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An Administration Plagued by Scandal

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As we near the end of the second term of the Bush administration, I thought it might be interesting to examine this era which many view as the most scandalous in this century and perhaps in our entire history, in the larger context of the history of government scandal, because surely one way to judge the success or failure of an administration is by the number of scandals it generates.

Any president who surrounds himself with liars, criminals and dastards, has to be tainted by that association, and will rightfully go down in history for his failure in leadership. In this context Bush is often compared to past presidents whose administrations were plagued by scandal, particularly Richard Nixon, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, James Buchannan and Warren G. Harding, though always by saying how much worse he is than these disreputable leaders. There was even a survey of historians who rated Bush’s failure relative to various other bad presidents. 46% of them rated him the worst president ever.

Even many conservatives are dismayed with Bush and feel that he has besmirched the renewed positive reputation of the Republican Party which came out of the Reagan era. Reagan was such a good leader and his policies were so successful that Bush, coming only a few years later, looks particularly bad by comparison. Reagan is most often praised for his leadership and the aura of honesty, integrity and incorruptibility which surrounded him. Reagan was a great guy. Everyone loved him, even his political enemies. The Wall Street Journal poll of historians consistently rates him as one of our 10 best presidents, and polls of the public rate him much higher, often first or second.

Yet the truth is that if you compare the number and magnitude of scandals surrounding the Bush and Reagan administrations, it is impossible to reach any conclusion but that Reagan tolerated far more corruption and had an administration which was enormously more scandal plagued than Bush or just about any other president. Reagan overwhelmingly leads the pack in the number of major administration figures and political appointees who were indicted or forced to resign in shame because of their activities, often on behalf of the administration.

Every administration loses some appointees because they do something illegal. Appointees get indicted are forced to resign and get convicted of crimes from time to time. It’s inevitable. In the worst administrations the crimes they get in trouble for are done on behalf of their leaders.

To date only a handful of Bush administration officials have been forced to resign or faced any kind of criminal prosecution, and many of those got in trouble for actions which had nothing to do with their jobs. Typical examples are people like Brian Doyle who was convicted as an online child predator and Claude Allen who was convicted of shoplifting. A couple of others were convicted in association with the Abramoff scandal. The most significant conviction and the highest ranking person to be brought down by scandal is Scooter Libby, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff whose sentence for perjury was recently commuted by President Bush. The criminals and the scandals in the Bush administration are few and far between by any standard and especially when compared with prior administrations.

In comparison, during the Reagan administration more than a dozen top-level appointees plus hundreds of lower level bureaucrats were forced to resign and many ultimately convicted of serious crimes committed while in office or after leaving office, committed directly in relation to their job with the administration. Minimum security jails were filled with Reagan administration officials in the early 90s.

Reagan holds the distinction of being the only president to have three cabinet-level appointees convicted of crimes while he was in office. Other bad presidents have traditionally limited themselves to one top-level criminal. Secretary of the Interior James Watt was indicted on 41 counts of influence peddling and got 5 years probation. National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane was convicted of four misdemeanors associated with the coverup of the Sewergate Scandal. His successor, National Security Advisor John Poindexter was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury and fraud in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal. Other notable criminals from the Reagan years include: Michael Deaver, the Deputy Whitehouse Chief of Staff who was convicted of perjury, Deputy Secretary of State Elliott Abrams who was convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, Thomas Demery who was Undersecretary of HUD and convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks, Whitehouse Press Secretary Lyn Nofziger who was convicted of influence peddling in the WedTech scandal, and of course Oliver North who was convicted on three felony counts as the central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Many of the Reagan officials who were convicted of crimes did so in connection with specific administration programs which were considered illegal like Iran-Contra, or for influence peddling with the administration after they left office. During the Reagan years it became common practice for former appointees to leave their jobs and then return as lobbyists using their connections inside the administration to obtain questionable and illegal benefits for business associates and clients. Ironically most of those convicted in connection with Reagan-era scandals were quickly pardonned by President George H. W. Bush.

The total casualty count connected with corruption and scandals in the Reagan administration has been placed as high as 225 people who were either forced to resign, indicted or convicted of crimes associated with their employment by the administration and that doesn’t include hundreds of more who were indicted outside the administration for bribing officials, receiving illegal government payments or various crimes associated with the S&L scandal.. There were so many major scandals that some of them have already been largely forgotten. Even the widespread problems with bribery and influence peddling pale in comparison with the major scandals of the era. Iran-Contra and the Savings and Loan scandal dwarf the other scandals and rank among the most serious government scandals in US history. The S&L scandal is the single most widespread and expensive scandal in US history, leading to more indictments and more cost to the government than any other.

