Regretting Bush

By Dignan Posted in Comments (24) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

I mentioned in a comment yesterday that I regretted voting for George Bush and someone replied by asking me about that and if I thought John Kerry would have been a better choice.

I did vote for George W. Bush in both 2000 and in 2004. In 2000, Bush seemed like a pretty down to earth guy, pragmatically conservative when compared to other prominent Republicans, and appeared to have good business and management sense. I was of course in the majority in that opinion. (stolen elections, hanging chads, and the Illuminati aside)

So what happened? Why the disallusionment?

Actual policy initiatives under Bush have been a mixed bag (and I'm probably generous in saying that). Contrary to his supposed fiscal conservativism, domestic spending increased under Bush, highlighted by the Prescription Drug Bill that will end up costing far more than the administration claimed. Many fiscal conservatives will point to the Bush tax cuts as a victory, but tax cuts without corresponding spending cuts are completely irresponsible.

Many Republicans will point to positive economic indicators as proof of Bush's sucess while Democrats will point to negative economic indicators to say otherwise. The truth though is that positive economic growth probably benefits more from government inaction and gridlock than anything else. The Clinton era is proof of that.

Even more disturbing that any actual policies have been Bush's decision-making process and the insular nature of his administration. It is one thing to have confidence and belief in one's own values. It is quite another thing to be unable to take a critical view of one's positions and be willing to understand one's opponents. Bush has shown neither the ability nor the inclination. Combine this with the blind loyalty that Bush shows to those around him (and yes I do mean blind) and you have the recipe for P.R. blunders like Harriet Myers and the recent U.S. Attorneys scandal.

Of course by now the idea of Bush as someone with great business and management sense should be readily apparent as an illusion. How well did the Bush administration manage the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? While I don't view our federal government as messiah, the performance of the Bush administration and especially "Brownie" should disuade those who think of Bush as a master manager.

And then there is the War on Terror.

In the weeks after 9/11, Bush appeared to many to be just the right person for the times. So much promise.

Yet so much heartache.

Like many right-leaning people, I believed that we were doing the right thing when we invaded Iraq. I was wrong.

Not that there weren't some valid and legitimate reasons for doing so. Contrary to many on the Left, there were legitimate and legal grounds for invading Iraq and Bush wasn't the first to think so. However, the planning (or lack thereof) of the invasion and occupation of Iraq will be a textbook example for decades to come of how NOT to do it. Any Republican or conservative who believes that everything has gone according to plan is blinded by partisanship.

Unfortunately we are to the point where most rhetoric on Iraq is juvenile and unhelpful. "Those who would have us pull out of Iraq are unwittingly encouraging our enemies" is simply a slur. "We must pull out of Iraq now!" ignores our responsibility for the mess we have been largely responsible for.

I certainly don't have the answers to the problems in Iraq and the Middle East. They are very complicated. Much of my frustration with Bush has been his unwillingness to recognize how complicated the Middle East and that there are no easy answers. In both word and posture, Bush has taken a very cavalier approach.

Beyond the direct engagement in Iraq, the manner in which the Bush administration has viewed legal rights in the War on Terror should be disturbing to all. Should we not fear a government that can "disappear" people without any due process or accountability? Is there any limit to government surveillance on American citizens in the name of fighting terrorism?

I have also become frustrated with the positioning of Bush as a great Christian leader. I cannot and do not pass any judgement upon Bush's heart and his motives. God knows that mine are often suspect. But it seems as if Bush's support of "Christian" political positions have often been only symbolic and intended to get out the vote. And it seems as if Christians have been encouraged to blindly support all of Bush's positions simply because he is a Christian. I know too many conservative Christians who blindly support Bush and "family values" without actually considering the substance of his policies.

Nor does it seem that Bush has shown much compassion during his term in office. I actually don't believe that government is capable or tasked with "showing compassion". But I do believe that leaders can show compassion and understanding to their political opponents. Most politicians are equally guilty of this but there is probably a greater responsibility placed on one who ran as a "compassionate conservative".

I am sure that there will be many questions about what I have written here and many who will disagree with me from one side or the other. Please feel free to engage me in the comments.

As to whether I think John Kerry would have made a better president: I don't know. I doubt it. I don't tend to view Kerry as a serious leader. But then again, neither is Bush. If I could do it over again, I would have abstained from voting in 2004. Some will view that as a cop-out. But all of our choices can send a message. Even the choice to abstain.

On the "in retrospect, would Kerry have been better" question is something that bothers me (a man who thoroughly disapproves of Bush) a lot. I think Kerry would have done a better job at home and probably Afghanistan, but we would've lost Iraq (which may or may not be as bad/worse/better than being trapped in the hell Bush has left it in up until about February).

