Showing posts with label George H. W. Bush. Show all posts
Showing posts with label George H. W. Bush. Show all posts

Friday, September 4, 2015

An Anti-American White House. Column: Barack Obama’s presidency has empowered the adversaries of the United States

This week President Obama won the 34th vote in support of his nuclear deal with Iran. The vote, from Senator Barbara Mikulski, guarantees that the deal will survive a rejection by Congress. The fact that the deal will be made despite such opposition—something a few of us predicted months ago—is, in the words of the AP, a “landmark Obama victory.” It is worth asking how many more of these victories our country can withstand.
The president and his supporters, of course, say their foreign policy has improved the world. “Like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,” writes Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs, “Obama will likely pass on to his successor an overall foreign policy agenda and national power position in better shape than when he entered office, ones that the next administration can build on to improve things further.”
I’m not convinced. Rather than trying to predict how things will look when Obama leaves office, rather than contemplating abstractions such as our “overall foreign policy agenda” and “national power position,” why not examine the actual results of Obama’s policies, as they exist now, in the real world before our eyes?
If we do that, we get an outcome different from Gideon’s. Subjectively, the president may be trying to peacefully integrate rogue regimes into the liberal international order. Objectively, however, the result of Obama’s foreign policy is to empower America’s adversaries. This has been, in its conduct and consequences, an anti-American White House.
I am not saying that the president or the Democratic Party is anti-American in ideology or rhetoric or intent. What I am saying is that the net effect of President Obama’s actions has been to legitimize, strengthen, and embolden nations whose anti-Americanism is public and vicious and all too serious.
Iran is an obvious example. The anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of the regime is inescapable. Not even Obama, who has gone out of his way to defend the Iranians as rational actors, can ignore it. How has Iran’s “power position” been affected by this White House? In 2009, when the regime faced its most serious challenge in years, the president was silent. In 2011 and 2013, when urged to act against the regime’s closest ally in Syria, the president did nothing.
Why? To speak out in favor of protesting students, to support the Syrian rebels, to punish Bashar al-Assad for violating red lines the president himself had drawn—these acts would have jeopardized the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
The outcome of those negotiations was a deal in which the Iranians agree to suspend some elements of their nuclear research for about a decade in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. So a fundamentalist theocracy whose leaders chant “Death to America” and whose self-identity is based on a revolutionary challenge to the United States and Israel has been endorsed as a quasi-member of the “international community,” and will receive an infusion of much needed cash.
The Iranian leadership is strengthened, the Iranian economy is strengthened, the Iranian paramilitaries and terrorist affiliates—active in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and beyond—are strengthened, all in the fissiparous hope that decades from now this deal will result in Iran’s liberalization. Oh, and at the end of the decade, Iran retains the capability to build an atom bomb. How powerful, how dangerous, will Iranian anti-Americanism be then?
Cuba is not as important a world power as Iran, but it, too, was forged in anti-American upheaval, its ideology is anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-liberal, and its elite bears long-held grievances against the United States. The U.S. trade embargo may not have driven the Castros from power, but it nonetheless expresses American opposition to the nature of Cuba’s government, and to the aims and practices of its rulers. President Obama’s thawing of relations with Cuba repudiates this traditional, bipartisan, moral stand in return for … what exactly? The truth is we receive less from the opening of Cuba than we do from our détente with Iran.
The United States, as a superpower, can afford to be magnanimous with nuisances such as Cuba. But that doesn’t mean we should indulge in the fantasy that the provision of economic and diplomatic stimulus to a decrepit communist backwater will bring positive consequences for the cause of freedom and democracy, and improve the political status of the Cuban people. Nor should we cling to the idea that engaging and trading with the Cubans will pacify them. America has been trading with China for decades. The Chinese are just as un-free as they were the day Apple built its first factory there—and indeed China is more powerful, its influence greater, its willingness to challenge the United States more robust than before. What will Cuba look like—how well armed and fascistic will it be—after 20 years of trade with America?
Cuba may be unimportant, for now, but Russia is not. It has repeatedly rejected President Obama’s desire for a “reset” in relations, and has opted for historical revisionism and territorial expansion. Not only has Vladimir Putin an entire global propaganda network to attack, defame, and inspire hatred of the United States, he has Georgia, Crimea, much of eastern Ukraine, and a nuclear stockpile too.
The Baltic States are terrified of Putin’s next move, as he orders Bear Bombers to fly near our shores and deploys troops to fight alongside the Syrian military. The power base from which he launches his ideological and paramilitary attacks on the West has not diminished. It has expanded.
Indeed, the size of territory held or claimed by anti-American forces has increased considerably since President Obama took office. Not only has Russia slowly digested a once-independent nation. China has also built a series of islands to assert its claims in the South China Sea, the Islamic State governs the western provinces of what was once Iraq, Libya has fallen to Islamic militias, and the Taliban have reclaimed the south of Afghanistan. Each enlargement of the anti-American sphere brings new recruits to the various hostile causes, strengthens our adversaries’ convictions that they are on the winning side of history, fuels their desire to project power even further, heightens the risk of instability and terror.
There is no more inescapable force than the law of unintended consequences. The president, writes Gideon Rose, is “best understood as an ideological liberal with a conservative temperament—somebody who felt that after a period of reckless overexpansion and belligerent unilateralism, the country’s long-term foreign policy goals could best be furthered by short-term retrenchment.” However one understands Obama, whatever one thinks he has been doing, the results of his “short term” retrenchment have energized and amplified the global cause of anti-Americanism.
“Human beings,” wrote James Burnham in 1941, “as individuals and in groups, try to achieve various goals—food, power, comfort, peace, privilege, security, freedom, and so on. They take steps that, as they see them, will aid in reaching the goal in question.”
And yet, “experience teaches us not merely that the goals are often not reached but that the effect of the steps taken is frequently toward a very different result from the goal which was originally held in mind and which motivated the taking of the steps in the first place.”
Experience has taught Obama nothing. The next administration won’t be “building” on his foundation. It will be attempting to reclaim the ground that this anti-American White House has lost.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Entering 2016 Race, Jeb Bush Pledges 19 Million New Jobs, 4% Economic Growth

