (Homeland security) All came up under his watch. It was this failure to stick with conservative principles that contributed to the failure of the GOP in 2006 and 2008, along with....

Wherefore Art Thou, Veto - Considering we really didn't see this little power of the executive branch (one of 12 vetoes, with 4 of the 12 overridden), what more is there to say? Considering that between the stuff he pushed and the shit he signed off on, the national debt since 9/11 went from $5.8 trillion to around $10 trillion (WITH THE GOP IN CONTROL), I'd say he seriously skipped a lesson in fiscal conservatism. Which brings me to the granddaddy of all stupid-assed things to have come out of the Bush years (and the thing that will keep that debt skyrocketing past at least the first Obama administration).

Depression Ep II: Attack of the Bailouts - The Bush administration, in concert with GOP "leaders" and scheming Democrats, started the money throwing back around tax time when they decided on a 'stimulus package' to boost a slightly sagging economy. But this one wasn't a "taxpayer refund' like the first one back when Bush could call himself a conservative without me wanting to puke. No this was one to help out those who need it most. In liberal terms the EEEEEVIL RICH didn't get shit. It went to the poor, which meant more lottery ticket sales. Then when the economy really started to tank, after the gas price spike, Fannie and Freddie going belly up, the housing bubble exploding, and the subesquent death spiral for the banks that were tied to it all, our big government brothers and sisters (with a few decent exceptions and Dennis Kucinich) stepped in to throw almost 3/4 of a trillion bucks at the problem (with trillions more coming from the Fed). Oh, and they couldn't pass it until they loaded it with pork. And Bush signed it. And now it's a matter of when we bail out the car bastards. But they'll be under a 'car czar' or something to make sure they do right by the government. I guess that means their stockholders can go to hell. And it looks like this will continue into the Obama years, so guess where I'm probably going to start chewing his ass.

Miscellaneous - Other than Democrats who can't seem to take responsibility for their own mistakes, Katrina and the mess of New Orleans will not figure into the Bush legacy. He will also be noted for appointing Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, who turned out to be fairly strict in their constitutional interpretations so far.


The Verdict
or How Much Does(n't) Bush Suck?

The Bush administration will be defined by several things. First, there's the 2000 election. All that will be remembered was that it was messy and Bush was elected. Except when the left wants to scream about Republicans stealing elections, of course. At which point I'll pull out the cheese.

Second there's 9/11 and the war. The images of that day will remain vivid in the memories of so many, as other turning points do, and Bush's actions in the days, weeks, months and years after. Iraqs outcome looks good. And the fact that we have not been attacked here will cement his reputation as a good wartime president, and a man who protected his country from enemies who seek our blood. For that, we can be eternally grateful.

Third, there's the economy, stupid. The fact that the downturn came in the final year of his administration will be enough to cement him as a weak president. Ask his father and ask Jimmy Carter. They both took a hit from hard economic times. And there wasn't much time for him to do anything, and an unsympathetic Congress that had no reason to save his ass. But for conservatives, as much as we are proud of his record in protecting us from terrorists, we can't quite forgive him for his apparent turn to big-government quasi-socialsim. Yeah, I just said socialism.

Conclusion (Finally!)
- While we have had great presidents (Reagan, Kennedy) and we have had terrible presidents (Nixon, Carter), George W Bush will limp into the history books with either a slightly positive or extremely negative image (depending on how much of a Marxist the asshat writing the book is). And this will be becasue, while he served us well in one arena, he allowed himself to be savaged by his opposition without fighting back, and he failed on principles when the opportunity to show his conservative mettle was presented to him. And while I'll be grateful that he was elected the 43rd President of the United States, I look at how it ended and realize that we must be eternally vigilant over those we elect as conservative leaders, lest they fall.


Postscript - Finally, I figgered it would be a good strategery to end this with a little laugh. So in the spirit of making fun of, uh, um, all, uh, presidents, um (and , uh, presidents, um, elect), here are five Bushisms:

"The woman who knew that I had dyslexia — I never interviewed her."

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."


Note: Due to people not playing by the rules, I have disabled further comment.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please don't teach.

TAO said...

You forgot his first major legislation...the prescription drug bill...

So, between that and the no child left behind....

