Europe’s Bush Nostalgia

Europe’s Bush Nostalgia

February 5th, 2010

WSJ

Chalk up another diplomatic snub to Europe. The Administration has told the European Union that President Obama won’t attend the regular U.S.-EU confab this May in Madrid—through a leak to this newspaper on Monday. Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, whose country holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, was said to be surprised, embarrassed and incensed by the slight.

Which makes us wonder: Can’t Europe take a hint?

One of Mr. Obama’s first, er, diplomatic acts was to return the bust of Winston Churchill in the White House to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Later, he pulled the plug on missile defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland without trying to inform their national leaders until late in the night. No President in recent memory has cared less for America’s alliance with Europe.

Regarding the EU meeting, we sympathize with the President. Having attended two such gatherings in his first year, he may have had his fill of empty summitry—all pomp, little circumstance. The ciphers appointed to the new posts of EU president and foreign minister aren’t exactly a draw. An American leader has better things to do, though someone at the White House or State Department might have done better than a newspaper leak to announce the snub.

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Bush warns of threats to freedom, economic growth

Bush warns of threats to freedom, economic growth

Joseph Curl

Former President George W. Bush, outlining plans for a new public policy institute, on Thursday said America must fight the temptation to allow the federal government to take control of the private sector, declaring that too much government intervention will squelch economic recovery and expansion.

With the Obama administration establishing far-reaching controls in the auto, real estate and financial sectors, Mr. Bush said that “the role of government is not to create wealth, but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive.”

“As the world recovers, we will face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much,” said Mr. Bush, who has remained largely out of the limelight since leaving office and rarely criticizes his successor.

Delivering a speech on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, future home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the former president sought to explain his decision to have the federal government intervene at the beginning of the economic downturn last fall.

“I believe in the power of the free enterprise system, which made the decision I faced last fall one of the most difficult of my presidency. I went against my free market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze credit and prevent a global financial catastrophe,” he said.

While many economists credit that early action with halting the economic freefall, Mr. Bush said the only answer to returning America to prosperity is to remove government controls on the private sector and continue to force open markets to U.S. goods.

“Trade has been one of the world’s most powerful engines of economic growth, and one of the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty. Yet a 60-year movement toward trade liberalization is under threat from creeping protectionism and isolationism,” Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush did not cite his successor by name, but many of his warnings seemed directed at policies Mr. Obama has embraced.

In one of his first major decisions on trade policy, Mr. Obama in September imposed a tariff on tire imports from China, making good on a campaign promise to the United Steelworkers union to “crack down” on imports that hurt American workers and industries.

In his speech, which set out his goals for a new policy institute focused on economic growth, education, human freedom and global health, Mr. Bush said he entered politics because “because I saw society drifting away from the values at the heart of the American Dream.”

“I pledged to govern based on principles that empower people to improve their lives and strengthen our nation,” Mr. Bush said. “I believe that free markets open the path to opportunity, that a successful society requires personal responsibility, that freedom is universal and transformative, and that every human life has dignity and value.”

The core of his new presidential complex — scheduled to open in 2013 — will be the George W. Bush Institute. The nonpartisan think tank will include scholars from around the world and advance Mr. Bush’s most dearly held effort as president — advancing human freedom.

“As I said in my second inaugural address, extending the reach of freedom ‘is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time,’ ” he told some 1,500 students, faculty, friends, community leaders and supporters.

He plans to continue to support political dissidents and reformers around the world, including those from many of the nations his administration shunned and which Mr. Obama has pledged to engage in dialogue.

“From labor camps in North Korea, to political prisons in Cuba and Burma, university halls in Iran, coffeehouses in Venezuela, and other places, dissidents and reformers are seeking strength and support. When America stands for liberty, they take heart. When we do not, the dictators tighten their grip,” Mr. Bush said.

He announced several fellows for the institute, including the first “fellow in human freedom,” Oscar Morales Guevara. Mr. Guevara used Facebook to launch a movement called “One Million Voices Against the FARC,” the brutal leftist separatist movement in Colombia. A month later, more than 12 million people in 40 countries rallied against the network.

On global health, another key focus of the Bush administration, the former president named as fellow Mark Dybul, who was coordinator of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief during the Bush years.

“It should affect the conscience of our country when a child goes hungry or dies needlessly from a mosquito bite,” Mr. Bush said. “America has a strategic interest in alleviating suffering, healing disease, and lifting societies out of despair. Hopeful, healthy, productive societies are less likely to be sources of violence and instability — and more likely to be partners in trade, prosperity, and peace.”

