Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Today's first post-election reading assignment comes from Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a Democratic lawyer and investigative reporter who interned with John Kerry's legal team in 2004. Writing in today's WSJ, he bemoans the classless disrespect shown to President Bush by many Americans --a majority of them members of his own party.

In his words:

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

Truth be told, Mr. Bush has not been a failed president. He met the challenge of 9/11 by taking the fight to our enemies. Remarkably, there has not been another terrorist attack on U.S. soil since that time. In Iraq, he rejected the advice of the so-called "wise men" and adopted a surge strategy that brought us to the brink of victory. Economically, he presided over 56 months of growth and record-low unemployment until the recent collapse in the housing sector and on Wall Street.

And, Mr. Bush even offered something for "big government" types with his ground-breaking "No Child Left Behind" education plan--the first effort at systemic accountability in our public schools, and a massive, Medicare prescription drug benefit, something Democrats promised for decades, but could never deliver.

To be sure, President Bush has his flaws. But, as Mr. Shapiro observes, he deserved better than he received from his countrymen. Will he receive some sort of rehabilitation over time, like Harry Truman? Probably not. The country has changed, and liberals need a perpetual bogeyman to blame for the country's ills. That's why Mr. Bush will remain a scapegoat for virtually anything that goes wrong, long after he retired to Crawford.


Crufty said...

Perhaps this is not the blog to say so, but disagree. It is one thing to say that Bush is not a failed man. But by any measure, I challenge historians to find a way to say the presidency was anything other then a failure. Note--the legacy of Bush is not yet clear. I cannot discount the fact that the policies of today may have positive impact in the policies of tomorrow. However, if we go to the W v L columns and look at results:

Stock Market crash
Real estate burst
Culture of pervasive fear
Erosion of civil liberties (spying on our own troops?)
Failure to capture Bin Laden
Further erosion of Ru relations
Disgrace of Attorney General Office (!!!)
Sky rocketing commodity costs

Whether fair or not, these things happened. Katrina, in my opinion, was embarrassment enough. The fact that .ru relations are anything other then cordial, that Torture was even every bantered about as an option, the fact that the Attorney General of the United States of America was dishonest--these events are nails in the coffin.

It would serve all presidents to remember, whether they believe it or not, the adage 'The buck stops here' applies to them more then any other position.

Ed Rasimus said...

Remarkable, the comment! Let's consider:

Katrina: first responders to local disaster are the municipal and state governments. Compare LA and MI response and results. One Dem administration and one Rep.

9/11: Outcome not of Bush policy but failed responses dating back to Bush 41 and continuing through Clinton. Response was positive and successful.

Stock Market "crash": CRA, Fannie and Freddie were causative, not any Bush policy.

Real estate burst: See above.

Culture of pervasive fear: Who exactly cultivates that fear? Would it be the positive president or maybe the Speaker and Sen. Majority Leader?

Erosion of civil liberties: I've not experienced any, and after asking the question of college classes for the last five years for concrete, personal examples of that have gotten none.

Torture: Sorry, but given the alternatives the "torture" techniques seem downright benign relative to the rest of the world.

Quantanamo: Hardly a Hanoi Hilton by any interpretation. They are not POWs, US Citizens, legally recognized combatants, or welcome back to their country of origin.What would you suggest.

Failure to capture Bin Laden: How many of the orginal deck of cards remain alive? How many al Qaeda leadership have been killed? What as bin Laden done lately?

Erosion of Ru relations: What did we do beside sell them wheat and offer them trade and technology? Oh, we didn't help them invade Georgia!

Disgrace of Attorney General Office: In what regard? Asking for legal opinions that the the left didn't agree with? Or, maybe release of US attorneys who serve AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT!!!!

Sky rocking commodity costs: You'd like government price controls without regard to supply/demand and free market influence?

Frankly, ob, you've not got a clue but you've sipped considerable Kool-Aid.

Crufty said...

heh. Seems like a bunch of excuses to me. This is not the forum for tit/tat. You can blame anything you like--my point is that the why's simply do not matter. Ultimately, the president's job is to make sure EACH of those items DOES NOT HAPPEN. Period. The buck stops here. etc.

If you don't agree those items are failures, then you sit in a position I cannot fathom.

btw, your students may need to travel more. erosion of civil liberties: to start with, taking off your shoes at the airport.

Brian Chabot said...

I cannot help but agree with ob here. George Bush did NOT take the fight to our enemies. He took it to all our enemies' neighbors, and made them our new enemies. He has completely destroyed our respect in the world and made us the laughing stock of the international community.

That said, I'm not so sure Obama will be much better for us, only different. Change, indeed.

kitanis said...

