"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

George Dubya 43 Bushitler: Too Liberal and Idealistic

You heard it from the horse's mouth:

I think Mr. Bush faces a singular problem best defined, I think, as the absence of effective conservative ideology — with the result that he ended up being very extravagant in domestic spending, extremely tolerant of excesses by Congress.

Well, if Wm. F. Buckley says it, it must be true.

However, except for former Speaker of the House Newton Gingrich, who did it during the relentlessly rising dotcom economic tide/tsunami of the later 1990s, no Republican politician in WFB's lifetime ever significantly slowed increases in domestic spending.

Not even Ronald Reagan. Because even after all this time, Americans like The New Deal.

Lyndon Johnson's Great Society? Americans learned to not be so crazy about it, mostly because it introduced a dependency on the government and replaced the individual's self-sufficiency. But I've poked through the charts, and it did immediately lower the national poverty rate by a lasting 10%. (Attempts to expand its reach fell flat from 1970 on.) But a permanent 10% dent in the US poverty rate was a pretty dang good accomplishment.

And so on to Iraq, the elephant in everybody's living room.

It's been no state secret that WFB has been sour on Iraq for quite some time now. I meself at the podiatrist's office today (dang, my feet sure hurt) pulled out the good doctor's most recent waiting room magazine, a March 2006 issue of Time, a kinda MSM souvenir issue, sentimentally commemorating 3 American years in Iraq.

WFB was quoted first in answer to "Was it worth it?"

No. Emphatically no. Were we wrong to undertake what we did? The objectives were sound, but our reach proved insufficient to realize them.

OK, I hear that. Looks even worse since March. WFB is hereby anointed as an unimpeachable member of the reality-based community. Down by three in the 7th and you tell us we're losing. Thanks for the update, mate.

The situation in Iraq sucks. We may have overestimated the power of human decency after tyranny is eradicated.

From WFB's most recent interview with the mousy yet beguilingly foxy Thalia Assuras, on whom I developed a severe crush some years back on her Ellerbee/Olbermanish snarkfest at 4AM on ABCWorldNewsWhatever when they thought nobody was watching:

>>>>>>>>>>¡Alto! Point of order here---

Thalia. Mouse. Fox. Journalistic √úberprofessional. Goddess.

And she wore glasses back in her ABC days. Be still my lustful heart. Down, boy.<<<<<<<<<<<


OK, back to our regular program.

WFB also quoth:

There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush. I don't believe his successor would re-enunciate the words he used in his second inaugural address because they were too ambitious. So therefore I think his legacy is indecipherable...


Indecipherable. I had a little sneaky fun with our commenters with this quote awhile back:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge---and more."


Pretty laughable in the face of the reality of the 21st century. I playfully attributed it to Dubya, but it's actually from John Kennedy's first (and only) inaugural address. You could look it up. But let's face it, Dubya could have said it, and nobody (not just here) blinked twice when I attributed it to him.

But not even JFK believed that idealistic crap. The last one who did was Woodrow Wilson. Maybe Abraham Lincoln before him. That's about it.

Oh, yeah, and Harry Truman, who started but didn't finish the Korean War. History seldom reveals its alternatives, but the difference between North and South Korea is one of the few object lessons that history has ever yielded us.

There's a disconnect here between me and WFB. Reagan voted for Truman, and FDR, too. But WFB & me both voted for Reagan. I think I might be too liberal and idealistic. Perhaps Ronald Reagan was too.

So be it.

17 comments:

James Elliott said...

"But let's face it, Dubya could have said it, and nobody (not just here) blinked twice when I attributed it to him."

Uh, I did. Of course, I mistakenly said he was plagiarizing Churchill, so it's not much of a blink. More like a wink. Or maybe a half-lidded flutter.

Evanston said...

WFB's writing has been lousy and often nonsensical for the past 3 years. He should stick to writing books on sailing.

James Elliott said...

It's funny to see this place mirror neoconservatives like The Weekly Standard and NRO's The Corner. And I do mean neoconservatives in the Kristol pere et fils sense, not the stupid epithetical one that passes for commentary among leftists. Tom, for example, is the perfect model of a hardcore neoconservative.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm fine with being called a neo-con, but I'm more a Lieberman Democrat, which makes me one of the loneliest people in the world.

Tlaloc said...

"But let's face it, Dubya could have said it"


Anyone could have said it. Kennedy meant it. Dubya obviously wouldn't have.

James Elliott said...

"I'm fine with being called a neo-con, but I'm more a Lieberman Democrat, which makes me one of the loneliest people in the world."

Lieberman is kind of the poor-man's Daniel Patrick Moynihan. But then, Lieberman is a pretty good example of what a neocon could be if they didn't have an utterly cynical view of humanity and a fascination with their own elitism (the latter is the Strauss in them). Personally, I think the Leftists' attacks on Lieberman are pretty shallow and smack of dogmatism.

tbmbuzz said...

what a neocon could be if they didn't have an utterly cynical view of humanity


Only cynical elitists (i.e. post modernist leftists) can say with a straight face that a belief in the dignity and primacy of human beings as free individuals is a cynical elitist view. Nice.

Tlaloc said...

"Only cynical elitists (i.e. post modernist leftists) can say with a straight face that a belief in the dignity and primacy of human beings as free individuals is a cynical elitist view. Nice."

