January 21, 2009

How to defend George W. Bush

I'm not in the mood to defend George W. Bush, but I suspect that historians will eventually figure out that his big domestic / economic policy mistakes (e.g., allowing so much illegal immigration and promoting zero down payment mortgages to increase minority home ownership) stemmed from him assuming that the rest of the country was like Texas.

Bush had been a decent governor of Texas for six years. And Texas has continued to do relatively well in the eight years since he left Austin (e.g., there was hardly any Housing Bubble in Texas).

Bush knew Texas well, but he didn't know the other 49 states, especially not California. Approaches that worked okay in Texas proved disastrous elsewhere.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Texas economy has done well because the price of oil was manipulated to high levels, and because the government gave billions to Texas companies such as Halliburton to support the Iraq War. Now that's coming to an end, and Texas is going to join the rest of the nation.

Anonymous said...

Your faith in historians is troubling. I think it is more likely that historians will look back on us like Nazis for distinguishing between legal and illegal immigrants at all.

Anonymous said...

I would think there is a zero percent chance that historians will consider the high illegal immigration during the Bush years as a domestic policy failure for him. The immigration aspect of the crash will be completely erased from any analysis and is the case now.

Hugh Oxford said...

I'm not in the mood to defend George W. Bush, but I suspect that historians will eventually figure out that his big domestic / economic policy mistakes (e.g., allowing so much illegal immigration and promoting zero down payment mortgages to increase minority home ownership) stemmed from him assuming that the rest of the country was like Texas.

The winners write history, Steve, not the losers.

Frank said...

Realizing that the war in Iraq is unpopular and will remain so, I think future generations will view it as the morally right thing. We were killing Iraqis (100,000+) under Clinton's sanctions. And remember the corrupt UN oil for food program? Since W's invasion about the same number have been killed but at least now we're seeing an end to it all. If the sanctions were still in place the death rate would still be piling on. 9/11 made it problematic in lifting those sanctions. And yes we have a moral obligation to nation build, at least with Iraq as we were enforcing those sanctions with our Air Force and Navy to the tune of $20 billion a year.

Anonymous said...

A man's got to know his limitations. Neither Obama, nor Bush, nor Clinton knew his limitations.

jody said...

he cannot be defended in my book and i would rate him as one of the bottom 5 presidents of all-time.

but the academics, historians, and journalists who do most of the analysis on comparing presidents do not really take isteve issues into account, so gw bush will be seen as bad, but not historically bad. people will still go around telling us that carter and nixon were worse, and "That was just within the last 100 years! Imagine how many presidents were worse than Bush in the 1800s!"

if only gw bush was as good as carter or nixon on issues vital to the long term health of the united states. bush went the wrong way on basically every single one of them. the long term fundamentals of america are very, very bad now, and a steady decline is almost inevitable.

honestly, was there a single positive thing bush accomplished? lowering capital gains taxes maybe? EVERYTHING else he did was wrong.

outlaw josey wales said...

Isn't this a defense for a 5 year old? He didn't know that the rest of the country is not like Texas? Did he think Hawaii was like Dallas.

This is just plain silly.

Harry Baldwin said...

Steve, let me simplify your theory slightly to make the point clearer:

"I suspect that historians will eventually figure out that his big domestic / economic policy mistakes (e.g., allowing so much illegal immigration and promoting zero down payment mortgages to increase minority home ownership) stemmed from him being basically an idiot."

Al Andalus said...

We were killing Iraqis (100,000+) under Clinton's sanctions. And remember the corrupt UN oil for food program? Since W's invasion about the same number have been killed but at least now we're seeing an end to it all.

