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The legacy of George W. Bush - Now Discussing: the 2012 GOP candidates

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    It has been a few years since the departure of the 43rd President of the United States, so maybe now is a good time to begin looking back at his legacy.

    Let's start with something that wouldn't have been apparent immediately after he left office... who would have ever predicted that the conservatism of George W. Bush would be questioned? Yet it has been whispered ever since the Tea Party took control of the Republican Party's narrative, and helped them regain control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections. Many moderate Republicans and even Democrats seem to be missing the Bush brand of the GOP.

    Bush may have...
    *passed tax cuts that included breaks for the rich (during a huge surplus)
    *wanted to privatize Social Security
    *opposed same-sex marriage
    *opposed abortion & federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
    *had a neoconservative foreign policy (never admitted it in word, but seemed to abandon this after Iraq got really bad in '06)
    *violated civil liberties in the name of national security (which Obama has very unfortunately continued)

    but he also...
    *expanded Medicare
    *passed national Education reform
    *respected Islam
    *respected Latinos and illegal immigrants and pushed for Immigration reform
    *wanted to end our "addiction to oil"
    *supported foreign aid (especially to combat AIDS in Africa)
    *supported government intervention during times of economic crisis

    (Did I miss anything?)

    Compare that to the Republican party stands on these same issues today, in the middle of 2011 ... a very stark contrast.

    If the Tea Party is here to stay, then Bush may very well be viewed as more liberal than conservative in the decades to come, just as how Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, and Bush's father are all seen by historians today as moderates or liberals. Who would have ever thought that just a few years ago?

    What do you think?
  2. DorkmanScott

    DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 26, 2001
    Being a hypocritical conservative is not the same as being liberal.

    But I don't think you're wrong in observing that the Tea Party-hijacked GOP has lately gone so far to the right that even the "far right" is over on their left.
  3. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    I won't comment except to say that it's extremely sad that "respecting Islam" and "respecting Latinos" is now considered evidence of liberalism. Not to say I would disagree with your characterization of the two points. It's just sad.
  4. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    I don't think Bush was fully a hypocritical conservative, he ran as a "compassionate conservative" who would deliver education reform (he did), Medicare for prescription drugs (he did), Immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for illegals (he tried), as well as AIDS relief for Africa (he did).

    Bush did turn into a big hypocrite on the whole "we shouldn't nation-build, we should leave the world alone" foreign policy message he ran on, though to be fair the events of 9/11 did give us a big reason to reconsider our foreign policy.

    He violated our civil liberties by warrantless surveillance, rendition and imprisonment without trial, torture, etc... but I don't think Bush ever ran as a small-government conservative.

    The most socially-conservative issue he ran on, a Federal Marriage Amendment, he never really attempted and let die in Congress, so maybe that counts as hypocritical.

    I'd say his effort to privatize Social Security was by far the most conservative thing he attempted, that and maybe the tax cuts are the only things the Tea Party would have liked if it existed back then. But his failed attempt to privatize Social Security is probably going to be at the bottom of the list for things history will remember about George W. Bush.

    As for incompetence and creating an anti-science political atmosphere, those topics are for another day...

    Yeah, they've succeeded in moving the political center much farther to the right than even Reagan with his 17 tax increases and rescue of the entitlement programs ever dreamed of.

    It is extremely sad. Maybe the Marco Rubio's and Nikki Haley's of the GOP will eventually steer them back, but I don't see it changing anytime soon.
  5. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Jun 28, 2006
    He didn't "respect Latinos", he liked illegal immigrants. I don't think those are the same at all. His immigration policy was ridiculously liberal, I think, but that's a separate point from attitudes about Latinos. Though think polls indicate he did connect with them better from the get go.
  6. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    He seemed intent on including Latinos and bringing them into the GOP, and didn't seem to disrespect them. Bush definitely understood their coming political importance in future elections, as well as their economic importance (some would say Republicans didn't care enough about their labor rights, being able to treat them as second-class workers due to their illegal status, but I'm not sure if that applies here since we know what Bush wanted in immigration reform). They were respected under his administration, especially when compared to some Republicans now, who honestly just don't like Latinos.

    Most people don't really have a problem with illegal immigrants, and probably wouldn't care if the majority of them were Canadian or British or Australian... they have a problem with Latinos, with their culture, thinking they bring crime and additional stresses to the community, and thinking Latinos don't want to integrate and fully become Americans.

