Moderates: defend Bush

Many on the Left cannot see how *anyone * could vote for Bush (for a variety of reasons, which have been repeated endlessly) and are quite vocal about their disdain for anyone who will vote for Bush.

People who consider themselves moderates say they can’t stand this attitude, and think that a more “balanced” person would see the pluses and minuses of both candidates and choose accordingly.

My question for the moderates: what exactly are Bush’s pluses? what has he done that was good for the country, both domestically and in terms of foreign policy?

Please, no replies by strong Bush supporters on what the pluses are. I would like to see what *moderates * think are some good characteristics of Bush; characteristics that would make voting for him a reasonable option.

(Note: I’m not saying there are no such characteristics. I’m honestly curious what people who are not strong partisans think these are)

I look at the whole thing differently. I consider most of what Presidents try to do as being more harmful than helpful. I’m looking for the guy who will do the **least **and leave us alone. I’m sure I’m in a minority in this country in thinking that way, but to a ceratain extent most Americans fear what the other guy will do rather than applaud what their guy will do or has done.

I’m in favor of tax cuts pretty much however we can get them, and I think they should be as proportionately applied across income groups as possible. Bush’s tax cust fit that bill pretty well.

Except for his brief foray into steel tarrifs, he’s generally been supportive of free trade. I think companies should be free to run their business as they see fit. If they want to subcontract out to foreign suppliers, so be it. I don’t want some guy trying to regulate business to push a social agenda.

Bush reacted quickly to the 9/11 attacks and severely disrupted the Afghanistan/Al Qaeda infrastructure. Could he have done better? Of course. Would a different president actually have done better? Hard to say.

I’m also a strong opponent of Affirmative Action. That was in the forefront last year, and I think Bush was on the right side of that issue.

Bush’s big mistake was the war in Iraq. I never supported it. Had he stayed out of Iraq, I would probably be voting for him again. His other big mistake, from my perspective, was letting the deficit grow as big as it has. But I think that is linked to Iraq, and wouldn’t have been as bad had we stayed out of that war, so I don’t see those as two entirely seperate issues.

Often, Americans vote the way they do beacause they don’t like the other guy. If the Dems controlled Congress, I wouldn’t want another Dem in the Whitehouse because he WOULD try to do a lot and he WOULD get a lot of it done. And the same goes for the Republicans. I’d feel a lot better voting for Bush this time around if the Republicans didn’t controll Congress.

No other takers yet, huh…?

I should have added that I don’t know if I qualify as a “moderate”. Most Americans would proably consider my libertarian-ish views to be pretty radical. But I did for Bush last time, and while am still undecided and may not vote for Bush this time, I don’t vilify him.

I’m not exactly a moderate when it comes to the Bush political arena, right?
But I’m gonna say this once and I’ll leave to ya.

Sometimes it’s better the devil you know. g~day :slight_smile:

On average, I suppose I’m moderate. I’m quite liberal on social issues, and quite conservative on fiscal issues. But I am quite the Bush critic, so I don’t think I’m in a position to point out any of Bush’s “pluses” (but will be interested to see what others can come up with). Especially since Bush’s track record is one of a social conservative but a fiscal liberal.

I hope you are not in favor of tax cuts without a corresponding reduction in spending. I’m not a big fan of the philosophy that suggests that if you reduce taxes enough, eventually, the spending will correct itself (with the pain passed to our children). Frankly, I’d prefer the other direction - cut spending first and look to reduce taxes later - as cutting spending is the tough part, cutting taxes (in time of surplus) is downright simple.

I did see where you mentioned your concern for the increased deficit, but how can you give positive marks to Bush for tax cuts when they correspond to increased spending?

At least in modern history, a Republican president serving with a Republican controlled congress has never reduced the size of government.

Long time GD lurker here - I imagine I fit the criteria of the OP to some degree, so I will give this a go. I am moderate on the two-pole political scale; in reality, I’m probably closest to a “small L Libertarian”, with your average liberal-on-social-rights but conservative-on-fiscal-issues dichotomy. The political issue that I personally feel is most important at the moment is that somebody, anybody needs to cut some of the ballooning spending we’ve got going on - in other words, neither candidate really appeals to me. I am an ‘undecided’ voter, but at the same time, my vote does not matter, as I am registered and voting in the state of Connecticut.

