How Bad is Bush?

A dear friend of mine has raised the issue of the Bush presidency not being as bad as many perceive it to be. I thought it may be worthwhile to explore this.

My personal opinion of Bush is that he may be the worst president that we have ever had. The only thing I can think of that was positive is that he did a good job with Aids in Africa. I respect him for that. Besides that, though, he took an economy that was finally in the black and trashed it to the point that now we are in a recession. In addition, he put us in a war that was unnecessary and cost more American lives than the 9/11 tragedy. What's more, he has trampled on our liberties with his "anti-terrorists" tactics. He even trashed the reputation of his party. Barring some Democratic catastrophe, they have no chance in keeping the White House or recapturing either house of Congress.

These arguments did not dissuade my friend from removing her "I'm a Bushie, and Darned Proud of it" bumper sticker. Instead she countered my arguments with, "No, Bush is not the worst. Carter, Nixon, Clinton....all come to mind.We were in the black until 9/11 hit; our country just hasn't fully recovered from that. I think blaming Bush is a scapegoat. During his presidency home ownership has been at an all time high (esp among blacks), unemployment was at an all-time low, and we've had no other terrorists attacks on U.S. soil. I don't think people grasp what has been done to protect us. There are fascists out there who want to kill us. This is why I support the war on terror. After two years of fighting in the Revolutionary War, it grew quite unpopular. I doubt anyone would consider that a waste. Our liberties have been trampled by groups like the ACLU and even Congress. Bush has alienated folks in the Republican party because he is not tough enough. He has folded to the whims of special interest groups and the likes of Pelosi and Reid."

Her response is the kind of thing that keeps me an independent. When I see the Republican and Democratic talking points, I always question them for truth and accuracy. Her rebuttal reminded me that Obama is not the only one with Kool-Aid drinking followers. No offense to her, though. ;)

I will concede that Carter and Nixon were not good presidents. Carter was naive and Nixon was a crook. Nixon was bad, not just because of the crooked activities, but because he is a lot of the reason we have a healthcare crisis in this country. Clinton's job performance was fantastic, though. I can't believe any fair minded person could say, with a straight face, that it was anything other than glowing. As I mentioned in my post, personal and moral lackings aside, was it the peace or the prosperity that people such as my friend objected to the most?

However, Bush is at a whole other level of failure than Carter and Nixon - for the reasons I stated above. However, let's look at what my friend gives him credit for.

Yep, we were in the black before 9/11 - just months after Bush's first term started. Clinton put us in the black after fixing the economic mess that Reagan started and Bush, Sr. kept going.

Homeownership went up - Yes, and the reason was the subprime mortgage disaster. Blacks and Hispanics were hurt the worst with a record number of foreclosures.

Unemployment has been down and that is good, however, the confirming factor that we are, indeed, in a recession, is because in recent months we are losing thousands of jobs - 80,000 just last month and 150,000 since the end of January.

No OTHER terrorist attacks on US soil - I think this is the lamest of all "achievements" that Bushies claim. Gee, we have also had no large meteors hit the Earth, none of the seven plagues of Egypt has befallen us, and no invasions from beings from other planets, either. These things and the fact that California hasn't been detached and lost to the Pacific should encourage us all to put "W" on Mt. Rushmore. You know what? Bush has had more terrorist attacks on US soil than Richard Nixon.

The War on Terror ended, for all practical purposes when the US invaded Iraq. Bin Laden and al Quaida were not in Iraq, they were in the mountainous area around the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. The US diverted way too many resources to the mindless war in Iraq before the job was complete in the terrorist region. The War in Iraq should not be confused with the "War on Terror" - which can't really be won, by the way. We can only hope to contain it.

Comparing the Iraq war with the American Revolution has caught me speechless. I will just let it sit out there without rebuttal.

Our liberties have been trampled by tactics from the Bush administration that enables people to be bugged and have other privacy matters violated without a warrant all in the name of the "Patriot Act." New Rule: Republicans are not allowed to use the word "patriot" until the Bush administration has officially come to a close.

