Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We Got 43 Problems.......and Obama is Only One

I am sure most of you have this versions of this meme elsewhere on the internet asking you if miss having George W. Bush, the nation's 43rd President, as the head of the Executive Branch of the US Government.  Well George, HELL NO I DON'T MISS YOU.  In fact because of your ineptitude, terrible policies, and overall suckitude as President, we ended up with President Obama in this first place.  I say the same to you as I will say to the current guy in Office......."Good Riddance".  

Of course posting this sort of opening paragraph will likely get myself expelled from the right and put into a socialist boot camp where I am surrounded by the Krugmans, Olbermann's and Matthew's of the world.  But some things need to be pointed out.  Primarily that the failures of the Bush years in terms of anything substantive have a direct effect on the nation including and especially the fact that Barack Obama got elected in the first place.  Unfortunately for too many on the right, they can't seem to comprehend and grasp the fact that criticizing the 43rd President of the United States doesn't meaning acceptance of the 44th President and his policies.  In fact, the opposite is true.  

While the Obama years have no been picnic, the Bush years were actually pretty bad too.  For a Capitalist such as myself seeing government spending go from $2 trillion a year at the start of the Bush years to $3 trillion year at the end of his term is really depressing.  Meanwhile a small manageable deficit ballooned to almost $500 billion by the end of his term.  While Obama did drastically increase the deficit, this still LEAVES NO EXCUSE for the excess spending of the Bush administration, especially when he had 6 years of a GOP Congress to supposedly work with to decrease the role of the Federal government.  Then again, perhaps our children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children's children will have no problem paying off our debts.  

What Bush left us was an increased entitlement state in the form of food stamp increases, increased big farm handouts, and another entitlement generational theft program in Medicare Part D.  Bush expanded the Federal involvement in education with his disastrous No Child Left Behind program (as PJ O'Rourke quipped, "What if they deserved to be left behind?").  Federal spending in education was drastically increased, more nationalized testing was introduced, and not one kid got smarter because of it.  Not one major spending program was cut and Bush only vetoed one minor spending bill in his time in office. 

This is to say nothing of his disastrous foreign policy misadventures.  Look, let me go on the record to say that the war in Afghanistan was completely and wholly necessary.  This is just in case any of you dumbass truthers begin to think I am one of you.  We were attacked on 9/11 and we need to go after the son of bitches who attacked us.  However, while the beginning of the mission was a complete success, Bush and his buddies decided to focus on Iraq.  Which was entirely stupid and totally against the idea of the Global War on Terror.  While Saddam was certainly no nice guy and he did have a stupid name, shifting focus on Iraq was completely and utterly dumb.  Iraq was pretty much a secular place, one of the few in that part of the world, it probably would have been a good idea to keep all the secular countries in the Islamic world, secular.  Lest they end up in the hands of Islamists.  (Obama could learn this lesson too).    

There are several other reasons that the invasion was dumb, with the first being the fact that we really hadn't completed the mission in Afghanistan.  You see this really pisses me off and the release of Sergeant Bergdahl actually reminded me of this fact.  It is absolutely and utterly ridiculous that there is still a Taliban leadership for any President to still be able to negotiate with.  There should be almost no Taliban left, PERIOD.  This is part of the failure of the Bush adventure, which is that the people who allowed the terrorists to operate freely on their soil are still alive and kicking to do who knows what next.  The Taliban are making some waves in Pakistan..........that Pakistan with the Nuclear (nook-ler) weapons.  I am sure that will end well.  

Of course, the actual Iraq incursion was completely botched too.  None of the "big" promises really ever came to fruition.  There was no major WMD program in Iraq.   There was a ton of sectarian violence and continues to this day.  Democracy hasn't exactly prospered.....unless you think that one sect consolidating all the power to themselves with the help of Iran is a prosperous democracy.  It was the Bush administration that put a guy in power who is not only friendly to Iran but owes Iran for protecting his ass during his exile from Iraq in the 1980's.  

Now Iraq has descended into chaos.  Now, it doesn't help that Obama isn't exactly the strongest leader in terms of actually doing stuff, like being President.  But, ultimately this comes down to the failure of the 43rd President.  Bush essentially set the timetable for withdrawal, didn't get a Status of Forces agreement from Iraq, and didn't demand that Nouri al-Maliki not be a complete asshole when we left. The latter are important because they basically hamstrung whoever was going to replace Bush.  The SOFA is important because if troops had stayed in Iraq they could possibly be subject to prosecution in an Iraq court.  I am sure all the Bush apologists would totally not get on Obama if he had kept troops and a soldiers was forced to go on trial in an Iraqi courtroom. (Sarcasm).  Plus the fact that al-Maliki has been a complete asshole to the Sunni's and pretty much ensured another civil war would break-out and you can see why the situation is total shit.

