Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bush: Flawed by Design

The wanker Mark Halperin has a piece titled How Obama Is Making the Same Mistakes as Bush, and I just can't decide which aspect of it I disagree with more: His assessment of what he imagines Obama is doing wrong or what he thinks Bush's mistakes were.  Because his points are as follows:

Neither had a famous treasury secretary
Neither were effective at pushing good polices
Neither attacked Congress enough
Neither had strong domestic cabinet members

And the basis for these claims is that Clinton had a famous treasury secretary, Bush and Obama didn't do more to attack Congress, and that's it.  He offers meaningless examples of two of his criticisms, and merely asserts that the other two are valid.  And yes, the first and fourth ones are essentially the same, seeing as how the Secretary of Treasury is part of the cabinet; which is probably why he put such distance between them, hoping you wouldn't remember his first point by the time you got to his last..

Bush as Obama

And really, I suppose his view of Bush is the worse of the two.  Because yeah, I guess it can be argued that Obama could have hired more vocal cabinet members, done more to push good policies, and attacked Congress more; only in the way that these things are possible.  Similarly, I could just as easily imagine reading a Halperin piece in which he bemoaned Obama's over-reaching cabinet, technocratic ways, and attacks on Congress.  But at least these things could make sense, even if they don't make sense in any meaningful way.

But this view of Bush as a great, but flawed leader is a total joke.  Yes, his cabinet members were weak, but that was by design.  Similarly, Bush's focus on politics over policy was by design.  And finally, as much as Bush was aligned with Congress, it was because he owned them and they did his bidding; with the examples Halperin gives of bad legislation they pushed being Bush policies, not policies they forced on Bush.  So again, that was by design. 

These weren't flaws that marred an otherwise good president.  This is who Bush was.  He reigned as a dictator who hired hypemen to support him, and if you didn't support him, he'd replace you with someone who would.  And that's not just a failing of Bush; it's the Republican model of the presidency.  They want a strong, decisive leader who commands from above, and these are the sort of mistakes we'll get regardless of what the Repubican's name is.

It's sad that important dopes like Halperin still have this fantasy Bush fetish, in which they regard him as an Obama-like figure who happened to make a few mistakes that ruined everything he touched.  So now we're stuck with historical revisionism, in which the Bush deficits were something forced upon him by his out-of-control Congress and Rove didn't push for the Medicare drug plan.  I suppose once we get around to learning that the Iraq War was caused by anti-war peaceniks, everything should be complete.

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