Minor scandals like the Superfund/Sewergate scandal where funds from the EPA intended for cleaning up toxic waste sites were used to help finance the campaigns of Republican candidates are largely forgotten today, but they outstrip anything which has happened during the Bush administration both in terms of the number of people involved and indicted and the level of pure corruption. And small scandals like this went on continuously for 8 years while Reagan was in power, filling the pages of the newspapers when they weren’t dominated by huge scandals like Iran Contra and the S&L scandal.

Those who talk about assaults on the Constitution under Bush must have some sort of amnesia when it comes to Reagan and in particular Iran-Contra. It was a completely extra-legal operation carried on with misdirected funds and illegally obtained funds which involved overthrowing foreign governments, influencing a US election, gun running and a whole array of covert operations run directly out of the White House with no Congressional oversight and no Constitutional justification whatsoever. They didn’t even attempt to justify their activities, they just did what they wanted without worrying about the consequences.

Yet despite all of this, Reagan sailed through his presidency virtually untainted, while Bush whose administration looks squeaky clean by comparison – not just with Reagan, but with most presidencies – is rapidly becoming the most reviled president in US history. Some of this is certainly due to personal style and Reagan’s bizarre ‘teflon’ factor, but there has to be more to it than that. Perhaps the partisan attack machine wasn’t quite as well developed back then, or the country was less divided. An awful lot of Democrats voted for Reagan not once, but twice. That suggests that he really was the uniter Bush has claimed unsuccessfully to be.

Or perhaps the sins of the Reagan era have faded with time. Revisionism is always a big factor. Yet aside from the far left, even while Reagan was in office with appointees going down in flames around him, he remained one of the most popular presidents of all time, with approval ratings constantly in the high 60s, and only a few low spikes through his 8 years. He invaded countries on a whim and carried on secret wars and no one batted an eye. He let the CIA run wild and made secret deals with dictators around the world and everyone just smiled and nodded.

I’m not saying ‘poor George, no one gives him a break’, but something is certainly askew. It makes me wonder if 20 years from now the administration which is so hated right now might be viewed very differently by historians and even all of us who lived through it. George Bush is certainly no Ronald Reagan – Reagan could get away with anything and Bush gets away with nothing. Yet considered objectively in the context of the circus of corruption and abuse of power which surrounded Reagan, Bush actually looks kind of good.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Lumpy

    Are you even allowed to post stuff like this anymore? You didn’t say “Bush is Satan” the required number of times or anything. When the fairness doctrine passes people like u will be illegal.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    The mitigating factor might have been Reagan’s dazzling public persona. He looked like the movie star he was, he showed off his athleticism, he grinned a lot, and he was one Hell of a public speaker.

    By contrast, Bush’s athletic activities seem generally limited to workouts behind closed doors (geez, now he’s not even golfing anymore); he smirks rather than grins; and he’s rather an awkward public speaker.

    Also, even if W. is on the up-and-up compared with Reagan, being relatively scandal-free doesn’t do you much political good when both your foreign and domestic agendas are disasters.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Are we really that shallow, Michael? Would we overlook just about anything if it was presented with a resonant voice and nice hair?

    It’s certainly arguable that things which went on under Reagan as policy, not just scandal or corruption, were worse than anything Bush has done.

    Maybe this means we should avoid Mitt Romney and his good looks and clear speaking like the plague.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Perhaps it is also the time we live in. Today any moron can hop on his PC and post “Bush lied, soldiers died,” or “war for oil” over and over again for 50 other morons to read, believe, and begin parrotting online themselves.

    That’s why we have so many conspiracy theories today. Any nutjob with basic webpage skills can create a webapge based on his delusional fantasies and then voila…we have proof that 911 was an inside job, we know who killed JFK, we can all discover the truth about Roswell, ufo’s and the government coverup.

    Just go to
    http://www.imacrackpot offeringthisdumbasswebsiteasproofofmydelusions.com

    It’s amazing how many people but into so much of this crap. i think it is because they are very insecure and are desparately seeking for answers in life or a way to feel better about themselves and these bogus sites provide that.

    “oooohh look at me…i’m not one of the mindless sheep because i read alll of the websites that tell me what’s really going on.” everyone else is an ignorant peon b ut I’m not because I’m in the know…i’m so enlightened…i’m so much better and more well informed”

    It’s kinda sad and instead of a grain of salt people should be taking the internet these days with a dump truck full of salt what with all the outright lies and propaganda being served up.

  • REMF

    “Maybe this means we should avoid Mitt Romney and his good looks…”

    Is it getting lonely in that fortified compound?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Are we really that shallow, Michael? Would we overlook just about anything if it was presented with a resonant voice and nice hair?

    Dave, how long have you lived in the United States of America? And you really need to ask that question?

    Maybe this means we should avoid Mitt Romney and his good looks and clear speaking like the plague.

    Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure we will.

  • Maurice

    Thanks for a good article, Dave. For me the big difference is Reagan believed and acted on what he said. Bush appears to be rudderless. Also I worry that his (Bush’s) mind is as befuddled as his speech patterns.