    Plus he has Latino nephews and nieces, through his brother Jeb.
  7. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Jun 28, 2006
    Well, honestly, I think the way illegal immigration was being supported isn't respectful of Latinos so much as supportive of illegal immigrants. I think you could make a case of people having an issue with non-English speaking illegal immigrants versus if they spoke English, (as I have seen that element of it), however I think less so that people have a problem with Latinos but no problem with illegal immigrants that were, say, Chinese or Eastern European. The language barrier does play a large role in some criticisms, but I've not seen it, generally, as being Latino-specific in that sense.
  8. Jedi Merkurian

    Jedi Merkurian New Films Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer star 6 Staff Member Manager

    May 25, 2000
    I ocncur with wocky and Dorkman that it's not so much that Dubya was "liberal" but more a sign of how the far right has continually shifted the goalposts of what it means to be "conservative." It was either Newsweek or Time who summed up the phenomenon best with the title of an article: Even Reagan Wasn't a "Reagan Republican."
  9. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    Lowbacca, I think your off base. While one might argue Bush's position was driven by his views on immigration, it is nonetheless pretty clear that he addressed Latinos as a whole differently than does the current Republican Party. For instance, Sharon Angle ran a whole series of ads talking about the dangers of illegal immigration while showing pictures of Mexican farmers working in Mexico. Before parts were struck down by the courts, Brewer's SB 1070 more or less condoned racial profiling. These aren't things that affect only illegal immigrants. They have a negative impact on anyone of Hispanic ethnicity. Worse, these people were hailed as heroes in conservative circles for their approach. It's being explicitly mimicked in other Republican-controlled legislatures. That sort of tone just wasn't there during the Bush Presidency.
  10. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Obama is a moderate Republican by the standards of George Bush. He has continued the Bush foreign policy, domestic tax policy, recession fiscal stimulus and bailout programs, homeland security policy legacies, etc, in a way that makes the two presidencies extremely difficult to tell apart. Bush's prescription drug expansion was at least as monumental a piece of government-biggering healthcare reform as "Obamacare." No president in the last quarter-century expanded government more than George Bush.
  11. DarthIktomi

    DarthIktomi Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 11, 2009
    Simple enough: He opposed personal freedoms (Patriot Act) while supporting radical economic plans, ergo he was neither liberal nor conservative in the classic sense. Now whatever Orwellian use for it pundits, politicians, and other pinheads use is another issue.
  12. Gonk

    Gonk Jedi Knight star 6

    Jul 8, 1998
    I think we would have better grounds debating if Richard Nixon was really more Liberal than Conservative.
  13. TheDarkJediKnight

    TheDarkJediKnight Jedi Youngling

    Jun 28, 2011
    Bush was very liberal. Also OP, you forgot to mention in your OP how he passed the liberal "No Child Left Behind" law.
  14. Dinkus_Mayhem

    Dinkus_Mayhem Jedi Master star 3

    May 4, 2006
    "According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone will exceed $5 billion." Though most can find an argument for Afganistan being justified, I wouldn't argue that one. Iraq though, not really needed.

    "Treasury estimates the costs of making the Bush era tax cuts permanent for everyone is $3.7 trillion over 10 years."

    Massive spending and borrowing as well as HUGE cuts to revenue, and the blinders he had on that prevented him and his party from realizing we were in a recession for the last 2 years he was in office.

    War. Fear mongering. Huge concessions to the rich and corporations. Years of horrible environmental stewardship. Cronyism, as shown with the illegal 7 billion $ no-bid contract handed out to Haliburton. Vengeance, as seen in the Valerie Plame affair.

    That is the legacy of George W. Bush, at least in my view.
  15. Vaderize03

    Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 25, 1999
    Bush was overall center-right, but he was more than willing to please social conservatives with real meat....John Roberts and Sam Alito come to mind.

    I would not tie the term "liberal" to any President who appointed those two justices, IMHO.


  16. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    The legacy of George W. Bush - Now Discussing: the 2012 GOP candidates

    The 2012 Republican primaries are about to begin, and the field of candidates (should be) settled and well-known by now.

    The candidates are: (1) Romney, (2) Gingrich, (3) Paul, (4) Perry, (5) Santorum, (6) Bachmann, and (7) Huntsman.

    a. how do you think the candidates see the legacy of George W. Bush?

    b. what parts of his legacy do they each wish to carry on? which parts do they wish to leave behind?

    c. how are they each similar/different when compared to Bush, not only in policy and politics but also personality?

    d. what is each candidate's connection to Bush, and how is Bush's legacy shaping the overall 2012 campaign?

    I'll post my opinion later.
  17. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 19, 2000
    Gonk what is it with you and that guy.
  18. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Obama has not distanced himself from George Bush in any meaningful way on foreign policy. Domestically, he hasn't tried to roll back some of the more problematic aspects of Homeland security and the Patriot Act, nor has he closed Gitmo. We may be able to extricate ourselves from Iraq more or less but that is purely a result of George Bush's surge efforts. Bush was able to alter his failed policy in Iraq to make it possible for us to exit. Ultimately, we successfully inserted ourselves into Iraq and surgically removed Saddam Hussein's regime then got ourselves the heck out of there (we hope) in a mere, um, er, decade. Our trillion dollar war was oh so very worth it. Right?

    In any case, Obama has successfully neutralized campaign attacks on his foreign policy through the ingenious strategy of being conservative. He has more or less completely closed off that line of attack, not that it will help him much. Domestically, homeland security is I think another area where Obama has successfully neutralized the competition through his conservative approach.

