What is the GWB legacy among Republicans/conservatives?

'Cuz we all know what Democrats/liberals think it is.

On one hand, most of them approve of the way he handled the Global War on Terror and Iraq. That’s a huge plus for Bush.

On the other hand, I know for a fact that a large number hate, absolutely hate, a lot of what he did domestically: his stance and efforts (or lack thereof) on illegal immigration, his attempt to get Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court, his attempt at the Dubai port deal, his spending (like NCLB and the prescription drug program), and perhaps most of all, the way he handled the financial crisis (exemplified by a quote of his, which I can’t find the exact wording of right now, that he abandoned free market principles in order to save them).

God if I know how those balance in the minds of the people who voted for him and who share his political bent. Thoughts/knowledge on this?

About a year ago I ask conservatives Convince Me We Should Have Another 8 Years of Republican Dominance.

They don’t seem to have much to say on the subject.

Gotta be careful with tenses there. Now that Bush isn’t CinC anymore, there’s been some loose talk:

Last week, at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, three Republican congressmen were interviewed by Grover Norquist.

If they throw Bush under the bus now, they can claim they’re not responsible for his war debts either, and grab at the mantle of ‘fiscal responsibility’. That’s a mighty tempting prize for Republicans/conservatives.

True, but I’m inclined to think that Republican/conservative lawmakers are a different kettle of fish, with different concerns, than Republican/conservative voters and citizens.

I heard that a good many are pissed that there was such Republican power, and they did nothing really on abortion (I seem to remember the odd Democrat on here promising that Bush would reverse Roe v Wade too).

Conservative voter here, former Republican for 20 years. Bush and the R’s in the Senate and House made a mockery of the traditional GOP tenants:

Smaller government? Nope.
Cut spending? Nope.
Cut taxes? Sure, but you can’t do that and double spending at the same time!
No nation building? Ooops.
WMD? Strike five.

All that and then you follow it up by running an old man in 2008 with skin cancer but lives in the desert and a witty nobody from nowhere for VP because she has a nice rack and a pretty smile? Seriously?

I changed from a Republican to a registered independent in 2006. I will not vote for any of the current breed of Democrats and I wont vote for any R’s either. These days I wish for a cleaning of the House and Senate from top to bottom. Not a Tom Clancy-esque type of cleaning, but a fresh start none the less.

I’ve had rock-ribbed Republicans tell me that they were very angry at Bush’s Medicare drug plan because it is fiscally irresponsible.

Also, he ran into a political stone wall with his own party over immigration reform.


IANAR,B… (I Am Not A Republican, But …)

Well, you know, after a long while with Nixon as popular as a dead weasel from Hell, they finally did get around to recognizing that he opened up China, which had enormous positive repercussions that linger to this day. But I can’t for the life of me think of anything Bush did during his administration that seems to promise any lasting good, damn, or any good at all. (And opening China was recognized as a Good Thing at the time Nixon did it, it just got lost in that whole Watergate thing.

I think his legacy is that policy and rhetoric no longer need to be reality-based. In fact, once you give up the idea of having to base things on facts it becomes much easier to make arguments that sound convincing.

If your opponent insists on staying reality-based it makes him sound wishy-washy. Which of these is easier to have people rally around: “We think that removing Saddam Hussein is in the long term interest of the United States” vs “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”.

And it’s spilled over to this side of the border, too.

Well, allow me to talk about it, since there seem to be a number of random, if well-meaning, comments from random people who are not really conservative or anything. Strictly speaking, neither am I. I’m a Radical Conservitarian-Liberal Purist Textualist demi-Originalist (Reformed). However, I am about as close as anything on this board.

Bush is a strange duck. Always was. This is one of the things which made him so easy to like and hate: there was always something in his odd mannerisms and speech which offended his critics vastly more than any political, and something in his quiet, confident dignity of action which pleased his supporters. He also felt no need to apologize for the former or brag about the latter, which further encouraged both sides. These also colored the perceptions radically. I rather suspect a great many of the Left - including dozens on this very board - could not help but hate him.

I mean hatred: irrational, all-devouring, unrelated to any oplicy or political consideration. He was fundamentally part of a different, somewhat more respectful and respectable, but far less socially-savvy and self-aware, subculture. Bush was familiar with the city but saw himself and presented himself as rural American, and that was merely the uppermost tip of the iceberg.

Now, this is important, because while he connected with almost everyone in the Republican Big-Tent on a cultural level, he had his own policy ideas which meshed with precisely none of the them, except a handful of north-eastern Republicans a la Olympia Snowe. This is perhaps no accident because he was politically more or less a similar liberal himself.

He garnered a lot of support.

In reference to Iraq, I argued then, argued after, and argue today that it was and remains vitally neccessary to altering the Middle East, and it has had very good effects already. Things have changed there. Not much as we might count it, perhaps, but give it time. It may be generations before it isn’t a mess, but that’s the price for not building a real empire (as opposed to the fictional, lefty strawman version).