Jeb Bush didn’t keep his audience in suspense, announcing within four minutes of taking the stage in his adopted home of Miami that he is indeed a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.
Bush made a direct appeal to conservatives in his speech at Miami Dade Community College, echoing Ronald Reagan’s emphasis on getting Washington out of the way of free markets and personal liberty while implicitly slamming President Obama and congressional Democrats.
“We will get back on the side of free enterprise and freedom for all Americans,” @JebBush says.
“We will take Washington—the static capital of this dynamic country—out of the business of causing problems,” he said. “We will get back on the side of free enterprise and freedom for all Americans.”
The former Florida governor said it’s time to “get serious about limited government” and to “build our future on solvency instead of borrowed money.” As he has for months, he said his aim is 4 percent economic growth a year “and the 19 million jobs that come with it.”
He went off-script briefly near the end of his speech, responding to hecklers by taking a poke at both Obama and some of his own conservative critics and promising that “the next president” will achieve “meaningful immigration reforms” through Congress, “not by executive order.”
Bush, 62, wearing an open-collared blue shirt and no jacket, sought to appeal to Americans who don’t see government as fostering the sort of economic and social conditions in which they and their families can thrive—or “rise,” as Bush and his political action committee put it.
He said:
We will take command of our future once again in this country. We will lift our sights again, make opportunity common again, get events in the world moving our way again.
Bush, the son and brother of past presidents, has spent the past six months in early primary states and elsewhere making the case that he is his “own man” while asserting he loves and honors both the former, George H.W. Bush, and the latter, George W. Bush.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The decline of Republican environmentalism