    Your article is an eye opener about corruption.

    When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
    P. J. O’Rourke

  • Clavos

    “Also I worry that his (Bush’s) mind is as befuddled as his speech patterns.”

    I’ve often wondered about that, too.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Re: #4. I sometimes find it scary when Archie says something that makes such absolute perfect sense. What does it mean, mommy?

    As for Bush’s poor speech patterns, I don’t think that has to indicate a muddled mind. It might indicate just the opposite. It’s common for people who are very intelligent to make speaking errors because their mind runs too fast and their mouth can’t keep up. Not that I think Bush is necessarily a genius, but there are lots of reasons why he talks the way he does, including simple affectation.

    Dave

  • Harald

    Maybe the standards rise over time? Maybe people are less easily fooled and demand more accountability these days?

  • moonraven

    Bush is retarded–the main differences between him and the gardener played by Peter Sellers in the film, Being There, are:

    1. Sellers was ACTING retarded;

    2. The gardener was not president–just a political adviser.

    3. Bush is a retarded guy with his finger on the red button who has done enormous damage to the US and other countries.

    In the case of Reagan, he was also ACTING–and therefore assumed to be less dangerous than Bush.

    I don’t know that it has been determined exactly when the Alzheimers kicked in.

    And, OF COURSE, folks is the US are that shallow.

  • Maurice

    ..common for people who are very intelligent to make speaking errors because their mind runs too fast..

    Dave, I respectfully disagree. If it happens it is the exception not the rule and certainly not common.

    Also I think Bush would mispronounce “affectation”.

  • bliffle

    “Are we really that shallow, Michael? Would we overlook just about anything if it was presented with a resonant voice and nice hair?”

    Yes.

  • Maurice

    moonraven

    Bush is not retarded. My oldest son is retarded and he is nothing like Bush.

    You are mistaken if you think Reagan was not perceived as dangerous.

    [Maurice, it’s against BC protocols to alter people’s names in the way you did so please don’t do that again. Thanks. Comments Editor]

  • moonraven

    [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor.]

    Bush is a [edited] retarded guy.

    I am not mistaken. You folks in the US never perceived Reagan as dangerous–which is PRECISELY why he got away with murder, literally.

    Beisdes, even if you HAD perceived him as dangerous, you would have seen that as a virtue in your bullying and trashing of other countries and cultures, anyway.

  • Clavos

    Maurice,

    You’re wasting your time.

    mr knows everything in the universe, and she’s the only person who does.

    Just ask her.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Beisdes, even if you HAD perceived him as dangerous, you would have seen that as a virtue in your bullying and trashing of other countries and cultures, anyway.

    Yeah, the world is so much worse off since Reagan bullied the Russians into releasing their hold on eastern Europe. Another example of American oppression.

    Dave

  • Maurice

    CE sorry it won’t happen again.

    Clavos thanks for the advice – she is now on ignore.

  • moonraven

    [Edited]

    Reagan ony bullied the folks in this hemisphere. Don’t believe all that propaganda about how he put an end to the Evil Empire.

    What a crock–especially considering that the Evil Empire is the US.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Can I be Emperor Ming in your elaborate costume fantas, MR?

    Dave

  • STM

    Ming the Merciless

  • Franco

    Interesting insight Dave.

    I think you are right-on in your #3 reply to MJW #2, and that is also interesting insight. The press liked Reagan a lot for reasons Michael noted, and they don’t like Bush for reasons he noted.

    Entertainment and cosmetics aside, Bush has always been willing, and still is to do what he sees as important no matter what the many so called “polls”, say, or what the new Dem Congress thinks or says or plots against him.

    Bush is a realest, he has held onto his agenda and no one and nothing has been able to change that. For a President to be reported as so unpopular, he can still stick it to the Dem Cogress. So who is it again that is suposded to be retarded?

    #2 Michael J. West
    –“when both your foreign and domestic agendas are disasters.”

    IYO

    Keep up with the (free western worlds) ever increasing political and policy changes growing increasingly similar to those always held by Bush, i.e., the old Germany and France take on Bush, and the new Germany and France just to name a few. They are not running to hug Bush for the cameras and the entertainment agenda freeks, but these European countries are infact changing their political agendas the past year and are becoming way to much like Bushes longstanding agenda even though it is not fasonable, entertaining, or with smiles.

    IMO

  • troll

    moonraven – as usual your basically correct observations are dismissed out of hand – it makes one wonder if it has something to do with presentation…

    that said – this certainly is a strange post…comparing the scandalous administrations of two murderous bastards

  • bliffle

    Franco: “Bush is a realest, he has held onto his agenda and no one and nothing has been able to change that. ”

    Did you mean ‘realist’? If so, how do you figure? Isn’t this admin self-described as ‘faith based’?

