Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

WWWD? What Would George W. Bush Do?

Let’s face it: None of our candidates really claim they’ll be constantly asking themselves that question when he hits the Oval Office. And they won’t even really be asking what would Ronald Reagan do, although their constant invocation of Reagan is a pretty stern implicit criticism of the Presidents Bush.

Still, in response to Joe’s question below: I would say that Huckabee is most like Bush. He’s all for the tax cuts, more with Bush on all the details of social conservatism than any other candidate, and certainly has the same weakness for compassionate policy. Huck has been critical of the president’s foreign policy "mentality." But if you look, again, to the details, it’s unclear what would really change after President Huck got up to foreign policy speed. (He may not have read the NIE, but let’s face it, the NIE ain’t rocket science and Huck is plenty smart.)

But no candidate (such as Thompson) is going to make it clear that his criticisms of Huck apply to the president (especially in SC, where Bush is still fairly popular among Republicans). And of course, given the fact that the president would be slaughtered if could run for reelection, no candidate is saying "stay the course."

I applaud the consistency (if not necessarily the wisdom) of those, such as some people at the Claremont Institute, who criticize both the president and Huck for being too evangelical.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Yes, Huckabee is closest to Bush, but, like all the others, he can't really admit it and hope to win. The problem isn't so much the substance of policy, it's the question of competence and the rancor that began in Florida and was exacerbated by Iraq.

But it remains the fact that the template for a Republican victory was created by the Bush campaigns in 2000 and 2004, and it requires all three elements of the Republican coalition to pull together. I can of course imagine a campaign that loses one element of the coalition, but I can't at the moment imagine a new and different winning coalition.

That's a toxic accusation, that Huckabee "is most like Bush." The guy that's most like Bush is McCain. McCain is for the green agenda, McCain's idea for "solving" the Arab/Israeli dispute is to dispatch Brett Scowcroft or James Baker to the region, McCain is for an open border, McCain is for campaign finance reform, which Bush signed, ....... the list is endless.

SUPERFICIALLY, Huck's Evangelicalism might seem comparable to Bush. But Bush somewhere along the line added his own "Bush" gloss to his religiosity, and that's altogether different from Huckabee.

Nobody could be worse than Bush, so to equate Huckabee with Bush is toxic, flat out toxic.

And why should Huckabee have read the NIE, there wasn't anything in it worth the while. There wasn't anything in it that couldn't be gleaned from reading the Washington Post and the Washington Times. The Bush administration conjured up that NIE to get them off the hook for actually having to do something about the mullah's Manhattan Project. The NIE was a gimmick. They got 3 KNOWN Liberal Democrats to write the thing, and those three people had already gone on public record in absolute opposition to taking on the mullahs. Thus the results were known beforehand. Michael Ledeen put it together in about a nanosecond, as did Lt. General Tom McInerney. It was so bad that Steve Hayward felt he needed to come out and exonerate the Bush administration from accusations they cooked up the results they wanted behind the scenes. The findings of that NIE were PUBLICLY challenged not just by the Israelis, but even by British Intelligence. That's unusual, to be sure.

Bush talked endlessly about the Iranians. Pressure built for him to do something, and "something" meant air strikes. But at the end of the day, when all of the diplomatic nonsense proved unavailing, AS EVEN HE KNEW IT WOULD, whatever appetite he ever had to tackle America's enemies was gone, long gone. So what did his administration do, they conjured up some worthless "National Intelligence Estimate" to justify his inaction. THAT was the whole purpose of that NIE. I forget who called that NIE a nuclear attack on those willing to stop Iran's nuclear program. But that's about what it was.

As for that Iranian Manhattan Project, NOTHING will stop it, not sanctions, not "sweeteners," not diplomacy, not "working with our friends," not "meeting with those in the area," not "convening" this "summit," not "gathering" for that "discussion," NOTHING will stop that Manhattan Project other than American Air and Naval Air.

I think Huckabee gets that. THE ISSUE of our time is muslim nuclear proliferation. I trust Huckabee's instinct on that more than Bush.

As for the President's residual "popularity," that's a result of widespread ignorance about what he and his administration have done. Conservatives remain ignorant, blissfully ignorant of little things like the firing of Stephen Coughlin for instance. When such things become known, as they ultimately will, Conservative opinion on Bush will change. The pressure the Bush administration is placing on Israel is something else Conservatives don't fully grasp. Publicly, Bush professes friendship for Israel, behind the scenes, it's nothing but pressure. Israelis are told, to "give up occupied territories," "enter into discussions on right to return," "give up this," "tolerate that," "don't respond to this or that attack, don't respond to those rockets," "open up the checkpoints," "give up land, yet more land, give up claims to Jerusalem, give up any thought to holding on to the Temple Mount," THAT'S what's going on behind the scenes. It's so bad the Israeli General Staff is in a state of shock. Annapolis absolutely stunned them. When the Baker study group dropped a proposal that the Israelis accede to the Palestinians on a "right to return," Conservatives intensely criticized it as a brain dead suggestion, exactly what you would expect from a Baker. But about a year later, IT'S BECOME OFFICIAL POLICY of the Bush administration. Of course the official line is that the Israelis merely need to "resolve" the issue, but that's a fiction. It used to be a non-starter; it used to be seen and understood as a Trojan Horse maneuver to end the state of Israel. Now it's American policy. Just wait for that knowledge to become widely circulated amongst Conservatives.

