Skip to comments.36 months - the Bush record
Posted on 01/12/2004 12:53:41 AM PST by Texasforever
As the new election year fast approaches the usual hot button issues with the Free-Republic community are starting to bring charges and counter charges that both George W. Bush and the GOP in general have become no different than the democrats. The only difference I see this time is the lack of any real 3rd party insurgents. I guess it may be due to some folks recognizing the utter futility of the same old 3rd party candidates running for the 3rd or 4th time with no hope of success. That doesn't mean that those that feel Bush or the GOP has betrayed them are going to "vote for the lesser of 2 evils" it just means a new approach should be taken to show their outrage at the perceived wrongs perpetrated by GOP. One approach that seems to be gaining in popularity is that it would be better to have a divided government with a democrat as president and a GOP controlled congress. In many ways that could be a good approach especially if it can be proven that Bush with a GOP congress has betrayed the conservative cause. They say their proof is clear because of Bush's 36 month record and the 12 month record of a GOP congress. They point to the following as their indictment of the GOP and GWB:
1. The education bill
2. The Campaign Finance Bill
3. The Medicare Prescription Drug Bill
4. Bush's new immigration proposal
5. To a lesser extent the Patriot Act
6. I am sure there are others but these appear to be the main ones discussed
Those that see divided government as the answer assert that had a democrat president proposed any of those initiatives a GOP Congress would never let them pass. It is, intuitively, a persuasive argument and I would guess the argument is valid.
The counter argument is just as persuasive. That argument is that after 36 months into his first term and 12 months with a GOP congress Bush has had a strong conservative record and it is no where near what a divided government could have produced given what has transpired in that period. 36 months not a very long time and it is an incredibly short time given the world changing events that have taken place in that time.
The 1st 6 months
George Bush won the election with a 537 vote margin that gave him 2 vote electoral win, a popular vote loss and absolutely NO mandate. He was derided as the first president to be a lame duck the on his inauguration day. He was written off as a place holder for the next democrat. The election challenge allowed no time for a transition effort and his first day on the job he had literally no cabinet spots filled and those he did nominate were immediately bottled up in the democrat controlled senate after the Jefford's defection. It really did look like he was a lame duck. The problem for the nay-Sayers was that he decided to govern as if he did have a mandate. In his first 3 months he shocked everyone by passing his first tax cut. He then shocked everyone by taking on big labor by issuing an executive order allowing union members to withhold dues for political activities they disagreed with. A federal judge later overturned that EO. He then upset labor even more by rescinding the Clinton executive order ordering the massively expensive "ergonomic regulations" on American business
. During the next 3 months he ordered his Attorney General to change DOJ policy to reflect the individual right to bear arms as mandated by the 2nd amendment ,a position Ronald Reagan never made official. Bush then rescinded the Clinton administration's signature of the Kyoto accords enraging the UN and the EU. He then withdrew all United States support of the International Criminal Court another move that enraged the world government advocates in Europe and the UN. It was during the same period that he fulfilled his promise on his signature issue, the Education Bill that the democrats are now saying is too tough on accountability. Yes he had Ted Kennedy's support and to many conservatives that is in itself a betrayal but it was not a betrayal by Bush since he made no secret about his support for tough measures to hold public schools accountable when the kids are not being taught.
While all of this was going on it was becoming apparent that the country was dipping into what could be very deep recession
The 2nd 6 months
As late as August of 2001 many of Bush's cabinet members were still tied up in committee by the democrats and many senior positions in the most sensitive departments were unfilled. Bush was pushing a defense increase through the House that was focused mainly on rank and file service members pay and benefits. He got that passed out of congress fairly quickly. He then turned to federal court nominations and started with a list of approximately 50 all of whom were solidly conservative in both temperament and past rulings. He also ended the American Bar Association's past prominence in the vetting process once again enraging the left and trial lawyer organizations The democrats immediately closed ranks and bottled the majority of the nominations up in committee. The recession was getting deeper and the stock market was the lowest in a decade.
Then came Sept 11, 2001, 7 months into his first term. It was a defining moment in both the new Bush administration and the country as a whole. We had been hit by an enemy with such an unimaginable devastating effect that it was one of the few times in our history that America had been rolled back on its heels. We were hit by an enemy emboldened by the past tepid responses to their attacks by administrations going all the way back to Carter. The big question in everyone's mind was ...is this new "lame duck: president up to the task. While the loss of life in the attack was unimaginable the fact that it happened when the economy was so weak sent shivers though the financial markets. The economy lost a half a trillion dollars in the upheaval just weeks after the attacks. The talk now was of depression instead of recession
. I think all of us can agree on one thing, In the days and weeks after the attack Bush showed himself more than up to the task of leading the nation in a time of almost unprecedented crisis. You can say that WW2 was worse but the country was in a deep depression at that time and if you want to be cynical, the war actually improved economic conditions in the country. He calmed the nation's nerves and then began preparations to strike back at terrorist organizations and their sponsors in a way no one had ever seen before. He declared total and unrelenting war. He created the "Office of Homeland Security" and took the turf protecting security agencies, FBI, CIA, ATF, etc to the woodshed and ordered them to start cooperating and to stop the turf wars. When Al Quaeda had been identified and the Taliban government Afghanistan refused all demands to turn Bin Laden over Bush gave the order it invade the country, overthrow the the Taliban and kill or capture Osama Bin Laden. The experts squealed that the United States would end up like the Soviet Union and be driven broken and beaten from Afghanistan and that the "Arab Street" would rise up and destroy us. The Taliban was overthrown in 6 weeks and Osama while not captured, or killed is now a man without a free haven in which to operate. Bush has stayed the course in Afghanistan and it is moving towards the first stable government in its history. With the decisive victory in Afghanistan the panic in the economy was greatly reduced and the markets began to stabilize. We were still in a recession but the concerns were gradually shifting from doom to mere gloom.
Once the situation in Afghanistan had stabilized and the focus went from all out war to searching for Al Quaeda and Taliban leftovers and helping to establish a functioning government the administration turned its sights to Iraq and continuing reports that Saddam was violating UN resolutions and Gulf War 1 ceasefire agreements
The 2nd year 2002
January 2002 was significant for 2 things, it kicked off the election season for off year congressional races and it was the beginning of phase 2 in the War on Terror. The domestic legislative agenda was fairly dormant in both parties. The country and the government were fairly focused on the war and at the beginning of the year both parties were still in a cooperative mood on national security. As the year progressed the democrats looked at the tremendous popularity of this president and the relative popularity of the GOP as a whole and decided that they had to begin creating issues for the upcoming off year elections.
The issue they decided on was campaign finance reform. The democrat senate had a strong republican ally in the name of John McCain. McCain had been pushing his bill for years and he knew Bush was about to make his case for taking out Saddam and would need his support. He also knew that Bush had also developed a campaign finance reform proposal during his campaign.
Bush made a completely cynical political decision. He told the House Speaker that if they didn't want a CFR then "don't send it to me". He had made his mind up that he was not going to be the firewall for congressional republicans that pass a bill with the hope of a veto. In other words he would not hand the democrats an election year issue. This is one area that the divided government argument is valid. The GOP house had blocked all efforts to pass McCain-Feingold right up to the election of a Republican president. In March of 2002 Bush signed the bill into law. The democrats had lost their bet that he would veto it and they were left without their signature issue for the off-year elections. It was crass politics but without any other issues the GOP almost swept the House races and regained control of the Senate to the bewilderment of all the "experts"
The rest of 2002 was devoid of any major domestic legislation.
During all of this time Bush was preparing the case for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and to finally put an end to the perpetual need to spend blood and treasure in containing a despot who had thumbed his nose at the world for 12 years while actively pursuing the means to produce WMDs and to fund terrorist organizations from Israel to Afghanistan..
