The Failing Bush Presidency
In the last hundred years, only FDR and JFK have enjoyed the type of overwhelming support that George Bush has received since Sept. 11th. The majority of the American public seems not only to trust him, but to genuinely like him. That’s a very rare thing for a politician, which is why it’s unconscionable that Bush has largely squandered the American public’s affection.
Now I know many of you think I’m crazy right now. After all, look how popular GWB is. Doesn’t it look like the Republican Party is going to hold Congress and perhaps even take back the Senate? The War on Terrorism has been wildly successful so far as well hasn’t it? Those are all certainly valid points to bring up but let’s talk about the rest of the story…
While George Bush has delivered a tax cut, he’s also helped push forward a large part of Democrat’s domestic agenda…
*: Bush abandoned vouchers while signing a bloated education bill that’s based on the thoroughly disproved premise that the problem with public education in America is a lack of funds.
*: GWB broke a campaign pledge and signed an unconstitutional campaign finance reform bill.
*: The Bush administration abandoned Republican principles on free trade by slapping tariffs on steel and Canadian lumber. Not only will these tariffs force American consumers to pay higher prices, but they’ll also goad other nations into slapping retaliatory tariffs on American goods.
*: Furthermore, we have the Bush team inexplicably pushing to reward illegal aliens with American citizenship for flouting our laws.
*: With the blessings of the Bush administration, all pretenses of budgetary restraint have been abandoned as the Republican party is supporting a gargantuan farm bill and even more odious prescription drug legislation.
Now I know what the rational behind supporting these proposals is; Taking back the Senate in 2002 and four more years for Bush. However, there are some problems with that line of thinking even if we achieve those goals.
Anyone who’s voting Republican because they’re in favor of tariffs, more government spending, and giving illegal aliens citizenship is being misled. So what happens after the elections when they figure out that most Republicans don’t believe in those things? Worse yet, what if we continue supporting things that are bad for America and that the majority of the party is against in order to win elections? I thought we were in a battle to win the hearts and minds of other Americans so we could help keep this country on the right track? However, the Bush administration apparently looks at the political process like a Pro-football game where the only important thing is that the team you’re rooting for wins. Had Bush looked at things as I do, he could have used the incredible faith and trust the American people have in him to convince them that we need vouchers, a smaller government, free trade, and that the campaign finance reform bill was unconstitutional. But, those opportunities have been forever lost in an effort to win in November.
Bush has shown the same lack of courage lately in prosecuting the “War on Terrorism” that he’s shown on the domestic front. The “Bush Doctrine” produced a stunning amount of success early on. The Taliban no longer rule Afghanistan and al-Queda has been damaged to the point where they have yet to mount another terrorist attack against the US (the anthrax letters could be the exception to that). Pakistan started going after terrorists on their soil and we’ve seen progress in the fight against terrorism in Cuba, Sudan, Libya, Georgia, The Philippines, and Somalia. Then on the heels of all that success we tossed the “Bush Doctrine” out the window when it came to Israel. We’ve refused to call Yasser Arafat a terrorist and have insisted that the Israelis “engage” Arafat in a dialogue despite the fact that they’ve been trying without success to do exactly that for nearly a decade.
Furthermore, the latest leaks from the Pentagon seem to indicate the attack on Iraq has been moved back at least until 2003. Iran and Syria seem to have both largely dropped off the radar screen and we’re continuing to kowtow to Saudi Arabia despite the fact that they’re openly encouraging terrorism by giving payments to the families of suicide bombers. What happened to the man who said the following on September 20th…
“And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
“From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime…”
“…I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.”
Right now, we seem to be yielding in Israel and it looks as if we’re planning to take a long, long, rest in-between the real fighting in Afghanistan (which ended for the most part in December of 2001) and our next truly significant fight.
It pains me to write this article because I think that the President is a decent, honest man with a strong sense of right and wrong. But something is terribly out of kilter in his administration right now. The Democrats are winning on the domestic side and our commitment to doing what it takes to win the “War on Terrorism” seems to be an open question. Can the president still get things back on track? Absolutely, he can. But, the longer he waffles on the domestic front and falters in the “War on Terrorism”, the harder it’s going to be to do the right thing down the road. I’m certain that I’m in the minority right now, but I feel obligated to say that I’m starting to have serious doubts about whether the President has the courage to stand up for his convictions. For once, I sincerely hope that I’m wrong.