There are precious few days left in the Bush debacle called a presidency. And much as I am delighted to see him go, I shall miss the great opportunities the numbskull presented for humor.
Why just a couple of days ago, the boy wonder gave his last press conference. And within a couple of sentences we were treated to the new word he invented: misunderestimate! Yep our backward idiot boy never loses his touch does he?
Well I couldn’t resist this article by the one and only National Review, written by Rich Lowery. He decided he could come up with 10 mistakes Bush had made. Amazing, given that Bushie himself can barely think of one. Anyhow, this stuff is mostly code, so let me interpret.
Not getting congressional buy-in on detention policy immediately after 9/11. Going to Congress would have forced more deliberation when the administration was rushing into the hasty improvisation of Gitmo and made it harder for Democrats to grandstand once it became controversial. (Yeah, forget the legalities. Bush should have gotten the Dems married to the policy so they couldn’t oppose the unconstitutionality of it later. Dumb mistake.)
An ineffective management style. Bush the “CEO president” wisely wanted to delegate. Alas, the quality of some of his Texas loyalists wasn’t particularly high, and when people under Bush failed, his first instinct was to stand by them stalwartly (see Rumsfeld, Don) rather than to hold them accountable. ( Dang, and we thought Cheney ran everything. And, it helps if the “CEO” reads and has a clue when his underlings are stupid. It had nothing to do with loyalty and still doesn’t.)
Not replacing George Tenet after 9/11. Someone should have taken responsibility after the terror attacks. Tenet’s exit wouldn’t have prevented the WMD debacle, but at least he wouldn’t have been around to give his dramatic “slam-dunk” demonstration in the Oval Office. (When you are going to use a scapegoat, use ’em early in the game. When you lie to people they have a disturbing habit of regurgitating your lies. Unfortunate truly.)
Deferring to his generals. Bush believed that his job was to listen to his generals and give them what they wanted. This made him overly passive during much of the Iraq War. It wasn’t until his generals had nearly lost the war that Bush fully stepped up to his role as commander in chief, going around the brass to order the surge, the most successful and consequential initiative of his second term.
(Admission that you don’t know a thing about war planning and pursuit is not a good thing. Who gave Bushie the surge? Are you saying that nobody including Cheney thought the generals were wrong?)
Not taking charge during Katrina. As soon as the National Weather Service bulletins were warning of the possible destruction of an American city, Bush should have rode herd on the tangled homeland-security bureaucracy and, once the storm hit, federalized the response to save New Orleans from the incompetence and limited capabilities of its state and local governments. (The man cannot correct what he doesn’t understand. He still doesn’t think he did a thing wrong with Katrina. Now how can he spot incompetence when he is incompetent? He can’t help it, he thinks it’s all about whether he landed Air Force One or not.)
Too much accommodation of a GOP Congress. Bush got what he wanted out of Congress at the price of looking the other way from burgeoning earmarks and a creeping culture of corruption. More triangulation at the expense of his own party’s leaders would have served Bush — and perhaps the ill-fated GOP majority — well.(So he was not supposed to act like a Republican? Who says he looked the other way? He is the free market dude right? I thought Congress, except for those pesky Dems were doing exactly as he wished.)
Not reading enough history. Bush has admirably applied himself to an extensive reading program as president, but if he had absorbed more history before taking office — particularly about military matters — he’d have had a better grounding to make important decisions. (Gosh are you saying there should be actual qualifications for president beyond age and origin of birth? That means we should be in pretty good shape now huh? Stop assuming the revisionist history of the ‘reader’ president is sticking to the wall Rich. It ain’t. Bush is a dolt and everyone knows that.)
Refusing to settle the internal war within his administration. The acrimony between the State Department and CIA on the one hand and the Defense Department and vice president’s office on the other was poisonous and debilitating. It hampered the prosecution of the Iraq War and led to the “Scooter” Libby mess that was the highest-profile “scandal” of an otherwise relatively clean administration. (I thought you just said this was his management style? It doesn’t appear that Bush was aware of much of this at all. He said after all that any leaks in the Valerie Plame affair would be prosecuted. I suspect he had no clue, since he had no clue about most things.)
Underestimating the power of explanation. By temperament and ability, Bush was more a “decider” than a “persuader.” He’s not naturally drawn to public argument, giving his administration its unfortunate (and not entirely fair) “my way or the highway” reputation at home and abroad. (Yeah, we all agree, Bush was an asshat, anything more to say? Arrogance was his middle name. He was abetted in that by Cheney who can give a rat’s ass what the public thinks about anything, since they are mere vermin used to carry out policy and die in wars.)
Ignoring health-care reform too long. By the time Bush unveiled a serious and sensible health-care reform in 2007, it was DOA, leaving Democrats with the initiative on this crucial issue. (That requires that you believe in health care reform in the first place. Bush doesn’t care, nor do Republicans generally. People who are uninsured are just lazy. Next question.
Well, after that rather vapid list of “errors” made by Bush, one couldn’t end things like that. No, the intrepid Fred Barnes, co-host of the Beltway Boys, and co-editor or such of the Weekly Standard, weighs in on the ten things Bushie got right. Alert: Fred Barnes is nuts, so don’t expect any rational argument. The dude wrote a book about how Bush would be remembered as one of the greatest presidents ever–you have been warned.
- His decision to jettison the Kyoto treaty. (The sure sign that something is no good is that environmentalists, Al Gore, “elites” and Europeans are for it. So nothing is better than something. According to Fred, consensus on Global warming has “collapsed.” Your brain has collapsed Fred.)
- Torture and other eavesdropping methods. (Fred calls this enhanced interrogation to get around the naughty word torture. Of course it saved lives, but nobody has ever explained where and how. Just trust them. Saying you got crucial evidence is not errr, evidence.
- The rebuilding of Presidential authority. (Fred go and consult any constitutional professor you want. Part of your proof here is Cheney, and Cheney said he wasn’t part of the Executive, so his abuses of power hardly bolster your argument. We have heard the old “commander in chief argument for suspension of the constitution. Nobody with a brain is buying it.
- Bush’s unswerving support for Israel. (Yep, the peace process in the Middle East has certainly moved forward in the last eight years. Fred seems to like any action that upsets Europe or the UN. Bush’s policies certainly did that. Fred says he was good at saying one thing and doing another. Yes, a fine legacy I’d say. Lie!)
- No Child Left Behind. (Most have been mildly supportive of the measure, but Bush just discontinued pushing. Lots of complaints that teachers have to teach to the test rather than actually teach. It’s not at all clear that kids have learned more. Most say they haven’t. )
- A foreign policy of actively promoting democracy. (Yes, at the point of a gun too. How original. Fred says he’s zinged a few dictators. Yes, they do seem to be backing down everywhere Fred. Could you point out one?
- The Medicaid reform on proscriptions. (Tons of folks got no benefit at all. And it was and remains very confusing to figure out what plan is best. This is what the Rethugs call health care reform. I’m still looking for all this competition and price reduction from the drug companies.)
- The elevation of John Roberts and Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. (Well I can’t argue with you here Fred. But I see it as a sad disaster where you see it as grand. So much for social issues. At least Obama can stem the tide and keep it even with his next choice.)
- Bush increased our friendships in Asia without pissing off China. (Not at all sure what Fred uses as evidence here. China has us by the economic balls and we all know it. Fred ignores Pakistan of course. )
- The Surge. (The surge stemmed the tide of American dead. Little else. It had little to do with troops, it mostly had to to do with paying off the tribal chieftains to war against the insurgents and al Qaeda. Furthermore, a lot of the violence ceased because the ethnic cleansing in Baghdad has been pretty much accomplished.