4 thinks I like about the Bush administration

Ever since I started Muttroxia, I’ve been wanting to do a post about the things I like about the Bush administration. I suppose it was part of an effort to seem non-partisan, or objective or something like that. Problem was, every time I sat down to write, I couldn’t come up with much. It was going to be a top 10, but I ended up with only four. And since one of them (#4) was a unanimous decision by 300 million Americans, it’s not really all that amazing. And they all have asterisks. Oh well, when you’re grading Worst President Ever, there’s not a lot to work with.

The things I like fall under two broad themes.

Economics: These folks believe in the power of the free market. To a large degree, so do I. They often put it places it doesn’t belong (Social Security, Health Savings Accounts), but sometimes it goes somewhere I like.

1) No Child Left Behind – Without accountability, it is foolish to hope for change. Hoping for A while rewarding for B does not work. Bush deserves credit for bring market forces to bear in the educational system, and installing a system where performance is rewarded. There are major major problems with the implementation and details (not enough money, testing standards that don’t take gifted or special needs students into account, no real option for students or schools that just failed) — but the idea has merit, and to some degree, this is the pain that is needed to get to a better place in the future.

2) Market-based trading of pollution emissions – Again, there is plenty of room to argue about how exactly this program was implemented. Nevertheless, bringing market forces into the area of environmental pollution is a great idea. As far as I know, it has been proven over and over to produce the best results the quickest, and do it in a way consonant with both democracy and capitalism.

Black and White foreign policy: These folks believe in good and evil. They believe that some societies are just bad, and deserve to be treated like dirt. They should not be negotiated with, they should not be given the same status as mature democracies, etc. Many times, this leads to huge foreign policy mistakes (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, etc.), but if I happen to agree with the judgement, it’s refreshing not to have the President pretending that these societies are every bit as good as everyone else, just different. That’s simply not true, and we all know it.

3) Calling out the Palestinians – There’s never been a shadow of a doubt that the Arab world is the bad guy in the Arab/Israeli conflict. No one with an ounce of perspective can claim otherwise. The line from Yasir Arafat, who invented modern terrorism, to Osama Bin Laden is self-evident. To his credit, Bush did not treat Arafat like a hero or diplomat or peace monger. His stance was very clear, that until Palestine cleaned up it’s act, there’s nothing to talk about. Despite the recent triumph of Hamas at the polls, there have been any number of positive developments since he took this stance.

4) Taking out the Taliban – Yes, he let Osama get away. Yes, he invented a war in Iraq, and let Al Queda flourish. But at least for a couple months, he did what any sane person would have done. Al Queda, through the Taliban, ran Afghanistan. We took ’em out. They were evil, and we dumped them. Too bad we didn’t follow through, but at least the start was right.

6 thoughts on “4 thinks I like about the Bush administration”

  1. Great idea for a post, I’m sorry you had it before I did. Timely, too, as I had one of those extremely rare but unmistakeable “Thank God for W” moments when Hamas cleaned up in the elections last week. His response was great.

  2. So now Hamas is going to renounce violence and terrorism in order to receive foreign aid (whatever happened to a Palestinian economy? Oh! Everyone works in Israel…)? You mean, like the PLO did? “Look at the violence and strife! Only we, the Palestinian Authority, can stop it (um, because we’re causing it)!” Haven’t Adid in Somalia and Hussein in Iraq and Kim Jong Il in North Korea taught people that “humanitarian” aid can be tantamount to military aid?

  3. No matter how you slice it, even with Hamas winning the elections, the situation with Israel and the Palenstinians is better than it was five years ago. I credit Bush’s policy, and Arafat finally going to hell.

    Not sure what your point is on N. Korea and Iraq — feel free to elaborate.

  4. The sad reality is that no matter how much progress is made in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and no matter how well the stock market performs, Robert Byrd is still a former sheet-head.

  5. “Humanitarian” aid props up governments just as surely as military aid, and perhaps more so. In the aforementioned cases, food = power = weapon.

    PS – Amen to Arafat going to hell, but the mixed messages remain: engage in the peace process (Palestinian Authority), arm and incite terrorists (Fatah). It’s as if the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and the US and other governments feign ignorance as well.

    PPS – By the way, if one attributes progress in the peace process to Arafat’s death, how long was the wait for that $#!@ to die? Now how about Fidel Castro? Now imagine the wait for not only Saddam Hussein, but his sons as well.

    Hm…I can be impatient, sometimes.

  6. JRo,

    What about Castro? I’m not gonna say he should win a Noble Peace Prize, but it’s been oh… 40 years or so since the Cuban Missle Crisis? He’s long since been defanged.

    Hussein — that’s a good one, because it gets to the heart of where folks like me differ from a large part of the country. It has been crystal clear, basically forever, that Hussein, whatever his other crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al-Queda. Gulf War I took care of him. The resources we spent taking him out and continuing with this mockery of a war could have been used to do something significant about terrorism.

    Further, because we have wasted so much time, resources, good will, money, american lives, etc. with Hussein and Iraq, we do not have them to do anything good with what we have left. How long did it take us to do the littlest bit of nothing in Darfur? What about Iran, or North Korea? Both of them are basically laughing in our face, because we’ve bankrupted ourselves in every way conceivable in Iraq.

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