  • Doug Hunter

    “moonraven – as usual your basically correct observations are dismissed out of hand – it makes one wonder if it has something to do with presentation…”

    Perhaps being a cheerleader for the most murderous bloodthirsty ideology in history, one that spawns vicious dictators that killed tens of millions of people and oppressed whole continents in only a hundred years of existance or so has tainted our view. To an effiminate leftist sheep cowing down after 9/11 and capitulating to the enemy probably seems worthwhile (probably also the same reasons you guys end up being some dictators bitch so frequently)

    If murderous and bloodthirsty is the label applied by the sheeple to those who don’t bend over and take it from thuggish dictators and terrorists, then I’m a baaaad boy.

  • troll

    yep – them Sandinistas and Iraqi Baathists were real threats – well worth turning the Contras loose on the people of Nicaragua and bombing the shit out of the Iraqis

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Did you mean ‘realist’? If so, how do you figure? Isn’t this admin self-described as ‘faith based’?

    Bliffle, I challenge you to back that up with a quote from anyone in the administration.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    for Dave

    just a drive by Heckling…plenty of Quotes from W, as well as prime Examples of faith based policy, based on what he himself describes as his “gut” and “prayer”

    i’ll stop by in another couple of months, but ya can rest easy… i’m not hanging around fucking with folks using silly things like …i dunno…Facts…

    Excelsior?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I read over this article and generally agree with troll and (heavens to moygatroyd!!) our favorite blonde, busty, post sixty sex bomb, movie reviewer, linguistics expert and educational consultant, Marthe Raymond, a.k.a. moonraven!

    If you take off all the Teflon shine, the Reagan administration was one of murderous bastards, who largely didn’t give a damn about poor people. No matter how you cut the shwarma, the Bush administration, at least as it has looked from here since Sept. 2001, has been a murderous charade – but a far less effective one than Reagan’s.

    I voted against Bush in 2000 because I felt he was too stupid to hold office and hoped that someone like Gore would at least not spend the country down the toilet like Bush has. I didn’t vote for anybody in 2004 though I probably could have. I could not see an appreciable difference between Skull and Bones member Kerry and Skull and Bones member Bush – Tweedledee and Tweedldedummy. In addition, from my point of view as an Israeli, they were both shit.

    Dave, in terms of people nabbed and tossed into the pokey, it is quite true that far more Reagan appointees appear on the list than Bush appointees. Could this be because the press was more adversarial then in its relations with the government? Could it also be that Reagan was a bit more of an outsider than Bush was? That in the last decade and a half, having the inside track with government big-shots has become far more important to the media stars in what passes for “journalism” in America than was so before Clinton made it into office?

    Films were made both about Clinton and Bush, hatchet jobs, both of them. The one about Bill Clinton alleged that he was, as governor of Arkansas, nothing more or less than a serial rapist and killer of women the Arkansas State Patrol pimped for him off the roads there. The one about Bush, made by Michael Moore, alleged that Bush was an incompetent prick in the pay of the Saudis, one who is wasting precious American blood in the deserts of Iraq because he hasn’t got the balls to piss on his employer’s shoes for the benefit of his country.

    The movie about Clinton is still floating around in the internet somewhere because Bill Clinton had the sense not to utter one word about it. The one about Bush made Michael Moore a millionaire because Bush and his administration were stupid enough to condemn it.

    At the most charitable, Bush is not the sharpest tool in the toolshed, to quote John Loftus.

    Are Americans shallow? Let me get into deeper waters before I answer that…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    No, gonzo, the question was whether the administration claims to be ‘faith based’. I don’t believe that statement has ever been made. Bush may have said he believes in god or even prays when making decisions – what president hasn’t said that – but that’s a far cry from what Bliffle suggested.

    And the ‘faith based initiatives’ are an entirely different matter and actually make a great deal of sense, and remember I’m saying this as an atheist. IMO it was past time to make the religious charities pay for their tax exempt status.

    Dave

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    What about that time when Bush said that God told him to invade Iraq? That was fairly startling…

  • Zedd

    Dave

    I think you forget that while Reagan had a large approval rating, to most on the left he was considered to be an airhead, full of fluff and diabolical. Many see his policies to have ushered a devastating level of crime and drug infestation unknown in recent times. His policies are what devastated the minority community and made possible the explosion of gang banging, crack and everything else that came with that. To many he made it okay for leaders to speak in light terms without real substance. He made it fine to make up non existent problems and actually steer policy based on the manufactured premise. He invited the christian kooks to the table and got them started on their kick.

    For many, Bush is quite reminiscent of Reagan, however Reagan being the actor was better and being believable. Also Bush doesn’t have Nancy, Baker and gang.

  • Paotie

    Reagan was a master public relations expert.

    Bush is an idiotic public relatons expert.

