How Would Santa Clause Rate George Bush?

A post I wrote yesterday has gathered a fair amount of traction in the comment area. As usually, there have been some provocative statements, particularly revolving around the trustworthiness of George Bush.

George has lost me in the faith category. I don’t trust the man. Others do. Why, I don’t know. But I don’t hate the man as some GWB allies would suggest. Moreover, I would like to be convinced otherwise because I would hate to think that George Bush has tarnished the Presidency to such a degree that with some one else at the helm we couldn’t recover. So, I thought I would post the above question.

Let’s think about this as more than a pro versus con exercise, or a naughty or nice check list. Let’s think about this more along the lines of answering the following question…let’s call this…drum roll please…

      Windspike’s Weekend Wondering

The task at hand is to answer the following questions honestly and directly…

1) Do you think George Bush Is trustworthy and why?
2) Do you think George Bush has been good of bad for America? Explain

29 Responses to “How Would Santa Clause Rate George Bush?”

  1. steve Says:

    1) Yes… because of his faith in Jesus.

    2) Yes… C’mon? President Gore? President Kerry? Give me an f-ing break?

  2. me Says:

    Steve,

    You answer (1) that you think George Bush is trustworthy because of his faith in Jesus. Do you really believe that a person’s profession of faith in Jesus assures one’s trustworthiness in spite of a whole host of people who have professed faith in Jesus but been found to be untrustworthy? Most recently Richard Roberts, former President of Oral Roberts University or past luminaries such as Jim Bakker of PTL fame and others. Surely, merely believing in Jesus does not, in itself, constitute a reason to think the person trustworthy. After all, Both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton professed faith in Jesus. How trustworthy do you consider them to have been. For that matter, Kerry is a Roman Catholic who professes faith in Jesus. Is he trustworthy, in your opinion?

    You answer (2) that you think Bush has been good for the country because you think Al Gore and John Kerry unacceptable as president. But surely, regardless of how good or how bad either Gore or Kerry might have been as president for our country, that, in and of itself, says nothing about whether Bush has been good for the country. You maybe think that Bush HAS been better for the country than either Gore or Kerry would have been but being comparatively better for the country is not the same thing as being good for the country.

    These are non-sequiturs. I don’t think either of those answers are very convincing. Better answers would have been to have given examples of occasions where you think (1) Bush acted in ways that you consider to be clearly trustworthy since many examples of a person’s trustworthiness tend to engender trust from others and (2) ways in which Bush’s policies have been unquestionably good for the country — since there are no shortage of ways in which his policies have been bad for the country, you would have to show that the good that Bush has wrought outweighs the bad.

  3. me Says:

    1) Do you think George Bush Is trustworthy and why?

    No because he’s a politician and, on the whole, politics tends to draw those who are untrustworthy and even trustworthy people who go into politics tend to be corrupted by it. It is well neigh impossible for a person running for office to be elected without sacrificing his or her word because being elected requires building a loyal following of constituents of widely varying interests, therefore to be elected, one generally needs to convince people whose interests are diametrically opposed that one will fulfill one’s promises to them all. This requires one to say what one thinks people want to hear rather than what one really believes and thinks. The exceptions to these two categories of politicians (those who are corrupt when they enter and those corrupted by the process of being elected and remaining in office) are few and far between.

    So much for the generalities. As for the specifics of Bush’s record of trustworthiness, there are some high points. Bush has remained constant in his promised resolve to stay in Iraq. On the other hand, his very Iraq venture entails a 180 degree reversal on his initial position against state building. He ran as essentially a non-interventionist. On the other hand, there seems to be evidence that Bush & Co. planned to eliminate Saddam Hussein even before 9/11 or even before he became President.

    Then there’s “Heck of a job, Brownie” followed quickly by “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass as I boot you out of offcie, Brownie”. I mean, what was that all about. Brown was clearly a disaster. “Heck of a job”? Was he serious? Then there was a repeat performance with Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld. Shortly before the 2004 election, Rumsfeld had the full confidence of the President, in spite of the fact that Rumsfeld’s ’small footprint’ policies were obviously failures long ago in Iraq but shortly after the election, it was “Adios, asshole!”

