Newsweek: "What Bush Got Right"

The cover story on Newsweek is an interesting article called “What Bush Got Right”

Basically, it says that although there were many mistakes made in the Iraq war, advisor positions, Afganistan, AIDS funding, North Korea, etc., Bush has improved his record in all these areas.

It says that people who oppose Bush primarily focus on the mistakes he made early, rather than on what has been done to remedy those errors.

It’s a kind of long article, but interesting and worth reading.

Do you agree with the author’s assessment?

Do I agree that Bush should receive a little credit for undoing maybe a quarter to a third of the damage that he did to the country and the world? I guess. It doesn’t begin to stack up to the blame he deserves.

And it doesn’t mean his people or his policies should stay in place. You see, his people now in place are pragmatists when compared to their predecessors. They’re still, for the most part, far to the right of center in terms of general policy. They’re just not so fanatical about it that they refuse to even look at reality at all. A good example is the current Attorney General Mukasey. He has just decided to not prosecute the Justice Department officials who preferentially hired people for non-political posts, including immigration judgeships, on political grounds. He did this by unilaterally declaring that while laws had been broken, it was not a crime. This man also chose not to prosecute FISA violations or torture violations. He’s not the ideologue that Alito was, but he’s sure as heck not the man I want as AG, just as I don’t want a Federal Wiretapping program to be part of our intelligence gathering, torture by the military or CIA to be part of our intelligence gathering, or politics to be part of our criteria for hiring at Justice.

Are there some policies of the current White House that should be continued? I’m sure there are a few. But I doubt there’s a person hired by the Bush Administration at a high level who I’d want to leave in place. This administration has simply been too accustomed to believing that the law didn’t apply to them. It’s a bad mindset to have in government, and I wouldn’t want to start off with the risk that any of my people had it.

I’ve only read the first page, but it’s sounding lik ‘Sure, Bush screwed the pooch. But he’s fixing it now.’ Maybe his is. But for me his invasion of Iraq in the first place is unforgiveable. He was supposed to be chasing Al Qaeda. Remember ‘We’ll get bin Laden dead or alive’? And then it became, ‘bin Laden isn’t that important’? Cue South Park’s Saddam Hussein: ‘Hey guys! Look over there!’ He’s like a robber who’s very sorry – after he’s been caught.

Bush can’t undo what he’s done. The best he can do is try to minimise the damage. Maybe he did do some things right. But he’s still in the hole.

EDIT: Or what Oy! said.

BTW: Is that from Dark Tower, or just a general Punkish ‘Oy!’?


Exactly. So much of what he’s done is unfixable, by anyone. And, he wouldn’t have done nearly so much damage if he wasn’t a fool and a slimeball who surrounds himself with fools and slimeballs; I’m not going to give him a pass for mistakes and evils that shouldn’t have been committed at all.

After reading this, damned if I’m going to read the whole thing:

A new Administration-backed FISA bill became law, further weakening the Fourth Amendment and granting legal immunity to telecoms. That happened just a few weeks ago.

We’re still in Iraq at unsustainable troop levels. There’s no evidence that we’re any closer to the political reconciliation that is needed to make permanent the security gains of the Surge.

There are more contractors than American troops in Iraq. There’s no evidence that the level of corruption has been reduced. It’s still a gravy train for contractors.

Gitmo is still in business. So are the military commissions.

Condi interrupted her vacation to go to Georgia - after several days when she didn’t bother. And in addition to being Sec of State, she’s the Administration’s leading Russia expert.

Yeah, there’ve been some changes too. The saber-rattling at Iran has died down, and the Administration’s looking more like it’s going to sign onto [del]Obama’s[/del] Maliki’s timeline for withdrawal.

So they’ve made some progress - but it’s an upgrade from ‘disastrous’ to a gentleman’s F.

And the subhead of the article - “For the next president, simply reversing this administration’s policies is not the answer” - is a total strawman. The Bushies did that with Clinton’s policies, but that’s because they’re a basketful of fucking morons. Back in the real world, politicians don’t do that.

Despite my low opinion of McCain, I wouldn’t expect McCain to do that if he were succeeding a Democratic President, let alone a fellow Republican. And Obama? No freakin’ way. He’s spelled out his approach to foreign policy, and he’ll follow it. That’ll lead him down different roads than Bush or McCain would have pursued, most of the time. But he’s not going to be saying to himself, “Bush did X. So I need to do not-X.”

So he burned down the house then pissed on a smoldering pile to make it better?


Yeah, it would appear what they’re saying is “well he didn’t spend the entire period of his administration destorying the country utterly. In fact, he actually undid a little of it.”

Unless he can unkill 100,000 dead Iraqis (or whatever the real total is, 100k is actually a conservative estimate) and uncripple all the people whoes limbs have been blown off, I’m not cutting him any slack.

Or putting you in a hotbox for a week with no water, and then offering to let you suck his sweaty scrotum.

OK, I’ve read the rest of the article. It’s true that we should not reverse everything Bush did in the past 7+ years. I mean, I think the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA, a marine reserve) was a good idea. And now that he’s making noise about talking to our adversaries (now, in the last few minutes of the elecenth hour) as Obama has been saying all along and taking other steps that he should have taken years ago (and again, steps that would not have to be taken at all but for his idiocy), those should be continued.

But nothing he can do can make up for what he has done.

Now you’re just messing with me!

Ten steps back, one step forward. Maybe two if you’re really generous. I generally agree with **RTF’**s summary-- Bush did a bunch of really stupid/bad things early on, and many of those things are still in play.

Blind nuts and squirrels and all that stuff. In 7+ years he’d have to do SOMETHING right…probability and all that.

Mostly what everyone else is saying…that he’s fixed some of his screwups doesn’t mitigate the fact that he DID screw up in the first place.


Uh huh. “Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” :rolleyes:

No, that’s been my signature all along - I just hardly ever use it.

“I think the excellent janitorial staff did a fine job of removing the blood and brains from the curtains!” -M. Todd-Lincoln

I can see three categories. First, stuff he did right from the beginning. The AIDS funding in Africa I think counts. Second, stuff he did wrong until he got dope-slapped often enough to change. Negotiating with the North Koreans is an example of that. The third is stuff which he is still screwing up despite the dope-slapping, like steadfastly refusing to do anything to reduce AGW.
I’d kind of like a president where category 1 overwhelms the other two.

Merijeek wins the thread!

About damned time. It’s been a while since the last one.


Seems pretty early to declare a thread victor! I was just about to say something really witty and relevant too (I have been saving it up for years now…years of non-witty and non-relevant posts for this one shining moment!)…


Ah well…c’est la vie…