Oh, and in 2004 Bin Laden announced that he was going to bankrupt the US...obviously, Bin Laden figured out that Afghanistan and the expense was what toppled the Soviet Union and that he could do the same thing to the US....

Well, Bush will go down as one of the most incompetent Presidents we have ever seen. Put him in the pile with Hoover.

It has nothing to do with conservative principles or being eternally vigilent....the guy and most likely his side kick, Cheney, obviously went into office with an agenda....and for eight years they must have worked diligently on that agenda...

Exactly what was their agenda? That question still is open to explanation.

If you assume that individuals hold a general set of principles of which they base their decisions from then you have to ask yourself what were the general priniciples of GWB? Can you find a match between what he says he believes and actions he took? I cannot.

I think the only principle I can see is cronyism.

Patrick M said...

Anonydolt: Show some spine.

Tao: Didn't forget the drug bill (subsection titled 'No Program Left Behind').

I will accept that he risks being lumped in with Hoover on the economy (doing things that don't solve the problem, that really make them worse). Bit some of the story is not fully written and will depend on whether Obama can fix it or makes it worse.

And we have to filter that through media that, by and large, have spent 8 years (except maybe the week after 9/11) painting Bush as the dumbest president ever.

"Most incompetent" president? I think someone slipped you some moonbat Kool-Aid. Because to assume that he's both incompetent (debateable) and merely motivated by self interest (which I reject) makes no sense. Were he motivated by self-interest, he wouldn't have stayed in the political positions he did. Whether right or wrong, he actively chose this path, which has not come to his benefit.

Can you find a match between what he says he believes and actions he took?

On the war, yes. On the economy, less and less.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I give you credit for tackling this subject, but in the end, obviously, it's all opinion based on your natural conservative biases. That's not a criticism, it's an observation. A review of GWB's presidency by me would be seen through the lens of my natural liberalism.

Here's one place where it is difficult for me to understand your opinion on the torture issue:

Both detention and harsh interrogation techniques were used, to gain the intelligence required to continue to hunt down the enemies of peace. Naturally, this was more fodder for the "human rights for the inhuman" crowd.

You completely disregard the fact that innocent people were caught up in the dragnet the Bush administration cast over foreigners, and how that indiscriminate action caused innocent people to be renditioned and tortured (and ultimately released because of OUR government's mistakes)in the name of America--The Last Best Hope of Humankind.

It's difficult for many of us to read how blithely you dismiss the actions of the Bush admn., taken in OUR name, on the issue of torture. And we DID torture. What was perpetrated in our name--America--is shameful and inhumane.

Why do you continue to call torture "interrogation techniques?" Please. Do some research and find out what kind of torture those "techniques" involved.

PS. President-elect Obama doesn't "apparently" call these "interrogation techniques" torture--our laws do.

Perhaps you forgot this:

Bush OK'd Torture Meetings

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, April 14, 2008; 1:36 PM

President Bush says he was aware that his top aides met in the White House basement to micromanage the application of waterboarding and other widely-condemned interrogation techniques. And he says it was no big deal.

"I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved," Bush told ABC News' Martha Raddatz on Friday. "I don't know what's new about that; I'm not so sure what's so startling about that."

It's true that it has been widely assumed and occasionally reported that the CIA's use of brutal interrogation techniques could be traced back to the White House on a general level. But it was most definitely new last week when ABC News reported that a group of Bush's top aides, including Vice President Cheney, took part in meetings where they explicitly discussed and approved -- literally blow by blow -- tactics such as waterboarding. And while Bush has previously defended these tactics -- vaguely, and insisting against all evidence that they did not amount to torture -- he had not, until now, acknowledged that he personally OK'd them beforehand.


And from Standford University School of Law's blogspot on the Law and the Bush Administration's use of torture:

Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture, to which the United States is a party, specifically states that “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as justification of torture.” The International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights similarly prohibits a state from engaging in acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment even “in times of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation.”

If you and your fellow conservatives believe a president has the right to commit any act, including breaking the law, in defense of this nation, then please, state that upfront, and don't use euphemisms like "interrogation techniques" to describe torture.

Patrick M said...

Tao: I pulled your other comment for irrelevance, but will be printing it in full on my next post.

