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Grading The Bush Administration, Part II: Domestic Policy

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In Part I, we looked at some aspects of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, but, more important, we acknowledged how difficult it is to play historian when dealing with current events. Historians have enough trouble with past events where one can at least see some of the implications of policies that may have looked good or bad at the time but later turned out to have unintended consequences.

In addition, one’s personal bias filters judgments – objectivity is futile, which is why I freely admit to my somewhat liberal approach while also expressing my frustration with many liberal approaches to public policy.

Therefore, one has to approach this exercise with caution and humility. A sense of humor is also useful.

Compassionate Conservatism: It was never clear what that meant, but it had a nice ring to it. The recent Washington Post series on Dick Cheney makes it clear that the compassionate word means little to him, and given his unusual power and political skill, he’s managed to turn the phrase into just that – nice words. There’s very little indication of compassion in the Bush administration track record, save for the wealthy, and lots of examples of quite the opposite. (Grade: F)

No Child Left Behind: Another great sound bite that has shown some results but has also forced schools and teachers into becoming training grounds for standardized test taking as opposed to learning. I would argue that, while the concept is excellent, the approach taken is clumsy and counter-productive. And the budget cuts in education to pay for Iraq and military expansion have made it even more difficult to turn the slogan into reality.

To be fair, the public education system in American has been a mess for years, so one can’t blame Bush for all the problems, particularly when competing ideologies and a bunch of Congressional Neanderthals seem incapable of keeping the focus on the real issue: the nation’s children. (Grade: D)

Faith-Based Initiatives: I have not seen the data on this, but a friend who filed an FOI request years ago and has been dogged about getting the information relates that virtually 100% of the money has gone to evangelical Protestant groups—none to mainline Protestant, Catholics, Jews, or, gasp, Muslims. Very scary if true. More important, what business does the government have even supporting these kinds of activities? (Grade: F)

The Economy, Taxes, Wealth, & Poverty: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed." Guess who said that. Edward Kennedy? Hillary Clinton? The President of Lithuania? Try General Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1950.

What a quaint little thought.  How… 1950ish, eh? 

As Peter Drucker, the business consulting guru, once said, "Policy is what we do, not what we say."  By that criteria, the policy of the United States is to turn its back on the poor, the disenfranchised, and the struggling.

However, once again, one cannot simply blame the Bush administration for an economic system whose goal seems to be wealth creation for the rich and wannabe rich while ignoring the needs of the poor and middle class. The wild growth in disparity of income and wealth began years ago, and the Bush tax cuts simply are a reflection of this strange loss of empathy in America for those whose struggle grows daily. In addition, people tend to assume that presidents have much more power to affect the economy than they actually do, which makes an assessment even more difficult.

This issue splits right down ideological lines. Conservatives believe that current economic policy, including tax cuts, are a blessing and have brought prosperity. Liberals compare it to Reagan’s "credit card" economy where he stimulated growth by busting the budget.
In early June, the General Accounting Office issued an ominous report, “The Bottom Line – Federal Fiscal Policy Remains Unsustainable.”  Federal budget analyst Susan Irving wrote in the report, "Absent any action to change the path of health-care and Social Security spending and a decision about the level of taxes, you cannot fix the long-term fiscal challenge."

To his credit, Bush has at least tried to address some of these ticking time bombs, but like every president in the last few decades, he has failed to rally support for third-rail issues such as social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and health care. The American Association for the Advancement of Retired People (Motto: “We’ve got ours—fuck you”) is such a powerful and negative voice against rational change that it’s hard to imagine what anyone can do. (Grade: Take Your Pick – D-F)

The Environment: The Washington Post series on Cheney, above, makes it clear that the VP, not very sharp with a gun, hasn’t a clue about environmental issues. It turns out that former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, by no means a tree hugger, resigned primarily because of Cheney’s interference in clean air, clean water, natural resource use, and virtually every other issue—all to the detriment of the environment. Worse, the refusal of the administration to engage in any rational way on the global warming debate makes American look like ostriches on the world stage. (Grade: F)

Energy: Liberal conspiracy theorists are still convinced we invaded Iraq to get their oil.  That's never made any sense to me, but I still haven’t a clue why we invaded Iraq.  On the other hand, the Bush team-energy industry relations are well known. The problem is that America has been embroiled in an energy crisis for decades, and, as with other social problems that require personal sacrifice on the part of Americans, rhetoric has far outstripped performance.