I laugh every time I hear blaim for Katrina to be landed on the lap of George Bush.

Sure.. there was problems with FEMA response.. but Half of those problems was because the governor of the state and the mayor of New Orleans refused his suggestion to prepare for the worse when the storm was heading to make landfall.

But fact is.. I first visited New Orleans back in the mid 80's and I can remember residents joking to me that a good storm comes along.. the city would be flushed away.. guess they were right. But the Bush bashers want to blaim him for that storm and the results..

SwampWoman said...

Yeah, I have to laugh as well at the idiots that blame President Bush for Katrina. In a disaster, you do not survive by waiting around for help from Washington (imagine if all of the people in the midwest waited until the President begged the governors to issue tornado warnings and take shelter every time a tornado warning was issued).

If you are in a natural disaster, your neighbors along with county and state help will rescue you if you need rescuing. Federal help gets there too late. The best thing to do is be proactive and take responsibility for your own life instead of having to be rescued to begin with.

The rest of the items are just as silly.

Barnabus said...

President Bush left the field of battle. It was either too much for him or he wasn't up to the task, but he left the most important battle, i.e. the battle of ideas in the media and the defense of his own policies. Yes, some of the blame can be put on other prominent Republicans who never came to his defense and the media which I no longer recognize. However, he demonstrated that you can, if I may use the vernacular, piss on him and get away with it. There are numerouse examples but let's just pick the Valerie Plame affair. Here is a case of an open rebellion against the President of the United States. An attempt to unseat him using highly questionable if not treasonous methods. He did nothing, he hid. Did he fire the bastards? No. Eventually he actually appointed an investigator to go after his own people. You can't make this stuff up. I could give many other examples both big and small. It all leads to the same thing. If you demonstrate no self-respect and demand that others treat you with respect then you get what President Bush got.

Snake Oil Baron said...

I agree with Shapiro's assessment but it will be nothing compared to the betrayal Obama is being set up for. As much as I disagree with just about every one of his views, I don't envy him. The belief among Democrats and black Democrats in particular that he is going to free them from mortgages, car payments, high unemployment, low wages and all their other problems is unbelievable. The big question is going to be whether he actually gets through a full 6 months before resentment of success kicks in and the Democrat's feeding frenzy begins. Will the media turn on him too, since he is now successful or will they continue to worship him and ignore his base's disapproval as it mounts?

kitanis said...

Snake Oil Baron

I can beleive it happening just as you describe.

Remember to the Bill Clinton scandle? Even when the man came on television and admitted he had a "inappropriate relationship" I.E a affair... and the Press praised him.. and bashed the republicans who were calling for impeachment..

Yeah.. Obama is going to get alot of good press..even when he fails to deliver

OldSarg said...

It may not make others happy but I consider George Bush one of our Nations top presidents, if not the top. I really don't care what others think. I work with active duty Military on a daily basis and to a man they respect him as POTUS and a man. George Bush is a leaders leader. I don't blame him for giving up on trying to get the message out. Every time he spoke he was attacked. The Media have now elected this one (our 1st socialist) and this one may be the one to bring down the media with the "police state" they whined Bush was creating. The Patriot Act doesn't hold a candle to the "Armed Citizens Force" Obama wishes to bring. Good luck, I laugh as they march the media away. It is the media who betrayed our Nation.

Crufty said...

good grief. nobody is calling our baby ugly.

the nature of being president is you are judged on your actuals, not your intent. Wilson and hoover had good intentions. FDR had the actuals.

regarding katrina, fema totally screwed the pooch. Americans were defecating on the streets outside the superdome five days after the storm hit. That is an image that will not leave me soon.

The failures there are deep and resonating, no doubt. BUT...where does the buck stop? who is accountable, ultimately, for failures of federal action? The president.

Every item in my list is a FAILURE. 9/11 is an intelligence failure. Stock market crash is an economic failure. Katrina is a policy failure. Who, ultimately, at the end of the day is responsible for those failures?

The reasons why those happened--thousands of words have (and will continue) to be written. Can we blame the president in all cases? Maybe, maybe not--that is outside the scope of a few blog comments. But they happened--and they ALL happened, with major impacts.

Im not claiming bush was the worst president of all time. It just that, right now, it is hard to think about the positive actuals. There are no doubt positive actuals waiting to be fleshed out. So the Bush legacy, in terms of W v L columns--pure actuals--its tough for me to say that his presidency was a success. He may be a great leader, and a good man, but in the Wins vs Loss--it is rough.

That said, it is extremely poor form to go off the other deep end and name sewage plants after him.