Archive for ‘George W. Bush’

March 11, 2009

‘Compassionate Conservatism,’ R.I.P.

Diana West blames the woes of the GOP on George W. Bush, with a hearty endorsement from Michelle Malkin.

Me? I blame David Brooks. I blame everything on David Brooks. If I stub my toe, I blame David Brooks. If a sparrow falls, blame David Brooks.

It’s sort of a Unified Field Theory.

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January 21, 2009

Well, that settles it, then

“He admires his sense of family, his relaxed and easygoing nature, and his character. He has gotten to know him during this transition period and he has a pretty good gut for people. His gut tells him Obama has what it takes to be a successful leader.”

January 20, 2009

Inaugural memories

From my latest American Spectator column:

Eight years ago today, I took my daughter Kennedy to see President Bush’s inauguration. The weather was miserable, a cold drizzle of sleet and rain falling for most of the day, but that was of little concern to a dad taking his 11-year-old to watch a moment of history.
Kennedy was homeschooled and, as part of her social studies lessons that year, she had followed the presidential election, assembling a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the campaign. . . .
Our journey downtown for the inauguration parade was sort of a field trip to culminate that project, but it was also an unexpected lesson for my daughter. The lesson was provided by the legions of anti-Bush protesters who showed up in an effort to spoil the fun for everyone.

Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A New Ace for a New Era notes the gloat.

UPDATE II: Bush hatred was never strictly a function of policy, Jeremy Lott reminds us:

America’s elites do not merely disapprove of Bush. They loathe him. Back in 2003, when Bush was still basking in the reflected glory of his sun god-sized post-9/11 approval ratings, Jonathan Chait published a piece in the liberal journal the New Republic making the “case for Bush hatred“. Chait objected to Bush’s policies, as well as, for lack of a better term, his Texas-ness.
Chait complained about “the way he walks”, “the way he talks”, “his lame nickname bestowing”, his good ole boyness and his social privilege. He admitted: “I suspect that, if I got to know [Bush] personally, I would hate him even more.”

Nevertheless, all must now praise Obama, or be accused of insufficient patriotism.

UPDATE III: Everyone seems to be enjoying a good laugh at the expense of Fred Barnes, who bids fair to be Bush’s Monica Lewinsky.

UPDATE IV: Kerry Pickett provides video of obscenity-spewing anti-Bush protesters at his 2005 inauguration:

Memories, light the corners of my mind . . .

UPDATE V: Linked by Dan Riehl who asks, “what good conservative names their child Kennedy?” Ah, but I was still a Democrat when she was born in 1989. Nevertheless, my good Ohio Republican wife made me swear a promise at that time, so our 6-year-old daughter is named Reagan.

UPDATE VI: “MSNBC covered the send-off and viewers at home could hear inaugural attendees near the MSNBC location chanting ‘Hey, Hey, Hey, Good Bye’ as they watched Executive One fly over the Mall.”

UPDATE VII: Linked at The Hill‘s Briefing Room.

January 20, 2009

On the Bush legacy

Donald Douglas ponders the state of disrepute — the 27% approval rating — with which President Bush leaves office:

For average Americans, it’s most likely that folks are simply tired of long and costly wars, fearful of economic uncertainty, and hopeful for vigorous leadership in the new Democratic era. Yet for partisans of the hardline left — those implacably opposed to the GOP administration and its ideology — the reasons for joy in the final poll numbers are many: the alleged “stolen” election of 2000; the post-9/11 terrorist “fearmongering” and the “shredding” of constitutional guarantees on civil liberties; the “illegal” war in Iraq, based on “false pretenses” of Iraqi WMD, and evil “neocon” designs for neo-imperial domination of the Middle East; and the “reign of torture” that has allegedly destroyed America’s moral standing around the world.

Despite all that, Douglas says:

President Bush is a leader of uncommon moral vision and clarity of national purpose.

You can read the rest at Pajamas Media. Myself, I think the most damning thing you can say about the 43rd president is: He was another Bush.

No one can credibly say that Bush 41 — that is, the first President Bush — was anything other than a patriotic and fundamentally decent man. Yet Bush 41’s sense of decency was of that upper-crust WASP variety that frowns on partisan political conflict as something unseemly and divisive. There is something about inherited Republicanism that seemingly inflicts the second- or third-generation Republican with a guilt complex, an apologetic attitude.

In Bush the Father, this manifested itself as a “kinder, gentler nation,” which in practical terms meant letting George Mitchell embarrass him into breaking his “no new taxes” pledge. In Bush the Son, the GOP guilt complex was expressed as “compassionate conservatism,” a predisposition toward pre-emptive compromise as evidenced in No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D — half-measures that betrayed conservative principle without pacifying the Left.

Both Bushes waged war against Saddam Hussein, the son completing what his father had started, each apparently believing that they could expand the Republican Party’s appeal on the basis of foreign policy. Yet there has never been any solid evidence for this theory of political dominance based on foreign policy.

The Democrats discovered this; Wilson’s World War I was followed by the Republican victories of 1920, ’24 and ’28. FDR’s World War II was followed by the GOP taking control of Congress in 1946, Truman barely winning re-election in ’48, and Eisenhower being elected in ’52. JFK and LBJ both positioned themselves as Cold War hawks, but beginning with Nixon’s election in 1968, Republicans controlled the White House for 20 of the next 24 years.

If there is ever to be a “permanent Republican majority” (a phrase of Karl Rove’s that now lives in ironic memory), it must be firmly based in domestic policy, and that policy cannot be the sort of “me too” Liberal Lite stuff of NCLB and Medicare Part D. The GOP cannot win elections based on promising American a more efficient Welfare State. If the GOP will not unabashedly stand in opposition to the Welfare State, will not speak out and vote against the relentless expansion and increasing expense of the federal Leviathan, Republicans will be consigned to permanent minority status, and rightly so.

It is his apparent inability to comprehend this fundamental political reality that ultimately provides Bush with his legacy: Another failure, another Bush.

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine.