Archive for the ‘George W. Bush’ tag
I link to this story because beyond being an enjoyable diversion, it makes two important points that many people still don’t get.
- George W. Bush is a man who did his best to lead the United States in the direction he thought it needed to go for eight years.
- He is unquestionably well-read on a variety of historical topics. (Whether this raises or lowers your opinion of reading generally, or his reading, doesn’t make it any less true.)
Mr. Contenetti’s logic is so straight-forward that I’m ashamed to have been oblivious to it while the campaign unfolded:
It’s worth revisiting why this has been a long campaign. The reason has nothing to do with when the primaries were scheduled. The early primaries were a symptom, not a cause. The cause is Bush. Starting with Hurricane Katrina, a large portion of the country simply wrote off Bush’s presidency. That grew worse as the Iraq war worsened and the Democrats took Congress in 2006. As Jeffrey Bell has pointed out, Bush’s dismal popularity has driven all politics ever since. It is the country’s desire to move beyond Bush, as well as his lack of a successor, that has made this election last so long and propelled Barack Obama to the edge of the presidency. For these reasons alone, George W. Bush is one of the most consequential presidents in history.
… The next campaign will not be as long as this one.
And to quote Ross Douthat, “Not that this wasn’t fun and all, but here’s hoping he’s right …”.
This rerun is a great reason to love The Onion.
This picture may be the most awkward to ever feature an American president.
The much awaited and debated decision was finally made, but because this is still the George W. Bush administration, no action will be permitted to actually protect the animals.
But in both cases, the Bush administration has parried this legal thrust, saying it had no obligation to address or try to mitigate the cause of the species’ decline — warming waters, in the case of the corals, or melting sea ice, in the case of the bears — or the greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, trucks, refineries, factories and power plants that contribute to both conditions.
The whole world seems to be expect massive and sweeping change when a new president takes office in 2009. The Economist, which has a large special report elaborating the point, doubts that’s what will happen.
There are several ways in which the next president can indeed act fast to restore America’s world standing. But the list is short. The mere fact of not being Bush will bring a dividend of goodwill. On top of this, he or she should send out an early message that on some issues the change of guard will mean a change of heart. An America that closed Guantánamo, imposed a clear ban on any sort of torture (by the CIA as well as the army) and shut the CIA’s secret prisons could once again claim to lead the free world by example and not just by military power. A new president should also say more forthrightly than Mr Bush ever dared that America means to co-operate in the fight against global warming, and will consider joining the International Criminal Court. Mr Bush’s cavalier rejection of the Kyoto protocol, and his hostility to the ICC, did much to antagonise the world even before the war in Iraq.
All these would be welcome changes of substance and symbolism. But even this short list will throw up difficulties. Closing Guantánamo may require America to try the suspected terrorists it can build a case against but let the others go free—free, if nobody else takes them, on American soil. And although it is easy for a president to promise international co-operation on climate change, it is hard to make Congress enact laws that trample on vested interests, threaten to hamper growth or price Americans out of their huge cars. The Senate would not have ratified Kyoto even if Mr Bush had asked it to.
Proving myself right, I’ve again been ignoring Iraq news. Slate’s Fred Kaplan has some valuable details about the mess that’s engulfed Basra.
The fighting in Basra, which has spread to parts of Baghdad, is not a clash between good and evil or between a legitimate government and an outlaw insurgency. Rather, as Anthony Cordesman, military analyst for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes, it is “a power struggle” between rival “Shiite party mafias” for control of the oil-rich south and other Shiite sections of the country.
Both sides in this struggle are essentially militias. Both sides have ties to Iran. And as for protecting “the Iraqi people,” the side backed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (and by U.S. air power) has, ironically, less support—at least in many Shiite areas, including Basra—than the side that he (and we) are attacking.
Also of note, Kaplan’s piece about what victory will really mean in Iraq.
Maybe I’m the only one who enjoys discussions about demographics and voting patterns, but I thought this was interesting:
America’s suburbs used to be bastions of Republicanism. No longer. Robert Lang of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, examined the voting behaviour of metropolitan counties and found that close-in suburbs now reliably vote for Democrats. That should be expected: as they become more urban, their residents care more about public transport, schools and other government-sponsored activities—and they attract more city types, often of a liberal bent, from the urban centres.
So emerging suburbs and exurbs, the farthest-out among them, are the new political battleground. George Bush poured resources into this urban fringe in 2004, says Mr Lang, running up larger margins there than when he lost the popular vote in 2000. The result was Mr Bush’s more impressive re-election.
David Bromwich’s piece in the New York Review of Books feels like the extension of the argument made by Ed Ruggerio about My Lai. His — decidedly anti-Bush — conclusion:
Yet nothing so much as language supplies our memory of things that came before today; and, to an astounding degree, the Bush and Cheney administration has succeeded in persuading the most powerful and (at one time) the best-informed country in the world that history began on September 12, 2001. The effect has been to tranquilize our self-doubts and externalize all the evils we dare to think of. In this sense, the changes of usage and the corruptions of sense that have followed the global war on terrorism are inseparable from the destructive acts of that war.
A few weeks ago, Jon Stewart said that he no longer found it possible to hate the president. I agreed then, and I still agree after seeing this. An explanation and more is at The Lede. As it describes the video:
The video is grainy, and Mr. Bush isn’t visible on most of it. But the lyrics, which poke fun at some of the most controversial moments in the Bush administration — the prosecution of vice presidential aide Scooter Libby, the collapse of his nomination of Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, to the Supreme Court — are almost entirely clear, over the laughter.