As the full scale of the war becomes clear, and as the full nature of our enemy becomes known, Bush's reputation will sink even lower, ESPECIALLY amongst Conservatives. Future Conservatives will conclude that Bush hindered the American people in truly understanding the nightmare before them, and that his politically correct nonsense effectively thwarted them formulating and executing a WAR WINNING strategy. The Bush administration's "long war" was ALWAYS a recipe for strategic incoherence, and ultimately, strategic collapse. And that's why we see guys out there like John Bolton damning Bush's foreign policy for being "in free fall."

War has been unleashed on Western civilization itself, and in response what does Bush offer? Nothing, nothing other than the removal of Saddam Hussein and the erection of yet one more shariaa friendly Arab government. I mean are you kidding me. Nothing in Iraq will be prove decisive, for nothing in Iraq CAN be decisive. Sure, who controls the oil is important. But however much Bush and his defenders pretend that Iraq is decisive, it's NOT the center of gravity for this war. It's not unimportant, it's not marginal, not by any means. But if you want decision, then look to Tehran and Riyadh. Those are our two main enemies. And those two enemies need to be addressed, in a SERIOUS fashion.

But an administration that thinks the best way to stop muslim supremacism is to hand hold Arab despots isn't likely to see that and isn't likely to get that. What's worse, THEY DON'T WANT to see it, because they're vaguely aware of how horrible, how nightmarish it is.

Just read Melanie Phillips, {sp?} Caroline Glick, Diana West. They get it, this administration doesn't.

Now there is a good deal to criticize in Huckabee's campaign, but I think concerns over his religious inclinations are a bit overdone. It wasn't Bush's religious impulses that led him astray, it was more the Blue Blood in him, it was more the Bush in him, than it was the Evangelical.

See my post on your comment below Mr. Knippenberg - it seems to me your confusing a certain style of rhetoric with actual political commitments (GOP first, conservativism second for BUSH) and instincts. Huck seems to be the least like Bush if I am reading him correctly (well, except perhaps Ron Paul :)

Who at the Claremont Institute did you have in mind?

I've said it once and I'll say it again: history will be kind to George W. Bush. Think "Harry Truman".

Richard: Mr. Kienker in his December 2007 post dissenting from Ceaser's praise of Bush for his natural-rightism, for example.

If America should lose a city, or if one of America's close allies should lose a city or two, HISTORY will figuratively tar and feather President George W. Bush.

And rightly so.

There is NO margin for error. Bush's own comments about the enormity of the threat we're facing will be used against him to indict his own passivity and inactivity.

Far too many judge his action in Iraq to be one of "strength," overlooking the fact that such "strength" wouldn't have been necessary but for his own failures, in personnel and in policy.

The war extends far beyond the morbid confines of Iraq, and Bush hasn't taken any DECISIVE action in that wider war.

He hasn't even stopped the Sauds funding the satanic madrases.

He's let OPEC push the price of crude over 100 per barrel, without any TRUE energy policy offered in response. Such price gouging represents a huge enrichment of the treasuries of our enemies.

He's done nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO EFFECTIVELY stop Iran's Manhattan Project.

He's done nothing to end the lawlessness and the savagery in Pakistan's NWFP, the tribal areas and Wazirstan. Absolutely nothing.

No insurgency has ever been defeated when it enjoys sanctuary areas. Bush has allowed the enemy sanctuary across Pakistan borders. That's a recipe for defeat.

He's done nothing to make sure we question A.Q. Khan, and he's done nothing to strip Pakistan of her nukes, and history will find his failure inexplicable.

Bush has allowed China to call the play regarding the North Koreans, and surprise, surprise, NOTHING has effectively been done to strip North Korea of their nukes.

This administration's foreign policy is in free fall.

Bush is allowing Syria to take control once more of Lebanon, for he never truly insisted they be thrust forth.

Gaza is even more squalid and violent than usual, and that's saying something.

Bush conceded to the Arab League, and raised "solving" the Palestinian/Israeli dispute to the FOREFRONT of American diplomacy.

Bush has subscribed to the warped view that all problems are somewhat traceable to the Palestinian/Israeli dispute.

It's a nightmare. An absolute nightmare. And my brief recounting is a cursory one. The FULL horrific indictment is yet to come.

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