Shaw: I stated explicitly that this was from the view of conservatism, because we've all heard the liberal issues. Nevertheless, my thoughts on how the war and Iraq will reflect on Bush stand (and are based on my expectation of what will happen) will be proven correct.

You completely disregard the fact that innocent people were caught up in the dragnet the Bush administration cast over foreigners...

As Obama comes into office, anything obvious that needs rectified will be found out. And that will add to or subtract from the Bush legacy

As for not using the word torture in reference to waterboarding and other psychological techniques, it's because they are in debate as to whether they constitute torture.

Again, this is a subject that will have to wait until Bush is out of office.

I'm not saying that the president is justified in breaking the law. The argument is still on whether he did so. And that chapter has yet to be written.

Until then, I have to go with what facts have been settled. The torture question has not.

Dave Miller said...

What his view on the power of the unitary executive, which seems to run along with what Shaw is saying that if the President says it is legal, it is legal.

Any thoughts? I believe this will be part of his enduring legacy, good or bad, as it has set precedent for future residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Shaw Kenawe said...

All international authorities recognize that waterboarding IS torture.

There is no doubt that the US has tortured its prisoners.

Patrick, there is no argument that Bush broke the law and tortured.

None.

Only Bush's apologists and those who feel that America must become like its enemies in order to destroy them think waterboarding and other forms of torture are American values.

I'll post this last item, then drop the subject, since I know you won't acknowledge that we torture no matter what evidence I post.

(CBS) Waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning, dates back to at least the Spanish Inquisition, and has been used some of the world's cruelest dictatorships, according to Human Rights Watch.

Forms of waterboarding vary but generally consist of immobilizing an individual on his or her back - head inclined downward - and pouring water over the face to induce the sensation of drowning.

Other techniques include dunking prisoners head-first into water, as was used by Chadian military forces in the mid 1980s. The Khmer Rouge, responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.5 million Cambodians during the 1970s, strapped victims on inclined boards, with feet raised and head lowered, and covered their faces with cloth or cellophane. Water then was poured over their mouths to stimulate drowning.

Waterboarding, long considered a form of torture by the United States, produces a gag reflex and makes the victim believe death is imminent. The technique leaves no visible physical damage.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, considers waterboarding a form of torture. McCain has been quoted as saying that waterboarding is "no different than holding a pistol to his head and firing a blank."

After World War II, U.S. military commissions prosecuted several Japanese soldiers for subjecting U.S. soldiers to waterboarding, according to Human Rights Watch. In 1968, a U.S. soldier was court-martialed for water boarding a Vietnamese prisoner.

But in October 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney confirmed the United States had used the controversial technique to interrogate senior Al Qaeda suspects, and he said the White House did not consider waterboarding a form of torture.


Source: http://tinyurl.com/6g6cmh


Former AG, Ashcroft admitted that the US used the torture technique, waterboarding:

http://tinyurl.com/624ujl

And since you used Wiki for a lot of your post, I assume you think their information is correct. Therefore, I'll paste the first sentence on the definition of waterboarding found in Wiki:

Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on their back with the head inclined downward and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages.

Arthurstone said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Toad734 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick M said...

Dave: There is a danger

Shaw: You're right that I'm not going to freely accept it, because the debate is still ongoing.

But I did consider further, and I suspect that, unless something clear is brought during the Obama administration, the torture question will not significantly affect Bush's legacy. Except with the haters, of course.

Speaking of which:

Arthur, for just rehashing Shaw, and Toad, for the general hater rehash (of which I warned), I call moonbat. Bye.

Arthurstone said...

Deleting posts I see. Mike has done the same things when certain facts are painful to consider.

Interesting Patrick.

Afraid folks might find some useful information?

Pointing out flaws in the Bush administration and suggesting books which paint a less than flattering portrait of the Bush years is dismissed as 'general hater rehash'.

You wish.

Both books are sourced on extensive interviews with Powell, Armitage, Rice, Ashcroft, Feith, Yoo and others who in no measure could be labelled 'haters'.

collins calling said...

Since the day he took office the Bush administration inherited an economic recession from the Clinton administration. And he was blamed for everything since. It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country’s current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them. This good man has gotten a a bad rap and flacks for the last 8 years.
If he was that bad, how come he was elected twice? He must have done something good.

