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The Bush Presidency, Part II

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What makes me really nervous about Bush is not what he has done, but the question:

What would he do in a second term?

Since he wouldn’t need to worry about getting re-elected, the sky’s the limit.

One thing he said he would do is lower Social Security benefits and increase government costs by around $2 trillion, "moving quickly" in his next term. (Story links open in new windows)

But that may not be the worst of it.

From watching clips of him in his revivalist-style, invitation-only tent meetings as he travels around the country, I think he may be getting ready for something big.

The problem with that is that he seems to get an idea in his head (god knows where from since he’s not big on input) and sticks with it in the face of reality.

The Ron Suskind article Without a Doubt in the NY Times over the weekend has examples of the kind of behavior I’m talking about. Here are a few excerpts:

‘Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. ”’Mr. President,’ I finally said, ‘How can you be so sure when you know you don’t know the facts?”’

‘Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator’s shoulder. ”My instincts,” he said. ”My instincts.”’
—-

”’I don’t know why you’re talking about Sweden,” Bush said. ”They’re the neutral one. They don’t have an army.”

‘Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ”Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They’re the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.” Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

‘Bush held to his view. ”No, no, it’s Sweden that has no army.”

‘The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.’

‘The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush’s intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now.

‘A writ of infallibility — a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains — is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House.’

You can find similar accounts in a variety of sources, including those favorable to Bush (like Bob Woodward’s books).

Suskind adds one of his own experiences:

‘In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

‘The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.”

‘I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.

”’That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”’

It makes me very nervous.

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About Hal

  • http://www.jackejett.com jack e. jett

    i think it would be a very noble event if bush gets elected (not re-elected) that he should send both of his daughters to fight in iraq. that would prove to me that it is a war that his heart is in. they are so hot wired up for jesus and blinded by religious ignorance that they fail to see that every parent in iraq love their children too.
    it really pisses me off to think about the children in iraq whose lives have been ruined because of this war.

    george bush is a war criminal and time will prove it.

    jack e. jett

  • andy marsh

    Jack, what’s with all the hostility towards Jesus??? Are you that anti-faith???

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    War criminal… comments like that don’t do your side any favors.

    As to articles in the NY Times, yeah, those are objective.

    Vic

  • Eric Olsen

    on a few separate matters: Hal continues to fight the good fight – I enjoy reading his work and benefit from it, although I disagree with many of his assumptions and conclusions.

    I think Bush is a little, or perhaps a bit more than a little, loopy

    I believe the NY Times strives to keep its news coverage unbiased, but a feature article in the magazine is not news, or in this case anyway, even close to unbiased. Suskind found what he was looking for.

    Jack E. in general I agree that most parents love their children the same way we do, but parents who encourage their children to become suicide bombers do not. And is Bush a “war criminal” for simply waging this war or is there something else that earns him that label?

    Lastly, and this is quite obvious, what of the children whose lives were ruined by the former iraqi regime? Do they count equally?

  • Vern Halen

    Eric – did I read that right – you think President Bush is loopy? I thought in the article “Should We Have Invaded Iraq?” you said you were likely to vote for him. Or is it that Senator Kerry looopier?

  • Eric Olsen

    Yes, I think he is loopy, but in this particular case and time, loopy in a way that is to our advantage: ie, I am glad he sees the war on terror as his mission from God.

    I also think the article was exaggerated and put him in the worst possible light

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    I agree, Hal. I am nervous about the second Bush term, too. I am not interested in the US playing the Cop of the World role, and have desire to see our military used in North Korea, Iran, or other places with confirmed nuclear capability.

    That said, I have no confidence that Kerry won’t continue that role either.

    At the same time, I am concerned about a Kerry Administration. I can’t imagine who he would place on his cabinet, largely because he won’t say.

    More than that, I don’t trust either Bush or Kerry to come up with a decent Supreme Court nominee.

    I’m afraid I’m SOL.

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    Mike, there’s always Denmark. 😉

    Vic

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    Vic, you’re killing me! At least I would have relatives to visit while paying my 78% tax rate.

  • http://www.jackejett.com jack e. jett

    innocent children are innocent children not matter where they are. it is very arrogant of us to think our children are superior. iraqi parents that use their children as suicide bombers are in the extreme minority. if not, the place would have been blown to hell by now. it is rare that a week passes that we do not hear of parents in america that have harmed or killed their children. many of them because “jesus told” them to.

    i do with all my heart believe that in 10-15 years, when the dust settles, and it is confirmed that bush took americans to war without a valid reason, then it will be a illegal invasion.

    no i am not anti faith….i am anti fundie..anti organized religion…..and those who think jesus is speaking to bush.

    i don’t make comments to try and make “my side” look good. i speak/write from my heart. the united states if more fucked up that it i ever remember it. my finger is pointed at bush. i am not a pundit…but i have learned to spew venom like on.

    jack e. jett

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    it is rare that a week passes that we do not hear of parents in america that have harmed or killed their children. many of them because “jesus told” them to.