I almost started thinking "Nader", but despite my admiration of him he is not fit to be President (especially not Commander In Chief).

My ideal 2004 ticket would've been Bush/Nader with a 50/50 congress. No choice but deadlock or compromise, and a decent "normal guy" voice as Vice President.
Either that or just put "DAVID BYRNE" as the write-in candidate. The White House needs more hilarious suits.

could look upon a traitor (Kerry to Paris, 1971) as someone who could/should be POTUS.

In a just society, Kerry would be getting out prison sometime in the next century. Or he would have been hung.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

is that America's enemies now know just how many Americans were willing to vote for an American, who by his own admission
met with America's enemies doing the time America was at war with said enemies, adopted the enemy's positions on the issues and promoted said enemy positions .

The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.-Reagan

Nicely done. Me wreath's off to ya, guvna.

Jon Cary, POTUS. Beautiful work.


See the Academy

I think most conservatives have some very valid reasons to be disappointed in Bush. He certainly isn't perfect. Most of my disappointment in him stems from spending issues and trying to be too politically correct and not answering criticism head-on. However, do I wish I had never voted for the man? No way. Whenever I get discouraged with something he does, I can watch the video below and know that, while he's not perfect and is certainly no Reagan, he's a good man and he was the right man to have in the White House when we were attacked on 9/11.

This blog is by far the best I have ever seen at RedState. Thank you!

I, too, voted for GWB in both 2000 and 2004, am almost completely (with the exceptions of the tax cuts and the USSC nominations, sans Harriet Miers) disappointed by his presidency, but could never have cast a vote for Kerry (or Gore, for that matter). As I believe one should always vote - even if it's only for the lesser of two evils - I cannot join you in wishing that I had abstained in 2004, but otherwise I agree with every point you make!

This a wonderful breath of fresh air, and I encourage you to post frequently. The damage done by the Bush administration, to both the G.O.P. and the country, is extraordinary, breathtaking really, and the more we Republicans postpone coming to grips with that sad, sad reality, the worse things will get. I do sincerely believe - though the conviction truly pains me - that W's presidency has been worse than Jimmy Carter's.

Thanks again (and BTW Bottle Rocket is one of my favorite flicks!)

Even with all of Bush's failings, Kerry would have been much worse. And he came within a hair of proving me right.

It still boggles my mind that the Democrats nominated someone who was patently inferior to George W. Bush. I didn't think such a thing was possible.

That doesn't mean that I'm 100% happy with President Bush either. But you know what, elections are not a choice between a perfect candidate and the opposition. Sometime you have to make a choice between someone who is with you only 85%. Bush v Gore, I'll vote Bush every time. Bush v Kerry, ditto.

It's not like Bush lied when he was running, his 'compassionate conservatism' was there for all to see. Yes, he promised and delivered on the tax cuts, but he also was promising increased spending - remember we had that "surplus."

Has President Bush been a mixed bag? Of course. So was Reagan, so was President Bush 41, so the next R candidate will be. Are all of them light years better than the D alternative, YES.

The CIA has better politicians than it has spies - Fred Thompson

So your attitude of teaching Bush a lesson, wanting to teach the Republicans a lesson that is epitomized by this thread reflects lack of knowledge & appreciation for the economic benefits that Bush has contributed, the first and only president to lower tax rates during wartime, record revenues into the federal treasury, lowering the deficit in spite of the record spending in a time of war, HEELLLLOOOOO!!!!!! in a time of WAR so that you and yours with an attitude of your ilk contributing to the Pelosi-Reid majority so that on the verge of success, we are getting our funding cut off because YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE YOU ARE PART OF THE WAR ON TERROR BY YOUR VOTES AT HOME,
Not only are you an economic ignoraamus, you are a military ingoramus as well, you never read something like an Army at Dawn where we lost 6000 Americans in a day to Rommel at Kasserine Pass, how FDR lost 60 seats to Republicans shortly after landing in N Africa because of lack of action on the part of the allies. Wars are full of mistakes and now we have adjusted our strategy and you come here to wine about you regret your vote for Bush on the verge of losing funding for the troops in a time of war.
If it wasn't for Bush, we would still wring our hands with inaction about Sadam's WMDs and we wouldn't have his tax cuts and we probably would have done anything to anyone after 9/11.
As for Katrina, I went there, its not all Bush's fault you dunkkopf, local louisianans suck when it comes to taking care of their people, it took the 82d to help their awesome rajin Cajun, get thing under control.
Since the Bush tax cuts in 2003, the GDP has averaged 3.5% with job creation at 6.7 million; from 9/11 to 2003, the GDP was 1.1% with enemic job creation. If I ever talk to you anywhere, you better have a copy of military history and the Wall Street Journal or Investors Business Daily in your hand or I will kick you in the butt and force your wife to do pushups because you have no spine for a fight.