The calls for a Manhattan Project for new forms of energy have resulted in exclamations of support and huzzahs from all sides — but no one seems to want to fund it. Solar, geothermal, wind power, and corn cobs are great, but they’re not going to solve the problem. The marketplace, which conservatives tout as the solution to all ills, has been full of hype about hybrid cars, 30+ mpg cars, and winged-tip shoes that actually flap and fly, but it’s mostly hype.

Bush could have been the perfect president to break the log jam with a “Nixon Goes to China” breakthrough. Alas, that isn’t his style. So, we leave it to the next president to do nothing on energy. (Grade: It’s not completely fair, but Bush has done virtually nothing except call for drilling in my backyard, which I completely support: F)

Immigration: The most moronic piece of legislation ever to surface in Congress finally died…for now, and the Democrats are as responsible as the Republicans for this idiocy.
Again, we’re trapped between competing ideologies. The conservatives can’t explain how we’re going to arrest and deport 12+ million illegals; the liberals can’t explain how we’re going to make them legal without unfairly penalizing those legal immigrants who’ve been playing by the rules. Conservatives worry, with some justification, that we’ll be an Hispanic nation within the next few decades; liberals don’t talk about it. Some problems seem simply too massive for a democracy to resolve. (Grade: D, only because Bush supported something, even if it was a horrible bill.)

The Bill of Rights, Justice, Security, Freedom: Oh, what a tangled web we weave. The Cheney series in the Post makes it clear that he and his cronies were willing to shatter not only the Bill of Rights, but treaties the U.S. has embraced for over 100 years. What a surprise that our moral authority around the world is now slightly higher than Lithuania’s. The wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency, the politicization of the Justice Department (when John Ashcroft refuses to agree with you on how to bend the laws, you know you’re in trouble,) and all the rest suggest that the balance has tilted dangerously in the direction of security over personal freedoms. Why conservatives aren’t screaming about that is one of life’s great mysteries. (Grade: F)

Science, Research, and American Technology: One of the most dangerous and short-sighted moves by the Bush administration has been the sapping of research dollars into basic research. As we continue to lose our manufacturing base, which is inevitable, our primary source of economic power will be technology fueled by new science, and we’re slowly losing our supremacy. (Grade: F)

The Supreme Court: Conservatives will give Bush an A, liberals will fail him completely. Recent rulings, all by a 5-4 margin, make it clear that Chief Justice Roberts’ claim to want to build consensus is just so much baloney. Personally, I’m horrified, particularly because many of these super conservative justices are so young. For good or ill, the Court may be Bush’s most important legacy; only time will reveal what kind of legacy it is.

There is so much more one could explore, but if there’s a sense of sameness about much of the above, it’s because the conservative, pro-business, anti-consumer philosophy is the foundation of this administration’s approach to governance.

Ah yes, one more category:  The American People.  We are becoming self-centered, xenophobic, mean spirited, distrustful, shadows of a once proud nation.  We will sacrifice nothing for another — even our own children.  The rare accounts of random acts of kindness are mere drips of color on a canvas painted with scenes from a country I barely recognize any longer.  Grade:  F 


 

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Appropriately pessimistic evaluation and outlook.

    George Bush is a symtom. Congress is another.

    We may keep on trying the old politics–Dems vs. Reps, conservatives good–liberals bad, etc., but that’s for suckers. The two-party system in the U.S. is broken and isn’t fixable. Both parties are eager and willing to prostitute themselves in exchange for unlimited money and absolute power, and it has rotted away their roots.

    We might as well face it:our government, at every level, is for sale to the highest bidder. Campaigns are like commercials:showy, loud, and filled with empty promises. Until we can address that problem, who wins the elections is not going to matter. It won’t be the people.

    Candidates and elected officials don’t need courage, smarts, drive, principles, or the will to work;they are often just party figureheads, anyway, with no practical expertise, vision, or sensible worldview.

    Term limits, and cutting out the corruption of lobbyists and pressure groups would be a start. Giving them less of our money to spend recklessly would be a significant improvement. A viable third party could shift more power back to the people, who are now too often taken for granted by the pols. An honest news media would demand answers and accountability.