    Don’t even get me started on the whole Harriet Miers nomination.

    He talks about democratizing the Middle East and yet props up Musharif in Pakistan, Royals in Saudi Arabia, a despot in Egypt. Now there may be good reasons for these exceptions to Democracy promotion within the Middle East but they pretty clearly represent exceptions to the rule rather than following his ideal.

    2) Do you think George Bush has been good of bad for America? Explain

    On the whole, I think he’s been bad for the country. Both Afghanistan and Iraq turned around from looking like masterful military victories into abysmal messes and Bush refused to actually alter course in Iraq until recently. Things are looking better there but only after untold hundreds of Billions of dollars spent and many of those wasted because of a failure to provide any sort of accounting for the money that was originally sent over to Iraq. Haliburton. Blackwater. Leaving off the pursuit of UBL to attack Iraq. Photo-ops with guitar in hand while hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Did I mention Brownie? I did? Well I can’t emphasize the disaster that Bush’s propensity to promote incompetents to important offices for which they are supremely unqualified has been for the country.

    Then there’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Need I say more? The man almost single handedly brought the DoJ into disrepute.

    Well, that should be sufficient.

  4. me Says:

    Although, to be fair, on the “good for the country” side, there are Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Those two will be doing good for America, hopefully, for decades to come so there’s that.

  5. steve Says:

    Craig:

    I thought it was pretty ludicrous to even answer the questions in the first place. It’s almost as if it is a call out on Windspike’s part… I obliged with a smart assed answer…

    The honest answer is no one could answer this question without experiencing the alternative. How would they know? And if they had the experience and did know, then they would be forming an opinion based on which experience they liked more.

    Too many variables to have an opinion of which is better or not. I have prospered in these 7 years at a higher level than I expected as a person so my opinion would be jaded anyway. It’s my self importance and how I view things…

  6. me Says:

    Okay, well, I didn’t have any difficulty answering the questions, in any case.

  7. LIberal Jarhead Says:

    1. No, he’s not trustworthy, because he’s been caught lying so many times on so many subjects. He said he was going to get OBL, then he wasn’t concerned about finding him. He said his tax cuts weren’t going to cause a budget deficit, despite the host of economists warning otherwise. He called himself a “compassionate conservative”, then went after the social safety net with a chainsaw. He talks about supporting the troops while he tries to cut their benefits, cuts VA funding, and tries to deny them the raise Congress wants to give them. He says America doesn’t torture people. During one of his debates with Kerry he actually called himself a good steward of the environment, when his record in that area is horrible both as governor and as president. He was silent about his intent to push to privatize Social Security until after the election, then went at it like a man obsessed afterward. He lied to the SEC about his insider trading. And of course, there was the string of lies that got America into th war with Iraq - Saddam was connected to 9/11, Saddam and OBL were working together, Saddam had a nuke program and was a threat to America, Saddam was a menace to his neighbors, Saddam picked his nose and ate his boogers… In short, Bush seems willing to say whatever he thinks will get him what he wants in the near term, regardless of truth or long-term consequences.

    2. He has turned a $5 billion surplus into a $4 billion deficit; he has just about run our Army, Marine Corps and National Guard into the ground; he has overseen a wholesale attack on environmental regulation, social programs, funding for first responders, infrastructure maintenance, education, and the separation of church and state; he has reached new depths in the politicization of science; he has trashed the Bill of Rights and made a habit of maligning the patriotism of anyone who questions his actions; he has offended and alienated the peoples of countries who have traditionally been friendly to America, and made new enemies. In short, George W. Bush has done more harm to America than any other president in our history and done damage that will take a generation to repair, and some of it may be irreparable, especially the time he has lost us in work we needed to be doing on energy and the environment… and of course, the generation of shattered veterans who will be living with the physical and mental wounds of the Iraq war for the rest of their lives, and the impact on their families and the families of the service members who have been killed.

  8. Windspike Says:

    Steve, I give you permission to repost a serious comment if you wish to engage in real debate. I’ll delete the prior ones for you if you care to tackle this post and comment thread with an ounce of quality rhetoric.