Patrick M said...

Arthur: No. I stated specifically that I would not let this turn into a baseless Bush bash (To quote: As such, I will not be tolerant of rank moonbattery in the comments section.). If you had presented a relevant point rather than echo Shaw's point, I'd have left you stand.

And if you notice, my post was not flattering to Bush, but it did have a POV (again, I stated that). So go back and read that paragraph again.

But since you whined, here's the books you listed:

Jane Mayer, 'The Dark Side'
Barton Gellman; 'Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency'


Collins: Fair points. One of the biggest flaws of the administration was their inability to defend themselves when the left came a calling. And while they inherited many things, the moves of the last 6 months have been increasingly bad.

Obviously, the economic issues had not caught up in 2004, the war had not reach shaky ground in Iraq, and the Dems threw out a dork of a candidate. Plus, I hadn't forgotten the first refund check (the good one).

Patrick M said...

Dave: Apologies for not finishing my comment. Let's try it again.

There are dangers in allowing the executive to broad a power. Perhaps we've reached a period where we need to start limiting him again. Otherwise, we might as well crown us a king at the rate we're going. But on something as fluid and tricky as a war, I'll give the POTUS the benefit of the doubt until clear evidence to the contrary comes up (for example, my questions on the sanity of going into Iraq).

I do think the executive branch has been gathering more power to itself, to the point we are in danger of a quasi-dictatorship. This is where electing men of principle would help.

Thankfully, we do require our president to be reelected for a second term and limit him from a third. And while only used twice (and imminent the third time), there's the power of impeachment.

Arthurstone said...

Patrick reiterated:

'To quote: As such, I will not be tolerant of rank moonbattery in the comments section...'

Any discussion of 'The Legacy of George W. Bush' which excludes Presidential directives based on extremely dubious interpretations of the Constitution (in secret bye the bye) is no discussion at all. There is a reason these decisions and the discussion surrounding them remain secret Patrick.

Bush et. al. are VERY concerned about their legacy as well.

While including the topic I did may be uncomfortable for you it is by no means, as you suggest, baseless.

Cheers!

Toad734 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Toad734 said...

Hey Mike, I mean Pat, I realize you don't always like to hear the truth but I just addressed all your issues here. If you don't want to talk about the Bush legacy and what he did and how he is perceived, then do a post about guns or something.

Toad734 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Satyavati devi dasi said...

Is the moderation on??

Patrick M said...

No, Toad, you ran down the usual moonbat line. Three fucking times.

If you feel the need to keep breaking the rules then no one needs to read someone with no disregard for the rules.

NOTE TO ALL:

Because Toad can't play by the rules, comment moderation will be on until I close comments on this post. If you want to complain about moderation, visit his site and give him shit.

PhantomMan said...

Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.

According to recent Gallup polls, the president's average approval rating is below 30% -- down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.
This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."

Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.

The president's original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.

It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.

Like the president said in his 2004 victory speech, "We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

To be sure, Mr. Bush is not completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the good company of former Democratic President Harry S. Truman, whose own approval rating sank to 22% shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman's low numbers, a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president in history.

Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House. I think that history will rate President Bush very high. But not for many years to come.
Higher than most of the democrats presidents we have had in the past...that's for sure.

Shaw Kenawe said...

If he was that bad, how come he was elected twice? He must have done something good.

I can't remember who posted this, but if this person believes being elected means having "done something good," then I would refer him/her to the current, and soon to be former, Governor of Illinois.

Being elected means that, well, you got the most votes.

It's what one DOES in office that determines the politician's worth.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Whoa. Just saw this comment moderation statement.

Why? What's going on?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Let us not forget that one of the things that defines America is the right to stand up and say that the president's an asshole, if you so believe it.

We aren't obligated to some kind of blind fanaticism that decrees we stand up and cheer for someone we don't believe in or who we believe isn't doing the right thing.

