tv // lbd // shoulder touch

Some thoughts on politics and politicians, before I head to work.

First, on Bush:

He hasn't replaced Reagan as the conservative idol (JFK, near as I can tell, is the liberals'). From a pretty mainstream Republican's standpoint, there were some things he succeeded at (i.e. protecting the country after 9/11, [eventually] appointing two good Justices) and other instances where he disappointed (immigration, the bailouts, Harriet Meyers, oy). And then there were other things, mostly social polices, that fell by the wayside. History will show whether or not the liberation of Iraq, and having a relatively friendly democracy in the region, was worth the blood and treasure.

I think it's important to point out that when Bush's approval ratings were their lowest, it wasn't because he was such an uber-conservative. (There aren't that many liberals in the country.) It was because he did things to piss off the left and the right. But I do believe that the decisions he made he made with only good intentions and the desire to do what he saw was right. Unless you want a President who takes a poll every time he makes a decision, I guess that's all you can ask for.

Now, Obama.

I've been thinking about this editorial: Pray Obama Fails

The gist is that "everyone on both sides is being nice and polite and bipartisan and saying they hope Obama succeeds. Well, I don't want him to." Rush has said much the same thing.

Here's the crux: I don't want Obama to fail as in be a failure as in be a bad President. Unlike those suffering under Bush Derangement Syndrome, I'm not so hyper-partisan that I would rather see the country suffer than a man I didn't vote for do well. I want Obama to succeed in preventing another terror attack on the US or our interests. I want Obama to succeed in getting the economy back on track.

However, I don't want Obama to succeed in tying the hands of our intelligence-gathering capabilities by forcing the Army field manual on the CIA. I don't want Obama to succeed in trying to repair the economy on the backs of taxpayers and business owners. I don't want Obama to succeed in passing some Godforsaken amnesty bill. I don't want him to succeed in holding unconditional talks with leaders of rogue, terrorist, or terrorist-supporting states. If I wanted to see these things happened, I would have voted for the guy.

There's a big difference in hoping for the failure of the man and hoping for the failure of (some of) the man's policies. That's something that the people with BDS never quite grasped: you don't have to figuratively (or literally) burn a man in effigy in order to display your opposition to his positions. I hope that during the next four years, conservatives remember this, and don't counter the Obama cult of worship with an anti-Obama cult of hatred. Leave that kind of stuff to the Koses of the world.
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Lone non-right wing voice speaking up here.

I suspect that, in the beginning at least, most folks felt about Bush the way you did about Obama - that they hoped his policies would fail. By the time he was elected for a second term, though, they were starting to question his policies and his fitness as a leader beyond the fact that he's a very right-leaning Republican. By now, they've mostly given up hope that Bush could do anything right (according to them, not according to you).

I was reading back through my US politics posts, and I saw the one I made after Bush defeated Kerry. In a lot of ways, I think more or less the same thing about America under Obama. A little less, perhaps, since Obama as a person has impressed me personally more than Kerry did. But, ultimately, I would be extremely surprised if Obama managed to keep every promise that's been attributed to him over the last few years; I would be extremely astonished if he doesn't do things that have both right and left wing screaming at him; and I would be all agog if he didn't work for what he thought was the best for the USA - which, sometimes, will not be 'the best' for other countries.
#1: Bush is not that right-leaning of a Republican. He is in fact pretty middle of the road... for a Republican, in the US. This is hard for people in Europe or other parts of the world to swallow, but that's the truth of it. A true far-right candidate could not have been elected in this country even 8 years ago.

#2: The symptoms of BDS were there, in some circles, right from the beginning. It had a lot to do with the recount and Gore not conceding (and, like it or not, all investigations since 2000 have shown that Bush did win, no matter which ballots were counted and which were excluded.

#3: Obama as a person And this is what disturbs me the most about Obama: he has a cult of personality, two years in the Senate, and nothing else.

Definitely he will end up with both the right and the left screaming at him... just like Bush did, and Clinton, and every other President in the modern era.