Well it is kind of cynical when you factor in that they are perfectly fine with killing their way to democracy. Go read the hardcore republican blogs that have become Neo-conservative swamps. Redstate leaps to mind. There is a thread there where they openly admit to being fine with murdering hundreds of thousands of lebanese if they had to to get at hezbollah.

Literally. One frequent commentor (may even be a moderator) say that he'd prefer 300,000 dead women and kids to 75,000. Not one person there said he was out of line. Not one.

Nice mentality that. Really demonstrates the "belief in the dignity and primacy of human beings as free individuals."

Tlaloc said...

lest you think I am exaggerating here's the thread.


And here is the specific comment although there are lots more there to choose from. This commentor gets bonus points for referring to the (war crime) firebombing of Dresden as a *good* thing.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Actually, James, a legitimate criticism of neo-cons (and it is Buckley's) is that they took an entirely too uncynical a view of man's nature, believing that if the Iraqis were presented with an opportunity for liberty, they would grab it.

(To stay on thread here, and not just throw pies at each other. And proudly [and relevantly] put, Mr. Buzz.)

James Elliott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Elliott said...

Let's try that again:

"Only cynical elitists (i.e. post modernist leftists) can say with a straight face that a belief in the dignity and primacy of human beings as free individuals is a cynical elitist view. Nice."

Clearly, Buzz, you haven't read your Leo Strauss or your Irving Kristol. Too bad I have. Neoconsevatives firmly believe that only a small, elite group of philosophers will ever attain such a true state. The rest of humanity requires the "revelation" of orthodox religion and a firm hand on the tiller of government to keep them in line. It is a breathtakingly cynical embrace of democracy as an opiate. Neoconservatism is the perfect example of an elitist intellectual movement.

Or, to put it more in keeping with Tlaloc's line of thought:

"Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare... will be vastly different than it is today... the distinction between military and commercial space systems - combatants and noncombatants - will become blurred... advanced forms of biological warfare that can "target" specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool. [Emphasis mine.]

-Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century. A Report of the Project for the New American Century. (September 2000)

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh my. It does get tiresome correcting the villainizations of Leo Strauss' (and reputedly neo-con) thought on the internet. These are two of the more common talking points.

But think about them for a second.

Firstly, they date back to Plato. The "elitism" conforms just fine to John F. Kennedy's "best and brightest" as well as common sense: a nation will not be led to greatness by its mediocre people.

As for the nefariousness of philosophy over theology, we can't have it both ways. If a philosopher embraces faith in his work, he becomes a theologian. If Strauss was a philosopher, and he apparently was, he says nothing more controversial than did George Washington in his Farewell Address (1896):

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.

Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

tbmbuzz said...

With all due respect to both James and Tlaloc, I was merely pointing out the strawman nature of James' statement, which Tlaloc followed by bringing up despicable extremists as an example. The underlying issue is fascinating, however, isn't it? Tlaloc calls the Dresden firebombing a war crime (and presumably Hiroshima and Nagasaki), yet these were legitimate responses to the unspeakable evil that had already occurred, in order to force an unambiguous halt to more evil in the immediate future, evil that would have far eclipsed the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of civilians in these three cities. Israel is facing the same dilemma on a smaller scale right now. The danger is that the scale of this dilemma can become much much larger (i.e. regional nuclear war) if the backs of the Islamo-terrorist groups and their state sponsors are not broken.

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc calls the Dresden firebombing a war crime (and presumably Hiroshima and Nagasaki), yet these were legitimate responses to the unspeakable evil that had already occurred,"

No, they weren't. A war crime is never a legitimate response- that's exactly why they are war CRIMES. No matter what the provocation you are guilty of a crime if you do certain things, even in a time of war.

How can people who love war so much demonstrate such an ignorance of how it works?

tbmbuzz said...

How can people who love war so much demonstrate such an ignorance of how it works?

This is really precious, coming from a self described terrorist appeaser. Total war is total war, pal. The main objective in a total war is to destroy the enemy and permanently halt his ability to make war on you. The half-assed approach to war that modern libs whiningly insist on frankly causes more problems than it solves (witness the premature ending to Gulf War I). The Germans and Japanese had long before crossed the line of getting any consideration whatsoever.

Tlaloc said...

"This is really precious, coming from a self described terrorist appeaser."

Really? Self described? Cause I'm pretty sure I've never called myself that.



"Total war is total war, pal. The main objective in a total war is to destroy the enemy and permanently halt his ability to make war on you."

Like I said: ignorance. The goal of war is to co-opt your enemy. Not to destroy them. Destroying them is impossible. Everyone who has tried it has failed.

WW2 was by far our greatest victory in the last century. We didn't win it militarily. We won it with the Marshal plan. WW2 without the Marshall plan was WW1, and WW1 was a failure. The war to end all wars was a failure because we didn't co-opt our enemy, and so we were fighting them again a mere two decades later.

In WW2 we co-opted the germans and Italians and the result? Decades of peace in western europe. This is an area that previously had trouble going more than a fortnight without a good bloodbath and we've made them all allies. Profitably I might add.

Your way is a waste of lives to no end. It sounds nice and macho and fails. Really, don;t trust me look at the history.

A military victory is merely defeat delayed. Co-opting your enemy is the path to lasting victory.