Former first lady Laura Bush will play a role as well, overseeing women’s initiatives and education, her pet issue during her tenure in the White House. With Sandy Kress, former chairman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, as the issue’s steward, the institute will seek to evaluate how best “to recruit, prepare, evaluate and reward” principals and administrators.

The presidential complex — at more than 200,000 square feet, second in size only to President Reagan’s library in Simi Valley, Ca. — will include an archives and museum. The archives will hold “four million photos; thousands of boxes of documents; and hundreds of millions of e-mails — not one of which was sent by me,” Mr. Bush said to laughter.

Also at the museum will be a replica of his Oval Office, a “Texas Rose Garden,” Mr. Bush said, and “the bullhorn I used in my first visit to Ground Zero” in New York three days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Bush, who is writing his memoirs, due out next fall, seemed to enjoy the spotlight and, as a self-confessed C student, his return to college.

“It’s pretty exciting for a 63-year-old to be back on the college scene. I enjoy popping in on a class from time to time. Come to think of it, that was my strategy as a student,” he said to laughter.

His post-presidency has also provided some interesting opportunities, he said, including one offer “to be a greeter at Elliott’s Hardware.”

Bush or Obama: The Quiz

Bush or Obama: The Quiz

By Randall Hoven

1. President Bush was famous for lacking “intellectual curiosity,” while President Obama has been called “the smartest guy ever to become President.” Who reads more books: Bush or Obama?

2. Bush was often considered to be in the grip of Big Oil. In contrast, Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer. Which industry contributed more than five times as much as the other to politicians: the oil & gas industry, or lawyers/law firms?
3. Bush’s Christian faith was at the core of his political identity, and he was considered to be in the grip of the “religious right,” while Obama is considered more open-minded. In fact, Obama has said, “my faith is one that admits some doubt.” Which one refers to Jesus more in public speeches?
4. Bush was criticized for excessive federal spending and running up huge deficits.  Bush’s deficit in 2008 was the largest in history.  In fact, President Obama said,
It’s a little hard for me to take criticism from folks about this recovery package after they’ve presided over a doubling of the national debt … What I won’t do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place.
Whose deficit was more than triple the size of the other’s: Bush’s in 2008 or Obama’s in 2009?
5. While Obama criticized Bush for “a doubling of the national debt,” the federal debt held by the public went from 35.1% of GDP in 2000 to 40.8% of GDP in 2008 — an increase of 16% as of fraction of GDP. What is it expected to be in 2016 under Obama’s budget plan? 
6.  Obama criticized Bush for Guantanamo, military tribunals, wiretaps, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and “signing statements.” Which one of these Bush practices has Obama ended?
Answers:
1. Bush. Obama started reading a book in April and had not finished it by June, putting him on a pace of no more than ten books per year. Bush read forty to ninety-five books a year while President, not counting a new and complete reading of the Bible every year. Bush scored 1206 on his SAT, putting his IQ in the 125-130 range, smarter than 95% of the population and in the company of Lincoln, Rousseau, and Thackeray. He graduated from Yale and earned an MBA from Harvard. Obama earned a law degree from Harvard, but has not released any of his academic records. Despite what you might have heard, we know nothing of his IQ, test scores, or grades from any of the schools he attended.
2. Law firms. In the 2010 cycle so far, Lawyers/Law Firms have contributed $33,779,866 (81% to Democrats), and the Oil & Gas industry has contributed $6,293,631 (34% to Democrats). In the 2008 cycle, the numbers were $233,499,989 (76% to Dems) from lawyers and $35,564,322 (23% to Dems). In all, lawyers contributed about six times more to politicians than the Oil & Gas industry.
3. Obama. Per Eamon Javers at Politico, “As president, Barack Obama has mentioned Jesus Christ in a number of high-profile public speeches — something his predecessor George W. Bush rarely did in such settings.”
4. Obama’s 2009 deficit, the largest in U.S. history. It was more than three times that of Bush’s record 2008 deficit. Per the Congressional Budget Office, the 2008 deficit was $455 B, and the 2009 deficit was $1,417 B. As a fraction of GDP, it was the largest deficit since 1945.
5.  The CBO expects the debt held by the public to be 77.1% of GDP in 2016 under Obama’s plan, or an increase of 89% as a fraction of GDP, and the highest level since 1950. 
6. None.
  • Guantanamo is still open and probably will be into 2010, maybe longer.
  • Obama is keeping military tribunals and clandestine wiretapping programs.
  • Obama plans to keep most troops in Iraq until the summer of 2010.  Even then, he is talking of keeping about 50,000 troops there (compared to about 124,000 now). The number of US troops in Afghanistan increased from 37,000 in January 2009 to 62,000 by August 2009, and Obama is expected to send over 30,000 more. Total number of US troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan has increased under Obama so far (from about 184,000 in January to 186,000 in September).
  • Obama has used signing statements himself.
Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or  via his web site, randallhoven.com.

