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Why can't conservatives admit George Bush broke America? (Salon's anonymous "conservaive" explains) ^ | April 27, 2009 | Glenallen Walken

Posted on 04/28/2009 12:33:24 PM PDT by presidio9

Hey wingnut,

Why is it my conservative friends won't admit the truth: that George W. Bush "broke" the United States of America?



Hello again. Judging by your response to my first three columns, this feature is proving quite popular. I appreciate all the letters that you have taken the time to send. I am sorry I am not able to answer each one of them personally.

This week I've been asked to explain why conservatives won't admit that George W. Bush "broke" the United States of America. It's an interesting question, so open-ended it's difficult to choose the way to answer it.

The short answer is they won't admit it because it's not true. George W. Bush did not break the country. Many conservatives believe history's judgment will be much kinder to him and his accomplishments than the current crop of historians and commentators allow and that he will eventually be seen in a much better light than he is today.

That is not to say he was near perfect. There are things that occurred on his watch that, whether Bush was directly responsible for them or not, are cause for legitimate conservative criticism. But this is far different from what I am sure many of you would point to as his failings as president, for example the idea -- really a canard -- that he "lied" us into war in Iraq.

It may be true that the decision to invade Iraq was partly based on faulty intelligence, that information the United States and other nations believed to be accurate regarding Saddam Hussein's intentions to develop chemical, biological and, particularly, nuclear weapons was not, in fact, accurate.

Bush may have been incorrect, but that is different by many degrees from engaging in a deliberate falsehood, as more than a few historians now believe occurred with President Lyndon Johnson following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to a major increase in the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Vietnam.

Critics on the left blame Bush for a decline in America's global prestige and connect it to his foreign policy. I would like to point out that his clear-minded prosecution of the war on terror resulted in Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi's giving up his nation's nuclear weapons program, among other things. Barack Obama's make-nice approach got us a book accusing the United States of being a neo-colonial bully from Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. I know which outcome I prefer.

On the right, the criticisms of Bush started during his 2000 race for the White House over his emphasis on "compassionate conservatism," which many feared was really just another way to talk about "big government" conservatism.

Events proved these concerns were, at least in part, justified. Fred Barnes, writing in the Weekly Standard in 2005, just about a year after Bush was reelected, cited six reasons they were, starting with the fact that Bush was not, in fact, a conventional conservative.

"He deviates on the role of the federal government, on domestic spending, on education, on the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, and on immigration," Barnes wrote. And by "deviates" Barnes meant favoring an expanded role for the federal government, counter to the limited-government philosophy of the Reaganite Republican Party.

But Bush gets credit for his pursuit of tax cuts that, rather than create the economic mess we are currently in, helped fuel economic growth. Under Bush, the economy and the stock market strengthened from 2003 to 2007 following the reduction in the capital gains tax from 20 to 15 percent and the tax on dividends was reduced from 35 percent to 15 percent.

Following the 2006 elections, when the Democrats regained control of Congress, it became clear that the House and Senate would not continue the lower rates. The response by investors to the promise of higher dividend and capital gains taxes started the decline in the stock market.

To those who understand the relationship between government and the economy it is no wonder that private investors, faced with these two near-certainties, changed their behavior. It's similar to the relationship between the realization that there were enough votes in Congress to pass the Smoot-Hawley tariff increase and the onset of the Great Depression. The stock market is a leading, not a lagging indicator.

If there are places where Bush's stewardship of the economy is to be faulted they are the way in which government, and government spending, expanded on his watch and the way in which the federal government violated basic free-market principles through its handling of the initial round of TARP bailouts.

Many conservatives opposed, as one wrote recently, "the idea that we would be able to bail out various financial institutions with taxpayer money, thereby stabilizing markets and mitigating losses while instilling confidence among investors and the general public."

As we now all know, it didn't work -- under Bush, who conceived it, or under Obama, who expanded it. And it opened the door for an unprecedented -- in my lifetime anyway -- level of intervention by the White House in American business.

Those who blame Bush for the bursting mortgage bubble overlook his efforts to bring greater regulation to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the way congressional leaders like Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., interposed themselves between the White House and efforts at reform. Could Bush have done more? Maybe, but he's also not solely to blame.

The "blame Bush" approach also ignores the way the Clinton-era revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act and pressure from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, again during the Clinton presidency especially, led to an increase in the number of people being given home mortgages who really never should have gotten them.

Before I close, there is one last point I want to make. It is fallacious to argue that George W. Bush or any other American president can or could "break" the United States. We are a strong country, full of amazing people who sometimes do incredible things. We are innovative, resilient, forward thinking, committed to liberty, and we remain, even for all our faults, a shining example to the rest of the world. The idea that any one man or woman, any president, could break the country runs counter to the true spirit of America.

I hope that helps.

-- By Glenallen Walken

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bush; bush43; bushlegacy; conservatives; gwbush
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1 posted on 04/28/2009 12:33:25 PM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9

Let me be the first to admit it. That fact hardly excuses Obama for being four times more reckless.

2 posted on 04/28/2009 12:34:29 PM PDT by Maceman
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To: Maceman

Who did we lose “prestige” with?