    I have heard of maybe two cases in the last 3 years that meet your description. Religious people are just as likely to suffer from mental problems as are atheists.

    As to your point about our children being superior, who the heck said that? No one in this thread. And I have to disagree with Eric… I think parents in the Middle East who encourage their kids to be suicide bombers do love their kids: In their mind this is guaranteeing their entry into not just ordinary Paradise, but that part of Paradise reserved for those who give their lives in Jihad, which is (to them) an exalted state.

    Concerning organized religion, one can be a Christian and not be pro-organized religion. That’s actually one of the reasons I’m no longer Catholic… among other things, I don’t like or agree with the corporate heirarchy within that belief system.

    The message Jesus espoused was pretty simple and straightforward and did not require organization… just faith.

    Vic

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    Didn’t son of sam hear voices from god? He was loopy and was really convinced that he was right, but he wasn’t right and George Bush is NOT right, and if he’s hearing voices, I don’t think its god telling him to renege on his pledge to keep the assault weapons ban going.

    More to the point of the original article, I think the danger of Bush in a second term is not whether he can fix Iraq any better or worse than Kerry (are some people really judging Kerry on his ability to FIX Bush’s mistakes?) the danger of Bush in a second term is that he will make EXACTLY the same mistake in IRAN in his second term, and that will mean a draft, possible fall back to nuclear weapons if we are over-extended, in general, a whole load of crap.

    Don’t let the man who delivered ONE load of crap hang around so he can deliver a SECOND load of crap for America to clean up.

  • bob2112

    Hans Blix warned that it would be a war crime to peemptively attack Iraq. Even if it is the fault of bad intel, this Iraq business is a war crime.

    Vic, my side is the correct side & you are going to lose because your Diebold creeps will be too overwhelmed. Your 4 million Dobson Kool Aid Krusaders cannot out number the Gore votes of 2000, the Third Party Bush haters, Draft Dodging youth, Majority first time voters, & the Anybody-but-Bushers getting together to destroy this corrupt administration.

    Good luck in Liberal Utopia, pigs!

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    Good luck in Liberal Utopia, pigs!

    You people are just so pleasant.

    Really.

    Vic

    P.S. Liberalism doesn’t work, been proven by Reagan, Bush Sr., and yes, even Clinton.

  • bob2112

    Funny how warmongers, gay bashers, & racists are warm & fuzzy.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/http://www.rodneywel Rodney Welch

    I think you’re deceiving yourself, Eric. Calling the Suskind article “unbiased” is beside the point; no article is unbiased. What’s important is whether it’s fair.

    I read the whole Suskind article and I thought it was fair. At some point, you have to ask yourself — is every article that doesn’t meet my picture of Bush, or is it possibly my picture is wrong?

    I think Suskind went out of his way to see if there’s something to Bush besides an obdurate hardhead; he showed, in fact, that Bush hadn’t always been that way, but that he became that way. I certainly didn’t find it exaggerated, not with this president. I think it’s entirely possible with Bush that if the most perfectly honest person in the entire world described Bush, it might look exaggerated. I think he’s an over-the-top guy in the way he runs the Oval Office, in the way he makes decisions, in the (virtually nonexistent) way he takes criticism. Look at the way he conducted this idiot war — rushing in with nothing but his own blind, stupid, I’m-right-the-rest-of-the-world-is-wrong certainty.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Eric has been married to voting for Bush for months. I don’t think he will budge. I just hope there are enough Americans who see through the Bush to negate his vote.

  • SFC SKI

    ” think parents in the Middle East who encourage their kids to be suicide bombers do love their kids: In their mind this is guaranteeing their entry into not just ordinary Paradise, but that part of Paradise reserved for those who give their lives in Jihad, which is (to them) an exalted state.”

    Kind of puts a twist onthe old “If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?” argument.

  • andy marsh

    Warmongers!!! Yeah…that’s what I’m talking about…KILL ’em all…and let God sort it out!!!

  • Shark

    Eric: “I am glad he sees the war on terror as his mission from God.”

    YAH.

    Bush is fighting terrorists who are ‘on a mission from God’.

    The burning Twin Towers were a ‘faith-based initiative.’

    THE IRONY IS JUST TOO RICH.

  • bob2112

    Hooray! There are enough votes to negate all Bush votes!

    There is not enough; born-again televangelist christians, creepy cowboys, NASCAR dads, male chauvinists, abused wives not voting, confused ethnic minorities, white supremists, ex-klansmen, strom thurmon dixiecrat wannabes, southern born bleached-blond glamorgals, gung ho psychopaths, gaybashing closet gays, stubbornly racist self-defeating blue collar union workers, blow up abortion clinic pro-capital punishment pro-lifers, coroprate board of directors, gullible retired military, ex-skinheads, Swiftboat kick in the nuts, or GOP rabid WASP’s! Not enough of ya!

