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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Is George W. Bush a great president?

I believe history will record GW Bush as one of the great, strong Presidents in the mold of Truman and Reagan and Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Obviously there are many who disagree. Here is some back-and-forth on the subject between me, a commenter we'll call LC and one we will call HHM.

On the subject of George W Bush

LC - I think he started as a miserable failure, but has improved. But, in twenty-forty years, when we view him in retrospect, I think he'll be thought of as one of the worst presidents ever. He is missing a golden opportunity to cement his legacy in seriously investing in both alternative forms of energy(which, in his tenure has become overally evident that alt energy sources are a complete necessity moving forward) and stem cell research(we are falling so far behing countries like Singapore and China in stem cell research, which I feel is going to have huge reprecussions on the future).

Radaractive - Bush is one of the better presidents, who, like Reagan or Truman or FDR or Teddy Roosevelt, understands that there is a time to act and that time is a time to act with strength. What has happened on his watch?

9/11, very much a child of the failures of the Clinton administration (watch the ABC special on 9/11 next Monday and you see that Clinton decided to let Osama go and handcuffed the FBI/CIA by erecting the "Gorelick wall") took place and the President recognized it as an act of war. Since then the US has helped Afghanistan become a sovereign nation not run by terrorists and is attempting to oversee the same thing in Iraq.

The economy - booming, with a low rate of unemployment and growing GNP despite the gas price problems.

Stem cell research. There are all the stem cells available anyone wants. This is actually a fake issue.

Alternate forms of energy are being developed and alternate means of transportation are as well. Nothing will work unless it is economically feasible. The Bush administration has encouraged this research.

Meanwhile, eco-nuts have blocked us from harvesting oil in Alaska and off-shore that would help us have less dependence on foreign oil, while at the same time decrying our dependence on foreign oil. The same eco-nuts pushed the Clinton administration into championing tree harvesting laws that hurt the timber industry in the west while inviting wide-scale forest fires. Modern harvesting of trees brings about new forestation. When we don't harvest, the timber becomes more likely to be cleared by fire. Nature likes to redo forests and if we don't make a buck doing it, she will do it on her own.

Thank God we don't have a President who takes the United Nations approach to terrorism (You wouldn't want to be in Darfur right now) which is appeasement followed by stern warnings followed by...nothing.

LC - Really? Hmmmm....you consider Afghanistan a success? Maybe in the light of what is happening in Iraq...maybe since Iraq was such a failure we(the American Public) don't notice the problems happening in Afghanistan. Or maybe you do see what has happened in Afghanistan if you read the news. (see below)

I have more thoughts on what you said, but am tired and will respond later.


"NY TIMES wrote:
Opium Harvest at Record Level in Afghanistan
"


Radaractive - Funny how the poppy trade, which has gone on for many,many centuries, is suddenly the problem of the Bush administration? Review time:

Let's see, the idea was to help Afghanistan become self-ruling. Done. The poppy problem has been given to the UN for oversight and what have they accomplished? Zippo. The Taliban is no longer ruling in Afghanistan and their power depends in part on poppy sales. It will be a long struggle to overcome that history and replace poppy fields with other crops. But taking Afghanistan from the Taliban and giving it over to the rule of the people was an important step in that process. Therefore, when the USA helped Afghanistan establish self-governance it was a big win for freedom, against terrorism and, eventually, the poppy trade. I would think anyone who is not steeped in liberal propaganda can clearly see this is true.

HHM - Well, I went with disaprove. For me it's more of the social issues than Iraq/War on Terrorism...because from my stand point we all want Saddam dealt with and terrorism ended, but we all have different views as far as timing and stratagy.

However, when I look at how he's shelled out money to religious groups to teach sex ed in Africa, his choices for supreme court, his regard for percieved "safety" over rights, how he's publically gone out of his way to address anti-abortion groups to voice support, his allowence of private American companies to use Iraq as a goldmine, and how he has dealt with bettering our schools by coercing teachers to abide by a certain cirriculum to avoid the ax and attempts to push parents and children into private school structures through "No Child Left Behind" legislation and just grit my teeth and cringe from the meer sight of him.