I am no fan of the ACLU, however, and think it has missed its "should-be" focus.

Bush has failed his own party because of all the things I have mentioned, not because of some perceived weakness. Popularity fuels a political party and Bush is one of the least popular presidents in history. If he was a stronger Bush (i.e. pursuing his failed policies more aggressively), I don't think he could survive to the end of his term. My gosh, why do you think the Republicans nominated McCain? It is because he is a maverick (by Republican standards anyway).

So there you have it, Jeff's view of the Bush presidency? What do others of you think? Give me some feedback or at least participate in the poll below (it is way down there so keep scrolling). If you do both, you get Psychosomatic Wit brownie points!

Scroll Down To Vote!

free pollsWho is the worst president of the US since 1900?
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush (the elder)
William J. Clinton
George W. Bush (the younger)
Other (Eisenhower, Ford or Kennedy)

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Brian said...

Haha, I can honestly say that's this is the first time I've ever voted for Bush! Thanks for the poll. And I pretty much agree with you 100% on this one.

Jeff said...

I think it is going to be a landslide!

Sayre said...

I cast my vote... I'm with you. And I DO believe that Bill Clinton was a great president, morals aside. People think the same of Kennedy - even though his own moral foibiles came to light years after his death. It doesn't change what he did in office.

I think Carter had the potential to be a great president - but had both houses against him. He couldn't get anything done.

Jeff said...

My friend (the one that the discussion this post is based on) left a comment. She took exception that I singled her out so everyone could take stabs at her. I tried to be careful to make the discussion interesting and not a personal attack. Even though I didn't name her, I guess I failed. Now she isn't coming back to this blog.

That is the comment that was deleted. I didn't forever delete it, just removed it for now.

I will give the reasons on my next blog entry. I didn't do it to censor. The gist is that I am tasteless, and that Clinton is the worst president. I may bring back the entire post, but if she isn't coming back, it doesn't make much difference.

Charles said...

I totally agree with you Jeff, on every point. I wonder why people can't see that him and his cabinet has done way more harm than good.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Carter wasn't a good President mainly because the political skills he had (and continues to have) didn't translate to the kinds of skills a President needs to work well with Congress. During his first term, he had near record majorities in his own party in both houses of Congress, but he just never got to understand the Washington political culture in a way that allowed him to get his legislative programs moving. And then, in 1979, other factors took hold: economic faltering, the hostage crisis, and so on.

Bush 43's disastrous reign has been the worst thing that I have seen in my lifetime, certainly; I have to think he's the second-worst President of all time (God help us if any future President ever manages to leave the country in worse straits than James Buchanan did when HE left office). To excuse Bush's economy on the basis of 9-11 is silly; no one forced him to engage in a stunningly expensive war, and no one forced him to come into office and start slashing away at the surplus by handing out gigantic tax cuts to the extremely wealthy months before he was even warned that a terrorist plot was in the offing. (And let's not forget that: he was warned.)

Blaming Congress for the trampling of our liberties is amusing as well, considering that Bush's own party had control of the House for six of his eight years, the Senate for four-and-a-half, and even in the current Congress, his own party has exerted lock-step party discipline and thus been able to shut down just about everything that the Democrats have tried to offer by way of a check on Bush's power.

And the whole "no attacks on US soil since 9-11" is just silly. Attacks on US soil are extremely hard to pull off; in the period in which the right wing is constantly telling us that Bill Clinton was ignoring the terrorist threat (although it's not as if they were warning us of it at the time themselves, being more concerned with impeaching the man over an extramarital affair), it took Al Qaeda eight years to get themselves back to that point. But let's not forget that there have been attacks elsewhere, and not just in the Middle East, either: Bali, Madrid, and London.

And none of that even begins to mention the man's horrifyingly lax response to Hurricane Katrina.

Jeff said...

Charles: It is crazy to me, too.

Jaquandor: So you aren't fan either? ;) That is a terrific analysis. I thought about Katrina LATER and just thought I would let it go. I am glad that you didn't. I also agree with you about Buchanan. That is why I qualified my poll as the "worst president since 1900".