    Not all of them are voting for Bush, & neither is a single wasted or un/non-cast Gore vote from 2000. Most of the Nader votes from 2000 are going to be Kerry votes. Very few third party votes for Bush.

    As many freaks as I named off, anyone who fits in those catagories is a minority! Concede to defeat on Nov. 3 to live another day. You have the media. Prepare for the next four years of negative Kerry Adminstration coverage! It’s the only thing you creeps are good at!

  • andy marsh

    Bob…was that gullible retired military pointed at me???

  • bob2112

    Andy, name calling is cheap on the internets. Is gullible any worse than Kool Aid Krusaders? I was not specifically pointing you out. It was the best word I could come up with considering how surrounded I am here in Bremerton by retired military.

    These guys are not all voting for Bush, & they are all incapable of discussing the subject for fear of alienating themselves from their nieghbors. These guys would make up pro-Bush small talk so no one would be the wiser to their true intentions.

    Offensive nature I write is intended to rile up the Blogcritic world!

  • andy marsh

    I like that internet(s) thing you’ve been doing lately too…really cute Bob…you keep me smiling…and that’s why I’m here.

    Because I know there is no way I’m going to convince any of you crazy ass liberals of the error of your ways!

    I think it would be better if every body in this country voted Libertarian…that way we could all sit around and smoke pot legally and talk about how messed up everything used to be when we had a 2 party system!

    to hell with it all…Badnarik for president!!!

  • bob2112

    Right wingers are the ones to legalize pot, man! The National Review Editor creep called for leagalizing pot to keep those who would smoke pot beyond highschool out of the way of flat-tax & crap ‘progress’

    The same goes for the right wing stance on education. Talk the talk & not walk at all. Vouchers to private elite brainwashing facilities. Smaller, lower budget, public schools. Dumb down tactics to narrow the vocabulary words of the masses to: flag, march, terrorism, kill, partiotism, insergent, christian good, muslim bad, etc. Soldier factories for the wars of the New American Century!

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    Bob, do you really believe all that bullshit you shovel?

    People like you crack me up… reaping the rewards of living in a country like the U.S while slamming it.

    Long live the first amendment, eh?

    Vic

  • Shark

    Vic, been a while since I’ve seen an implicit “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT” attitude.

    Thanks for the memories.

    ================

    BOB2112: “….anyone who fits in those catagories is a minority!”

    Obviously, you’ve never been to Texas.

  • Shark

    Vic: “…Concerning organized religion, one can be a Christian and not be pro-organized religion…”

    Hmm. Above data entered into government supercomputer GWB-666 for future reference.
    We know where you live..

    — Herr Ashcroft, Dept of Homeland Security & Improper Religious Attitudes

    PS: You’re a “Jew”, Vic, and you don’t know it yet. ahahahah.

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    Shark,

    Cute on the religion comment, actually brought a grin to my face (which is rare in these threads).

    For me there’s a big difference between complaining about things and railing as if we’re living in Nazi Germany or communist Russia. I have no issue (or not much of one ) with guys like Hal, who make their point intelligently and point to facts to do so. The following:

    …vocabulary words of the masses to: flag, march, terrorism, kill, partiotism, insergent, christian good, muslim bad, etc. Soldier factories for the wars of the New American Century!

    does not fall into that category.

    Vic

  • bob2112

    Texas is one state! Not everyone there believes in garbage.

    I love my country. I just hate how people misinterpret the things it stands for like:
    Freedom. Freedom means free to be a piece of shit?
    Justice. Justice means guilty before proven innocent.
    Equal Rights. None, never, & for no one but white men!
    Civil Rights. We gave you some, now shut up!
    Liberty. Compared to the rest of the world, you should be thankful we ‘tolerate’ your kind.
    Pursuit of Happiness. As long as your happiness isn’t too loud or ethnic. You’re in America now, speak fuckin’ American!

    That’s what I hear when people say that, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT shit. The system is flawed & needs admending constantly. Talk about quit whining! You just hate making adjustments because there’s more in America than just you. No one is trying to take away you right to suck ass. If we do that then my rights are next to go.

    So wave your swastikas, confederate flags, & put your power of pride stickers you stole from the gay community on your trucks & suck on!

  • andy marsh

    Bob…I agree with a couple ofthos statements above…

    Freedom does mean freedom to be a piece of shit…if that’s all you aspire to!

    And I tolerate your kind bob…it’s the OTHER kind I’m not real tolerant with!!!

    Oh yeah…and the thing about speaking American…I agree with that one too!!!

