note: No, this has nothing to do with Georgia Politics, but I’ve held it in as long as I can, and I had to let this out somewhere…
I have never voted for a Democrat for the Office of President.
I have never voted for a Democrat for the US House, either, though I did vote for Sam Nunn once.
But as of now, I am anxiously looking forward to the swearing in of Senator Barack Obama if for no other reason than I no longer have to defend the intellectual bankruptcy that is the Presidency of George W. Bush.
While I can still defend most of the actions of his first term (I won’t, it will just get Indy Injun all lathered up again about the “fraudsters”), the post-2004 Bush Presidency has seemed to have one singular goal: To forget the mistakes of the past, and press on to the greater mistakes of the future.
This is a President that boldly stated after his re-election “I have earned some political capital, and I’m going to spend it.” And what did he choose to spend it on? A nebulous plan to privatize social security that he seemed to think out loud about for 18 months, leaving his Republican majority Congress twisting in the wind in an effort to try and support something that was ill-defined, unpopular, and never produced in writing so that it could be voted up or down. When he finally bailed on it just before the 2006 mid-terms, he found that “Stay the Course” was neither a tactic nor a strategy, and that the public had grown tired of a failed war plan, failed action on securing social security, his “heck-of-a-job” on New Orleans, and that most Republican principles had been sold by Jack Abramoff to anyone who had good Redskins tickets.
So, Republicans in Congress took it up the shorts in 2006. Congressional leadership is certainly not blameless, but the buck stops with the Pres, and he is the one that set the massive failure of an unpopular agenda that the Congress blindly supported. So what does an unpopular president do to show his thanks to this Congress when they lost big? He fired Rumsfeld days after the election. Not before, when it probably would have helped them. After is better, when it’s not “political”. (Note to Pres: Firing someone who failed to execute what should have been a very basic contingency plan for victory is going to be political whenever it happens. Doing it at a time for the maximum disadvantage doesn’t make it non-political. It just makes you an ass.)
Undeterred, Bush has seemed to make it a personal mission to make us forget his failures at Social Security reform, Katrina Relief, or the first 4,000 lives and $700 Billion of the Iraq war. (There’s something biblical about the number 7. There’s something Bush about putting 8 zero’s behind it.). I really enjoy watching the tapes of Hank Paulson telling congress that he needed $700 Billion for a TARP program (note, I think there are people in New Orleans that would still appreciate a $7 blue tarp to put on a roof…), and that the money must be appropriated immediately or the financial system would collapse. When asked how he came up with that number, he said something to the effect of “I pulled it out of Ben Bernake’s butt”. I guess that sounded better than it was Biblical Bush math. Paulson was also asked if the money just shouldn’t be loaned to banks to shore up their capital bases. He insisted that there was no way it would work. But the language in the original Bill stated that he, and he alone, would choose how to spend the $700 Billion. And that no court, agency, or other body of review could challenge his decision. WTF?
Weeks later, then money was appropriated, and amazingly, was spent in the manner that Paulson had testified had no chance of working. For their loyalty (stupidity?) for trusting the Bush White House once again, seven more Republican Senators lost their seats.
So we come to last evening. The bitter sting of being vanquished still fresh on their minds, the Republicans in the Senate are passed yet another steaming fresh pile of dung from the Bush team. Told they must pass it or the world will end tomorrow, they finally pushed back a bit. Lead by Bob Corker from Tennessee, one of the few states with both domestic and foreign owned auto plants, the Republicans insisted that stockholders, bondholders, and unions take dramatic haircuts to 1) force the domestic companies to form a competitive cost structure, and 2) provide a reasonable framework for which the taxpayers would be paid back.
The companies agreed on behalf of the stockholders and bondholders. The unions balked. They knew that Bush and Pelosi wouldn’t leave them hanging. And they were right.
Today, we have this quote from the Bush Team:
“Because Congress failed to act, we will stand ready to prevent an imminent failure until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry,” Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said.
Congress didn’t “fail to act”. They deliberated, and reached an appropriate action plan that didn’t unnecessarily put taxpayer funds at risk. They didn’t vote to preserve above market wages at the expense of those who work under market based conditions. They refused to vote to preserve institutionalized incompetence at all levels of the industry.
But instead of backing those who have thrown themselves on the sword for him, time after time, issue after issue, Bush has decided to do (AGAIN) what Paulsen just weeks ago said was inappropriate. He’s going to fund a blank check to the auto companies out of TARP funds.
Mr. President, it is time for you to go. It has been a long time since you have made any attempt to govern according to the conservative principals you represent. The damage you have done to the conservative movement is severe, deep, and possibly permanent. You now appear to be ready and eager to do the bidding of the Democrats in Congress. Why not just go ahead, call Senator Obama, and ask him to come by and pick up the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? At least then, the country would be 5 weeks ahead of the recovery plan that will be the one that matters. You are clearly biding time, and the country needs direction and leadership. You appear both unable and unwilling to provide that.
I am ready for our new President. And I will support him until he does something worthy of losing that support. I’ve learned not to say “it can’t be worse”, because often it can. However, America is a country of optimism, and I choose to be an optimist.
And it will be much easier to be an optimist when I can quit trying to defend or explain away the actions of George W. Bush.