Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wins And Losses

John Cole ponders the list of Bush's successes and failures at the sunset of Bush's term in office. The list of failures is long but Cole does manage to find two wins: the Do Not Call list and Robert Gates.

I will add one additional success to the list... increasing aid to Africa. Not only is it the right thing to do on a humanitarian/moral level, it's a wise thing to do for our national security if we'd like to prevent terrorism from becoming Africa's most significant export.

It is somewhat amusing, however, that the Bush administration doesn't play up its African achievement a bit more. The reason for this is hardly the liberal press -- God knows the Bush administration doesn't hesitate to cram talking points down anyone's throat -- but rather the fact that aid to Africa is about as conservative an idea as saving the spotted owl. Bush is doing the right thing but the liberal nature of it is not one that sits well with his party base... thus the administration chooses to downplay it.

One might actually say the same thing about Bush's position on immigration, which in theory is closer to liberalism than conservatism. Pity that he tried to spin up it into something conservatives could stomach, which in the end only caused him to alienate both conservatives and liberals over the same issue -- quite an achievement.

As for the greatest failure... there are so many to choose from. Entering Iraq under false pretenses and then screwing it all up, attempting to divide the country into "patriots" and "liberals" in order to push an agenda, failing to capture Osama, and pissing on the constitution all come to mind. Playing chicken with the economy by purposely keeping the dollar weak instead of working to transform the fundamentals is a huge failure that, I think, many haven't even recognized yet. Refusing to take even the most basic steps to ensure that oil scarcity -- both an economic and national security vulnerability for the US -- won't destroy us (unless you count invading Iraq, see above).

The magnitude of any one of Bush's failures alone is wrenching. Together, they're spectacular.


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