Analyzing the Failures

13 Jan

The Washington Post provides the stark statistics of failure:

President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, and economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly view his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation’s thorniest fiscal challenges.

The number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush’s tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration. And Americans’ incomes grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, other than that of Bush’s father.

Bush and his aides are quick to point out that they oversaw 52 straight months of job growth in the middle of this decade, and that the economy expanded at a steady clip from 2003 to 2007. But economists, including some former advisers to Bush, say it increasingly looks as if the nation’s economic expansion was driven to a large degree by the interrelated booms in the housing market, consumer spending and financial markets. Those booms, which the Bush administration encouraged with the idea of an “ownership society,” have proved unsustainable.

For some reason, a whole gang of bright-red conservatives have begun following me on Twitter, and I don’t know why. I couldn’t care less about their hand-wringing over who’s going to run the RNC, or any other TCOT hashtag nonsense. When bored, I engage and can’t believe sometimes the banality and weakness of the arguments. When one criticized Biden for his 1987 plagiarism issues, I suggested to the writer that if a 21 year-old picayune thing like that gets him a-twitter, then he’s sort of run out of ideas or points. He countered:

I guess 9/11 will be an irrelevent piece of history in 25 years too?

To which I replied,

If you equate 9/11 with lifting lines from a Neil Kinnock speech, then yes. But I don’t equate the two.

I mean Biden’s 1987 plagiarism? Obama’s birth certificate?

We have a 100-year financial and economic crisis hitting the country, and that’s what Republicans want to focus on?

No wonder these guys lost. That party needs to overhaul itself, come up with some ideas and a platform that goes beyond teh gayz and teh foeti, or else risk becoming a regionally strong afterthought.

21 Responses to “Analyzing the Failures”

  1. Lefty January 13, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    The effects of the Bush administration will last a long time but the cause of everything is from events on or after January 20, 2001? Hell we are still dealing with the mistakes of FDR and Hoover.

    The dot com bubble that funded the success of the Clinton administration was cleaned while Bush was in office.

    The housing crisis that President Elect Obama will be in charge of cleaning up, broke under Bush but started under Clinton.

    Always amusing that people are unable to see that cause and effect do not always fall under the same election cycle.

  2. Russell January 13, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    I agree with your overall point. The party should regroup and refocus just like the left had to do not so long ago. It’s kind of a cyclical thing, but if it’s not played right, it can take the party a long time to get out of it. Playing these little games is not going to help the party get out of it, but so many are digressing into that.

    On the economic question, I like how the good times under Bush need to be ignored, but the bad times are totally on him. Have any of these economists shown how a president is directly responsible for the economy? I’ve studied this issue for years and have never seen that connection. Sure, people vote based on the economy, but that’s a different story. Economic conditions are also cyclical. Unfortunately, these things happen. Even more unfortunate for Bush, and apparently the Republican Party, it happened on their watch so people blame them.

  3. Restaino January 13, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    Pundit…you are right!! No wonder these Right Wingers lost!!
    Here are the failures:
    3.$1.5 Trillion for needless war and loss of life.

  4. Chris Smith January 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Paleocons are able to measure the scope of Bush fail, it’s the neo-conservative partisan deadenders that seem to be having trouble.

    George Bush:

    * Increased federal domestic discretionary spending (even before the bailout) faster than any president since Lyndon Johnson.
    * Enacted the largest new entitlement program since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, an unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit that could add as much as $11.2 trillion to the program’s unfunded liabilities;
    * Dramatically increased federal control over local schools while increasing federal education spending by nearly 61 percent;
    * Signed a campaign finance bill that greatly restricts freedom of speech, despite saying he believed it was unconstitutional;
    * Authorized warrantless wiretapping and given vast new powers to law enforcement;
    * Federalized airport security and created a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security;
    * Added roughly 7,000 pages of new federal regulations, bringing the cost of federal regulations to the economy to more than $1.1 trillion;
    * Enacted a $1.5 billion program to promote marriage;
    * Proposed a $1.7 billion initiative to develop a hydrogen-powered car;
    * Abandoned traditional conservative support for free trade by imposing tariffs and other import restrictions on steel and lumber;
    * Expanded President Clinton’s national service program;
    * Increased farm subsidies;
    * Launched an array of new regulations on corporate governance and accounting; and
    * Generally did more to centralize government power in the executive branch than any administration since Richard Nixon.

  5. mike January 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    Chris, Bush also gave birth to turd bloggers like Hank!!

  6. Byron January 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    If “paleo-cons” were defined as “conservatives who opposed all the policies Chris just listed, there are about 6 of them in the whole country. 99% of Repubs were behind nearly everything Bush did; as long as it pissed liberals off, it was good enough for them.

  7. hank January 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    And what of the last Congress, total Democrat control, and less than 20% approval rating?

    Who was allowing fannie and freddie to build to this shattering mess, while getting good deals for themselves? Chris Dodd and Barney Frank!

    Who told them almost 4 years ago it would implode? John McCain. Bush didn’t listen either.

    At this point it would behoove the left, from Reagan Democrats to Code Pink Lunatics, to tend their own garden.

