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What Went Wrong With GW Bush
I admired President GW Bush and I voted for him twice. However, that does not mean I support all his policies. Now in 2015, it is time to look back to see where the Republican Party went off the rails.
There were six major mistakes GW Bush made in his presidency. These six items have led directly or indirectly to where we are today in 2015. Of course hindsight is 20/20.
- Failure to prosecute the Clinton's for their wrong doings.
- Failure to defend his own policies with the Iraq war.
- Wasting his political capital on comprehensive Immigration reform.
- Failure to reign in Democratic controlled Congress on deficit spending.
- Supported the huge bailout bill.
- Appointed Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court.
Let me explain each point in detail.
The Clinton's in 2000, after the failed impeachment proceedings, were damaged and were on the way out. President Bush came into office and wanted a new start. The American people were ready to move past the Lewinsky affair. However, the mistake Bush made was to allow the Clinton's to avoid prosecution for some of their other misdeeds. This set the stage for Mrs. Clinton to run for Senate in NY and also later run for President in 2008. If the Bush Administration had followed through with the prosecutions of the Clintons, they would not be in a position of power in 2016. In addition, the senior Bush adopted Bill Clinton as a lost son and became close friends. This is after all the negative attacks on the Bush presidency.
The Iraq War was miss managed from a PR perspective. The Bush administration allowed the media and the Democrats to change the narrative and claim there was a rush to war, we went to war alone, we lied about WMD, and we were after their oil. These were all lies. Bush and Cheney failed to defend their actions and correct the distortions made by Democrats and the media. The Iraq war was a success at the beginning and it only became an issue when the war dragged on with no end in sight. The Democrats used every opportunity including Abu Ghraib and Gitmo prison to damage the Bush administration and to weaken the US standings in the world. If they had defended their positions in the public arena, the American people would not have abandoned their cause. His failure to get OBL was also a huge mistake. This allowed for President Obama to take the credit for his eventual death - a huge benefit for his re-election.
President Bush attempted to pass a comprehensive immigration bill over the objections of the Conservative base. He failed to convince the American public and wasted his political capital. He should have just followed existing laws and secured the border first. This same issue resurfaced in 2015 and is one of the reason Trump is on the top of the polls. The American people wants a secure border and legal immigration. Both Democrats and Republicans are on the wrong side of this issue.
President Bush did not think deficits were a big deal. He and Cheney allowed Congress to spend way above their means. This was contrary to Conservative principles. He never veto any spending bill that Congress proposed. By doing so, he set the tone for President Obama to double down on more deficits, rising from 10 trillion to almost 20 trillion dollars.
At the end of Bush's administration, he fell for the dire warnings of Hank Paulson (formerly of Goldman Sachs) that a huge bailout of wall street was the only way to save capitalism. It was a mistake that was expanded under President Obama. These bailouts let to the "too big to fail" philosophy and has prevented free market from working ever since. It is one of the key factors that we are in a slow recovery from the last recession.
Finally, perhaps the most devastating, was the appointment of John Roberts (a moderate) to the head of the Supreme Court. His controversial decisions on the ACA is the reason we have such chaos today and will still have more turmoil down the road. On the other hand, President Obama appointed two very liberal additions to the court with little resistance. These appointments undermine our Constitution and politicized the Court to the point of dysfunction. They will have long term implications for years to come.
The Republican Party has lost it's way. That is one reason why Trump and Carson and Cruz are doing so well in the Presidential race for 2016. Many conservatives were disappointed by the Bush presidency and the Republican leadership of both Houses of Congress. I outlined a few crucial mistakes that Bush made and hope that future Presidents will learn from them.
Some Related Info
- The History Place - Impeachment: Bill Clinton
A brief, factual look at the three U.S. Presidents who have faced impeachment proceedings.
- Bush signs financial bailout bill - Business - Stocks & economy - Economy at a Crossroads | NBC
President Bush signed into law Friday a historic $700 billion bailout of the financial services industry.
- Full text of the Supreme Court health-care decision - The Washington Post
The full text of the Supreme Court's decision in the health-care case.