    Reagan was a lottery winner by promoting the “US vs the Soviet Union”. Bruce Springsteen helped his cause when every idiot in America started singing, “Booooooooooorn in the USA!”

    Bush has Paris Hilton to drive his public relations nightmare.

    Simple.

    Paotie

  • REMF

    Dittos, Zedd. And weren’t Ronnie Reagan and Jerry Falwell good butt-buddies?

  • Paotie

    REMF ..

    Ehhh .. flashbacks of the “Moral Majority.”

    Yah, Reagan and Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart were all butt-buddies with benefits.

    Paotie

  • REMF

    “Bruce Springsteen helped his cause when every idiot in America started singing, “Booooooooooorn in the USA!”
    – Paotie

    Except for Cheech, who sang “Boooooooooooorrnn i-in East L.A.!”
    – MCH

  • Paotie

    REMF –

    Yup. I forgot about that.

    LOL.

    Paotie

  • zingzing

    “Reagan could get away with anything and Bush gets away with nothing.”

    but bush does get away with it. every time. all his critics do is give him a little slap on the wrist, he gives them back a smirk and some lipservice then goes on his merry way.

  • moonraven

    Yeah, But that would explode Nalle’s thesis all to hell, so he conveniently shouts down all reference to it.

    Or he will say that Bush is not really getting away with something, but simply flagrantly doing what he damn pleases as the retarded guy who is The Decider.

    But he would of course be wrong, because you folks allow the cross-eyed prick to rub your noses in his shit.

    And no, you will NOT, get your chance to do the same.

    Thanks to the Mayan Long Count….

  • Zedd

    “Reagan could get away with anything and Bush gets away with nothing.”

    We were much more naive during Reagan’s time. This was before “talk radio”, and the full explosion of Newt and liberal became a bad word. We hadn’t seen how ridiculous things could get. This was before talking points, cable, off course Bush II.

    While the entire charade was going on, there was a feeling that something of substance would be unveiled. While a lot of the country was getting wooed by the patriotic hypnotism, there was a feeling that one must be missing SOMETHING. That there has got to be something wonderful about this situation that I am just missing. As is the case in most take overs, “liberals” were made to feel unAmerican, lesser, immoral even. Hence the irrational attacks on “THE LEFT” that still persist today.

    Many of us watched the country being swept away and dummied down, in shock. The media was labeled “liberal” so they were shy to fully respond fearing an attack of partiality. It was a brilliant tactic but detrimental to “we the people”.

    With Bush, we were stunned from the start (actually we didn’t vote him in…). When he came in, we were like, not again and certainly not this boob. However, the carry over of the patriotic haze, talk radio, left is bad, Republican is Christian, made a segment of our population to dig in and refuse to see what was in front of them. The ignorance of the now populous because of the “ignorancing” efforts which began with Reagan, assured that real issues would not be considered issues. People would concentrate on the names calling (a la flip flopper… help us all). If a name was MADE UP about you, THAT became the bad thing and the issue in the campaign. However a lot of Americans remembered the past craziness and are smart enough to not accept it, regardless of ideological bent. Libby is where he is because of Republicans…. go figure.

  • http://benefitofthedoubt.miksimum.com/ Jesse

    Dave, real quick-like, what does a President need to say to make it clear that he’s running a faith-based operation in the White House? How about:

    “I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That’s what I believe. And that’s one part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty. And I can’t tell you how encouraged how I am to see freedom on the march. And so my principles that I make decisions on are a part of me. And religion is a part of me.” (Third Presidential Debate, 10-13-04)

    “I believe that God wants me to be president.”

    “We need common-sense judges who understand our rights were derived from God…”

    These, and more, from BeliefNet.

    So even if he hasn’t come out and said, “My policies are dictated by the word of God,” he’s made that position pretty clear. This is postmodern PR… affirming personal commitment to faith, supporting policies that are strictly in line with cherished Catholic, traditionalist, and institutionally religious commitment, and at the same time, denying that your policies are theocratic. In the same breath, our politicians today can make it clear to the religious segment that they’re acting in God’s name, and they can maintain a veil of plausible deniability in the face of partisan criticism.

    I’m all for nuanced ideological discussion, but I need to hear a clearer commitment before I buy it from the right. This stuff here is just double-speak.

  • REMF

    “George Bush is certainly no Ronald Reagan – Reagan could get away with anything and Bush gets away with nothing.” Nalle

    Not true. GW got away with DESERTING from the Guards the last 2 years of his obligation.

    [MCH, Knock it off with the namechanging on Mr Nalle. Don’t forget you are still on double secret probation! Thanks. Comments Editor]

  • Clavos

    “GW got away with DESERTING from the Guards the last 2 years of his obligation.”

    That’s a blatant lie.

  • Zedd

    Jesse,

    Bush is not running a faith based operation in the White House.