He (Bush) first went to the American people, then to the Congress then to our Allies and finally to the UN. With the exception of the UK, Spain. Poland, Australia, and a few others our "allies" were actively hostile to his case. The UN was predictable in that they had no problem with Hussein violating their own resolutions as long as it was the United States objecting. Their history of lining up against any enemy of the United States is legend and they had never been spanked because of it. That is until George W. Bush.
In October of 2002 the Congress issued the Iraq War Resolution authorizing the Commander in Chief to take whatever steps he deemed necessary to oust Saddam Hussein from power. A policy that had been in place since the terms of Bill Clinton who never followed through.
2003 to January -2004
With the installation of the new GOP controlled congress for the first time in 50 years all 3 branches of government could be said to be in Republican control even if control was nominal in the Senate and the Judiciary. It was historical. It can also be claimed that it was brought about by the standing of G W Bush with the American people. They trusted him and they heeded his request to give him a congress that would help him.
The first thing Bush did domestically was to push for and pass another tax cut. The leading indicators were showing that the recession had bottomed out and that the economy may be on its way up. That alone is amazing since just one year earlier no one was predicting ANY improvement for the foreseeable future.
The real question was what would or could be done about Iraq. Bush had his congressional resolution but with the UN and most of the EU openly hostile to removing Hussein would he (Bush) have the sand to do it anyway. That question was answered on March 20th. 2003. Take a look at that date. That was 10 months ago! I don't know about you but it seems like 10 years ago to me. Bush and the "coalition of the willing" stood up to the world and said you can sit and let real threats exist and do nothing but there are still countries and leaders that will fight for your right to be safe and smug and complete assholes
. The Medicare Bill and the Immigration proposal are real and I am not going to argue that they are conservative. I will argue that on both issues Bush never hid his support from anyone on either issue. I know that the term "compassionate conservative" is derided by many "true conservatives" but Bush believes in it. However, just remember this while making your decision, the stock market is up higher than Clinton's last day in office, the economy is in a strong recovery, he fulfilled his promise to sign a partial birth abortion ban, Saddam is reduced to a skid row bum, the democrats are left chewing off their feet from the trap Bush laid for them and the EU and the UN have been put in their place regarding this country's sovereignty.... at least until a democrat is elected.
The reason this was so long is because it points out just how much this president has accomplished in a short 36 months. Yes, a divided government may have prevented the 5 items I listed but an Al Gore or Hillary Clinton, or Howard Dean as president would have NEVER done what was listed after the 5 items. So we are in the election cycle for 2004 and I for one think that this president's conservative accomplishments can stand up to any president's first 36 months in office and, as a conservative, I will vote for him next November with pride.
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In some ways, the Bush administration is worse, such as out-doing Clinton in spending. He could have stopped this with the veto pen or instructing his cabinet not to spend money on legislation that for unconstitutional activities. So far, Bush has done neither.
Furthermore, Bush has declined to veto funding for pro-abortion organizations. Rather, he signed such legislation. As a pro-lifer, I am opposed to any federal funding of abortion. Human life is sacred at all stages beginning with conception, and it should be defended, not exterminated at taxpayer expense. (For details see Why Christians should not vote for George W. Bush, Bush Betrays Pro-Life Cause Again, Backs Federal Aid to Overseas Abortion Providers, and Redirection of $34 million from UNFPA to USAID a 'stab in the back' ).
There is another word for extravagent, excessive, perhaps even wasteful spending. It is called "liberal."
We are blessed with a candidate who stands for the right to life and restoring the freedoms of the states and the people as outlined in the Bill of Rights. His name is Michael Peroutka, a candidate for the Constitution Party presidential nomination. He needs the support of concerned citizens who want to restore the integrity of our republic.
Then Gephart is your man.
Sorry you feel that way. But when a duck walks up, quacks, and lays an egg, its time to call it a duck.
That the best you can do? No facts on your side to refute the arguments?
"Facts" to back up a "feeling?" That is about as illogical as thinking that Tom Tancredo could possibly unseat Bush. You're of course welcome to try (snicker).
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