    Tar and feathers is also an interesting option.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Lee,

    I like the tar & feather idea, but you fail to address my last point–the grade I give us, the American people for putting up with this bullshit. Democrat & Republican, liberal & conservative are meaningless labels, but 3rd party efforts have traditionally been the route of equally posturing no-nothings, Perot, Anderson, etc.

    Now with the Robert’s court gutting McCain-Feingold, money will rule even more. I wish I had a solution…even a suggestion would be nice. But I’ve only one, and that has nothing to do with politics:

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Clavos

    “I like the tar & feather idea, but you fail to address my last point–the grade I give us, the American people for putting up with this bullshit.”

    Tar and feathers oughta work…

    (we could get the illegals to do the actual work of applying it)

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

    McCain-Feingold may be getting gutted, but it was as much a problem as money has ever been. It was inherently unfair and arbitrary, and we’d be better off with no restrictions at all.

    As for the article itself, I think you’re being unduly harsh in a number of areas. The SC hasn’t actually handed down any troubling rulings so far. Bush’s economic policies may be uneven, but the overall picture seems pretty positive. But most of all, you’re dead wrong on energy policy. Put aside Cheney’s ham-handed meddling and you have to admit that Bush has done more than any previous president to promote alternative energy and open up new sources of energy. Sure, he could have done more, but he really does seem to be trying.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Compassionate Conservatism: A meaningless category. It was just a slogan, not a policy. Grade: N/A

    No Child Left Behind: I’m not real thrilled about the federal government taking an even larger role in what should be a state issue, but the fact of the matter is, standardized testing is the ONLY way to objectively gauge whether students are learning anything. Being forced to “teach to the test” is an oft-repeated educators’ lament, but what’s the alternative? Teaching whatever the fuck they want? Or not teaching at all? At least Bush tried to improve the dismal state of public education in this country by adding more money and some measure of accountability to the process.

    Faith-Based Initiatives: I would have preferred this didn’t happen. But it’s hardly the stuff of nightmare scenarios.

    The Economy, Taxes, Wealth, & Poverty: The economy has grown during every single quarter of the entire Bush administration, except for the two quarters immediately after he took office (the Clinton recession). He cut taxes (good) and tried to reform Social Security (good). Unfortunately, he allowed the scum in the Congress to spend like drunken sailors. The budget deficit is a problem, but it is currently shrinking WITHOUT having raised taxes. But it’s understandable that a government would run a deficit, in the wake of a recession and the worst terrorist attack in world history, which occurred right in the heart of the financial sector of our largest city. Oh, and we’re now in the midst of an expensive long-term global war. So, a 200 or 300 billion dollar annual budget deficit (which is maybe two percent of GDP) isn’t a huge deal.

    The Environment:

    Bush has put more money into alternative energy research than Clinton ever did. He has also offered tax cuts for individuals who purchase hybrid vehicles or install solar panels on their homes. And he also created the largest protected ocean area in the world, in the Pacific. (Bet you didn’t hear much about that in the MSM!)

    Energy: Kyoto is bogus because it exempts Red China and India. Bush tried to drill in a tiny section of ANWR and in the Gulf of Mexico (no more dependence on Middle Eastern oil!), tried to build new nuclear plants (no “greenhouse” emissions there!), and tried to get more refineries built (which could lower gas prices). The “greens” in the Congress refused to allow those reforms to pass. So, now we have three-dollar per gallon gas, no new refineries, no new nuclear power plants, and a greater dependence upon foreign oil even though we have unused oil reserves all over the place. Good fucking job, Congress…

    Immigration: Utter and complete failure by Bush.

    The Bill of Rights, Justice, Security, Freedom: Well, we haven’t had any serious domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11, have we?

    Science, Research, and American Technology: Uh, stem-cell research is still going on, Mark. It’s just not being funded with federal tax dollars…

    The Supreme Court: I’ll give Bush a B+. I’d give him an “A” but he tried to get one of his cronies (the unqualified Harriett Miers) in. Other than that though, Roberts and Alito are fucking wonderful!

    Overall, I’d give Bush a C+ on domestic policy. He’d get a lot better score in my book if it wasn’t for the endless Congressional pork, and the immigration/border fiasco (and the prescription drug entitlement, and “campaign finance reform,” and…)

    :-/

  • Zedd

    Mark,

    What I found interesting is that the term “compassionate conservative” suggests that in the past, conservatives have not been so compassionate.