I think Bush’s tax cuts were a start in the right direction, but without corresponding spending cuts they are pointless if not overtly harmful because of the unbalanced budget issue. I have no problem with an overly strong reaction to the Iraqi WMD ‘intelligence’ as long as the intelligence did, in fact, suggest that that was the best course of action for our defense interests. I do have a problem with how the campaign was eventually conducted from a diplomatic standpoint, not so much in regards to the UN as an entity of its own but in regards to our relations with the other countries who had nominally been our allies. I think that for the most part Bush has surrounded himself with people capable of running our country, and I certainly don’t feel that he’s as stupid as many would paint him to be.

Were I to vote for Bush, though, the main reason would definitely be his economic policies as compared to Kerry’s. I am a strong supported of free trade, a strong opponent of affirmative action, and generally am in favor of the government doing no more meddling with the economy than is necessary. I believe that while the economy is far from perfect, it is certainly not as horrible as the far left would make it out to be. If I cannot get the sweeping spending reductions that the classic small-government liberal in me would like to see… well, ill-advised half-measures are still probably better than increases in government spending.

The main reason I am undecided is that I abhor Bush’s (and the general far-right’s) views on a goodly majority of the most poignant social issues in our society today. His principles diametrically oppose my principles. This is not a thread about that, though, so I won’t get into it :slight_smile:

As John Mace mentions, one of the biggest issues IMO is the party that controls Congress. I would feel much better about voting for Bush if the Democrats controlled Congress, as I certainly would not want Kerry in the Oval Office with an allied Congress at his back. I have lived close enough to Massachusetts to follow Kerry’s Senatorial career, and since it is again off the topic of the thread, I will just say that I have not been impressed. As it is, given the irrelevance of my vote, I would probably vote Libertarian… if the Party wasn’t so psycho. Regarding the OP, though, I certainly see Bush as a reasonable option; or, at least, no less of one than Kerry is.


What? Really? I’m actually asking rather than disagreeing. Ok, so Michael Moore tells me it was a tax cut for the rich and I’ve never really seen that debunked in any way. Go convince me.

I am somwhere around lower/middle class and I got a tax break of about $150. per year. I don’t know how much everybody else got.

I don’t have a cite handy, but basically the top 1% of income earners pay 30-something percent of the total income tax revenues, and as you increase the number of people you consider “rich”, you eventually get to the point where 90-something percent of total income tax revenues come from the top half of income earners. Thus, a “proportional” tax cut would pay back much more to the top half of income earners and very little to the lower half in absolute terms - everyone would have their tax burden reduced by the same %, which means the people paying the most get a lot more money back. Such a tax cut becomes referred to as a “tax cut for the rich” because in absolute terms, the rich are getting MUCH more money back from it than even the working class, never mind the poor - i.e. the people for whom the tax cuts could make a significant difference in quality of life are not getting the money back.

Whether you think this is “fair” or “right” is a different debate entirely, one of the nature of progressive tax ideologies :slight_smile:


Kiros: The problem with that logic is that it is looking at our most progressive major tax, the federal income tax, in isolation. Even if you take the most progressive tax and cut it in a “flat” manner the result will be to make the overall tax system less progressive.

And indeed, f you look at all federal taxes (e.g., including payroll taxes), then you find that the rich get a significantly larger percentage cut in their tax burden than the middle class and poor do. If you look at all taxes period (i.e., including state and local taxes), this effect is even more dramatic. Here is a study from Citizens for Tax Justice which shows that the top 1% saw their total tax burden drop by 12% due to the Bush tax cuts while the bottom 99% saw their total tax burden drop by 7%. And, in fact, the bottom quintile saw only a 3% reduction in their tax burden.

Although they don’t separate it out in its own column, you can also calculate from the data what happened to the total federal tax burden for each group. The top 1% saw a 17% reduction while the bottom 99% saw a 12% reduction.

And, lest you want to argue that somehow the payroll taxes ought to be considered separately from the other taxes (which I have never really understood the logic of, but whatever), it is important to note that since the social security trust fund has a surplus, these taxes have been used to fund the rest of government. And, Bush tax cuts, particularly if extended, make it hard to imagine when this borrowing from the trust fund will ever be paid back. In fact, people like Greenspan are already starting to make noises about how something has to be done, like cutting S.S. benefits, to stave off the problem of the social security trust fund no longer being in surplus (i.e., when it will take in less in that year than it will pay out)…which is expected to occur around 2017 last I heard. However, it only makes sense to consider this a problem for social security if one is not planning to pay back the fund…since approximately another 20 years after that when the trust fund will still have enough money to pay out in full provided that the money that was borrowed from it is paid back to it.