This is also why getting out of and staying out of Iraq is probably a good idea.  All we would be doing there is sitting in the middle of a crossfire between Iranian backed Shiites and Syrian/Iraqi's Sunni's who are still arguing about something that happen like 1300 years ago.   I am sure the fathers and mothers of US soldiers would sleep well knowing that they are middle of a "debate" between followers of Abu Bakr and Ali (not the Cassius Clay one).  I, myself, will be wondering when the hell this Democracy in the Middle East is going to spring up, and preferably Democracies that don't stone gays or women who say no at any point in their lives.  Perhaps this is another Bush fable, just like the rest of them.  At the end of the day, this is Bush's failure and no amount of revisionist history or mealy mouth excuses will change that.  Just like when our healthcare system fails, it will be Obama's fault.  

The problem for the Bush apologists is that there is simply too much dogshit for them to be able to cover up to protect the legacy of the 43rd President.  No matter how they spin it, the Bush legacy will be the following:
  • Failure to prevent 9/11 (Yes Clinton deserves a lot of blame, but still the 9/11 Commission report isn't W.'s favorite book at this moment).
  • A united country after 9/11 (Psst, this is a positive, it's not all that bad)
  • Squandering that unity with Iraq
  • Pretty much failing to create that great Democracy in Iraq
  • Almost losing a whole city (Not really his fault, but not his finest hour either)
  • Huge deficits
  • Tax Cuts (Psst, this is another positive, except for idiot liberals)
  • The economic collapse of 2007-2008
Again, some of things are out of Bush's control.  However, some are his fault or at the very least he contributed to the problem.  The economic collapse is a good example of this.  Mr. Bush definitely contributed to the housing bubble by following liberal policies.  Bush signed the American Dream Downpayment Act, which basically gave money to otherwise unqualified buyers to pay down payments and closing costs on their homes.  I am sure you can imagine how many of those people got foreclosed on from 2006-2009.  There was the Zero Downpayment initiative, of which the name should give anyone who is not a complete and utter socialist, pause.  I am sure you can imagine how many of those people got foreclosed on from 2006-2009.  Then there was the Single Family Affordable Housing Tax and well you get the drift.  Just looking at the names of these programs I would think that these were programs championed and started by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and of course Barack Obama.  Nope, these were championed by none other than George W. Bush.  Again, some of the problems came from Clinton, Carter, LBJ, etc., but 43 exasperated these problems with his own dumbass touches.  No amount of spit shine can wipe away this shit.  

The list goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on.  From the Patriot Act, increased surveillance of American citizens, abuses in the IRS, abuses in the DOJ, embassy bombings, etc. you really get the feeling that W. and Obama were identical twins separated at birth.  Which of course we have no idea, since Bush hasn't released his birth certificate.  Hey, I found a difference, Obama released his and Bush hasn't.  "Where the Birth Certificate Georgy Boy?"

So why am I writing all this?  It seems a waste, right?  Bush is no longer President, why?  The reason is simple.  For the right to be taken seriously again, one of the first steps (among many) is to acknowledge the mistakes and failures of the past, including and especially during the Bush years.  We must bow our heads in shame, apologize to America, and ask for forgiveness for Bush's utter failure.  This is not only important for winning elections in the future, but important for when the next time the GOP is in power, so that the GOP will not only have majorities but the political capital to govern.  

"But criticizing our own is a sign of weakness?"

No it is not, it is a sign of strength.  It a sign of maturity.  It is a sign of seriousness.  Here are a couple of uncomfortable facts for both liberals and conservatives to ponder:
  • There are a ton of liberals/progressives/Democrats who refuse to criticize Obama simply because he has a D next to his name and even some who refuse to criticize him because he is black
  • There are a ton of conservatives/tea-partiers/Republicans who refuse to criticize Bush II simply because he has a R next to his name and even some who refuse to criticize him because he is a "Good Christian"
I am sure I probably angered some people who are reading these facts, particularly the 2nd bullet point, but it needs to be said.  The fact is, while the right rightly criticizes liberals who can't seem to see past Obama's race, there are/were just as many on the right who refuse to see past Bush's genuine faith.  Both are short sighted and wrong for the country.  Political maturity demands that we question, criticize, and support when warranted no matter what a person's party, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation etc. is.  

At the end of the day, it comes down to this very simple fact.  The Bush years were not good ones for the Republic.  While there were some positive strides made, such as the Bush tax cuts, there were too many failures and too many good ideas (Social Security reform, immigration reform, etc.) not pursued fervently enough to do anything other than to look at the Bush years as a failure for the party, the movement, and the nation as a whole.  The worst part is that because of the problems of 43, the United States of America was given another problem, 44, and his name is Barack Obama.  

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