    The ball is in your court.

    On your idea that this debate is ludicrous, I would argue that quite the contrary, it couldn’t be more serious. You are not helping me change my mind, but I’m a tough nut to crack. And people have been trying to change it for a long while. I only am swayed by quality reasoning.

  9. manapp99 Says:

    The fact of the matter is that the polar opposites of opinion by those that post here results in two people looking at the same facts and coming away with vastly different opinions. Then there are the alleged facts widely accepted by one side or the other with no way of proving the reality.
    Look at one such widely accepted “fact”

    Bush lied about WMD.

    There have been thousands of posts about this and the intel available and who knew what when etc.

    The fact of the matter is that we do not know what Bush knew or suspected and whether or not he lied about what he had.

    Some will decide that he gave us and congress what he knew and came to the best conclusion with the data available.

    Others will decide that he was lying to take us to war for nefarious reasons. Reasons that vary from avenging the assasination attempt on his Dad to helping his oil buddies or to making Haliburton rich.

    If you weed out the suppositions from the facts we actually know, you find we do not KNOW all that much.
    We are led down various paths by reporters that have an agenda and have to try and remove the bias from the truth.

    I believe that anyone elected to be President will have to be able to weather the storm of people that hate you even if they do not have the facts. I believe Bush has done well with this. He has been accused of being stupid in spite of a Harvard/Yale education. He has been accused of ruining the economy in spite of the numbers that prove otherwise. He has been accused of being a racists with the poor response to Katrina.
    He has been accused of murder with his decision to go to Iraq. He has been accused of torture in spite of no evidence to support this. He has been accused not going after OBL in spite of the troops there trying to capture him. How many of us would be able to withstand the very public attacks this man has withstood and not be bitter? How many of us know what it is like to have to make a decision about sending troops into battle? I doubt there are very many times when there is a decision to be made by any president that is black and white. It will more likely be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
    Walk a mile in his hat, windspike or punch his cattle then tell us if you think he is trustworthy.

    As far a whether or not he is good or bad for America, we will have to reconvene after the years pass to judge the outcomes of his decisions.

    Conservatives hold up Reagan and liberals Clinton and in reality there were good and bad in both presidencies and no shortage of haters for both men.
    I suspect the same will be true for GWB.

  10. me Says:

    Manapp99,

    I agree with much of what you say. The rhetoric of Bush’s detractors has often gone beyond what is provably true and even into the provably ridiculous. However, I think that my criticisms have remained within the realm of the pretty obviously true and I didn’t mention all of what might have been mentioned.

    It is also true that time may temper my assessment regarding the good-for-America/bad-for-America judgment and it is true that Bush has not been all bad for the country. He certainly has done some good. The question must be whether one thinks that overall, in the balance of good and bad, to which side do the scales balance. For now, I am comfortable with judging that Bush has done more bad than good for the country.

    I’ll stick with that. I may decide to reassess in the future but for now, it’s thumbs down.

  11. manapp99 Says:

    I can appreciate that Craig and in the future I may also reassess. For me at this time I believe he has done more good but the biggy will be how the wars end up. I believe that the future grade of his presidency will hinge on this. He has most certaintly set things into motion that have caused ripples that could be regarded as pivotal points in history it is just that they are as yet undecided as to good or bad. No one can accuse his of being a “play it safe” administration.

  12. me Says:

    “Play it safe”? No. He’ll never be accused of that. :^)

  13. rube cretin Says:

    “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”–Edward R. Murrow

  14. steve Says:

    Rube:

    “It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant. It’s that they know so much that isn’t so.”–Ronald Reagan, from “The Speech”

    Windspike:

    It would not be plausible for one to sit here and reasonably answer these questions. Especially here on BIO where quite frankly… reality escapes some of you people some times. The only reason why you think all the things that you think about Bush is because he is ideologically opposite of you. Come back and realize that our vote in this country is a fair vote. (Despite the fact we do not ask for ID’s when we vote for some stupid reason) You get your chance to put your ideology and your best candidate forward to lead us the next 4-8 years. Choose wisely my friend, choose wisely…

  15. windspike Says:

    Steve,

    That you abdicate your chance to make a plausible argument doesn’t make you right.