How does this make any sense? So we spent far more American lives and treasure to kill slightly fewer Iraqis? That's the morally right thing? What would have happened had we lifted the sanctions entirely? Yes, Saddam would be still alive but so would tens of thousands of Iraqis who are now permanently dead. A smart President would have used the chronic and irreconcilable tension between Iraq and Iran to US advantage, not worked for 8 years to strengthen Iran's geopolitical presence at the US's expense. In hindsight Bush will be viewed probably with even more scorn than he is today, unless, of course, history books are written by Latina professors eager to praise the man who let their grandfathers immigrate and buy cheap houses.

Mark said...

Like the late Roman emperors, he will be viewed as just one more president not up to the task of keeping the US from circling the drain - one amongst many, perhaps of no greater or lesser consequence. It officially started with LBJ, Hart-Celler, and parts of the CRA.

I don't necessarily think that Bush is the cause of the mess, which has been growing for a very long time (budget deficits, entitlements, the welfare state, immigration, multiculturalism, terorrism). He was just stubbornly incapable of recognizing the mess we were in and refused to make the tough choices that might reverse it. Some conservatives call Bush "brave" for making the "tough choices" that needed to be made in the war on terror. Well the tough choices in this war, as in so many wars, are usually the ones which happen on the home front: conscription, rationing, and law-and-order policies that ar enow verboten in our PC age. Policies towards German-Americans in WW1 and Japanese-Americans in WW2 put those two groups on the defensive, and forced them to become more American to prove their point. German language papers disappeared during WW1 and Japanese soldiers served admirably well in WW2. But members of the religion of peace, OTOH, have had no such expectations placed upon them, and the result is clear and obvious.

I would add that based on the latest news from Europe, it appears that the global meltdown is far from over, and the result could break the EMU permanently.

At this point I would put odds on this current crisis still being a crisis 4 years from now. I would not want to be in President Obama's shoes.

sled said...

Bush was mostly a vicious, corrupt, strategically incoherent dick. But he was an effective agent of the New World Order overall.

His commutation of the border patrol agent sentences at the end was so perfectly Bush. It was apparently vital to let them rot in jail for two years. To make them learn their lesson? Why not two days instead of two years? Wouldn't that have been enough?

Bush Jr. reeked of petty tyranny.

I bet Bush ends up expiring in some dumb alcohol related accident on his ranch......he'll probably drive his truck into a ravine without a seat belt on. Like the New York Yankee manager Billy Martin.

Not firing anyone after 9/11 should've got him impeached.

And the footage of him sitting in the schoolroom for about 10 minutes (after he was told that America was under attack) should've got him impeached.

This country is totally diseased now. President Bush was only a symptom.

malcolm said...

George Bush nearly single handily destroyed the republican party. He did such a 'good' job that we have a democratic senate, house, exec, and soon, Supreme Court. Education and Media have been givens for decades. What's left? or more appropriately, what's left of the right?

The dems won't be stupid. They have been engineering our views out of existence for years via immigration, courts, and education...they know this is their big shot and they are going to take it.

Anonymous said...

"unless, of course, history books are written by Latina professors eager to praise the man who let their grandfathers immigrate and buy cheap houses."

No, they are more likely to show the same 'gratitude' as Colin Powel.

Frank said...

"That's the morally right thing? What would have happened had we lifted the sanctions entirely? Yes, Saddam would be still alive but so would tens of thousands of Iraqis who are now permanently dead."

If you’re going say that lifting the sanctions post-9/11 was going to be even remotely politically possible go ahead. It wasn’t, see Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp.

If can recall the Democrats were all over Bush to do something.
The only option was to get Saddam to step down. He didn’t. The die was cast from that point on.

jody said...

we've only begun to touch on how much of a disaster this guy was for the long term health of the US.

not only was he an open borders, pro-mexico fanatic who was friendly with vicente fox. not only did he stupidly invade iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11, as most of the terrorists were saudis. not only did he turn iran into an ally of iraq, which is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of what these neocon idiots were hoping to do,

1) bush was anti-science. when was the last time a united states president was willfully ignorant, even hostile, to science?

we're familiar with his stance on biology research, but he also reduced federal funding for fusion research to zero, while putting government money into useless ethanol and hydrogen. meanwhile the united states has a major energy problem, and the department of energy has been a total failure, and has accomplished none of it's mission. the US is now more dependent on oil imports than ever, and this situation will last for decades.

bush was an oil man, if nothing else, and he couldn't even get this right. US oil production did not even increase under bush.

