Miserable Failure

American Progress Action Fund has a list of broken Bush promises. It is a long list, although I'm not sure how much longer it is than a comparable list might have been after, say, Clinton's first term. Or Reagan's.

The difference between this administration and Clinton's, of course, is that Clinton did a lot of other things right: he managed the economy well; he lowered the deficit rather than increasing it; the tried faithfully to make peace in the mid-east; and he faced a hostile congress dominated by Republicans. (I imagine some conservatives would say something similar about the first Reagan administration.)

In contrast, in addition to his well-known economic and foreign-policy failures, Bush has no substantial domestic policy successes to brag about (except tax cuts if you are wealthy), despite having a solidly Republican Congress.

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5 Responses to Miserable Failure

  1. Jack says:

    Well, conservatives might well point to NCLB as a “major legistlative achievement”… and adding “prescription drug coverage” to Medicare. At least the liberal press considers these major achievements.

  2. Michael says:

    With all respect, none of those claims holds much water. 1) NCLB isn’t funded properly, which makes it harmful; 2) the drug coverage comes at the price of forbidding the government to negotiate for any sort of discounts (unlike HMOs!) on drugs, and was procured by at best obscuring facts to congress and at worst outright lies; 3) I don’t know any liberal press in this country of any importance [surely you don’t mean the SCLM?], but the liberal papers like the Nation or the New York Review of Books sure don’t seem to be very happy with either….

  3. MP says:

    You’re right, its pathetic that Bush let a little thing like 9/11 sidetrack domestic policy. We should punish people that get sidetracked by life’s unexpected surprises.

    Therefore, we should eliminate maternity leave.

    I’d love to counter with Kerry’s failures in the senate over the last 20 years. But once I started looking, it seems he hasn’t done a thing. But marry millionairesses and billionaresses. (Hmm…Theresa should be careful with George Soros around–same sex marriage is legal in Mass.!)

    Oh yeah, 3 purple hearts.

    By the way, speaking of Clinton, do the law professors at UM cover “presidential pardons” in Con Law?

  4. Chris says:

    No need to be boorish here–conservatives should be self-confident enough not to have to resort to being mean-spirited.

    MPs one substantive point, as far as I can tell, is: 9/11 was too much of a distraction for Bush to give adequate attention to domestic affairs. This is a fair point, though there are risks in making this argument. First, it is an admission of failure. It implies–whether MP intended or not–that Bush wasn’t up to the task. The neocons (and other conservatives) accept individual responsibility for failures as well as successes, and it is fair to hold Bush to this standard. Second, by making this argument it becomes fair game to argue whether the highly complex and involved foreign interventions subsequent to 9/11 were a necessary response to 9/11. If not, then Bush need not have neglected the domestic sphere. Third, if the activities consequent to 9/11 required Bush to practice triage with policy at home, then it makes sense that he would satisfy his most important constituents first (he did, with the tax cuts for the rich). Again, this opens the door for the critics who object to the rich helping themselves first while the poor and middle class earn four years of not having their interests served.

    I don’t see any response MP could make to Michael’s post that would not be a trap. I’m not sure this is a battle the neo-cons would want to fight or highlight. Maybe it would be better for him to explain how Bush will address domestic issues given that the next four years are likely to see continued distractions overseas. Again, if Bush wasn’t up to it when the government was willing to give him what he wanted, why should the next four years be any different?

  5. bakho says:

    Reagan was not faced with a hostile Congress during his first term. In fact, the GOP ran the Senate from 81-86 and while the Congress was under Democrat control, there were significant numbers of conservative Democrats (like Phil Gramm) that would vote with the GOP (and later become one). Congress rolled over for Reagan and passed his tax cuts, then went ballistic after the deficit skyrocketed. Bob Dole is largely credited with backing off some of the tax cut, but that was hardly hostile. Congress only opposed Reagan over some of his spending cuts and the funding for death squads in Central America. Even in Iran Contra, Congress handled Reagan with kid gloves.

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