    You and I are going to have to fundamentally disagree - I don’t think that Bush won the first “election,” more than he was selected to be president by a set of activist judges on the supreme court in Y2K. There in lies the rub. If you really were for the majority, you would swing with the Dems. They are the majority in Congress. Ideology has nothing to do with the fact that W has led us the wrong way.

    Again, you haven’t, nor has man, actually presented a plausible argument that can convince me that I am wrong. Isn’t that the point of posting here for all of us? To say opinions?

    Care to try again?

  16. windspike Says:

    P.S. If W had actually not become President and Gore was rightfully placed in the office, we would be in an entirely different state and circumstances. Perhaps 9/11 might never had happened. It is equally plausible that Bush being installed as President was the green light that the sleeper cells be activated. If Gore was sworn in, they may have dormant for another 8 years.

  17. steve Says:

    Or… Gore becomes President, 9/11 still happens and he goes Jimmy Carter and hides like a little bitch…. Or Kerry becomes President in 2004 and we are in the same place we have been at… Or…. Or….We can play that game all day long. Why don’t you ask if Congress is doing a job?

    In your mind Windspike, I could not answer the questions in a way that would convince you because the way you have it loaded. They’re loaded questions. Without experiencing the alternative I cannot assume that an alternative would be better. We’re talking about one’s leadership and assessment of the hundreds of decisions made each week. It’s not a Pro Choice/Pro Life debate where I can swing anyone on the fence to the Pro Life side or an anti-death penalty debate I can scream until I am blue in the face that the death penalty is wrong. Gun control… the actual merits of our current war… terrorism… environmentalism… minimum wage… so on and so forth. I can debate strongly on any of those because we can for the most part or have experienced what it is like to be on each side of those.

    Personally though with all that said… I don’t care what you think about Bush because I don’t dwell on the subject. Now I can debate you all day long on whether or not he won the 2000 election because he won it. It was even won fair and square because our voting rules at the time were the rules and that’s how you play. It’s like football before instant replay… We saw calls so close that could never be overturned or reviewed because it was left up to only a couple pairs of eyes at a time on the field. Now with instant replay we can change the call and make the right the decision so long as the evidence is there. But it is only up to the judge on the field to change that call…. not what a stadium of 80,000 fans or a 10 million plus tv audience says. Especially to the die-hard fan of the team that the call is against… no matter how knowledgeable they are about the game being played.

    So if you cannot understand this last paragraph and see where I am coming from… then you’ll never understand a guy like me and why your two questions are impossible.

  18. me Says:

    Steve,

    What I don’t understand is, why do you think you need to know what would have happened if Gore or Kerry had won their respective elections in order to know whether you think Bush is trustworthy or not, or whether Bush has been good or bad for the country? I don’t get it. Do you think Carter was good for the country? Or Nixon? Or can’t you say because you don’t know what would have happened if Carter and Nixon had lost their elections? Come on. If you don’t want to answer the questions, just say so. Don’t tell us that answering the questions is impossible because you don’t know what is unknowable to anyone but God.

    I don’t get why you think you have to debate anyone about whether Bush won the 2000 election fair and square or not. It’s irrelevant to the question. Bush is trustworthy or not in your opinion and good or bad for the country in your opinion regardless of whether he stole the 2000 election or was lawfully placed in office.

  19. me Says:

    Put another way, suppose tomorrow, Bush goes nuts and launches nuclear weapons within the country and wipes out half of the country. Do you have to know what would have happened had Gore been elected before you could say that what Bush had done had been bad for the country? Do you have to know for certain that Gore wouldn’t have gone nuts too and wiped out the entire nation? You can’t tell right now but I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes.

  20. steve Says:

    Craig:

    Windspike brought up the what if’s with the two questions and the last comment to me.

    Highly unlikely Bush will push the buttons for “nucular” war and if he did, there’d be no time to debate it.