3 posted on 04/28/2009 12:35:54 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: presidio9

Well done.

4 posted on 04/28/2009 12:36:09 PM PDT by PLKIng
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To: presidio9
All this shock at Arlan Spector’s bolt to the democrat party.

Hell, Bush wasn't much better.

Billions for Aids in Africa.

Border remained wide open.

Huge entitlement Rx program.

780 billion stimulus that had to be passed now now now!

If it quacks like a duck.....

5 posted on 04/28/2009 12:36:19 PM PDT by servantboy777
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To: lilycicero

Interesting read ping:)

6 posted on 04/28/2009 12:37:27 PM PDT by nahanrac
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To: presidio9

We’ve been “admitting it” here for months, maybe years.

7 posted on 04/28/2009 12:38:12 PM PDT by jiggyboy (Ten per cent of poll respondents are either lying or insane)
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To: PLKIng

Yeah..and Bush bankrupted the UK and CA as well. Not to mention NY, NJ, IL and more than a few cities.
Bush allowed too much spending to get past him, but the Rats were always there pushing and are now in complete control.

8 posted on 04/28/2009 12:38:34 PM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: Maceman

Exactly: Bush overspent like mad. Now Obama is quintupling the error and I’m supposed to be all OK with him?

9 posted on 04/28/2009 12:38:41 PM PDT by pogo101
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To: servantboy777
The bad news is that George W. Bush does, indeed, bear a lot of responsibility for fouling up this country.

The good news is that every policy that pushed us in this direction represented a clear straying from conservative principles regarding economics, foreign affairs, the role of government in our lives, etc.

In other words, George W. Bush screwed things up when he acted like a Democrat.

10 posted on 04/28/2009 12:39:35 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: presidio9

I admit it. Bush set the stage for the current abomination and that’s unforgivable.

11 posted on 04/28/2009 12:40:42 PM PDT by MayflowerMadam
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To: presidio9

GWB, did his best with regards to protecting this nation from islamic terror. He was less than hard-core conservative on many domestic issues, but he was consistent on that from the start. He said from the get go, that laws and budgets were congress’ job, and he would sign what they passed. He didn’t even veto things I know he wanted to, but he stuck to his belief that our representatives wouldn’t send him legislation WE (voters) didn’t approve of. IMO, GWB got blamed for Americans piss poor selection of Representatives and Senators. No doubt, he was no Reagan, but he did exactly what he said he would do for 99% of things. The 1% he flubbed, I got nothing for that other than, nobody is perfect.

Guess what, Americans have managed to screw ourselves again with an even MORE commie dem congress, and a commie pres. Good maybe some pain will slap this country’s stupid back to sane.

12 posted on 04/28/2009 12:40:55 PM PDT by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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To: presidio9

Why can’t liberals answer “How did Bush break America?” Last time I asked that on Youtube, I was cussed at.

13 posted on 04/28/2009 12:41:47 PM PDT by Clock King
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To: pogo101

Congress overspent like mad.

There I fixed it.

14 posted on 04/28/2009 12:41:51 PM PDT by lonestar67 ("I love my country a lot more than I love politics," President George W. Bush)
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To: Oldexpat

Exactly...there is plenty of blame to go around but there is no doubt that the states with the biggest issues are controlled by the dims. Wouldn’t you expect an honest new source to do some research into this phenomenon and why the Dims policies lead to destruction.

15 posted on 04/28/2009 12:42:02 PM PDT by PLKIng
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To: servantboy777

This was from the peak time of Rush’s water-carrying for the Repcialists, which was of course before the Demcialists got into power.
Will Limbaugh now allow Toomey equal time on his show?
Posted on 04/14/2004 12:18:51 PM MDT by Skyleader
Rush sends softballs to Arlen Specter
Posted on 04/14/2004 12:07:47 PM MDT by Phantom Lord

16 posted on 04/28/2009 12:42:52 PM PDT by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
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To: presidio9

He’s a regular President Taft.

17 posted on 04/28/2009 12:43:54 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: American_Centurion

The Constitution gives the President a veto for a reason.

18 posted on 04/28/2009 12:44:00 PM PDT by donna (Sarah Palin: " ...all of us, who consider ourselves progressive...")
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To: presidio9

Note to author- Please go back to 1977 and review what part Jimmah Carter had in the start of the financial meltdown...the CRA.
Then review Cinton, Cisneros, and Reno di\uring 1992-2000.
This financial problem was cooking for long before Bush was in office. PERIOD.

19 posted on 04/28/2009 12:44:13 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: presidio9
What? I say it all the time!

George Bush broke the Republican party, and by doing so, he left America with Democrats in control everywhere. True, he wasn't alone in the effort, but he basically left us hanging out there having governed as a fiscal liberal, populated the leadership positions within the party with RINOs, and provided no viable heir apparent for president in 2008.

When I think of the Republican "brand" I think of an giant derelict sign over a store that's been out of business for 5 years.
20 posted on 04/28/2009 12:46:15 PM PDT by Antoninus (Now accepting apologies from repentant Mittens.)
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