I like one, very sole thing about him...he (and the cons. in the senate for that matter) let the assault weapon ban die.


Radaractive - "However, when I look at how he's shelled out money to religious groups to teach sex ed in Africa,"

You don't think AIDS in Africa is a problem? Wow. Funding sex education in Africa is a large part of beating that epidemic. The level of ignorance among common folks in much of Africa regarding sex is astounding. Did you know that many still believe that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS???! The Bush administration is funding several initiatives to help save lives in Africa and whether any of them are associated with religious groups is not germane to the primary objective, which is to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa and around the globe. The Bush administration is spending more on the prevention of AIDS in Africa than any previous administration.

"his choices for supreme court,"

Picking strict constructionist judges over activist judges. It needed (and needs to be done), unless you like recent Supreme Court decisions like allowing municipalities to foreclose on private properties at a whim...

"his regard for percieved "safety" over rights,"

So you think that tapping conversations with terrorists is a violation of my rights? Pathetic! Political nonsense! (I before e except after c, by the way.) The President has always had the power to order such wiretapping long before anyone invented the acronym, FISA. I am sure the courts will rule in his (and our) favor. If not, hope the next terrorist attack makes you feel good about having all your "rights" in order!

"how he's publically gone out of his way to address anti-abortion groups to voice support,"

Which shows that he is a man of personal conviction. A baby depends on his father and mother for protection. When the father/mother seek to murder the baby, who will stand up for HIS rights? You worry about your "right" to speak with a terrorist without being overheard but could care less about the right for a child to live? Again, pathetic! I believe abortion is the biggest black mark on the report card of our nation. I am glad that Bush is no Dick Durbin or Al Gore, politicians who were once anti-abortion before taking aim at the national stage and suddenly having a change of heart, leading to more votes...and revealing them to be opportunists with questionable convictions.

"his allowence of private American companies to use Iraq as a goldmine,"

This falls into the category of urban myth. Just exactly how (show us links to prove your assertion) George Bush benefits from private companies doing business in Iraq any more than you or I?

"and how he has dealt with bettering our schools by coercing teachers to abide by a certain cirriculum to avoid the ax and attempts to push parents and children into private school structures through "No Child Left Behind" legislation and just grit my teeth and cringe from the meer sight of him."

The fact that you have difficulty spelling several of your words indicates that "No Child Left Behind" was too late in your case. Meer? Cirriculum? Aaargh! We need some kind of standards for schools and some kind of measure for teachers to ensure that our kids are actually learning. Teachers may complain that they are being forced to teach up to standards, but that is just too bad. If we had a national voucher program, all parents would have choices concerning what schools their kids could attend and the schools would then consider merit in the hiring and promotion of their faculty. How is it that in other professions we applaud standards of learning and performance but liberals want teachers to be excluded? Could it be the big bucks given to liberal politicians by teachers unions?