    Try going to another country and not speaking their language…you go to Japan…you better be able to read some Kanji or you’re more than likely gonna get lost once or twice. But why is it that in this country we have to be multi-lingual? This is supposed to be the melting pot. So melt dammit!!!

  • bob2112

    Tolerate is a bad word, Andy. Tolerance sounds like a time limit is attached to it. “I can tolerate only so much!”

    I don’t know if you saw my statements regarding Farm Aid in the ‘Redneck Woman’ thread. The Bush Aministration is the enemy of the family farm! I support Farm Aid because I believe that the farmer is the backbone of America. Corporations are the enemy within America bringing us down.

    I do not happen to be of caucasian persuasion, if you get my drift. I went to Farm Aid & was one of 10 minorites that I could count & that included Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans, & Natives put together. I got dirty looks from everyone who bothered to look my way, & I was not imagining things. The acts were all of liberal-mind but the audience was majority Bushy! My point is, I went to that event knowing what I was getting into, but it seems that no one to the ‘Right’ is willing to meet me in the middle.

    Tolerance is a line of crap when I here it. Embracing other cultures makes life more interesting & is more educational than limiting yourself to just one group. That goes for everyone bent on isolating themselves. The way I look at it, if you wish to live in an all ‘whatever race’ neighborhood, those are going to be the ones who commit crimes against you. If you vary your friends to multiple cultures you might learn there isn’t much difference between us. Plus you may learn something useful you did not know otherwise.

    It’s your responsiblity, Andy to make it melt!

  • bob2112

    American is not a language. It’s “Speak English or die!”

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    So wave your swastikas, confederate flags, & put your power of pride stickers you stole from the gay community on your trucks & suck on!

    I find it immensely interesting that you can make all-encompassing stereotypical comments like that, yet if someone were to bat one back at you there would be cries of “racist!”.

    Liberals = Free speech as long as it agress with their point of view.

    Vic

  • bob2112

    You’re damned right there would be cries of ‘racist’ if someone makes a racist comment! I don’t expect everyone to be of like mind, but ignorant statements about one’s race is racism.

    If you have read anything I have written you would accept my posts as satirically facetious rhetoric. They reflect some of what I believe & opposing points of view with the intention of embarrasing one who could abhorrently buy into such a ridiculous thought.

    I must be pushing your buttons, Vic.

  • andy marsh

    Why is it MY responsibility??? and I agree with the statement about embracing other cultures. I’ve done it my whole life! I mean, everybody knows that the military is disproportionally minority! You can’t help but get to know people on a 576′ ship after 6 months at sea!

    Hell Bob, I have family members that happen to be ‘not of the caucasion persuasion, if you get my drift’. And I was one of the few that was considered open minded enough to be invited to the wedding! Love my cousin to death by the way, He’s an awesome father and husband! Not a bad golfer either!

    I respect him even more for the shit that I’ve personally witnessed happen to him and my cousin because of close minded individuals.

    I’ve been to some countries where they speak “english” I don’t think that’s what we speak here!!!

  • bob2112

    Andy, I figured you had your share of expirences to open up your mind. I’m mostly joking with you. You seem to be a pretty moderate person compaired to many others in Blogcriticsphere. Even Al isn’t all the way right or he wouldn’t be running on the (L) ticket.

    As for some of the others out there(You know who you are) I can’t say what their former/current affiliations are that cause them to believe the way they do.

    Keep on agreeing to disagree & I’ll try to keep the conversation interesting!

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    So Bob, as long as one is not pinning stereotypical, group-wide characteristics to someone of color, then it’s OK?

    Ah, I see.

    And no, you’re not pushing buttons. I just don’t understand why some people are incapable of stating their opinions or disagreeing with others without being rude and hateful.

    When I read your posts I get this picture of you frothing at the mouth wild-eyed while banging frantically on the keyboard.

    Have a nice day.

    Vic

  • andy marsh

    Yo Vic…why you bustin’ Bob’s chops…I think he’s on your side!!!

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    Um, I don’t think so Andy. :-)

    Even if he was, I don’t like that type of rhetoric from either side. There’s been way too much of it leading up to this election.

    Vic

  • bob2112

    Heh, Heh, Heh! If you think that inappropriate wars ‘over there’ require moderate constructive ‘intellectual’ conversation in order to make a point, then Vic, you live in a cave darker than bin Laden’s!

    Good luck in your world of tolerance, trickle down Bushinomics, Gung ho robots, & bloody coathanger clean-up!

  • bob2112

    Andy, I know that, “There’s your girlfriend” rank when I see it!

    Thanks a lot buddy!

    Next thing you know we’ll be pulling those crappy “yo momma” jokes.

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    Yeah, you’re right Bob. Yelling and calling each other names is always the best way to talk about things.

    At least 3rd graders think so.

    Vic