They did have WMD’s, though not in the form and readiness we thought, but that was the casus belli, not the fundamental reason for the war. The reason were the larger piolitical and global issues at stake, and the need to fundamentally alter the political dynamics of the MidEast. It has done that, and at a far lesser cost than any other possible method. If you wish to claim it was not worth it, that’s a debate for another time. Yet I recall that more than a few Dopers claimed it was a failure early, and then repeated that, and that Bush simply changed things as neccessary in order to fix it every time.

But that is just one example. All told, Bush was a canny political operator who expertly manipulated the world situation to the States’ advantage. Though he could nto control everything, fundamentally we more and more governments respecting us by doing what we wanted them to do, while hostile governments around the world were voted out or weakened. They didn’t like us, or at least loudly bragged about not liking us, because it was easy to dscore cheap politiocal points that way, just as on the surface they all love Obama. Except, of course, that Bush got results where Obama has caused a series of escalating foreign policy problems. It is the difference between the game of power politics (i.e. how it is actually done), and the pretend-scheme of believing the polite ficitons of diplomacy.

Interestingly, Bush was also heavily advised by another group of liberals-with-a-muscular-foreign policy, the neocons. The irony burns, of course, since that is yet another hilariously innaccurate label for the Left to label anyone they don’t like.

Regardless, his domestic policies are another matter.

Bush essentially never moved on anything any conservatives wanted domestically, which pissed a lot of us off to a very considerable degree. He had essentially no notion of cost/benefit and didn’t do anything useful during his early domestic strong period of the Presidency, before 9/11. I think he may in fact have been avoiding taking Presidential action, hoping to have a “quiet” presidency where the country could basically settle down and live without more than the usual political back-and-forth.

That didn’t happen, and for reasons not entirely clear, he pushed through a fairly liberal, and certainly Big-Gov agenda. What’s more irritating is that we’d have been a lot happier had he simply paired up programs with an appropriate conservative plan.

For example, conservatives mostly didn’t give a rat’s ass about immigrant amnesty. What bothered us was that it was being done with no plan to straighten out the immigration situation, which positively encourages illegal immigrants. I have no problem with people wanting to move it. I do have a problem with people wanting to move in without obeying the law. We were ignored in the White House.

The Harriet Miers fiasco. Good God, what was he thinking? Yes, Presidents nominate justices. Fine. Why did he think people were going to sit down while he put a tight political ally, with little training, interest, or experience, into the judiciary? It boggles the mind.

Now, the port deal didn’t ultimately bother me. I felt it was a mountain over a molehill, with no real logically consistent reasoning behind the panic. There wasn’t any particular reason to get upset or believe that just being Saudis would make them help smuggle terrorists and/or weapons.

I could go on (I don’t like the Patriot Act but also don’t see it as a giant threat, the compeition twixt COngress and White House to see who could make a bigger, more useless Homeland Security department is hilarious stupid) but most things were not any one “big” issue as much as a slow process of him plain not thinking about his own supporters and voters. And he was still effective in Washington - he just was increasingly uninteresting. He didn’t strengthen his side, and rather let his support dribble away by not pushing for things we wanted and insisting on things we were annoyed or outright furious over.

I have no idea what you mean by the notion that Bush radically altered the politics of the Middle East. What improvement do you think he made?

I voted for Bush in 2000. Though I was not sure that attacking Iraq was the right thing to do at the time, I believed Bush had a plan for stabilizing the region, that there were WMDs, and that Iraq was planning to do something nefarious. Don’t laugh, but part of the reason I believed Bush was because I figured nobody could tell such a big lie and get away with it. Based on this impeccable logic, Bush must have had access to information that many of his detractors did not. I voted for Bush again in 2004.

At some point I came to realize how wrong I was. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction (or, at best, he was duped into believing they were there), our adventures in Iraq have not served to stabilize the region, and many men, women, and children have been killed without good reason. I fucked up big time. Honestly, I don’t know how people in the Bush regime can sleep at night.

The result is that I have almost completely disengaged myself from political discourse or participation. While I was never a political junkie, I took part in elections and was aware of the major issues of the day. When the recently health care bill was passed I wasn’t even aware that both houses had voted for it, I thought it had just made it past the House.

I was going to post that Bush just showed what happens to the country when you elect a liberal as president, but smiling bandit beat me to it.

