Skip to comments.50 Shades of Bush Blame
Posted on 12/31/2012 8:41:08 AM PST by Kaslin
Our topic today is how George Bush destroyed America. Or, more precisely, how the Left says he did. Naturally, their solution is for America to join the ranks of European social democracies. Its the only way to not to repeat the mistakes that got us here in the first place.
The Left and their Old Media amplifiers tell a simple story: George Bush inherited from Bill Clinton a strong economy and a balanced budget. He proceeded to commit national arson by deregulating Wall Street, cutting taxes for the rich, and fighting two needless wars.
The long fuse of Bushs fiscal folly finally struck dynamite in late 2008, blowing Clintons Camelot economy to bits. President Obama has struggled boldlyagainst Republican obstruction-- to fix problems so bad not even a modest genius like Bill Clinton could have fixed them in a single term. Clinton modestly admitted this in his convention keynote. So, steady on the transformational path. Its the only way Forward to redistribution paradise and state allocated happiness.
Its a measure of the current mood that this narrative has yet to get much pushback from battered conservatives. Theyre suffering post traumatic stress from the election, and pre-traumatic stress, bracing for the preordained blame if America dives off the cliff a gleeful president seems to be gunning for.
Its a shame, because the tidy Bush tale is mostly false and grossly incomplete. Its little more than a team shout for Democrats, media cheerleaders, and partisan supporters. For that purpose, its quite effective, smearing conservative economic positions and providing perpetual cover for the cascading failure of Obamas liberal policies: The worse things are, the more it will prove how badly Bush screwed things up. Forever, says Madeline Albright.
The fog of national amnesia and unreason hides a lot, and denies the complexity that obviously exists. A nationsand presidents--economic success depends on many variables, including business climate, currency and credit strength, a reasonable fiscal balance of taxing and spending, and more. The president doesnt exclusively control any of the variables. He jockeys for influence among other factors, including Congress, the Fed, the business cycle, and unpredictable world events.
Viewing the big picture, Clinton was very lucky; Bush was very unlucky; and Obama is making it worse.
Clintons record cant be assessed out of context: six of his eight budgets were Republican documents (recall the pre-banana republic era, when Congress actually passed national budgets, and the media would have savaged congressional leaders who refused); his economy and tax revenues were buoyed on the twin bubbles of early dot.com euphoria and Alan Greenspans loose exuberance; and after his 94 rebuke by voters impelled him to declare big government dead, he generally governed moderately, playing strategic small ball, promoting global trade, and keeping largely out of the way of industry and the economy.
Also important, Clinton famously lamented he missed the kind of earth-shaking events that can lend presidential greatness, but his economic record plainly benefitted from serving in a relatively uneventful decade.
This is not to deny Clinton political credit for the prosperity America enjoyed. Thats how the game works. Presidents gain and lose stature for serendipitous reasons. But in debating policy choices, the Clinton years are no endorsement of the Obama agenda, far from it.
Too, if the charge is irresponsible deregulation, Bush deregulated very little. It was Clinton who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, allowing depository banks to participate in commercial banking and equity ventures. This broke firewalls that had protected depositors for decades.
Perhaps most critically, Clinton pumped risk and volatility into the finance and housing sectors. He pushed hard on banks to loosen standards and expand home loans under Carters Community Reinvestment Act. He authorized government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to buy subprime securities. That created a market for bundled mortgages. Thus, Clinton greatly expanded lucrative incentives for predatory lending that critics would in time blame fully on the private sector.
All of this contributed to the dynamite that exploded in 2008. The smoke and soot are on Bush, but the fingerprints are Clintons.
Far from the simple epitaph tax cuts and two wars, Bush presided over an extraordinarily turbulent and challenging time for America. The economy endured severe blows quite well. The early internet mania was already tapering, when, months into his term, Bush was called to lead the nation from the smoldering ruins of September 11. The consequences included economic convulsions. Travel and tourism stopped cold and were choked for months. The first surge of the internet bubble popped for good. IPOs that had pumped out garage-based millionaires dried up. Economic activity and tax revenues dropped sharply. Airports and travel resumed slowly and warily.
Its surprising that jobs and the economy were as resilient as they were. Critics charge the Bush tax rate cuts didnt create jobs. But there was job growth, and in context, they may have offered vital incentive for an economy reeling from so many body blows. They certainly have as fair claim to the Obama phrase of jobs created or saved.
Bush was not a significant deregulator. Apart from a prow-growth tax policy, he wasnt a fiscal conservative. Movement conservatives chafed at his big spending, big government initiatives. Importantly, though, Bush and some congressional Republicans raised concerns about the growing risk of Fan and Fred. For their trouble, they were bitterly denounced by Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and others.
If Bush wasnt a limited government conservative, neither was he a credit balloonist. The fury hit in 2008, on Bushs watch. He, and his party, understandably answered for it at the polls. But the disease that hit us was not mainly a symptom of the deficit spending liberals denounce Bush for. Rather, the infection flowed from bad loans, inflated portfolios, inflationary fed policy, and the moral hazard of a tax-backed safety net for bad bankers.
The stigma for our credit crisis and slow recovery now falls not on fiscal moderates like Bush, but on tea partiers, populists, and free market advocates who just want government to tax and spend less and take its boot off the economy. Meanwhile, the banker friends of Bill and now Barack, the Bob Rubins, Jon Corzines, Tim Geithners, and Goldman Sachs of the world are covering for, and slapping each others backs, and laughing all the way to the tax-payer backed bank.