    In this climate of partisanship, it will be nearly impossible for conservatives to self examine and admit that they have projected meanness for the past 25yrs or so.

    Just reading the comments of many of the so called conservatives on this thread, you see the indoctrination and playing out of meanness. Listening to talk radio you cant help but be nauseated by the unnecessarily mean spirit of their rantings.

  • Zedd

    RJ

    Nice post.

    I’d be interested to see what grade you would give Bush on all of the points that Mark brought up.

  • troll

    Mark – you foolish man…what possessed you to think that you could attack Lithuania in such a vile fashion with impunity – ?

    as for you underlying issue – how the people are changing for the worse – I dunno…we’ve been a nation with The Blues for so long now…but I still see kindness in every day life

  • Zedd

    troll

    Read most of your posts.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Troll, God bless you. Finally, after thousands of Lithuania comments, someone has reacted. Does no one but me see the threat to our national security from the unleashed hordes of Lithuanians pretending to be Estonians in our nation?

    Dave, my friend, you phoned it in. Only to a conservative would the SC rulings so far not be “troubling.” I’m appalled & terrified by what they’re doing, but, as I noted in the article, if you’re a Con, you’ll love ‘em, if you’re a pro, er, Lib, you’ll hate ‘em.

    McCain-Feingold was only slightly less moronic than the immigration reform (har har) bill, but at least it began to control the flood of money. Unleashing the ghouls with gold in not my idea of a smart republic.

    RJ, I appreciate your thoughtfulness, even if you’re sooooo wrong, it’s, like, I’m gonna bust a ball laughing. No…sorry, couldn’t help myself.

    The trouble with standardized tests is that they incorrectly presume that learning and knowledge attainment are linear processes that can be measured and tracked. Einstein never did get his Ph.D. He barely made it out of college. I love the theme of No Child Left Behind, but turning it from rhetoric to real programs requires a lot smarter people than Bush has put in charge of education.

    Bill of Rights, etc. Yeah, no attacks yet. Doesn’t that make you hesitate? Don’t the loonies hate us any more? What’s going on with that? Or have the Bushers so completely eroded our civil rights without our knowing it that every Tom, Dick, and Ahmen in the country is bugged 24/7. Of course I don’t want to see us attacked, but how can a conservative not be outraged by the NSA, CIA, FBI, Justic excesses?

    Energy: If you believe the solution is drill, drill, drill your boat…then Bush has been there for you, but as usual, he couldn’t figure out how to get it done. The funding of alternatives has been pathetic and has mostly catered to the corn dog industry. He also hasn’t made any effort to sell nukes, which I’d probably support. And there’s been no real effort at serious alternatives.

    Research: Stem cell research is very important, since I’m a smoker and want them to come up with replacement lungs grown from my own cells very quickly. Also, I’m bald, so they should spend lots of money researching that. But the research lapse in the country is much more serious than just that one issue. We’re underfunding basic research to a dangerous degree. Soon, only Lithuanians will have cell phones.

    Zedd, meanness isn’t just a conservative quality, it’s becoming part of our national character with liberals and libertarians, religious fanatics, and atheists all gobbling up their fair share. I’m not sure what’s driving it. Fear, I’d guess.

    Oh, Clavos…great idea for how to use those 12+ million illegals. Love it.

    But at least we’ll always have…

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “We’re underfunding basic research to a dangerous degree.”

    From here:

    In 1980, 80 percent of all new drugs were developed in Europe; today the United States supplies 80 percent of the world’s new medicine. Unless Europe makes a determined effort to reverse this relative decline, by 2012 U.S. spending on pharmaceutical research and development will be twice the size of total European spending.

    Being your fact-checker is a full-time job, Mark… :-/

  • Baronius

    RJ – I loved your overview. I don’t agree with all of it, but that demonstrates how intellectually diverse conservatives are. Mark’s review of the administration was boring.

    I love the idea of a Manhattan Project for non-fossil fuels. There already was a Manhattan Project for non-fossil fuels, and it gave us a great energy source we’re barely using.

    RJ mentioned, and Mark ignored, the expansion of Medicaid. Interesting. Moderate Republicans often expand the role of government. Conservatives insist that they shouldn’t, for two reasons: more government is bad, and R’s don’t get credit from liberals for making government bigger. That’s exactly what happened, as Mark skipped Medicaid.