    What conservatives have done is perform studies to understand what language appeals to the faithful. They use certain terms which resonate with the Christian community in order to bait them. Reagan started it and it worked beautifully for him. You should have heard the buzz in the evangelical community. Although he wasn’t particularly religious, making the baiting statements is all that they needed. He was a believer in their eyes. Reagan ended up saying that he’d had a religious experience when he was cornered about his salvation. By then, it was too late. He had won them over. He invited significant ministers from the evangelical community to prayer breakfasts. They were in love.

    So no Jesse. Bush is just using the religious community to win favor. He doesn’t mean any of that stuff. We saw the real Bush when he was not aware of being on speaker, cussin like a sailor when talking to Blair at last year’s G8.

  • REMF

    “That’s a blatant lie.” Clavos

    Oh really? And so are Gen. William Turnispeed and the 700 other guys at Dannelly AFB in ’72 also lying about not seeing GW there?

  • Clavos

    Not seeing him there is not desertion.

    Desertion is a specific violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. To be a deserter you first have to be accused of it, then court martialed, and finally, convicted.

    None of those things happened, so GWB is not a deserter.

    You know this full well yourself from your military training, and we’ve discussed it before on this site, as well.

    Ergo, it’s a blatant lie to call GWB a deserter.

  • REMF

    He abandoned his post for more than 30 days. Just because his daddy bought his way out of it, doesn’t mean he didn’t desert.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I think Zedd has it exactly right for once in #44. Bush is merely playing the religion card to impress certain people and take on a mantle of righteousness. I see no real implementation of anything particularly christian in any of his actual policies, and that’s a good thing, IMO.

    Jesse, he may mention god in all the appropriate places, but god is clearly not dictating his policies. And many of those statements are one which almost any president would make, using god in the same generic way that the founders used ‘god’ in the Declaration of Independence.

    Dave

  • troll

    just ’cause Simpson’s innocent doesn’t mean that he didn’t do it

  • Clavos

    Immaterial to my point…

  • troll

    *Immaterial to my point…*

    which is what – ?…that REMF needed to preface his remarks with ‘evidence indicates’ or ‘imo’ – ?

  • Clavos

    No, as I’ve said repeatedly, He’s not a deserter until he’s convicted of it, any more than OJ is a murderer.

  • troll

    a conviction turns a murderer into a convicted murderer…an acquittal turns a murderer into an acquitted murderer

  • Clavos

    And, under the Constitution, a murderer who’s never even been charged with murder is innocent, no?

  • troll

    innocent but no less a murderer

  • Clavos

    But that’s between him and whatever he considers his higher power or conscience. It’s not for us to judge legally.

  • Clavos

    And, until all the facts are brought out in a legal proceeding in court, how can you be SURE he’s a murderer, if you’re not a direct eyewitness to the murder itself?

  • troll

    I agree that Bush’s desertion is between him and his God…probably one of his lesser worries when it comes to that interview

  • Clavos

    And, even if you ARE an eyewitness, how can you be sure it’s not just a killing (which is not necessarily murder).

    Is a soldier who kills in combat a murderer?

    Is an insane person who kills a murderer?

    Is what Jack Kevorkian does, murder?

  • Clavos

    If there is a god, I doubt very much the question of desertion will even come up. It’s a manmade concept which can’t possibly have any importance to a being in the mold of the popular christian god.

  • troll

    lucky for Bush

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    #57 — July 5, 2007 @ 23:26PM — Clavos

    No, as I’ve said repeatedly, He’s not a deserter until he’s convicted of it, any more than OJ is a murderer.

    #58 — July 5, 2007 @ 23:48PM — troll

    a conviction turns a murderer into a convicted murderer…an acquittal turns a murderer into an acquitted murderer

    #59 — July 5, 2007 @ 23:52PM — Clavos

    And, under the Constitution, a murderer who’s never even been charged with murder is innocent, no?

    #60 — July 5, 2007 @ 23:55PM — troll

    innocent but no less a murderer…

    This little back and forth illustrates why I agree with troll here. Nobody in authority has had the guts to stand up and scream “murder” at an administration that has committed it time and again. Nobody in the press has had the guts to pin Bush with his crimes against America – primarily treason and consorting with an enemy state (Saudi Arabia) – which would be under high crimes and misdemeanors – and attempt to bring him for impeachment for it. And as Marthe Raymond has pointed out, nobody will.

    If you do not charge a murderer with murder, he remains innocent of the crime, EVEN THOUGH HE HAS COMMITTED IT IN PLAIN SIGHT.

  • Clavos

    One reason nobody has, Ruvy, is that would make murderers out of virtually every president this country has ever had, and by extension, the entire populace.

    And nobody wants that.