I think Bush did a good job as president. Obviously, not as good as I would have, but good nonetheless. A president’s main purview is foreign policy and that is where he did the most good. The global war on terror has international terrorists on the run. It is too soon to declare Iraq a success or failure, but things seem to be trending the right way. He did a good job in Afghanistan, quickly and with a outside of the box strategy. He solidified our alliance with India, one of the most important countries in the world. He mostly stayed out of the Israel - Palestinian conflict, and things are looking better their because of it.
Domestically, his prescription drug plan was too expensive but politically it was one of the least expensive possible plans and it is one of the few government programs that has cost less than it was supposed to. His education plan has gotten the focus on student achievement and away from just shoveling money at the problem. His two supreme court nominees have performed very well.
He was a moderate, so there were plenty of things not to like. His flirtation with amnesty for illegal aliens. His unwillingness to rein in spending on anything left the government even more bloated and inefficient than he found it. He helped inflate the housing bubble, by pushing for expanding home ownership.
Time will add perspective and cool some of the partisan rancor, but given that Obama has continued almost all of his foreign policy initiatives there seems to be bipartisan agreeement that he did alot right during a dangerous time in American history.

I guess smiling bandit’s analysis will be how the Pubs are going to be spinning GWB’s legacy in the future. “He wasn’t that bad, and on the stuff he was, he was actually liberal!”

We hated him because of his policies. Nice try in painting the opposition as irrational, it would work better if your side wasn’t preemptively filibustering nominees and voting against things they supported in the past because a Dem is now president

Iran going nuclear while we mired ourselves in a country that was essentially harmless really helps the situation, really. There were lots of countries we could have stabilized first if we wanted to a) be humanitarians and b) protect ourselves. A more severe human rights violation happened in Sudan while we were bloviating about Saddam and 9/11. A more direct threat lingers in North Korea while we pretended not to raid a country for oil

The rationale for going to war wasn’t WMD’s? Oh great, what is it this week? Humanitarian reasons? Democracy and freedom? 9/11? Tell me when you make up your mind

HAHAHHAHAHAHAH! You’re shitting me, countries respect us more after Bush? Tell that to the handful of countries that joined us for Iraq and the ones who eventually left us holding the bag. Tell that to respected statesmen reduced to a laughingstock in their own countries for being Bush’s lapdog. Everywhere Bush went in the later years, he was hounded by mobs. Didn’t many countries in Europe draw up arrest warrants for Rumsfeld? They are seen as war criminals, no different from Slobodan Milosevic in much of Europe.

And just for a lark, tell me the supposed “escalating foreign policy problems” Obama has caused. If your response includes anything to do with bowing, I’m going laugh in your face again.

The fact that you consider neocons to be liberals just shows how bereft honesty your side has become. Everyone, no matter their viewpoints, are secret liberals if they are bad. There were no conservatives at all in Bush’s cabinet! All neocon/liberals! Only the Tea Baggers are true conservatives! Oh, except when they start attacking liberals and shouting racial slurs, that’s a liberal thing to do!

That’s because he was a loser who knew he couldn’t get things done, and he strung you guys along for the ride with empty promises. Except for making his friends rich, the extent of his understanding of domestic policy amounted to bait-and-switching and terrorism fear-mongering

Ah, again, if he didn’t do good things then it must have been liberal! Scary!

He did exactly what all conservatives would have done, and that is consolidate power and use fear and demonization to get it. Look, you obviously don’t know that ideology is flexible. Sure, conservatives GENERALLY say they want smaller government, except when it comes to the bedroom and doing icky things, and liberals GENERALLY want smarter government (which conservatives paint as bigger government). But all ideology is flexible. The police is an intrusion into everyday freedoms, but that’s a necessary intrusion. Advocating police protection does not make one liberal.

Bush pushed through big government not because he suddenly turned liberal, but because that’s a very conservative thing to do: get more power to force everyone to have conservative values. That’s how you guys work. You lie on and on about small government, but what you really want is to use government to force everyone else to have the same views as you. Just look at all the stuff you’ve been saying about Bush letting the conservatives down because he didn’t push conservative agendas. What you can’t seem to grasp is that those conservative agendas like banning gay marriage requires a huge government, something you’d be perfectly fine with by justifying it with your dogmatic religious views.

Bush was very very conservative. His big government was something championed by conservatives because they were all terrified that brown people were going to kill us. That’s conservatism for ya: let fear override common sense

Ha, another lie! Conservatives HATE amnesty to the point where it became a bad word. Even now, for the race for the Pub nominee for CA’s governor, one side is using the “A” word trash the other one. Amnesty represents everything you hate about it because it would make some people “jump the line”, as it were. To try to differentiate between good immigration and bad using Amnesty is a lie, like most Pub ideas

Again, thanks for laying out the case for how you Pubs are going to try to spin GWB’s legacy. It’s nice to know that we’ll already have threads refuting your lies already in the next few years. :slight_smile:

Because people had sat down so many times while he put tight political allies, with little training, interest, or experience into other positions. (See Michael “Brownie” Brown.)

It’s kind of like the Tiger Woods fiasco…the longer you get away with something, the bolder you get about it. Unfortunately, even after Bush’s cronyism “hit the tree” he didn’t seem to get it. (See Julie Myers.)

I stopped reading at this point. smiling bandit, are you auditioning for Comedy News?


He spent too much
Government grew
Too much Democrat, not enough conservative…

Ok the last line was just a jab.