This is kind of a neat way to look at taxes.
BTW, wasn’t this a thread about why moderates would vote for Bush? :confused:

Oh yeah, two more points. Lest you think that the fact that the top 1% pay such a large fraction of the total federal income tax revenues is mainly a reflection of how progressive the tax code is, it is not. It is mainly a reflection of how large a disparity in income there is in this country…i.e., of inequality. In fact, the top 1% have something close to a 20% share of the income (and an even larger share of the wealth, by the way). So, if you look at the fact that 1% of the people pay more than 30% of the income taxes, a factor of almost 20 of that factor of 30+ comes from the disparity in incomes and then the rest comes from the progressivity of the federal income tax.

Another point in regards to what one thinks is fair that is worth recognizing is how this economy has performed for various income groups between 1979 and 2000…And the answer is very enlightening: The top 1% have seen their real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) after-tax incomes go up by 201% while the people in the middle quintile have seen only a 15% increase and those in the bottom quintile have seen only a 9% increase (see here or here). Against this backdrop, Bush’s feelings seem to have been that the top 1% are most in need of tax relief…Go figure!

Of course, if this were the real world, there would be a features in that analogy:

(1) That wouldn’t be the only bill that the people paid. There would be another bill presented by the restaurant owner in which the payment was distributed considerably more evenly. And, then there would be additional bills presented by the cook and the waitress that were also distributed more evenly. Only the bill that you discussed would be cut while the others would either stay the same or increase.

(2) The rich person would get considerably larger portion sizes than everyone else and would eat in an opulent dining room surrounded by servants attending to their every need, while the poorest would get small portions, some of which was already spoiled, and would have to sit in a dirty rat-infested room on the floor.

(3) When the restaurant owner wanted to make any changes to the billing or the nature of the restaurant, the restaurant owner would invite the rich person to come and discuss with him what would work best while the poor would not.

Well, that doesn’t exempt it from having to have its facts straight. Remember, after all, that the StraightDope is fundamentally about fighting ignorance.

I’m pro-life and am glad Bush got the partial-birth abortion ban passed, at least.

I am also very pleased that Saddam Hussein will not end his life on a Gulf beach somewhere, and that the Iraqi people are going to choose their own fate. They’re a lot less advanced than I thought they were, and it’s scary that they may choose civil war or a theocracy, but at least it’s their fate now. I’m demurring on whether he should have done it at all because this is a defense thread.

Why, thank you for asking, Polerius. I was beginning to think that, in this polarized election, nobody even remembered that there are moderate voices in the world.

I will express what I see in Bush. In the interest of brevity, however, I’ll ask the reader to insert the phrase “except for Iraq” in pretty much every sentence that follows, so that I don’t have to keep typing it…

[ul]The president, as head of the administrative branch of the government, is first and foremost responsible for seeing that the government carries out its duties effectively.

In this respect he’s done a very good job, particularly in that he’s surrounded himself with capable people. Convincing Colin Powell to serve as Secretary of State, and keeping him in that role, has been a major boon (though, personally I would rather see Powell sitting in Bush’s chair, but that didn’t work out.) Other, less visible appointees have been quietly capable. Even Donald Rumsfeld, whom I can’t stand in the least, has been extraordinarily effective in revamping the armed services for modern times.

I’ll also note that the Bush administration has been remarkably scandal-free, which has been a welcome change.[/ul]

[ul]As commander-in-chief, I think that the whole Iraq thing has made people forget how well he handled the events surrounding 9-11. That was a traumatic time, and Bush’s response to it was darn near perfect. Everything he did, up to and including the war in Afghanistan, showed a strength of character and presence of mind that deserves a lot of respect.[/ul]

Of course, this leaves the whole Iraq thing, which I can’t get into here because it would take me completely off the topic of Bush’s strong points. But I honestly think that if it hadn’t been for Iraq, there’d be nobody who could run against Bush in this election.

Point taken, jshore. The link was supposed to be overly simplified to point out the core idea of tax cuts and how why they seem to benefit only the wealthy.

As far as the tax cuts, We’re in no way anywhere near being in even the top 20% but we’re paying less now than a few years ago. I guess that threshold of being “rich” has been dropped considerably.


Leaving aside the Valerie Plame scandal, the leaking of top-secret information of the breaking of the Iranian codes to Chalabi who apparently blabbed it to Iraq, and the Abu Ghraib affair and the various other issues surrounding the Administration’s attempts to get around annoying aspects of the Geneva Conventions.

And, in things that may not rise to the level of scandals (partly because there is no equivalent of Kevin Starr and Richard Mellon Scaife around) but close: Halliburton, how Cheney ran the energy task force, …

I think what charizard means is that nobody’s getting blow jobs.