The Last Act

President George W Bush delivered his (thankfully) last “State of the Union” address last evening.  He allowed that the economy was going through some tough times but insisted that things had improved in Vietnam, I mean Iraq.  I guess there is not much else he could have said but of course it is only partially true, and the parts he omitted are the important ones.

1. With respect to Iraq, it is far more important to know how we got there and to recognize that we are there now because we have a responsibility to fix something we broke.  You can argue whether the surge is a good strategy or not, but the need to re-establish a stable Government after the US had destroyed the former Iraq legitimate and stable Government is clear (we may not have liked Hussein but the Iraq was stable).  But don’t overlook that this was a war of choice (Bush is for pro-choice!), and our experience to date has shown it to be a blunder.

  • There were no WMD
  • There was no connection with 9/11 al Qaeda
  • Over 4000 Americans have lost their lives
  • We are closing in on $1 trillion dollars in cost
  • We took our eye off Afghanistan and it has deteriorated
  • We are now tied down in Iraq and can not respond to trouble in Afghanistan or Pakistan
  • We are no closer in finding a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis
  • We have little respect or trust left with our allies or other important nations

In short, rejoicing over progress in Iraq does injustice to the verdicts history will write.

2. With respect to the economy, Bush fiddled while Rome burned.  Bush presided over an Administration whose “tone at the top” was greed.  Prudent regulations or special taxes on excessive and obscenely high bonuses could have brought the private sector to their senses.  Greed always leads to a decay in order and how institutions were intended to work.  There is likely several problems with the economy that will need Presidential support

  • There was far too much stimulus for the housing industry and it is normal to catch our breaths.  You can build houses faster than you can find people who can afford them
  • There are a lot of shoes waiting to fall in terms of mortgage defaults.  Too many people were coaxed into taking mortgages that they could not afford that it will be inevitable that they will have to walk away leaving the banks with a lot of real estate
  • When a Merrill Lynch or a Citibank need to write off over $20 billion between them, we must conclude that big banking/investment business has had a crisis in governance (will or capacity). 
  • One day we will wake up and see that the jobs that have left for China or where ever are not coming back.  The jobs that are being created (and there are new jobs) are jobs that pay less, much less.  Our country has an apatite inherited from when we were more prosperous and now has an earning power that simply can not afford the past rich style of living.  This has happened on Bush’s watch.

Bush can not blame these problems on the Democrats.  He can not blame the gays or lesbians either.  The undocumented workers are not the cause also.  Teaching intelligent design won’t fix it either.  And abstinence will not cure these problems just as it did not help AIDS. 

If you are not worried by now, you should be.  President Bush has been a one song guy with a “poverty of imagination” (credit to Thomas Friedman).  The most important recession medicine is what it takes to gain confidence in the Country’s future and that is usually aligned with confidence in the President.  Forget about it happening with Bush, so now we must look to the 2008 candidates for hope.  What do you see?

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 Election, Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Blogroll, Democratic Party, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq War, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mit Romney, Pakistan, Politics, Republican Party, Rudy Giuliani

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