2) bush created no child left behind. is he serious? not only does the federal government have no business in education, but bush expanded it's powers dramatically. the department of education will now proceed to dramatically screw up public schools in america. again, bush's effects here will last for decades.

3) he nominated the wrong person for basically every position. i don't even have space to get into all of his bad appointments. the colin powell appointment certainly helped republicans, eh? whoops.

that he kept norman mineta, A TOTAL IDIOT, in his cabinet after 9/11, is mind boggling. "We will not ethnically profile anybody, I literally don't care if arabs kill more Americans, all races are the same," was this guy's message.

4) he has perhaps permanently destroyed the republican party as a national party.

that's just a taste of his damage.

Anonymous said...

"I don't necessarily think that Bush is the cause of the mess, which has been growing for a very long time (budget deficits, entitlements, the welfare state, immigration, multiculturalism, terorrism)."

I don't agree with this "Bush is just a member of a long line of failed presidents --- Bush was a symptom not the disease."

By 2000 the Republicans were in pretty good shape and the country was going along relatively smoothly.

What problems we had were fairly fixable. Social Security could be made solvent via means testing, the welfare state had been cut back in 1996, multiculturalism was vulnerable to a reasonable rightist counterattack, and immigration could have been cutback.

Now, things are much worse and it is questionable whether we will recover.

Anonymous said...

"Japanese soldiers served admirably well in WW2."

... in the japanese army...little known fact about 3000 "American" "citizens" returned to Japan to fight in the army, many were born on American soil.

You'll never see a PBS/Holohistory Channel special on that, will you?

albertosaurus said...

I just thought of the best way to honor both Bush and Obama with a musical selection by a Texas good old boy depicting a triumphant black leader.

Triumphal Entrance

Ronduck said...

malcolm said...

George Bush nearly single handily destroyed the republican party. He did such a 'good' job that we have a democratic senate, house, exec, and soon, Supreme Court. Education and Media have been givens for decades. What's left? or more appropriately, what's left of the right?

For the last few years the IRS has been threatening the tax-exempt status of many evangelical churches. These Evangelical churches are the bedrock of the Republican party, and if crushed will go a long way towards eliminating the Repubs forever. Since a lot of ministers on general are cowards expect to see even more knuckle under and stop criticizing the government on abortion and whatever else comes up.

It's genuinely disgusting that this persecution has been going on under a Republican president. Bush couldn't have done any more damage if he was an infiltration agent of the Democratic party.

ARAK said...

Texas did well since the post of governor in Texas is pretty ceremonial compared to the post of the Lt. Governor where the real power lies. Leaving aside Bush, Texas did well for multiple reasons. The S&L induced property bust was still fresh in people's mind, the petroleum bust induced tax losses made Texas build up a rainy day fund and not go crazy with surplus revenue spending, etc. Universities are land grant funded and they made bajillions on oil & gas finds. No state income taxes and one of the least expensive states to live in.

anony-mouse said...

The Democrat party survived James Buchanan (the actual real worst President of all time-although I just know some readers here will praise him). So even if Bush II is the second worst, why won't the GOP?

Anonymous said...

Hugh Oxford - you could also argue that the winners are the ones who write the history. Tell the story your way, you end up looking like the winner.

Half Sigma said...

There was no housing bubble in Texas because lack of left-wing zoning laws means that there is an infinite supply of houses.

In order for there to be a bubble, there has to be a limited quantity.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Jody: bush created no child left behind. is he serious?

Gotta disagree with you there.

The NAEP testing requirements of NCLB were possibly the most important domestic policy win of the Bush administation [the only other big competitor would be the tax cuts, and they were "temporary", not permanent].

