Bush: A Disaster to Those He Held Most Dear


You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it till the petals fall
You always break the kindest heart
With a hasty word you can’t recall

— Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher

Like the 1944 pop standard says, President George W. Bush has hurt the most all those he professed to love the most — from the conservative ideologues and born-again Christians to the free-market enthusiasts, energy producers and red state political class. Perhaps no politician in recent memory has done more damage to his political base.

The most obvious recent equivalent, Richard Nixon, did cause harm to the conservative cause, but that damage was short-lived. It reflected his deviousness more than his policies. Similarly, Bill Clinton’s many personality flaws weakened the Democrats’ hold on the White House, but inflicted no permanent harm to liberalism.

In contrast, the Katrina-scale disaster that has been the Bush presidency may leave his ideological backers in the wilderness for years to come. Over the past eight years, Bush has done more to undermine conservatism than all of the country’s college faculties, elite media and Hollywood studios put together.

The late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater — whose memory remains far more cherished than that of either President Bush — nurtured the modern brand of conservatism. Nixon employed some of these tenets, but they flourished most fully under Ronald Reagan.

Conservatism’s core values rested on notions of a strong national defense and free market economics. Bush has punctured these ideas in a way that transcends the effects of historically anomalous scandals such as Watergate or Clinton’s extramarital affairs. Bush has not only dinged the conservative car, he has totaled it.

Start with the great core issue of national defense. Arguably, Bush’s one success lies in his reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks and the ensuing lack of follow-up terrorist attacks on the homeland. Yet a series of other blunders, notably the war in Iraq, has blemished this enviable record.

Despite the great efforts of the military, particularly in recent years, to calm that rich but cantankerous country, it is hard to see how it has been worth the cost in life, treasure and international reputation.

The shoes thrown in Iraq and celebrated around the world epitomize not only ill manners but also the fact that even our supposed friends there don’t like us very much. If history is any guide, Iraq will end up as an authoritarian state with strong anti-American (as well as anti-Israel) leanings. The farther our sons and daughters get away from those ever-scowling people, the better most Americans will feel.

One unintended part of the Bush legacy will likely be a weaker, highly stressed military. The influential Democratic Netroots will be able to hound the military establishment — whatever President-elect Barack Obama’s intentions. Congress may be reluctant to commit troops to almost anything short of a Chinese invasion of San Francisco, which many Americans — and perhaps some progressive natives — might consider a blessing anyway. Support for new weapons systems, needed or not, will dissipate.

Bush’s legacy for the cause of free market capitalism may be even worse. Our first MBA-holding president has turned out to be the worst economic manager since Herbert Hoover.

The bailouts of Detroit and — much worse — the vile Wall Street profiteers now open the door to an unprecedented expansion of invasive welfarism throughout the economy. It’s hard to call proposals that build tennis courts in yuppie towns or subsidize performance artists in Flint, Mich., wasteful after the billions Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has lavished on his compadres in Richistan.

In the coming years, the only legitimate opposition to the bipartisan pro-Wall Street policy will come from the scruffy populists of both parties, many based in the heartland regions of the country. Bush may even make quasi-Marxism respectable again. Hearing about $20 billion in new bonuses for government-subsidized Wall Streeters this year should be enough to bring out the hidden Bolshevik in even rational people.

Ironically, the only people who should be thanking Bush — the environmentalists, the urban gentry, the welfare staters — are the very ones who have despised him the most. Now that he has helped put them in power, perhaps they could host a celebrity fundraiser for the new Bush library in Dallas. Serenaded by Barbra, scolded by St. Al, with a short film by Michael Moore, the program — hosted by Whoopi Goldberg — could help consecrate a lavish new sarcophagus that Bush has prepared for the conservative movement.

This article originally appeared at Politico. White House Photo by Paul Morse

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of NewGeography.com and is a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University. He is author of The City: A Global History and is finishing a book on the American future.


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I don't like the Shrub, but

this entire post does not belong on New Geography.

This is a post better suited to Politico, etc.