I'm sorry, but your entire post is unsubstantiated opinion bereft of factual content. You have every right to your beliefs, however, I challenge them - many on a factual basis. Prove me wrong!

~~~~~~~

Is George W Bush a great president? I think so. The closer you are to the times, the harder it is to judge. In retrospect, we can clearly see that JFK was terrific and LBJ was, conversely, a horror. Yet LBJ won the 1964 election rather easily.

However the debate goes, though, I hope that commenters are better educated than poor HHM. If Harry Reid said that Unicorns live in his backyard, would HHM believe that, too?

16 comments:

xiangtao said...

If AiG said there were unicorns on the Ark, would you believe that? Still waiting on your answer as to what makes a belief in God less ridiculous than a belief in Santa Clause. What is the difference?????

radar said...

Okay, you believe in chance occurrence for not only the existence of the Universe but for the existence of all life on earth. But you think that is more rational than the concept of God.

Let's take Santa first. He was a real person so of course I believe in him as an historical figure. Some have made him into a fairy tale but since we know who he was and the origin of the fairy tale we can both believe in the man and disbelieve the myth.

God was known by the earliest man, but what is interesting is that the account of the creation of the Universe and later accounts of the creation of all life and associated accounts fit in nicely with the available evidence we see in the world around us.

I can say simply that God created, while you have to bring in all sorts of corollary assumptions to explain the beginning of the Universe and they strain credulity to the maximum. Most scientists whose course of study is the Universe and its beginnings believe that a "big bang" would have had to have been a controlled event rather than random in order to succeed as a beginning point to our Universe.

No one has a good explanation for how matter came from nothing.

Your belief in no God requires your faith that there is no God, despite the fact that His existence more neatly explains everything you see around you and that there is a great deal of historical evidence to back up the assertions of the Bible, for instance (Jesus, the Israelites in Egypt, etc.)

Your belief in no God is, to me, far less rational than my belief in God.

xiangtao said...

First, I don't believe in chance occurence for the universe. I strongly believe that we have no complete knowledge for how it came about, therefore I do not impose some mythical idea of where it came from in order to (through self delusion) make myself feel better about my ignorance. I am happy to admit that I do not know and may not ever know.

Second, I certainly don't believe that life came about by random chance, as we have all thouroughly discussed here. I think that the laws of nature and the way that chemicals interact with each other more than sufficiently will explain the origins of life through non random occurences. That is, I believe that once we understand (if we ever do) more about early conditions on this planet and the ways of nature, we will find life to have been not only the likely natural conclusion, but an inevitable one. Yes, this is faith on my part, but I do not claim it to be fact, merely my opinion.

Third, I believe in Jesus as a real historical figure, just as I do Santa. However, I see no evidence to suggest that any of his fairy tale is more real than that of the North Pole dwelling gift bringer. Yes, Jesus' disciples wrote plenty about him and his nifty magic tricks, but if you expect a man to walk around in the Roman Empire raising people from the dead, healing hundreds (or more) with a touch, walking on water, etc... and not have the Romans make any sort of record of that, you have a severe lack of appreciation for the Roman penchant for writing things down.

Fourth, early man believed that the sun was a bright, flaming chariot driven across the sky by Helios. Obviously our understanding of the facts have changed a bit since then. The more we learn about the universe, the more we understand that the gods "known by the earliest man" were simply explanations for things they didn't understand.

"No one has a good explanation for how matter came from nothing."

This does not mean that goddidit. It just means that we don't understand it yet. Two thousand years ago, the sun god was the best explanatin for the sun going up and down every day. That did not make it the right explanation. Human understanding was merely lacking.

Lastly, yes, my belief in no god is faith on my part. But it is faith based on a lack of evidence to support the existence of a god. If some evidence were to come forward that even suggests that such a being exists (no better way to explain... does not count as evidence) I will happily change my mind.

creeper said...

"Let's take Santa first. He was a real person so of course I believe in him as an historical figure. Some have made him into a fairy tale but since we know who he was and the origin of the fairy tale we can both believe in the man and disbelieve the myth."

Santa as we know him has far more in common with the pagan Father Christmas (a mythical figure) than with the historical St. Nicholas, so I'd hesitate to say that Santa was a "real person".