The NAEP has provided a mountain of data which shows beyond any possible shadow of a doubt that the education situation for the NAMs is quite simply hopeless.

Of course, Murray & [the ghost of] Herrnstein could have told you a priori what the scores would be, but the NAEP data provides the unimpeachable evidence for the a posteriori recapitulation of the thesis.

PS: No doubt Obama & Pelosi & Reid, at the bidding of the NEA, will move quickly to scrub the NAEP testing requirements, at which point the NCLB will indeed become a worthless initiative.

But for the time being, NCLB/NAEP is probably W's single honest-to-goodness triumph in the domestic arena.

jody said...

lucius,

reality has already provided years of evidence that africans and mestizos do not perform well in US public schools. nobody needed to spend billions of dollars to learn this. the united states' response to this fact has been to lower standards, repeatedly, so that the intelligence difference between the students cannot be so easily seen.

the mission of the department of education is now to periodically reduce the difficulty of the curiculum so that all races perform about equally.

this is national suicide. east asian nations will have no problem economically dominating a dumbed down american populace. bush has ensured that public school education has been normalized to mestizos.

how about we next talk about gw bush and his "conservative" approach to spending money. now the fedgov is in more debt that ever, a giant mountain of debt that grows everyday. we're told that $1 trillion deficits should be considered normal!

after bush had spent several years burning through more money than any other president, he decided to go into historical levels of debt with the "bailout", a disasterous financial policy that has put america into the kind of debt it can never get out of, the kind of debt that can devalue a currency. borrow from china and the middle east, to fund...what exactly? bankers bonuses?

to add insult to injury, bush set the record for vacation days. he took more time off than any other president in history, mainly to go back to texas and goof off. obongo has no business at all being the president, yet it's hard to imagine he could be worse than gw bush.

Mark said...

Keep in mind that one reason Bush may have done a good job as governor but not as president is because as governor he had no control over lending policies, national security, or immigration laws - the 3 biggest causes of his failure as CinC.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Jody: reality has already provided years of evidence that africans and mestizos do not perform well in US public schools. nobody needed to spend billions of dollars to learn this.

There were small-scale studies, on the order of tens of thousands of students, but I'm not aware of any past sampling of EVERY SINGLE SCHOOLCHILD IN THE NATION - on the order of 4 million students per class, tested at regular intervals, over the course of 12 ["longitudinal"] years.

When you sample every single point in a set [after having taking the product of both the time and the space dimensions to arrive at your set in the first place], there is no longer the specter of sampling error, or poorly-constructed studies, or self-selected sub-populations, or non-constancy of sub-populations, or mis-interpretation of data, or whatever other silly excuse The Left offers up to try to deny the obvious.

The NAEP nails the lid shut on the coffin - after the NAEP has had its say, there are no more "ifs" or "buts" or "on-the-other-hands" or "whatevers" - there is only the raw, ugly, brutal truth of the matter.

headache said...

"I would add that based on the latest news from Europe, it appears that the global meltdown is far from over, and the result could break the EMU permanently."

I hope you are right. That would bring back the Deutsche Mark, and Germany would be forced to control its borders again, instead of outsourcing that to useless Med states such as Italy, Greece and Spain, who basically just wave through the millions coming in from Africa on their way to the large feeding troughs up north.

Anonymous said...

"When you sample every single point in a set [after having taking the product of both the time and the space dimensions to arrive at your set in the first place], there is no longer the specter of sampling error, or poorly-constructed studies, or self-selected sub-populations, or non-constancy of sub-populations, or mis-interpretation of data, or whatever other silly excuse The Left offers up to try to deny the obvious."

Except that they will offer up some excuse and ultimately the data will be ignored but the bureaucracy will stay expanded and with new powers.

Really, you think the left will give up and say "damn, guess those guys we've been calling evil like Sailer and Murray are right, oh well, let's pack it in guys"?