    The Bush era tax cuts are the Bush legacy that matters most domestically and matters most to the Republican leadership that will help try to put a Mitt or a Newt in power. To some extent the only war that is being waged now in domestic politics is the war over collecting enough tax revenue to run the government. The democrats are of course losing, and the major campaign theme for Republicans is merely making a plausible promise to continue winning the tax war.

    Republicans tie every economic growth discussion back to tax revenue. How do we create jobs: lower taxes. How do we promote the middle class? lower taxes. How do we stay competitive in a cutthroat global economy? lower taxes. If Herman Cain contributed anything vital to the campaign it was setting the 9-9-9 bar for the Republican candidate's presentation on taxes.
  19. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    How do you think the 2012 GOP candidates measure up to Bush, especially the frontrunners?

    Does either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney really feel like his Republican "successor"?

    What parts of the Bush legacy are they embracing, and what parts are they avoiding?

    (On Obama, just wanted to point out one thing... he still plans to close Guantanamo Bay's detention facilities, it was just recently struck down yet again by Congress, but you're right that it no longer seems to be a top priority)
  20. shanerjedi

    shanerjedi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 17, 2010
    Nixon was the last real liberal president we've had.

    He finished the LBJ's Great Society in some ways(EPA OSHA).

  21. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000

    As for how they compare to Bush...jeez. I was a Bush supporter in 2000 (can't really remember why beyond that I thought it was time for a switchup in things) and even W with his poor public speaking abilities and overbearing "advisors" comes off as shiny compared to the current crop of idiots. There's a Simpsons cartoon floating around the net....


    This obviously doesn't cover Gingrich and the rest, but it pretty much sums things up. Although I think Ned might actually make a great President, at least before the show made him some kind of renegade religious extremist.

    Huntsman strikes me as a decent candidate, but if he somehow miraculously pulls off the nomination the far-right part of the GOP will compromise him into losing just like they did McCain. Maybe after the Republicans get a few more years worth of black eyes he'll be able to run, but I don't think so now.
  22. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 21, 2002
    Eh, I think Iowa got it right, with both Romney and Santorum sharing the lead. They're both highly effective, wider reaching candidates, who should be able to carry their momentum forward. I say let Paul have his 3rd place finish because he's not going to finish that high in any other state. While I don't expect Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann to drop out after a single state, I'd say the primary race is starting to take shape, which is how primaries always play out. Regarding Huntsman, it will be interesting to see how his strategy of skipping Iowa plays out when New Hampshire rolls around. But even then, no matter if Romney, Santorum, and Huntsman score high, the challengers are going to have strong candidates to field against the incumbent. It's going to come down to how much of a bump Romney and Santorum capture, and how much they keep the momentum.

    Immediately, I'd think the Obama re-election team has to take notice, because it means that Obama is going to be in a more difficult fight than if other, more polarizing figures finished in the top spots. Romney and Santorum are going to be harder to marginalize than if someone like Bachmann scored higher.
  23. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    [link=]Yes, very difficult to marginalize Santorum[/link].

    Or not.
  24. kingthlayer

    kingthlayer Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 7, 2003
    As far as I can tell, the Obama campaign has anticipated a Romney candidacy since the latter half of 2011. They aren't fooling themselves that the GOP will nominate someone who will be so easily discredited.

    Looks like Romney eked out a win, but I'm not impressed. Despite outspending Santorum by a ridiculous margin, Romney did about the same as he did in 2008. The only reason he isn't being blown out of the water in Iowa is because the social conservatives are splitting the vote four different ways. The "liberal media" (MSNBC) is spinning it as a hands down win for Santorum, though I haven't (and do not intend to) tuned into Fox for their analysis. Either way, I will concede that a win is a win, and Romney is highly likely to win the nomination now, unless the religious right comes together to try and rout him in South Carolina. Even then, it is likely to late for them to do anything about Mitt at this point.
  25. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 21, 2002
    As far as I can tell, the Obama campaign has anticipated a Romney candidacy since the latter half of 2011. They aren't fooling themselves that the GOP will nominate someone who will be so easily discredited.

    I'm not so sure this has been true. Certainly around here, just last month, there were those who were focusing on how "unqualified" Cain was, or Huntsman, or Bachmann, and how they would all loose in a matchup against Obama, and how shortsighted the GOP was acting by even allowing these candidates to run for office. But again, this is how primaries always unfold. There are those who tap into emotion, but I'd say the process itself tends to be self-correcting. So I guess I do agree with you to a point, in that the only people who seemed to pass muster as being "qualified" by democrats were Romney or Santorum, so I suppose just by playing the odds, the Obama re-election team would hedge its bets for Romney, but I don't think the campaign has been acting in a manner that anticipated him. Now I'm sure this will change, but in "the latter half of 2011," I think the campaign team tended to be a bit shortsighted.