Dave Barnes

Celebrate January 19th


You are cordially invited to Poolside Studios for a Bush's Last Day In Office Party. If you can't make it from California we understand.

Richard Reep
Poolside Studios
Winter Park, FL

dislike for President Bush, making the Republican Party better

I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1992 with a BA Degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics.

When I was running for United States Senate in 2002 in the Republican Primary, I discussed my dislike for President Bush and many parts of the Republican Party platform on how to increase membership in the Republican Party at http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Vox/?20020721-0
If Democrats had learned from Bill Clinton, they may have done better in 2004.

Women should be allowed to have abortions.

Women should be allowed to serve in combat positions in the United States Military.

Homosexuals should be allowed to marry in civil ceremonies.

Homosexuals should be allowed to serve in the United States Military. Not allowing homosexuals to serve in the United States Military harms our national security.

Amendment Fourteen of the United States Constitution

Section 1

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive to any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Homosexuals have the same "privileges", "immunities", and "equal protections of the laws" that heterosexuals have. The federal government and state governments may not treat heterosexuals better than homosexuals. The federal government and state governments may not treat homosexuals better than homosexuals. If governments allow heterosexuals to marry in civil ceremonies, governments have to allow homosexuals to marry in civil ceremonies.

Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution says Congress has the power

"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes"

"To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures"

"To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations"

"To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water"

"To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces"

Congress is supposed to negotiate trade agreements with "foreign Nations" and not the President of the United States of America. If the President of the United States of America negotiates a trade Treaty, Senators get to amend it because of "Advice and Consent" (Article 2, Section 2 of Constitution) and the House of Representatives does not get to vote on it.

Congress should eliminate the Federal Reserve or veto many of its decisions. If the Federal Reserve continues to exist, 2 members of the United States House of Representatives and 2 United States Senators should sit on the board of the Federal Reserve. If 3 of these members of Congress want a Federal Reserve decision to be vetoed, it should be vetoed. If a majority of the United States House of Representatives wants a Federal Reserve decision to be vetoed, it should be vetoed. If a majority of the United States Senate wants a Federal Reserve decision to be vetoed, it should be vetoed.

Congress should consider backing our currency with gold, silver, and other commodities.

Our country should have not gone into Vietnam without a Congressional Declaration of War. Our country should have not gone into Iraq without a Congressional Declaration of War. The Constitution does not mention resolutions and authorizations dealing with the military in Article 1, Section 8. I think Congress cares more about our soldiers when it has Declared War.

Congress is supposed to decide how captured terrorists and captured prisoners of War are dealt with.

Congress is supposed to decide how pirates (terrorists) are dealt with.

Congress has the power via "Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" to remove troops from Iraq and any other country it wants whenever it wants. What do you think "Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" means? Our founders were worried about the President of the United States of America having the power of a King on military matters and other matters. The "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" (Article 2, Section 2 of Constitution) power of the President of the United States of America may be limited by "Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces."

Congress should have learned from the Savings and Loans Crisis and regulated properly. Congress should have required down payments on homes and fixed rate mortgages. Allowing mortgage backed securities to be sold based on no money down mortgages was nuts.

The federal government and State Legislatures may want to loan money to manufacturing companies that make products in our country. Some of the companies could be foreign owned. Some of the companies could be small companies. Companies that make products in our country may cause less air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution on our planet than companies that make products in China. This may increase our economic growth over time and help us pay off our national debt.

The federal government should stop taxing interest from savings accounts, dividends, capital gains, and estates. Individuals and businesses will have more money to spend. Wealthy people and others may contribute more money to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries. Middle class people, union members, and government employees who have mutual funds would benefit from capital gains and dividends not being taxed. Businesses would have an easier time obtaining loans and investments for hiring workers, research and development, and plant and equipment. If the economy grows a lot, state governments may obtain more money from sales taxes and income taxes. Savings and investments are how jobs and economic growth take place over time. Are the results immediate? No

My website is http://www.myspace.com/kennethstremsky


Ken Stremsky