  • Clavos

    “I love the idea of a Manhattan Project for non-fossil fuels.”

    So do I.

    Eliminating our dependence on oil from the Arabs and Hugo Chavez should be our #1 goal. That’s much more important (and urgent) to our national wellbeing than worrying about our CO2 emissions.

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

    It’s a weird thing, but virtually every Republican you ask will agree that we need massive improvement of our alternative fuel production, yet the Congress is dragging its heals at every opportunity.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Mark,

    I can’t really comment intelligently on your report: I haven’t lived in the United States for almost six years. The place seems to have changed terribly since I moved away – and for the worse. But because I’m not there, I do not have the feel for what is occurring that you and other American residents do.

    But why don’t you leave Lithuania out of all this. Even if the Lithuanians are nasty anti-Semites who were overjoyed to see Jews dead, they don’t deserve all the insults you seem to heap on them. And from what I read here, if things keep going the way they are, Lithuania WILL have a higher standard of living than you all do…

  • Clavos

    “And from what I read here, if things keep going the way they are, Lithuania WILL have a higher standard of living than you all do…”

    Don’t believe everything you read, Ruvy.

    Especially not here…

  • moonraven

    I agree with giving the people of the US a grade of F.

    But I don’t agree that you are only NOW becoming self-centered, xenophobic, mean spirited, distrustful, shadows of a once proud nation.

    A nation built on genocide means that you have ALWAYS been like that.

    Only now have a handful of folks started to feel guilty about it….

    Not on this site, of course….

  • Clavos

    “Only now have a handful of folks started to feel guilty about it….”

    And yet, none of them killed anybody.

    Go figure.

  • moonraven

    How do you know they haven’t killed anybody?

    The prisons in the US are bursting at the seams. Some of those folks DID kill someone.

    Duh.

  • Clavos

    Because, mr,

    “”Only now have a handful of folks started to feel guilty about it….””

    Anyone alive today who is addlepated enough to feel guilty for the so-called “genocide” of the Indians, is not likely to be a killer.

    They’re much more likely to be a college professor than a hit man.

    People who ARE killers rarely feel guilty about it.

  • moonraven

    Clavos,

    The genocide continues, oh ignorant gusano.

    And please DO tell us how you are privy to the innermost thoughts of REAL KILLERS.

  • Clavos

    “And please DO tell us how you are privy to the innermost thoughts of REAL KILLERS.”

    Killers fascinate me. I read everything I can on real ones, including psychological/psychiatric reports, when available.

    According to the doctors who examine them, few feel guilty; most are psychopaths.

  • Clavos

    “The genocide continues”

    Oh, really?

    Per Merriam-Webster:

    Main Entry: geno·cide
    Pronunciation: ‘je-n&-“sId
    Function: noun
    : the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.

    I don’t recall that happening to Native Americans anytime during the last 100 years, probably longer.

    So, no. There’s no reason for any living American to feel guilty for genocide of Native Americans.

  • Baronius

    Come on, Clavos. You’ve got better things to do with your time, like Pong. (Can you still play Pong online?) By Moonraven’s comment #19, she assumes that people are genocidal killers unless they can prove otherwise. Why talk to someone like that? Although, you say that you’re interested in psychological disorders, so feel free…

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    For some reason, I wasn’t able to access the comments until now, but I’ll try to recoup.

    RJ: Your statistic on new drugs is relatively useless. Most new drugs are modest refinements of older versions to extend patent protection, not real new drugs. As one who has worked for big pharma as a consultant, I have to confess I’m bitterly disappointed at the games they’re playing and the lack of real effort there is into drugs that could be considered “new.” It’s a pitiful, money-driven game to sustain patents, not a search for new drugs that keeps them going, and, as because I was once such a keen supporter of pharma, I find it more painful.

    Baronius, you’ve grown mean in your old age! Call me boring??? That’s the worst insult imaginable. Yes, I failed to mention Medicare expansion (you said Medicaid, but I’m pretty sure you meant the are, not aid.) The bizarre drug payment plan is a reasonably good thing–I think–although absurdly complex, but it doesn’t begin to address the underlying funding problems. I think I did acknowledge that Bush is no more culpable than many before him. No one wants to take on the old farts (and I’ll be one of those fairly soon.) AARP is the great enemy of change in that arena.