The mistakes that got us here, indeed.
He squandered the greatest opportunity since Pearl Harbor!
From his famous scene standing on top of a burned out fire truck, till his famous quote of “you are either with us or against us” he had it right. But then, like his father's entire term, and Reagan's second term, he committed the unpardonable sin - he began listening to and acting in accordance with the advice of “advisers”.
Soon words like “inclusiveness” and “consensus” replaced direct action. And the laser like focus that should have been there was replaced with muddled group speak. This nonsense ruined GHWB’s term in office in its entirety. It really made Reagan's second term nowhere equal to his first. And once GWB stopped listening to his own heart and started following the advice of the nitwits around him, his presidency was lost as well.
To bring this country together, even for a few months, takes a Pearl Harbor type event. They don't happen often. And to have been President during one and squandered the opportunity, it a failure of the highest order.
It WAS a capitulation and they hung him with it from the moment he agreed to their terms. It was a huge mistake on his part.
Thanks again, Kaslin, and thanks Sans-Culotte, LucianOfSamasota, and malia.
Are you for real? I'd say he made TONS of progress on the existential threats to our freedom. As in ramping them up.
Bankrupting us with an increase in the welfare state and a ruinous, needless war was just the icing on the cake.
The denial on this site just blows my mind.
Doubtless, it was easier for Clinton to just recognize that he had to deal with a Republican Congress than it would have been for Bush to move heaven and earth to fix things that were amiss. That's luck I guess.
But bad luck isn't an excuse. Sometimes you have to step up, and Bush didn't.
As long as the stupids on Amerika keep buying that it is Bush’s fault, the dims will continue using it.
I was trying to think the other day how much worse this political season could be. I wondered, or wandered, how things would look if we’d have gotten Gore for 4 years followed by Kerry for 4 more. Then of course Oblama for 4 more. I started feeling ill and tried to direct my thought towards more important things like eating, or fishing, or hurling. Then I thought, I’m probably going to get the chance to find out. Only the names might be a little messed up. Think I’ll go to lunch.
I am merely reviewing history without wearing party glasses.
My candidates? I don't claim any other than Reagan, but I have voted for every single GOP candidate for President since I have been eligible to vote and even donated to a few, including Romney.
Said again, I am reviewing my own voting choices and history, please take that as personally as you feel you must. (Boy howdy, that Boehner is sure a fighter, huh?)
As a conservative voter who believes in the original founding philosophies so eloquently expressed in our founding documents, I find that I have instead only had progressives to vote for since Reagan and have contributed vote by vote to get us here.
Maybe you will not agree, but looking at the results I see that the lesser evil is still evil and doesn't work nearly as well as no evil.
After years on this forum there is little doubt in my mind that you Kaslin are one of the best and most productive posters to FR.
the inane and foolish commentary that pursues your posts clarifies how conservatism has driven itself toward political oblivion. Your detractors obsess to suggest that bush is as bad or worse than Obama.
The fact that you continue to make clarifying and compelling posts is truly inspiring.
Keep up your great work.
It is not that we lost any rights, per say, but it allows the government to intrude into the lives of citizens in ways that infringe on the 4th Amendment.
This would not be a problem during a “conservative” administration such as GWB, but that power given to a President who believes that the Constitution is deeply flawed and wants to fundamentally change society is definitely a problem.
Tax revenues had lately been declining, the "Reduce The Deficit!" chorus was screaming, GHWB had a fairly high popularity ranking, and he figured that if he could get a mutual deal with the Dems involving BOTH spending cuts and tax increases, it was doable.
His fatal mistake was in putting trust in the integrity of Democrat political leaders, by making a deal with Tom Foley & George Mitchell, sealed by nothing more than a Gentleman's Handshake in the Oval Office.
The Tax-Hike half of the deal required he sign the Dems' latest tax hike bill. The Spending-Reduction half of the deal relied on Foley's and Mitchell's integrity. After GHWB signed their bill, they "fulfilled" their part of the deal by having both houses of Congress convene a trumped-up, much-heralded, joint mega- "summit" that was to be dedicated to finding/targeting many areas across-the-board where funding would be seriously cut or completely ended.
And as we know, the mega-summit looked very very hard with the most powerful microscopes available; they tried their gosh-darndest; they strove; they strove mightily; they huffed and they puffed.... but failed to find a single item anywhere in the entire budget that could safely be cut, even the teensiest bit. Who woulda thunk?
With that pretense of promise-fulfilling quickly disposed of, the Dem leadership and the MSM focused on "Bush Lied! He broke his promise! See? See? Watch this 'Read My Lips' snippet for the millionth time and get angry at him once again for secretly plotting to raise your taxes with his insidious GOP Tax Hike!"
Closer to the election they really REALLY ramped up this line of attack, while simultaneously portraying Boy Clinton as the true Tax Cutter candidate, the "New Democrat," who promised on his sacred honor to pass a huge Middle Class Tax Cut at the very first opportunity, bygosh. So for voters in the middle who were conservative on taxes and liberal on social & green issues, why not vote for the candidate who looked to be a Win-Win choice?
No, I thank you
and the ignorant in here are helping the rats, without realizing it
Next to Reagan, GW Bush was the greatest president of my lifetime. History will be kind to him once we get past the poisonous atmosphere of today.
You are welcome
Same to you and yours
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