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09/19/2007

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Finally you speak rationally about Bush. In most posts, you, like most Bush haters, paint him to be the face of modern evil in the world. The truth is more of what you wrote about here; he is a man with deep convictions who honestly wants to do what is right, he just doesn't really know how to do it in most situations.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Bush hater. One of the reasons he's a crappy President is that criticism of him is interpreted as irrational hatred and thus can be easily ignored. Criticism is a necessary part of our system, and the tendency of Republicans in the mold of Bush to interpret criticism as disloyalty is one of the great acts of self-destruction in modern political history.

The frustration that I feel with the President is that his incompetence is accompanied by smug self-assurance -- something that is well documented in this book.

" . . . so the story just kind of PETERS out."

Please, watch your language.

So a guy who can't structure a simple book writes a text that is critical of the president's ability to get things done. Interesting. Me? I would have just gone to a shrink.

Pursuit:

What does that mean?

Your Friend,

Tom

Tom & Frank,

The real problem is not that "criticism of him is interpreted as irrational hatred"; the problem is that most criticism of him is irrational hatred. The Democrats and other liberals have long since abandoned being a loyal opposition and attack W and his plans for no other reason than that he's W and they're his plans. We have witnessed the death of politics. There's no rational, intelligent debate; there's just name-calling and knee-jerk opposition for opposition's sake.

Of course, it takes two to tango. The Republicans and conservatives have a long history of opposing the left simply because it's the left; they are almost as culpable as the left. It's not just the death of politics; it's also the death of decency, and, under this sub-par, anti-intellectual president, the death of intelligence.

I agree with Tom: Tom's no Bush hater. I wish that you convince your compatriots that Bush, a deeply flawed man, does have morals and principles, and even if you don't agree with him, you can acknowledge his decency in some areas at least.

I think we all know I'm no Bush fan. I think his misguided foray into Iraq to be more harmful than beneficial; I believe his fanatical enthusiasm for open borders to be anti-American; I find his refusal to protect our borders against invasion from the south to be positively treasonous. But he's no lying, amoral adulterer (unlike certain presidents who preceded him).

I'll give you adulterer, but the idea that President Bush doesn't lie is ridiculous. And as for amorality, it's worth remembering that he lets others do his dirty work. He did nothing in 2000 to stop his surrogates from spreading rumors that John McCain had fathered a black "love child," considering that kind of sliming just part of politics. You want more examples? There are hundreds of them. President Bush's morality is a morality of convenience.

And your obsession with President Clinton's extramarital affairs -- inadmirable though they may be -- leads you to neglect that fact that he delivered 8 years of peace and prosperity. Remember when peace and prosperity used to be considered success?

OK, I'll give you the "lying" part. What I meant was "perjuring."

As for decency, I'd rather have W, a deeply flawed man, as the national role model than Clinton, a cynically duplicitous one.

I think we could have done with a bit more military action on Clinton's part. If Slick Willie had been worrying more about protecting American interests and less about getting his rocks off, maybe Osama bin Laden would have reconsidered his plan to attack the American homeland.

As for prosperity, we both know that politicians have far less control over that than they like to claim. About the only exception is tax policy: Reagan's tax cuts were a postive boon for the economy.

BTW, I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with Clinton's adultery. It's just that the POTUS is a national role model. His behavior has a huge impact on the public. Did you know that oral sex among US teenagers sharply rose after Lewinskygate?

Incidentally, I blame much of our current anti-intellectual, emotive climate on W, who never thinks but always goes with his gut. Of course, he confirms his feelings with another non-rational method: prayer. While prayer is a good thing, it's not the best way to make policy.

And if Republicans had been more interested in national security than they were in driving Clinton out of office, Clinton might have had time to think about national security. Also, remember President Bush was in the process of cutting $800 million out of the anti-terrorism budget when 9/11 rolled around.

No one was paying attention except a few isolated people -- Gary Hart, Richard Clarke, a few others -- and the rest of us wrote them off as paranoid nutjobs.

Remember when peace and prosperity used to be considered success?
Peace and prosperity at what cost? Prosperity came because of Newt and Co. who refused to pass much of the spending increases proposed by Bill. If Bill had had his way, he would have been as big a spender as W has proven to be. If only the Republicans would have stood up to their own President's spending as well as they did to Clinton's.

And as to peace, we may have had it here, but how many places did Clinton deploy the troops? Clinton deployed troops 25 times, more then twice the number that the hawkish Ronald Reagan deployed. He may not have started a "war" per se, but he was definitely in favor of sending in the troops whenever and wherever. He also did virtually nothing in retaliation to the attacks by Al Qaeda, which only served to embolden them in the planning for 9/11.

Claiming peace while ignoring what is going on in the rest of the world may keep you in peace for a few years, but eventually you have to pay for that kind of self-delusion.

Yes Frank. Absolutely. How very much better off we are today.

As for the big spender stuff, Bob Woodward wrote a book called "The Agenda" that was all about how Clinton the Backstabber betrayed the liberal agenda by abandoning expensive campaign promises in order to appease the bond market.

You can put all the credit on Republicans if you like; you'd just be factually wrong doing it. Certainly, Congress deserves some credit. So does Clinton. Alan Greenspan understands that. You can too.

And you know, as long as we're talking about the great Warrior Republicans, let's talk about President Bush's two wars. The first, Afghanistan, went swimmingly until he lost focus by starting the second war.

It's worth mentioning that the first war was planned almost entirely as a contingency under the Clinton Administration. It worked well, building to our strengths and playing down our weaknesses. The second, Iraq, was planned entirely by the Bush Administration -- which has repeatedly lied about that planning by asserting that the military got everything it asked for, when in fact Secretary Rumsfeld refused to OK the large force the military wanted. The second war, even supporters admit, hasn't gone well at all, largely because it was planned and executed badly.

So you're right, Frank. It's Clinton's fault. Probably because there's so much Bush hatred out there.

Tom:

No idea. I was jacked up on red wine and NyQuill. For the record I plan on doing the same thing tonig...lsow-fjfgrpfrv -uj9gt-pwejnf rfpfrjprfprf'WERIORHT'GBVP0ZGFVJjfjrpdh

Oh, I'll give Clinton his due. He saw what was popular and like most good politicians, he went after it. He was also the cheerleader in chief of NAFTA and GAT, both of which I favor. He did do some good things. And he's not entirely to blame for what happened on 9/11, because we've been attacked by Muslim extremists for 30 years and no one has fought back.. until now.

I think there is still plenty to be written about these wars, and depending on the eventual outcome, they could be judged very favorably by history. But we'll see.

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