    Ruvy, I know absolutely nothing about Lithuania except that it’s one of the most beautiful words I know. Every sound is soft and flowing; there’s not a harsh consonant there. Remember… satirists only need to cling losely to truth. Humor has equal sway to truth.

    Clavos, while I don’t see any reason to engage MR in discussion, I am pleased to see that, while her opinions are as radically skewed as ever, her tone and approach have changed dramatically for the better. At least one can engage her without fear of some wildly personal offensive attack.

    The next step is to find common ground somewhere from which to get her to stop using such a wide paintbrush. Alas, my mental decline leaves me incapable of attempting that, although I am tempted.

    But, I continue to take solace in…

    In Jameson Veritas

  • moonraven

    Clavos conveniently ignores the genocide in the US in the twentieth century.

    Guess he’s too basy reading pulp books about Ted Bundy to learn anything about the history of his country.

  • Clavos

    Care to tell me exactly which Native American group was “deliberately and systematically” destroyed here in the US during the twentieth century, mr?

    “Main Entry: geno·cide
    Pronunciation: ‘je-n&-“sId
    Function: noun

    : the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”

  • moonraven

    Uh, ever noticed some folks around you that are maybe a bit more dark-skinned?

    They are now called African-Americans, I believe.

    Also, genocide has been consistently applied to Native Americans in the US since the founding of the Jamestown Colony–with grinding poverty on the reservations and reservation schools not allowing students to speak the first languages.

    And don’t condescend with dictionary definitions to me, pinche gusano sin GED.

  • moonraven

    You might also want to consider the killing of millions of Vietnamese–just because it happened outside the US borders doesn’t mean that the US did not commit genocide against them.

    And of course the current situation in Iraq is also clearly one of genocide–starting from the invasion and the destruction of the libraries and museums and archeological sites.

  • bliffle

    Clavos: “There’s no reason for any living American to feel guilty for genocide of Native Americans.”

    I don’t feel guilty. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t even born. None of my ancestors were there either. Anyway, guilt is a poor motivator and often has the opposite effect.

    But I feel sympathetic to native americans and I’m appalled at the way they were treated, and the way we continue to treat them. So I support natives in whatever ways I can. If I didn’t then perhaps I’d feel guilty, and then become racist seeking self-justification.

  • Clavos

    The parameters were Native Americans in the USA during the twentieth century; you couldn’t prove that, so now you want to widen the parameters.

    One more time. Pay attention:

    African Americans in the US have NOT been subjected to “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group” DURING THIS CENTURY.

    Prejudice, yes. Segregation, yes. Oppression, yes. Even some lynchings of individuals, yes.

    All of those are horrific, wrong and shameful, but they ARE NOT THE DELIBERATE AND SYSTEMATIC DESTRUCTION OF THE ENTIRE RACE.

    It is not genocide.

    And we also did NOT DELIBERATELY AND SYSTEMATICALLY attempt to destroy the entire Vietnamese race, either.

    That also, was NOT GENOCIDE.

  • Baronius

    Mark, yes, I’m mean. But you’ve got to admit that your grades were pretty predictable. You yourself refer to the “sense of sameness” in your article. RJ’s brief analysis had quite a few more insights than your whole article.

    I’m not asking you to become a Republican, just to test a few anti-Bush cliches. Like No Child Left Behind. The budget cuts in education? False. Standardized testing as opposed to learning? That doesn’t even make sense. Bush’s education policies haven’t been the best, but they make sense, and they’ve shaken up the establishment. Good for him.

    Another anti-Bush cliche is citing Cheney in a negative way. You do that repeatedly in your article, without really backing it up. It seems like when you can’t think of anything bad to say, you say the VP’s name, which we’re supposed to accept as synonymous with evil.

    And since I’m ranting and raving, couldn’t you give the economy a “C”? I’d give unprecedented employment and prosperity with low inflation and interest rates an “A”, personally, but wartime debt really seems to trouble you. So how about a “C-” at least, for the multi-trillion-dollar miracle of the US economy?

  • Baronius

    “Uh, ever noticed some folks around you that are maybe a bit more dark-skinned?”

    Yes, Moonraven, there are a lot of them, which should tell you that there was no genocide.

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

    Care to tell me exactly which Native American group was “deliberately and systematically” destroyed here in the US during the twentieth century, mr?

