Friday, August 11, 2006
Not the Worst President Ever, But a Definite Contender
"But Bush can compete with each one of these lesser lights of the presidency. Instead of using all the U.S. government’s national security resources to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks, Bush invaded an unrelated country, has become bogged down in a quagmire and civil war and has unintentionally provided a training ground for and fuelled the hatred of a jihadist terrorist movement that will probably attack U.S. targets for decades.
If he had been president at the beginning of the Second World War, Bush would have responded to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Nazi declaration of war on the United States by invading Romania. But, surprisingly, this Iraq fiasco is not the most dangerous thing the president has done.
He has used the never-ending war on terror to claim unlimited power for the president during wartime. For example, he has flouted the Constitution by detaining prisoners without trial, spied on Americans without the constitutionally required warrants and blatantly said he will follow a congressionally passed law against torture when he feels like it.
None of the other post-war presidents has claimed unlimited power during wartime or crises. This is a truly dangerous claim, especially when the war is perpetual.
The individual liberties guaranteed to citizens—unique to the American system—could be threatened by even greater future executive authoritarianism.
In the Constitution, in reaction to the despotic monarchs of Europe, the founders narrowly restricted the executive’s power. Bush’s arrogant power grab, which attempts to eviscerate the checks and balances that are at the heart of the U.S. Constitution, probably makes him the most dangerous—and therefore the worst—president in the post-Second World War era"
A lot of interesteing discussion going on in the comments section of the Digg post as well. Here is a good example by Digg user "Kmedlin":
"Keep in mind that this was not a traditionally elected President. This White House was determined by the Supreme Court and electoral law rather than the voting sentiment of the nation in 2000.
In 2004 he won, but never has a sitting American president (other than LBJ) been voted out during a war that was initiated by that administration.
So in terms of the presidency being a reflection of the people I hardly think that's a fair assessment. The presidency is a reflection of the voting trends of people not of the people themselves.
It's hardly time to call Bush the worst ever. While he may be making a great case for it with all his effort he still has another year and a half in office to seal the deal.
People seem to focus on the war rather than the things that truly impact the country's security and long term sustainability...
1 - Spending without taxing and running up the debt at a record pace.
2 - Creating sweeping educational reform and then underfunding it by tens of billions of dollars (55 billion I believe).
3 - Breaking the Geneva Convention which puts our troops in greater risk abroad as they defend our country's interests.
4 - Turning a blind eye to unethical corporate behavior.
5 - Poor response to national emergencies notably Katrina.
6 - Polarizing international politics with a "with us or against us" diplomatic stance.
7 - Virtual no domestic social reform policies that have a long term agenda or sustainability plan - immigration reform particularly.
8 - Opposition to scientific research and progress to ensure US leadership in the fields of medical, computer, and physical sciences by regularly opposing bills with the Stem Cell Research one being only the latest.
9 - Actively supporting widespread infringement of civil liberties under the guise of terror investigations.
10 - An unhealthy obsession with state dinners while traveling abroad. (That's just for laughs actually...that's gotta be an awesome perk to being the President!)
Trying to rid the world of evil influences and extremism is a noble cause. I don't think anyone will fault him for wanting that. His methods seemed uninformed which is where I think he'll be judged harshest.
Who knows...maybe his policies will all come to fruition in the next 18 months and we'll laugh that we even brought this topic up. That seems unlikely, but it's always a possibility."
History will inevitably judge this administration, but one thing is for sure anyone who lived through this area must truly realize that George W. Bush has been by far one of the most polarizing figures of our time.
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