    We’ve been at war continuously our entire existence as a nation, and even when the cause was, at least in our own eyes, “just,” as in WW II, murder is the only moral definition for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Mind you, I’m not condemning us for bombing those two cities; I believe it saved a lot of American (and probably Japanese) lives, but it was murder nonetheless.

    “There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.”

    William T. Sherman
    1880

  • bliffle

    Gonzo: This is Daves latest strategy, to deny the obvious. After he gets his demanded citations he pulls a Scooter: “I forgot”, or some other evasion.

    But where does The Gonzo One hangout now? Googling doesn’t reveal it.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos,

    Accusing Bush – or any other president – with murder would be a waste of time. But, in Bush’s case, treason, ad high crimes and misdemeanors would be a fitting charge.

    Your nation has attacked Iraq since 2003, and while it could be well argued that ridding the world of Saddam Hussein was in America’s interest, and stopping his regime from developing WMD’s was in th4e country’s security interest, the real enemy YOUR country has had has been Saudi Arabia, and its spoors, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Moslem Brotherhood, and their spoors – Hamas here.

    But your president and the corporate leaders he represents have been in bed with the Saudis – and you have all been getting screwed as a result.

  • STM

    “Liars, criminals and dastards”.

    Dastards? I just know you meant bastards, didn’t you?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Stan, look the word up. It’s just perfect.

    Bliffle, you’re full of crap. Give me an example of what you’re accusing me of or find something more constructive to do with your time.

    Ruvy, last I checked everyone in the US government, of both political persuasions pretty much agrees that the Saudi’s are far from an enemy nation. Maybe it should be otherwise, but right now we operate on the assumption that they are our buddies as has been the case for years.

    Dave

  • STM

    “a conviction turns a murderer into a convicted murderer … an acquittal turns a murderer into an acquitted murderer”.

    No troll, assuming that the criminal law in the US is almost identical to the criminal law in Australia and Britain (and I’m pretty sure that’s the case) … a person charged with murder is innocent until proven guilty, either by admission through a plea or through a decision reached by a jury of his/her peers reached after due process and a fair trial.

    If a person is convicted of the charge, they are then, yes, a convicted murderer.

    But a person charged with murder and who is acquitted or found not guilty can neither be called an acquitted murderer nor an acquitted killer. The clue is in the fact that most are free to go.

    Once again, it’s about that hoary old chestnut: “Innocent until proven guilty”.

    And if not found guilty, then innocent it is.

    And so it should be, and one of the main reason why our adversarial legal systems offer such great rights and safeguards to those accused of (but not proven to have committed) a crime.

  • STM

    And in regards to OJ, at law he is not guilty. What we think personally, and perhaps express in private, is a different matter, but you can be sued for suggesting that he did it. It won’t in theory be covered by the 1st amendment, because at law, he’s not guilty.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Ruvy, last I checked everyone in the US government, of both political persuasions pretty much agrees that the Saudi’s are far from an enemy nation. Maybe it should be otherwise, but right now we operate on the assumption that they are our buddies as has been the case for years.

    You mean that “friends” can’t be bought, Dave? I’m painfully aware of what the “working assumptions” are in your government. The money is spread like shit on a field – thick – to produce this result. And you are aware that “maybe it should be otherwise,” demonstrating that at least you have some shred of brains working in that pate of yourn.

    There is a lot of money invested in keeping the distinctions that separate the Wahhabi from the Sunni and Shi’a (and from Islam generally) blurred because a lot of money is riding on keeping the fact that what is going on (at a material level at least) is a resource war, NOT a war on terror, and the business partners of the United States oil and banking elite in this war are terrorists.

    As I’ve pointed out innumerable times before, “Islamo-fascism” has no address, but the Wahhabi do.

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    Something very significant happened between the Regan and the current Bush administrations. The Soviet Union collapsed. Instead of being a great thing for capitalist imperialism, it became a nightmare. Everything is now more complicated and difficult.

    And, as Moon Raven suggests, Regan had nothing to do with the demise of the Soviet Union. It was rotten to the core for decades. It’s a wonder it lasted as long as it did. Anyway, good riddance.

    Bush is not stupid. He does make mistakes and he learns from them. In addition to Europe becoming more in tune with U.S. policies, there is no significant opposition to the Bush war policies in the U.S.

    There is only one major issue that divides the ruling class and that is immigration policy. Almost all else is agreed on to some extent. That leaves nothing but bickering to distinguish the Dems from the Pubs.

    About who gets in the slammer or has to resign, well the government on all levels has been mostly crooks and other unsavory types for a long time. There is only one foreign policy, there is no alternative. The side out of power has nothing to offer. They just say they can do it better. They instead focus on the inconsequential. That includes name calling.

    Don’t take anything they say seriously unless you can independently verify it. And we should worry a lot more about how many of us go to jail instead of the Scooters and other such lowlife.

    And, who the fuck cares where the young Mr. Bush was during his reserve time?