    I guess what I can say to you is that we can look back on history and say who was good and who was bad. I mean, Lincoln? Ended slavery and Civil War? Good… Nixon, Watergate… and then what we know now about his tapes? BAD!!!

    The argument for Bush really can’t be made until A) he is out and B) The wars end. How they end will also be key to a judgment for or against Bush. We can flip the tables and go back 10 years and ask if Clinton was good or bad for America? A lot of Republican guys would tell you hell yeah!! But now… the economically smart ones would say wait a second, single greatest period of wealth generation, 8 years of peace (Bosnia was a UN thing) and stable job growth and reduced deficit um… we can take 8 years more of that Clinton guy (not his wife though…).

    So… Okay…. if I am saying that about Clinton and I compare Bush economically to Clinton then I’d have to say… yes Bush was good for America. 4th or 5th greatest 8 years of economic growth in this country coming after the greatest period in the 1990s. Despite what you read… the economy is doing okay…. and you have to say it is okay because there aren’t a shit load of mass lay offs going on. (Factory orders up 4% in October) We have problems with the dollar value but Europe is beginning to with the Euro value now too (The Economist this week has an article) And we can’t always blame cyclical events in the markets on President. There are those out there that would blame Bush on the housing market but if you can do that then I can blame Clinton for the $40K I lost from March 2000 to October of 2000 in the stock market. I can’t rationally do that because it was the market that pulled the price of tech stocks down. The tech boom of the 90’s was over at that point. However it was the economic freedom in both periods that allowed Americans to prosper. I got out of college at the end of Clinton’s first term. So I base my opinion on the fact that 1) I did well above average than my peers in college economically and 2) I am setting myself up for a nice retirement in my early 50’s. As long as I can keep that up (and perhaps move retirement into my 40’s) then I will keep giving a President higher marks Economics.

    So you got me to talk about the economy and the President, but that is all I can give you. The rest of it has to play out.

  21. me Says:

    Okay. That’s a better argument, that it’s too early to tell whether he’s been good or bad for the country. I kind of buy that and even agree. As I said to Manapp99, I may need to reassess my assessment but I really don’t need to wait to think Bush a bonehead for elevating Brown to FEMA head or to think that having done so was bad for the country, or the years long refusal to either place more troops in Iraq or change the anti-insurgency policies was bad for our country or for Iraq, or that sending billions of dollars into Iraq without any accountability for that cash or its unaccounted disappearance was bad for our country…and on and on. Now it may be that Iraq ultimately ends up a peaceful country with a representative government with the greatest amount of freedom for all its people in the region. I hope so. If so, that will be good not only for our country and for our world but…that won’t make up for years of refusing to see what was obvious to all, namely that his policies made for years of an insurgent-inspired hell-hole and stupidly sticking to his failed policy played hell with the political atmosphere here in America, made our presence in Iraq required for a much longer time than necessary at much greater cost than was needed.

    See what I mean? There are some things that you can look at now and say that with respect to those things, Bush has been bad for America. Likewise, you can look at other things, as you did above, and say that those things were good for America and then say, as a preliminary assessment, Bush has been either good or bad for America, that is, either more good than bad or more bad than good.

    Anyway, I’ll stop pushing now. I wasn’t aware of Windspike’s bringing up the what ifs to you. I couldn’t figure out where that was coming from. Thanks for explaining.

    I wasn’t saying that Bush would nuke some other country. I was saying what if he nuked our own country, wiping out roughly half the population…leaving half the population then to debate whether what he’d done had been good or bad for the country. As hypotheticals go, I agree, it’s not likely to happen but that’s the great thing about hypotheticals: they don’t need to be likely. What it did was clarify that it should be possible to make fairly contemporaneous value judgments about whether a President’s policies and actions are good or bad for the country. After all, that’s what punditry is all about, debating, often even before policies are put into effect, whether those policies will be good or bad for the country and the world. If one had to be a historian with at least 60 years of distance for reflection to be able to make such judgments, there’d be no such thing as punditry. Indeed, blogs like Bring It On! couldn’t exist. We make judgments about politicians every day here. I just don’t think Bush should be exempted from the process. You’ve never been afraid to give an opinion before, at least not that I’ve ever noticed.