    MR probably responded with something idiotic, but from a rational perspective a lot of American Indians consider the Dawes act which forced acculturation on a generation of kids to be the equivalent of cultural genocide, and although it didn’t work, they do have a point.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Bullshit, clavos! This was my post:

    “I agree with giving the people of the US a grade of F.

    But I don’t agree that you are only NOW becoming self-centered, xenophobic, mean spirited, distrustful, shadows of a once proud nation.

    A nation built on genocide means that you have ALWAYS been like that.”

    It says nothing whatsoever about the Twentieth Century being a parameter of anything!

    And just because someone FAILS to eliminate all the people in a population group does not mean that it wasn’t genocide.

    By your [Edited] “logic”, the holocaust was not genocide, since all the Jews were not killed! And there was also no genocide in Rwanda, since some folks survived.

    [Edited]

  • moonraven

    Nalle,

    Try reading my posts before assuming what I wrote.

    When I wrote “with grinding poverty on the reservations and reservation schools not allowing students to speak the first languages.”, I was specifically referring to the results of the Dawes Act–and if I wanted to be an asshole like the rest of you I could have just posted the name of the act and let it go, but I chose to indicate the RESULTS.

  • moonraven

    Operationally, of course, it has been the BIA that has done its very best to destroy Native American culture.

  • Clavos

    “A nation built on genocide means that you have ALWAYS been like that.”

    It says nothing whatsoever about the Twentieth Century being a parameter of anything!”

    But you DID (in #26):

    “Clavos conveniently ignores the genocide in the US in the twentieth century.”

    ONE MORE TIME:

    No one in the USA set out to “deliberately and systematically destroy” ANY group in the twentieth century.

    “And just because someone FAILS to eliminate all the people in a population group does not mean that it wasn’t genocide.

    By your asshole “logic”, the holocaust was not genocide, since all the Jews were not killed! And there was also no genocide in Rwanda, since some folks survived.”

    Nobody said anything about failing to “eliminate all the people in a population group,” mr.

    What I DID say was based on Merriam-Webster’s definition, to wit:

    “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”

    No one doubts that Hitler and the Nazis set out to “deliberately and systematically” destroy the Jews; like wise the situation in Rwanda.

    To say that the US is built on genocide is ridiculous hyperbole.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    I haven’t read all the posts here–nor do I need to. It’s the same old “I’m right, you’re wrong” thread. The fact remains, however, that the Europeans, from Day One, intentionally or not, systematically attempted to destroy indigenous cultures in the Western Hemisphere, The very term “New World” illustrates their quest to remake the world in their own image.

    The saddest thing is we as Americans are intent on continuing that tradition.

  • moonraven

    I am glad to see that there is one person on this pathetic site who doesn’t have his head up his big fat redneck ass!

    Clavos, our “conversation” is finished–you are just too damn stupid–and too perverse–to dialog with.

  • Clavos

    Aahh, mr.

    We agree at last.

    I don’t WANT you to “dialog” with me — ever again.

    I’m looking forward to it.

  • Baronius

    ‘Nobody said anything about failing to “eliminate all the people in a population group”‘

    Actually, Clav, I did. I was taking a cheap shot at MR.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Baronius, you’re probably right that this wasn’t the best article I’ve written in terms of research, cleverness, and just plain sparkling genius. I have this mono-like virus that leaves me feeling like I’m living in 19th century London fog, sapping my energy. So…that part is fair.

    As for the Cheney stuff, go back and click on the series of articles in the Wash. Post. They are more than an eyeful; I can’t figure out why no one’s calling for his impeachment. And this latest nonsense about where the office of the VP sits within the government is surreal.

    The education cuts are a matter of record. The difference between teaching people to do well on standardized tests (which assumes a linear world) vs. developing an ability to learn (which recognizes that the world isn’t linear) is very complex; it relies on much new science coming out of neurology, psychology, economics, and other fields. I thought my point was that, somewhere between the two lies a reasonable policy.

    In terms of the economy, one’s political bias can’t help but distort what one sees. I did acknowledge that the Busher can’t be held soley responsible for looming Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid disasters, although he certainly hasn’t helped. The tax cuts were great for the wealthy, and the booming economy has done more them than the average American.

    But, being a good-hearted soul, if it helps Bush get into a better grad school, I’ll give him a C- on the economy, mostly because I think the economy is generally out of the control of presidents anyway.

    There…better? LOL.

    In Jameson Veritas