The tenets of our capitalist society can also be applied here: we're going for the biggest bang for our buck. If the president isn't delivering, if we feel we're not getting what we're paying for, or if we feel like we can do better with someone else in the job, then we say so. Companies don't get accused of 'disloyalty' when they ship 40% of their jobs overseas: they're just trying to make more money, right? Are they disloyal to the people? Depends on who you're asking, but capitalist dogma would say no (and blame it on the people-after all, if they were willing to work for the sub-subsistence wages people overseas will work for, there'd be no reason for any company to outsource-so it's your own fault you lost your job!).

The point is, there is no onus on any citizen to support policies or presidents. You're free to say what you like and believe as you do. If you think GWB is an idiot, good for you. Nobody can make you believe otherwise nor behave as if you do.

"Patriotism" is love of country, not love of presidents. To blindly follow is not patriotism; to support what you don't believe is falsehood and/or hypocrisy. To accuse or disparage those who feel strongly enough to speak their minds on such topics is just another step towards fascism.

Bubkiss said...

Shaw Kenawe said...

If he was that bad, how come he was elected twice? He must have done something good.

I can't remember who posted this, but if this person believes being elected means having "done something good," then I would refer him/her to the current, and soon to be former, Governor of Illinois.

Being elected means that, well, you got the most votes.

Ya mean like Obama did?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Phantoman is strongly supportive of GWB and his presidency. Good for him. But please don't denigrate those of us who do not see his 8 years in the presidency through the same rosey glasses as you do.

Phantoman hopes that years after he leaves office, GWB's reputation will improve as did Harry Truman's. Have you read what Truman did as a politician? Ever hear of the Marshall Plan? The Truman Senate Committee hearings on war profiteering? The Truman Doctrine?
Those were all immense accomplishments that had a lasting effect on this nation.

The Bush Doctrine established the right to pre-emptive war against PRESUMED enemy nations--not nations that presented a clear and present danger to the safety of the United States. A complete reversal of everything this country has stood for over the last 232 years.

But Bush also allowed torture, the politicization of the DoJ, and worse, the continued incompetence of Donald Rumsfeld--which led to thousands of unnecessary deaths of US military and Iraqi civilians.

There are a lot of reasons GWB is disliked, and yes even hated, in this country and around the world.

For you to dismiss this as mere partisanship is refusing to face reality.

Saty is correct in that we are loyal to this country and the Constitution. If we have the misfortune to have a president who disregards the law of the land, we have no obligation to be loyal to him or her.

PS. An insight on Bush's character was embarrassingly displayed when he consented to what in all probability was Karl Rove's idea of a political stunt. Can you imagine Dwight Eisenhower OR Harry Truman, both of whom served their country proudly in war, agreeing to fly onto a carrier dressed in military garb and then proclaiming "Mission Accomplished?"

Bush didn't have the intelligence or the class to say no to such grandstanding posturing. That he didn't know that he shouldn't have debased the office of the presidency with such theatrics is a stunning and revealing insight into this man's character.

Bob said...

Satyavati devi dasi said...If you think GWB is an idiot, good for you.

Good for you?

Oh really?
Only an IDIOT would say that!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Bubkiss,

Yes, like Obama. You left off the rest of my quote. I said it's what a politician DOES in office that determines his/her worth.

Being elected merely means that more people believe a politician will accomplish what he/she says he/she will accomplish than they do his/her opponent.

I remember a rightwinger once said to me that George W. Bush must be very smart, since he won two elections. I answered her by saying that by that criterion, she would have to believe that Ted Kennedy is a frickin' genius, since he's won every single election he run in since the 60s!!!

Making him waaaaay smarter than Dubya!

Patrick M said...

Shaw: The Truman Doctrine, and its subsequent consequences, led to the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, armed what would become the Taliban, turned the Middle East into the center of oil production, and laid the groundwork for the current war. Yet despite this, it's considered an "accomplishment" of the Truman administration (I believe it was right). It will take several years to know whether our efforts in Iraq and the war in general will really pay off. And only then will Bush's legacy be set. Phanoman (and I to a lesser extent) predict a boost and you predict failure, based on ideology. But it won't really be settled.


Also, let me see if I can borrow a phrase of yours to make a point:

[Obama] didn't have the intelligence or the class to say no to such grandstanding posturing when he said he'd end the war, a position he's backing off of now as he learns all the facts.