    Hmmmm. Did I say that I would stop pushing? Okay, I’m done now.

    It is now officially my 53rd birthday. Happy Birthday to me!

  22. manapp99 Says:

    Happy Birthday Craig. Many more.

  23. me Says:

    Thanks, Manapp99. It’s lobster for me today!

  24. Lisa Says:

    Happy Birthday Craig.my husband’s was Friday 12/7,yes Pearl Harbor Day along with his his fraternal twin brother. You got him beat by 2 years and 3 days.

  25. me Says:

    Lisa,

    Thanks. Happy Birthday to us!

  26. windspike Says:

    Steve, when you say

    I could not answer the questions in a way that would convince you because the way you have it loaded. They’re loaded questions.

    I would have to disagree. In fact, I think the questions themselves as posed in the original are quite neutral. My opinion, however is not. Besides, it wouldn’t be any fun if my opinion was neutral, now would it?

    Second, when you say

    The argument for Bush really can’t be made until A) he is out and B) The wars end.

    I would have to disagree as well. Certainly real time assessment of progress is not beyond the pale of industrial capabilities. In fact, it’s the only way that people are able to discern if what they are doing is the proper thing to do.

    In terms of your economic assessment, I will have to disagree as well. How many people in foreclosure and now cannot file for Bankruptcy would agree with you? Do you think the Banking industry would agree with you as well?

    BTW, I wasn’t the first one to bring up hyperbole as a method for argument. See your item no. 2 and no. 1 for that matter in your first comment. Turnabout is fair play in my book.

    Craig,
    Happy belated by the way.

  27. steve Says:

    “How many people in foreclosure and now cannot file for Bankruptcy would agree with you?”

    Huh? So were supposed to go help those that can’t control their spending or sign loans with unrealistic terms and because all that is happening it’s Bush’s fault? It’s his fault people can’t read the freaking fine print on an adjustable rate mortgage? What are you smoking?

    And the banking industry’s problem was caused by… what? The banking industry? They are the ones that thought they could get creative. The one/two year interest only loans are for those that know with an absolute certainty that they are not going to live there after one or two years and they want to make a fast buck. I’d do it in a heartbeat if I knew that. And most of the people that do get those loans with that plan to move probably move because of work and have a lot of costs covered… But I am digressing too much… The loan industry caused the problem… they took advantage of people and they are the one’s putting people on the street and now they are paying for it. UBS wrote off 10 billion because they cannot collect it. You think the bank and the President wants that to happen? Holy shit if you do!!!

    “Besides, it wouldn’t be any fun if my opinion was neutral, now would it?”

    Would it be any fun if we didn’t disagree? :)

  28. windspike Says:

    Seve,
    You contradict yourself. Here you say

    The loan industry caused the problem… they took advantage of people and they are the one’s putting people on the street and now they are paying for it.

    Of course, if the W, Rove and Co was in favor of regulating industry as opposed to giving them enormous sums of cash as corporate welfare, perhaps this would not have happened?

    Even so, here’s where you contradict yourself:

    So were supposed to go help those that can’t control their spending or sign loans with unrealistic terms and because all that is happening it’s Bush’s fault?

    So you are blaming the victim as opposed to some one who can do something to regulate the industry? In case I was confused, isn’t the job or the Executive Branch to regulate industry? Of course, W has a history of not helping the middle class (e.g. Enron an California, subsidies to various industries, etc…).

    I don’t know about you, but I have little to no effect on the Banking industry even though they house all my savings, loan me money. The trouble with out government is that the little guy gets squashed by the big giants regularly, and it was under republican leadership that this boondoggle blossomed.

    I don’t want to get on to a rant about the corruption involved in the lobbying industry, but with Jack Abramhoff and the various GOP folks who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar…we could go that way if you like

    …but I digress from the intent of the original post. I’m still very curious as to why people still trust the president.

    Any one else out there who believe the President to be trustworthy care to chime in?

  29. steve Says:

    I blame the victim and the banking industry…

    The victim should read the fine print and the bank shouldn’t be signing risky loans…

    Nice try though…

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