    I remember when the White House and the Congress were controlled by Democrats–1977-1980. And you were told there would be no oil or natural gas by 2000. Put on sweaters and turn your heat down to 55. Drive 55 too while you’re at it—the most often broken law in this country. Buy a new car, and pay 14% interest. Get a Sears Card, and pay 22% interest. Buy a home, and pay 12 percent interest.

    While Bush was in office you could get credit cards at 4%, Car loans at ZERO percent, and Home Loans at 5%.

    Economically, I’ll take the last 8 years over those 4 every day.

    Of course it’s easy to see from where most of you sit, that things look like shit. Where I’m at, they don’t. Made more money in the last 4 years than I ever have, more job security for both myself and my wife, and not a penny spent on union dues.

    I feel bad for all of you up there. Even the ones that make a decent living, because the Democrat Controlled City, County and State are raping your wallet every time you do just about ANYTHING.

    Does this Republican hope Obama falls flat on his face? NO. Wouldn’t be good for the country. Unlike 99% of you here, I’m an American First, and a Republican 2nd.

    But let’s not start letting Mike be the pivot man in the circle jerk just yet—Regardless of how much he yearns to do it. And if Obama and a Democrat Controlled Congress DOES fall flat on it’s face it’s going to be bad for everyone. And I’ll be here to remind you of your finger pointing–3 fingers point back at yourself every time you do it.

  8. Russell January 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    That’s pretty funny, Chris. Many of the things you posted there that CATO has a problem with were actually programs that were applauded by many on this site. Are you guys saying Bush was a failure because he did what you folks wanted? Or, are you saying, there are too many entitlements, Medicare and Medicaid need to be severely slashed, the Department of Education needs to be abolished, campaign finance laws need to be eliminated, airport security should be privatized, business needs less regulation, government should not invest in alternative sources of energy, all trade should be free, Clinton’s national service program should be abolished, farm subsidies should end, and government power should be decentralized, leaving major decisions to the states? If that’s what you’re saying, welcome to the club. CATO is saying Bush was a failure because he was too far to the left, a lot like they said about his father. I thought you guys laugh at the notion that he would have done a much better job if he didn’t abandon conservative views. Now you’re supporting and promoting that claim?

  9. Chris Smith January 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    I posted it without comment on the veracity of the claims.

    The point of linking to that was to demonstrate that people to the traditional Republican right of Bush find him to be as a big a failure as those on the left. There are few Presidents that have left office having so marginalized his support to such a small percentage of his own party.

  10. mike hudson January 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    what we’re seeing here is the beginning of what i suspect will be the great media wave of the next 18 months or so — bush screwed the whole world up so badly it provides an excuse for any difficulties obama may have regarding previously announced policies, timetables etc. this worked really well for the gop after reagan was elected, and there’s no reason to think it won’t work for the dems as well.

    but beware the 2010 congressional elections. should the situation in iraq become more dire than it already is, or should iran be propted to enter the widening war in the mideast, obama could face some trouble given the current thinking on the short-term economic climate in this country.

  11. Restaino January 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    The War in Iraq will cost us atleast 1.5 trillion. Not to mention the loss of life. This was a meaningless war which was waged by W. So, for that reason alone his Presidency was a failure

  12. mike January 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    Hank, your claim that your income has never been better, but you admitted you could not buy a $1000 gun out right, this is very sad. You also have 2 incomes with no children, well i guess twice nothing is still nothing. I have 4 children, 2 grand kids and can buy a car outright so blow me.

    And Hudson, tell your buddy at the red coach next time he puts a coupon in your paper for a buy one, get one free dinner not to raise the prices from 7-10 dollars per entree.

  13. mike hudson January 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm #


  14. mike hudson January 13, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    if your income was as large as you say, you wouldn’t be clipping coupons, loser.

  15. mike January 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    no hudson, i can afford things because i do use coupons and dont waste money on drugs, drink and casino. plus the hookers are cheaper here!!

  16. mike hudson January 13, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    hey hank, mike the coupon clipper is saving up for one of those frilly bedspreads he saw on “real housewives of bugtussel”!!!!

  17. mike January 13, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    hudson, hank only comments while he is at work, wife wont let him get the internets at home. you lived here 10 years and still live in an apartment like your 19, wuts wrong mikey houses cost too much? even that dime bag who killed his wife can own a home around here, and you called me a loser, wonder how’s the red puts up with your nonsense.

  18. Frieda January 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    I still would like to know what happened to the 18 billion dollars which cannot be accounted for in IRAQ. I still would like to Know what Cheny discussed with the Oil execs at the closed door meeting during the first month Bush was in Office. Do you think it may have anything to do with Iraq.

  19. mike hudson January 14, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    i wonder that too, mike.

  20. mike hudson January 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    hey russell…the palestinian death toll is, as of this morning, by every account, “over 1,000.” are you happy now? rockets are coming into northern israel from lebanon, and the war will likely expand there. plus too, syria is getting pissed, and israeli air strikes on iran seem in the offing. meanwhile, the united states is still bogged down in iraq. so it’s all good!

  21. Byron January 21, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    If comments by Repubs on this blog are any indication (they aren’t, presumably, but I can dream), 2008=1932.

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