"Funny how the poppy trade, which has gone on for many,many centuries, is suddenly the problem of the Bush administration? [...] Therefore, when the USA helped Afghanistan establish self-governance it was a big win for freedom, against terrorism and, eventually, the poppy trade."

One thing the US ousting the Taliban was not was a "big win against the poppy trade". It's pretty clear why the Bush administration is held accountable by some for Afghanistan's current level of opium trade: the Taliban had drastically reduced opium production toward the end of their reign. When Afghanistan was invaded and the Taliban ousted, the poppy trade shot back up. Seems like a pretty simple connection, Radar.

As for George Bush, I think he'll be rated somewhere south of average, though he'll get forgiveness points for having had 9/11 to contend with. His foreign policy will mostly be judged by what happens in Iraq down the line, and that isn't looking too rosy at present, since the venture is failing on almost every level. The kindest thing you could say for it is that a dictator has been deposed and democracy brought to the country, but if years down the line Iraq has split along sectarian lines, with Iran effectively in control of the oil regions, some semblance of civil war between the three factions, and no end in sight to Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organizations, then it will be deemed a resounding failure.

Perhaps Bush will be seen as a well-intentioned man, but "not planning for the peace" in Iraq will surely impact his legacy very negatively.

"I can say simply that God created, while you have to bring in all sorts of corollary assumptions to explain the beginning of the Universe and they strain credulity to the maximum."

The so-called explanation that "God did it" is no better than that, since it utterly fails to answer the question of how. Once the "God did it" explanation actually has a somewhat similar level of explanatory power, then you can start comparing corollaries etc.

"No one has a good explanation for how matter came from nothing."

The Big Bang theory does not feature matter coming from nothing.

"there is a great deal of historical evidence to back up the assertions of the Bible, for instance (Jesus, the Israelites in Egypt, etc.)"

What historical evidence would that be? Is there any historical evidence for the more remarkable/miraculous assertions of the Bible? AFAIK, only the unremarkable basics are backed up by some semblance of historical evidence (Jesus existed, Jesus preached, Jesus had followers).

"the account of the creation of the Universe and later accounts of the creation of all life and associated accounts fit in nicely with the available evidence we see in the world around us."

Which is pretty much what you'd expect if the creation myth is made up by man in an attempt to explain the world around him... so this doesn't exactly strengthen your claim.

radar said...

I say Goddidit

Creeper says chancedidit

bottom line...

creeper said...

"I say Goddidit

Creeper says chancedidit

bottom line..."


??

Where did I say that "chance did it"? It has been pointed out to you before (and not just by xiangtao above) that "chance did it" is not at all a suitable summary of our position. And what is this bottom line you're hinting at?

"God did it" does not explain how the universe came into being, or how life on Earth came into being. It simply dodges the question, which is why you're also unable to explain why God wouldn't have chosen the mechanisms that scientists currently explore.

You attempt to equate the two explanations at least in kind, but the fact is that scientific exploration leads to further curiosity and exploration, whereas a strictly literal Biblical explanation precludes further inquiry, since it so quickly butts up against contradictory real-world evidence. An open-minded inquiry would lead to actual attempts to reconcile those differences, but since Biblical literalists are unwilling or unable to view the Bible as anything other than literal reality, they are unable to progress toward any actual explanation of how the world and the life on it came to be.

highboy said...

I think God did it. How long it took is something I'll let you guys debate.

Bush is a lousy president. His first term was fantastic but he decided to play politics in his second term, much like the rest of the RINOs. Abortion, social security, same sex marriage, and illegal immigration should all be a memory. Its not, and I blame him and peers. Bring Reagan back to life!

oriolebird38 said...

"The economy - booming, with a low rate of unemployment and growing GNP despite the gas price problems."

You should spend some time in Michigan.

Oh, and no one mentioned the atrocious Katrina response. I gotta think that brings the "time to act with strength" idea down a notch.

radar said...

Michigan is a Democratic-controlled state government, Oriole. Elect Republicans and see what happens.

Katrina response was hindered directly by the Democratic Governor, who held off aid from the Feds for fear of losing some authority, and the general incompetence of Ray Nagin and the local government. New Orleans, home of the blues, great food and corrupt officials!

oriolebird38 said...

"Michigan is a Democratic-controlled state government, Oriole. Elect Republicans and see what happens."