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Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

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PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP

BUSH’S RESIGNATION SPEECH

The following ‘speech’ was written recently by an ordinary Maine-iac [a resident of the People’s Republic of Maine ]. While satirical in nature, all satire must have a basis in fact to be effective. This is an excellent piece by a person who does not write for a living.

The speech George W. Bush might give:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally, I start these things out by saying ‘My Fellow Americans.’ Not doing it this time.If the polls are any indication, I don’t know who more than half of you are anymore.I do know something terrible has happened, and that you’re really not fellow Americans any longer.

I’ll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: There’s been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reason I’m quitting is simple. I’m fed up with you people.I’m fed up because you have no understanding of what’s really going on in the world. Or of what’s going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.

Let’s start local. You’ve been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of you are too damn stupid to realize thatgas prices are high because there’s increased demand in other parts of the world, andbecause a small handful of noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than your economic security.

We face real threats in the world. Don’t give me this ‘blood for oil’ thing.If I were trading blood for oil I would’ve already seized Iraq’s oil fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don’t give me this ‘Bush Lied…People Died’ crap either. If I were the liar you morons take me for, I could’ve easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be ‘discovered.’ Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me.Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named ‘ Clinton ‘ established that policy.Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

 

Now some of you morons want to be led by a junior senator with no understanding of foreign policy or economics, and this nitwit says we should attack Pakistan , a nuclear ally. And then he wants to go to Iran and make peace with a terrorist who says he’s going to destroy us.While he’s doing that, he wants to give Iraq to al Qaeda, Afghanistan to the Taliban, Israel to the Palestinians, andyour money to the IRS so the government can give welfare to illegal aliens, who he will make into citizens, so they can vote to re-elect him. He also thinks it’s okay for Iran to have nuclear weapons, and we should stop our foreign aid to Israel.Did you sleep through high school?

You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to out spend and out-tech them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s not the case this time.The soldiers of our new enemy don’t care if they survive. In fact, they want to die. That’d be fine, as long as they weren’t also committed to taking as many of you with them as they can. But they are.They want to kill you, and the bastards are all over the globe.

You should be grateful that they haven’t gotten any more of us here in the United States since September 11. But you’re not .. That’s because you’ve got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military, law enforcement, and homeland security people have worked to make sure of that. When this whole mess started,I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I’m disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts to a single season of ‘Survivor.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead, you’ve grown impatient. You’re incapable of seeing things through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a few months, a few years, tops.

Making matters worse, you actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat’s political campaign, well, dang it, you might just as well FedEx a grenade launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.

In this day and age, it’s easy enough to find the truth. It’s all over the Internet. It just isn’t on the pages of the New York Times, USA Today, or on NBC News. But even if it were, I doubt you’d be any smarter.Most of you would rather watch American Idol or Dancing with Stars.

I could say more about your expectations that the government will always be there to bail you out,even if you’re too stupid to leave a city that’s below sea level and has a hurricane approaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could say more about your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes from.But I’ve come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail right over your heads.

So I quit. I’m going back to Crawford. I’ve got an energy-efficient house down there (Al Gore could only dream) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient for years. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as s oon as I’m done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and by the way, Cheney’s quitting too.That means Pelosi is your new President.You asked for it.Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a glimmer of hope that there are just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.

So that’s it. God bless what’s left of America.

Some of you know what I mean. The rest of you, kissoff.

PS – You might want to start learning Farsi, and buy a Koran.

 

 

Land of the Free

Land of the Free

Lord who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers, Whose kingdom is a kingdom spanning all eternities; Who places a road in the sea and a path in the mighty waters – may you bless the President, the Vice President, and all the constituted officers of government of this land. May they execute their responsibilities with intelligence, honor and compassion. And may these United States continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave

All the world an Olympic venue for sportsman Bush