I knew his post didn't sit well, and you were why.

Thanks for your service, and hang in there. Your funding will not be cut off, and victory will not be pulled out from under you.


See the Academy

in school? Great post.

Stay safe. Don't come home early...
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

I second everything Socrates said. thank you for your service. God bless you and your brothers- and sisters-in-arms.

Great report and response to this diary.

I didn't get a "harumph" out of that guy!

I wasn't going to waste my time kicking this stupid sap, but I'm extraordinarily glad you did. You not only stick up for us at war but in the verbal battle. You da MAN!!!

And thanks for your service. We pray for you guys absolutely every single day.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful 100 percent.

mdetlh: I salute your service and your sacrifice that you have made for our country.

That being said, your service doesn't make you right. Tax cuts without spending cuts are completely irresponsible. Any classical economist like Milton Friedman or Thomas Sowell would say the same thing.

I don't actually mind the defense spending increases but I do mind the domestic spending explosion under Bush. Are you going to defend the Prescription Drug Bill that Bush signed? Has Bush and the Republicans done anything about the runaway entitlement spending that is going to sink this country?

You are giving way too much credit to Bush or any president to assume that economic growth is caused by presidential action. That is pure folly my friend and absolutely wrong. In fact, the less our government does, the better our economy performs. Many Democrats like to say that our economy performed so well in the '90s because of Clinton. Wrong. Our economy performed well because we had a lot of gridlock with a Republican Congress and a Democrat president. Nothing got done (i.e. they didn't screw things up as bad). Republicans have proven themselves to be completely inept at fiscal conservatism.

I do chuckle at your complete misconception of my position and your thinking that I am one of those "evil liberals" who need to read the Wall Street Journal. I have had a subscription to the Wall Street Journal for years and my only complaint would be that it isn't as pro-capitalist as it could or should be. But you know what they say when you assume.

Will Hinton
Good Will Hinton

"Those who would have us pull out of Iraq are unwittingly encouraging our enemies" is simply a slur"

Those who would have us pull out of Iraq are encouraging our enemies. They are sure not discouraging our enemies. Who is "unwittingly encouraging our enemies"? We have people saying "We should pull out of Iraq" who don't know they are encouraging our enemies when they say that?

The encouraging our enemies part is dead-on, CEP=0, FFE-time on target.

How you could not figure out that a pull-out from Iraq would be a Christmas present to a tribe of turd-chucking howler monkies that resent the fact that Christmas even exists is beyond me. Not even Pathwik Kemmeldy popping Quaaludes and drinking scotch is that frikking dumb.

Sir, saying that Democrats unwittingly encourage the enemy is in fact a slur.

Iran takes hostages right after Congress votes to withdraw. My, what a coincidence!

The only thing in your warm spit post that has any merit, what-so-ever, is your comment about abstaining to vote. Please do so in the future. Why should we trust your judgment when you obviously don't? (and, by all indications, is a well founded position)

Envisioning when all that is Left is the Right.

This is where I know you've really not been paying attention ...

Nor does it seem that Bush has shown much compassion during his term in office. I actually don't believe that government is capable or tasked with "showing compassion". But I do believe that leaders can show compassion and understanding to their political opponents. Most politicians are equally guilty of this but there is probably a greater responsibility placed on one who ran as a "compassionate conservative".

This is the dumbest part of your post.

If anything, Bush has shown far too much compassion and understanding to his political opponents. That, in fact, is Bush's worst failure as President - that he refuses to inflict the commensurate amount of pain on his political opponents (in the media and in Congress) when they step over the line.

Like when they accuse him of lying about Iraqi Intelligence when they had been saying the exact same thing before he came into office and their members on the Intelligence with the exact same access to Intelligence data, looked at that data and came to the same conclusion before the war.

The only reason I'll ever regret voting for Bush is his unreasoning devotion to the "New Tone" - to being compassionate and understanding when it comes to his political opponents, even when they're clearly acting on bad faith and feeding their base's pathological hatred of the President.

That you're citing his supposed "meanness" to his political opponents as one of the reasons you "regret" voting for him doesn't speak well of your knowledge of the real story of the past few years.

George W. Bush: He's A Folder ... Not A Fighter.

It made no sense to me that you could have survived here for two plus years posting drivel like this. I was negligent in my research. Yep, you've been here for 2+ years, BUT, this is your first blog and you have a mere handful of comments posted.

You can feel free to crawl back into your cave now. See ya again in 2009.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

This is not my first blog. I have been writing here for a long time. Erick just told me that there is a technical issue that is keeping users from seeing all of other's blogs.

So what is drivel? Or are you not really interested in using your mind to think about issues? Would you rather just drink the Kool-Aid?

Will Hinton
Good Will Hinton

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