I was implying that the problems were due to national economic policy, rather than state policy. Policy in Michigan was not much different under the John Engler (R) regime, as Granholm has been around for a short 4 years. But in any case my point was that your so-called economic boom was more of a blanket statement which doesn't necessarily ring true. I wasn't really trying to point fingers.

But on the Katrina point, if Bush were such a great man of action, why couldn't he have just used executive priviledge to overrule the idiots in NO and Baton Rouge? He could've passed orders above them, or given FEMA clearance to do the same. Remember how the government scrambled to get a bill passed to try and overrule the Florida judiciary in the Terri Schiavo case? Or when Eisenhower pre-empted the Arkansas governor to integrate the public schools? I don't see why Bush couldn't have done the same to Louisiana.

scohen said...

" Michigan is a Democratic-controlled state government, Oriole. Elect Republicans and see what happens."

Radar, this is an utterly silly statement that you make because of blind partisanship. Care to explain why strongly democratic California's economy is so strong and republican Ohio's is so weak? I'm going to wager that it has nothing to do with the party affiliation of the state government, and Michigan's woes are partly due to the collapsing automotive industry.

Care to comment on why the American automotive industry is collapsing? Is it because of Democrats?

It's funny how every wrong is the fault of democrats, from freeway tolls to the economy to the war in Iraq. When does your side (not that I consider myself a democrat) get to take some blame? They have been in office for six years now. I think we can judge their policies on their results.

Oh, and teaching to a test is a terrible way to teach. Kids don't *learn* anything that way. You really don't want to get me started on public schools though.

highboy said...

"Care to explain why strongly democratic California's economy is so strong and republican Ohio's is so weak?"

The Republican Governator:

""Under Governor Schwarzenegger's leadership, California's economy has grown dramatically, with nearly 600,000 new jobs created since he took office," said Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Victoria Bradshaw."

Although raising the minimum wage is certainly a mistake. Well, it was for PA. I don't know about CA.

"But on the Katrina point, if Bush were such a great man of action, why couldn't he have just used executive priviledge to overrule the idiots in NO and Baton Rouge?"

And then the liberal left would have trounced in and blamed him for violating someone's civil liberties. He would have went from being labled as the racist bigot who wanted to see black people drown to being labeled something much worse.

"It's funny how every wrong is the fault of democrats, from freeway tolls to the economy to the war in Iraq. When does your side (not that I consider myself a democrat) get to take some blame? They have been in office for six years now. I think we can judge their policies on their results."

And all the liberal side does is blame Bush and the GOP for everything. Its the same game, everyone plays it.

oriolebird38 said...

"And then the liberal left would have trounced in and blamed him for violating someone's civil liberties. He would have went from being labled as the racist bigot who wanted to see black people drown to being labeled something much worse."

Isn't a man of action supposed to, oh, iono, not care what other people think? Bush has made tons of decisions and policies that have pissed people off. I'm simply asking that he use that same strength (which i acknowledge is sometimes a strength, not a weakness. plenty of unpopular policies are indeed the correct one) to help people in their need. The only people who complained about Ike's action were the racists who tried to keep schools segregated.

And actually, on a side note, I can't think of being called anything worse than a racist bigot who wants to drown black people. Could you provide some?

highboy said...

"I'm simply asking that he use that same strength (which i acknowledge is sometimes a strength, not a weakness. plenty of unpopular policies are indeed the correct one) to help people in their need."

Hey I agree. He also totally pissed me off with Terry Schiavo. He could have had the Sheriff's department remove her from that situation and placed her under federal care and didn't.

"And actually, on a side note, I can't think of being called anything worse than a racist bigot who wants to drown black people. Could you provide some?"

Pedophile who preys on children?

creeper said...

"And all the liberal side does is blame Bush and the GOP for everything. Its the same game, everyone plays it."

It's a dumb game. Why do you keep playing it?

creeper said...

oriolebird: "And actually, on a side note, I can't think of being called anything worse than a racist bigot who wants to drown black people. Could you provide some?"

highboy: "Pedophile who preys on children?"


Hm, okay, that's arguably worse; at least we can say it's in the same ballpark.

So let's amend oriolebird's question a little to suit this little thread: What could Bush have been labeled after overriding state levels to save lives during Katrina that at the same time is worse than a racist bigot who wants to drown black people?

And why would Bush have cared what Democrats would say about him anyway? Whatever happened to that cute "It's called leadership" phrase?