(the italicized is your original statement about Bush)

I'm not going to defend the "Mission Accomplished" banner, because it was not a great PR move by Bush (despite being taken out of context), but that he lacked intelligence or class is a little of a stretch, just as I'm stretching to indicate Obama embraced the antiwar dorks just to get an election and didn't really mean it.

Bob: Only an IDIOT [Satyavati] would say that!

Enough with the namecalling. Satyavati may be wrong on almost everything, blinded by her socialist ideology, ignoring (my sweet and caring) common sense, but she most certainly is NOT an idiot.

Throwing Stones said...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Bubkiss,

Yes, like Obama. You left off the rest of my quote. I said it's what a politician DOES in office that determines his/her worth.

Being elected merely means that more people believe a politician will accomplish what he/she says he/she will accomplish than they do his/her opponent.

I remember a rightwinger once said to me that George W. Bush must be very smart, since he won two elections. I answered her by saying that by that criterion, she would have to believe that Ted Kennedy is a frickin' genius, since he's won every single election he run in since the 60s!!!
Making him waaaaay smarter than Dubya!


Ted Kennedy is a frickin' a frickin something! You got that right.


Making him waaaaay smarter than Dubya?

At least a waaaaay better lair!

David#999 said...

Patrick, said..."Enough with the namecalling. Satyavati may be wrong on almost everything, blinded by her socialist ideology, ignoring (my sweet and caring) common sense, but she most certainly is NOT an idiot"

No Comment.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Patrick,

When Dubya put on that flight suit and landed on the carrier, it was a shameful, embarrassing STUNT!

Again, try to imagine Eisenhower doing something as crass.

Obama may be back-peddling on his campaign rhetoric, but it's no STUNT. It's what every politician does--including GWB who said he'd be a uniter, not a divider, who said he didn't believe in nation building, and who PROMISED to continue the ban on automatic weapons, but in fact let the ban expire. He also promised WHILE HE WAS PRSIDENT to fire anyone who lied to him about involvement in the Plame scandal. Karl Rove lied when he had Scott McClelan say to the press that he, Rove, was not involved in the Plame scandal. The Fitzgerald investigation proved otherwise.

A political stunt and a political promise are not the same.

And we don't know yet what Obama will do vis-a-vis Iraq. He's not the president yet. Let's wait and see.

In any event, I admire your steadfastness in defending GWB. It's hard work, I tell ya, hard work!

And Throwing Stones, your Kennedy remark is stale. Can't you come up with something original?

I'm sure you can find something in your tiny bag of witty insults that hasn't been heard before.

Go for it, big guy! Who wouldn't admire someone who would make fun of an old man dying of brain cancer?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Satyavati devi dasi said...If you think GWB is an idiot, good for you.

Good for you?

Oh really?
Only an IDIOT would say that!


I totally don't get this reply. It doesn't make sense to me.

Why not good for you? You don't like brussels sprouts? Good for you. Don't eat them. Don't support abortion? Good for you. Don't have one. Don't believe in buying foreign-made products? Good for you, and good luck finding things still made in the USA (see above 'bang for the buck' et al).

What's wrong with good for you? If you don't like Bush, good for you. You're exercising your right as an American. Nobody can make you like him, nobody can force you to buy into it, nobody can insist that you get up and cheer for a president you don't believe in. And why's that? Cause this is America.

I fail to see where this kind of thought process would make anyone an idiot. In fact, this kind of thought process is what makes America the land of the free, despite the attempts of many to make it the land of fascism wrapped in red, white, and blue.

And you have yourself a nice night.

PS. Thanks, Patrick, although you know I'm not wrong about near as much stuff as you make it sound :*

Patrick M said...

Shaw: I don't make excuses for Bush. I call it like I see it.

Nevertheless, I'll just say that it will take several years for the legacy of George W Bush to become clear. If the economy stays tanked, it will not be the most flattering. If Obama gets things on track in 2009, Bush will stand primarily as a war president. And except for Vietnam, that always boost presidential cred, because we usually come out (perceived) in better shape than when we went in.

Saty: If I just said you weren't an idiot, it wouldn't be as funny.

Patrick M said...

ADMINISTRATOR'S NOTE:

Due to the nature of the blog and the refusal of some to abide by the rules, I have terminated comments.