Monday 19 January 2009

Why I'm glad Bush is gone

That was a long eight years.

You know, I consider myself a conservative. Fiscally conservative anyhow. Socially, I'm more moderate. Many die-hard conservatives will always side with the right wing politician in any political debate, and if you look hard enough you can always find a way to glorify your guy and demonize the other guy. However, when you break down the US leadership to it's fundamental components it is clear that Bush has failed miserably as President. Only somebody with ideological blinders on would be able to deny that.

The Economy

Bush claims that he inherited a recession. Whether that is technically true or not, he is leaving the economy is much worse shape than he found it. The building blocks of the financial collapse may have first started getting stacked during the previous administration, but the problems accelerated during W's years, and in large part due to the policies of his administration. And ultimately, the collapse happened under his watch. The buck stops with him, right? Worse, the US is poorly positioned to combat another recession because ...

Dubya also inherited a budget surplus, which he has turned into a trillion dollar deficit. Yes, 911 changed everything, but consider that much of the accumulated debt under his two terms in office can be chalked up to unsustainable tax cuts, not to fighting terrorism. As a conservative, I am all for tax cuts within a balanced budget situation. Not as a stimulus policy necessarily, but because it's the right thing to do when the government takes in more money than it needs. Low taxes are also good for the long term health of the economy. Deficits are not, however, and the Bush tax cuts were therefore ill-advised.

Bush also spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. He did not veto a single spending bill his entire first term in office. In fact, he did not veto anything until a bill on stem cell research crossed his desk in his second term*. In other words, prudent fiscal management was a lower priority for Bush than blocking life-saving research because of social ideology.

The other thing that contributed to the huge deficits of course is the "War on Terror". Not so much the war in Afghanistan, but the much more expensive war in Iraq, which brings me to the next major leadership failure:

The War in Iraq

George Bush Sr. should have toppled Saddam when he had the chance back in the first Gulf War, when conditions were much more favourable. He did not because he knew doing so would create a big mess that could take years to mop up. I guess Sr and Jr don't talk about such things at the dinner table. Anyhow, invading Iraq was a policy decision, not a necessity. Iraq was crawling with UN weapons inspectors at the time. Even if they had WMD's, they were in no position to use them against the US, nor did they have any will to. But Bush and his buddies took advantage of 911 to push their agenda into Iraq, and in doing so they neglected priority #1: Afghanistan. This caused several things to happen, including:

1. That six foot four jack-ass Osama Bin Laden and his posse were allowed to get away and are still gaining strength, threatening Afghanistan and killing Canadian soldiers.

2. Iraq has become unstable, allowing Al Qaeda to create a presence there and ethnic tensions to escalate, causing an uncertain future that may end up with a regime that is no better than the one that was toppled, after all is said and done.

3. Violations of human rights by the United States at Abu Ghraib, at home, and at GITMO, destroyed any "moral superiority" that they may have had, inciting people to join the enemy out of hatred for the US, and ultimately putting all western nations and their soldiers more at risk.


The Economy and the War in Iraq are the two big failures of the George Bush legacy. You could find others, like his environmental record, for example, but one last thing I want to pick on is his statesmanship. Here's the thing about his statesmanship: he doesn't have any. As a world leader, he is a joke. He is a spoiled brat with an adopted Texas accent who gives inappropriate back rubs to other world leaders, speaks as though he's talking to 3rd graders, and butchers the English language every step of the way. Combined with his arrogance and selfish policies, the only way he could have left a worse impression upon the world is if he re-instituted slavery.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out of the White House, Dubya.


Scott MacNeil said...

Well, in a way Dubya did kind of "re-institute slavery". But it was the kind that saw the US middle and underclass's become even more marginalized and alienated from the means of production because his policies only served the narrow interests of America's business-elite and its venture capitalist class.

cherenkov said...

He did stuff for the regular guy. For example, those policies enabled thousands of lower-middle class families to own big houses that would normally be far beyond their means. At least for a little while. They may be living in boxes now, but they'll always remember those two years that they lived like kings, and you can never take that away from them.

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