    Les

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Stan, you’re kind of missing the point there – or possibly taking an overly legalistic line.

    There’s all the difference in the world between a crime, say murder or desertion, being proven in a court of law and the fact that such a person is in fact a murderer/deserter or not. Therefore I’d have to agree with the troll on this one.

  • REMF

    “I think Zedd has it exactly right for once in #44.” Nalle

    I disagree, Nalle. Zedd has it right more often than you do.

  • REMF

    “And, who the fuck cares where the young Mr. Bush was during his reserve time?”

    Um, the pusher who was supplying his cocaine…?

  • Clavos

    Legalize all drugs…

  • Zedd

    Troll

    I’d have to agree with you on this.

    A huge moral question which seems to have a simple answer to some of us. I suppose what propels politicians but more so the new right is just that “conundrum”. If no one catches us it didn’t happen. Or if no one can or will prove otherwise, then it did happen (referring to smear campaigns).

    This should be what journalists work to unveil but somehow they have veered to simply reporting what they are told is fact by spin doctors, being afraid to be labeled as bias.

    Stan what do you have to say for your lot?

  • Shaun

    1. Yes most of America is wooed by a $400 haircut and a million dollar smile – sad but true (in regards to the popularity of Reagan)

    2. Reagan turned out to be a horrible president – in a time when govt. was flirting with deficit spending, he solidified govt. policy by tripling the debt. (We have never paid off the debt since) – Zedd also posted some good facts on Reagan’s administration.

    3. I could compare George W. Bush to Stalin, Hitler, or any other brutal murderer and he would look like the best leader in the world – but he’s not. Period. In fact he’s one of the worst.

    You can speculate on how historians will view his administration “in the future” – but you didn’t give any rationale as to WHY opinion of Bush would change.

    (You say, “well Reagan is viewed popularly now despite corruption during his administration” – but he was practically always popular; Bush has been consistently rated one of the worst of all time, minus that little bubble of time known as 9/11)

  • Shaun

    @Clavos – what would be wrong with legalizing drugs? That doesn’t mean we’re legalizing gangs or gangbangs, or killing OVER drugs.

    I equate the “war on drugs” now to the prohibition era of alcohol. It’s dumb and it serves no purpose. You can’t force people to have good habits.

  • Clavos

    “@Clavos – what would be wrong with legalizing drugs?”

    Nothing.

    Isn’t that what I said?

  • STM

    Zedd: “Stan what do you have to say for your lot?”

    We try to be proactive here, Zedd, doing things like slipping through airport security (into the baggage handling area via the back gate) etc to expose how easy it is. Unfortunately, the federal government has started referring these cases to the federal police, who are now considering charging journalists for doing this. We have a case going on at the moment where two reporters are facing charges for doing just such a thing.

    However, none of us will be cowed by that kind of stuff, and it’s unlikely a court will convict, but the bastards are trying it on anyway to frighten us.

    I am of the opinion that journalists who do this kind of thing, and who refuse to give up their sources despite being pressured to do so by the authorities, are doing the public a great service.

    Print and be damned, I say. What use is the press if it just regurgitates what government and bureacracy wants it to?

    The press has a duty to inform, and part of that duty is attacking government if government is doing the wrong thing.

    I assume the press in the US is also still doing that, for the most part (I believe a NYT reporter has been in the poop recently). You’d hope so, because the more they try to get at us, the more you know they are being shifty and deserve to be exposed.

  • STM

    Rosey: I agree with yoir premise, but I know that in Australia, if you call someone a murderer/crminal after a jury has decided (legally) they’re not, you will end up parting with a small fortune.

    The law might be an ass on occasions, but it exists as a protection as well. That some guilty parties manage to take advantage of that is unfortunate, but it’s just the way it is. The decision of a jury is the decision of a jury, no matter how nicely it’s been manipulated.

    The presumption of innoncence, quite simply, is the cornerstone of all our criminal justice systems, and it goes back 1000 years or more, so it’s obviously got something going for it.

  • Clavos

    “The presumption of innoncence, quite simply, is the cornerstone of all our criminal justice systems…”

    And its importance is really brought out if you ever live in a country that doesn’t have it, like Mexico.

  • bliffle

    Comparison with Prohibition may be a weak argument:

    “#78 — July 8, 2007 @ 01:05AM — Shaun

    I equate the “war on drugs” now to the prohibition era of alcohol. It’s dumb and it serves no purpose. You can’t force people to have good habits.”

    I once read a report that said alcohol consumption dropped 30% during prohibition. So some people obeyed the law, like my parents. And even after repeal they didn’t drink. A bad useless habit eliminated. And it was against the law and some people actually obey the law! Can you imagine that? But those were different people in a different time.

    The problem with prohibition was that gangsterism flourished, as it has during the current nutty period of drug prohibition. And it turns good citizens into scofflaws and sceptics.