I think by now it is pretty well established that Bush has done some serious damage to this country both at home and abroad. Thousands upon thousands of threads have discussed this; but as my mom always said, there’s no use complaining about something if you’re not trying to make it better.
So, what do you think the next president should do to repair some of the damage? What should the priorities be? Here are some ideas of mine, in no particular order:
Get out of, or at least drastically alter our military’s role in, Iraq
Get rid of the Department of Homeland Security
Work with, instead of against, the UN
Change the prescription drug benefit into something besides a straight giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry
Firing all the horse judges and replacing them with people who actually have some experience in the area that their federal agency is supposed to cover
Reestablish some government oversight of industry
Sensible energy policy written by someone other that energy company executives
I could go on and on. What are your ideas? BTW, if you disagree with my premise that Bush has done serious damage to the country, feel free to take me to the pit. But I don’t really want this thread to turn into an argument about Bush. I know that may not be possible when discussing what his successor should fix, but I thought I’d give it a shot.
Pretty much mutually incompatible. Until we are ready to actually confront nations like, say, China, on their bullshit, the UN is basically going to remain a venue for largely superfluous and meaningless yammering for the time being.
The best thing that could happen for America (and the world!) is a substantial decrease in the size of the American military. Substantial meaning more on the lines of a percentage of government revenue similar to other countries. The stronger the military is compared to our “rivals” the more tempting it becomes to use it to conquer and occupy foreign nations.
The size of the military isn’t Bush’s fault, though. If I had to choose from only things that he screwed up, the highest priority would be Iraq. Among domestic issues, I’m probably most annoyed by his education reforms. No child left behind is a pretty broken system, created by a panel that included not a single educator.
Of all the lies he’s told us, though, the most disappointing one was when he almost convinced me he was serious about another moon landing, and the potential for a permanent moon base.
Some of these changes would require a friendly Congress and are beyond the reach of a president, but I can still fantasize:
Change the warrantless wiretapping program so it’s in compliance with FISA.
Purge the appointed “Bushies” (their term, not mine) and call back as many of the competent people who were fired or who resigned in protest.
Open up actual, serious dialogue with Iran.
Make way more nuclear plants.
Dramatically reduce our nuclear weapon stockpile. We obviously still need some, maybe a thousand or you know, enough to turn an entire continent into glass, but the amount we have now and their cost is just obscene.
Steadily cut back military funding to a sane level, introduce counter insurgency training.
Attempt to lure as many Arab speakers into the intelligence services as possible, even if they’re gayer than Richard Simmons.
Do something with our schools. I don’t know what, but I’d try to get people who know what they’re talking about to help. Introduce more college monies.
It looks like the FDA needs some reforming.
Do as much as I can to make socialized health insurance a possibility.
Fix crumbling infrastructure, especially our electrical lines. This one would be a bit pricey.
Bush has signed so many bad laws. We’d have to go through with a team and attempt to get rid of 'em – especially the ones which expand executive power and harm the environment.
I don’t think the comparisons to other countries are especially useful. Many cross-national studies do not compare similar populations (e.g. the TIMSS compared some types of learning disabled students in the States who are not included in the Japanese version). But more importantly, many of the problems in US education are social and not pedagogical–family issues, violence, drugs, etc. Can you cite a single study that suggests that when you control for socio-economic issues and test similar groups of students that the US is underperforming?
How about a real program aimed at reducing the risk of terror. Use diplomacy and intelligence to account for and reduce the number of loose nukes, the only way Al-qaeda could even become close to an existential threat. Implement the reccomendations of the 9/11 comission. (Despite their promises, the dems have dropped the ball on this.) Get rid of Homeland security and concentrate on improving communication between the CIA and the FBI, lack of which allowed 9/11. Push for a real peace between Israel and Palestine, including the establishment of a Palestinian state not under Israeli military control. Get the hell out of Iraq, with a sincere apology and financial reparations for devastating their country.
Take simple steps to address global warming. Increased non-carbon emitting power, nuclear or “alternative,” or why not both. Apply strict emissions standards to SUV’s. Encourage use of hybrids and institute a gas tax.
Here’s something I’d like to see happen: slash the tax breaks for Big Oil and maybe give a portion of them to the fast food producers as an incentive for donating their used "zero-trans-fat! " cooking grease to the biodiesel industry.
Turn the Department of Defense into a department that deals strictly with just that: defending the populace. Defending the populace does not equal preemptive wars and defending the populace doesn’t necessarily jive with a lot of current military project spending.