TWENTY-FIVE years ago tomorrow, from the sunny decks of an excursion boat touring Boston Harbor, George H.W. Bush, then the Republican candidate for president, launched a fierce attack on Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee. Bush said that Boston’s polluted waters — “the dirtiest harbor” in America — symbolized Dukakis’s failed leadership. He “will say that he will do for America what he’s done for Massachusetts,” Bush declared. “That’s why I fear for the country.” By delaying a major cleanup of the harbor, Bush said, Dukakis had cost taxpayers billions of dollars and allowed the pollution to continue, making “the most expensive public policy mistake in the history of New England.”
Bush’s attack on Dukakis stands out as perhaps the last time a prominent national Republican turned an environmental cause into a weapon against a Democratic opponent. And in that 25-year gap lies a lost path and a giant missed opportunity. Republicans no longer seriously contest the environmental vote; instead, they have run from it. Largely as a result, national environmental policy-making has become one-sided, polarized, and stuck. Republican politicians mostly deny the threat of climate disruption and block legislative solutions, while President Obama tries to go it alone with a shaky patchwork of executive actions. A middle ground on environmental policy remains a mirage.
George H.W. Bush visited Boston Harbor during his campaign on Sept. 6, 1988.
George H.W. Bush visited Boston Harbor during his campaign on Sept. 6, 1988.
Bush’s presidency initially promised a different path. Bush’s feelings about the environment ran long and deep. Heading a House Republican task force in 1970, he called the “interrelationship between population growth and natural resources . . . the most critical problem facing the world.” He shared the environmental movement’s goals of improving the nation’s air and water. One of Bush’s signature achievements, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, instituted a cap-and-trade system to cut power plant pollution and reduce acid rain. The New York Times described the law as a “model for updating in the 1990s the other 1970s-era statutes that form the foundation of the nation’s environmental program.”
But then Bush abandoned the Republican environmental resurgence he had begun to build. By the end of his presidency, he was pitting economic growth against environmental regulation. Bush mocked 1992 vice presidential nominee Al Gore as “Ozone Man,” declaring that Gore was “so far out in the environmental extreme we’ll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American.”
What explains the switch? Despite significant environmental gains during his presidency, Bush’s leadership faltered as the issues grew more complex, abstract, and international. The raw sewage pouring into Boston Harbor had created a local constituency for change and a clear solution. By contrast, largely invisible and computer-modeled threats like climate change affected everyone, but far in the future. Negotiating international agreements to limit greenhouse gas emissions thus provoked fierce ideological debates over scientific knowledge, economic regulation, and national sovereignty.

Friday, August 30, 2013

This is “Read My Lips” All Over Again

During the 1988 Republican Convention, then Vice President George H. W. Bush uttered a phrase that would destroy his Presidency — “Read my lips, no new taxes.”
Just two years later, voters realized they had read a lie on President Bush’s lips. He negotiated a budget agreement with Democrats in the United States Congress that raised taxes. Republicans in the House of Representatives rallied against their own President. Ed Rollins, then Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, advised Republicans to campaign against the President in 1990. “Do not hesitate to distance yourself from the President,” Rollins wrote in a famous memo. President Bush demanded congressional Republicans fire Rollins, but the House Republicans held on him. The House GOP lost a net of 8 seats and the Senate GOP lost 1 seat.
President Bush would ride a wave of popularity in 1991 due to victory in the Gulf War and use a 91% approval rating to have Ed Rollins fired by refusing to campaign with Republican candidates until Rollins left. A year later, with a struggling economy, a conservative base that would neither forget nor forgive his lie, and a primary challenger named Pat Buchanan to embarrass him in New Hampshire with a stronger than expected showing, President George H. W. Bush would be defeated by Bill Clinton. Conservatives were willing to throw out President Bush because of his lie. Many of them rallied to a third party, H. Ross Perot, who garnered 18.9% of the vote.
Bush got 63% of self-described moderate Republicans and 82% of self-described conservative Republicans. Compare that to four years later after one full term of Bill Clinton. Bob Dole would get 72% of moderate Republicans, up 9% from George H. W. Bush, and 88% of conservative Republicans, up 6% from George H. W. Bush. Among conservative independents, Bush got 53% with Perot getting 30%. Bob Dole would get 60% of that demographic four years later.
In the Republican Primary of 1992, Pat Buchanan, explaining his decision to primary President Bush went straight back to the 1990 tax increase, said
If the country wants to go in a liberal direction, if the country wants to go in the direction of [Senate Democratic Leader] George Mitchell and [Speaker] Tom Foley, it doesn’t bother me as long as I’ve made the best case I can. What I can’t stand are the back-room deals. They’re all in on it, the insider game, the establishment game—this is what we’re running against.
Via: Red State 
Continue Reading..... 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


According to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.
When Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush increased taxes in return for spending cuts—cuts that never ultimately came—they did so at ratios of 3:1 and 2:1.
“In 1982, President Reagan was promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes,” Americans for Tax Reform says of those two incidents. “The tax hikes went through, but the spending cuts did not materialize. President Reagan later said that signing onto this deal was the biggest mistake of his presidency.
"In 1990, President George H.W. Bush agreed to $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. The tax hikes went through, and we are still paying them today. Not a single penny of the promised spending cuts actually happened.”

Via: Breitbart

Continue Reading...

Popular Posts