Kyle Whitmire’s Take On the Bush Maladministration

We have some fine political writers in Alabama, and Kyle Whitmire is one of the best.  The Birmingham Weekly is consistently good, but some weeks just shine.  Kyle’s essay on the disasters of the past six years should be required reading for anyone who’s still undecided about how to vote next Tuesday.  I’ll excerpt here, but read the whole thing.

Aside from a few snide remarks here and there, I’ve refrained the last couple of years from doing any serious Bush-bashing. I figured the supply had met the demand. Apparently, I was wrong.

Republicans may lament that the president’s approval rating has slipped to less than a third of Americans, but it is equally inexplicable to me that so many still believe Dubya is doing a heck of a job. I want it on the record for posterity: I thought the man was an idiot from the get-go.

There was a time, years ago, when I thought Bush the junior would rightfully be a strong contender for the presidency. That was about 1999, when the he was still a relatively unknown governor from Texas. He looked like his dad, whom I’d respected, and some of his public pronouncements seemed respectably centrist.

But then a friend directed me to a profile, published in the now-defunct Talk magazine, where the president cussed more than Samuel Jackson and showed an unseemly nonchalance toward what we now call the sanctity of human life. The interviewer, Tucker Carlson, asked Bush what he thought the Texas killer Karla Faye Tucker would have said to him in her final hours on death row. The next president of the United States pursed his lips and whined a mock plea: “Please don’t kill me.”

He had but one life there in his hands, and regardless of anyone’s opinions of the death penalty, that burden should be met with intelligence and maturity. Instead, he showed the bravado of a frat row cowboy. In retrospect, that moment was a window into our future.

Indeed it was.  Too bad more of us didn’t pay attention at the time.  Instead, many of us listened to the spin and heard what we wanted to hear.

So how did we get into this mess? A friend said to me recently that Alabama should change its motto from “We dare defend our rights” to “Alabama: We will not be told.” If only such a creed could be limited to our state.

And what do we do now?  Those of us who opposed Bush from the beginning, those who have come to their senses over the past six years, and those who still cling to the illusion that Bush is a good man who has our best interest at heart are all packed into the same boat, heading with all deliberate speed toward a waterfall.  We don’t know if it will be a minor bump along the path of democracy or a catastrophic drop into chaos or dictatorship.

I’m sure some people are going to say that I hate America for even thinking any of this, but I’m not certain what America even means any more. In the long view of things, perhaps the Bush Administration has been a sort of IQ test. If you were among the few who doubted him early in his term, you pass. If you still have a “W the President” bumper sticker on your car, then you’re with stupid. It’s a cold comfort that history might prefer my point of view. But a smug sense of superiority is a sorry consolation prize, if the cost is everything else. 

13 Responses to “Kyle Whitmire’s Take On the Bush Maladministration”

  1. Del says:

    That was great. But now I’m depressed. Time for more Milk Duds.

  2. Bottom Line says:

    Good point, we need to find a President like Bill Clinton who demonstrates his maturity and intelligence. He showed his maturity when making decisions on Kosovo while his prick was in Monica’s mouth.

  3. Kathy says:

    And Bush took a budget surplus and turned it into a huge deficit that will leave our children beholden to China for years to come. He attacked a country that hadn’t attacked us and got our military so bogged down that we’re SOL if another country decides to take advantage of our vulnerability. All in all, I’d just as soon he get a blow job. It never killed anybody.

  4. Bottom Line says:

    Don’t get me started on the falacy of the budget surplus from the “Clinton Economy”. Not to mention the fact a budget surplus resulted from over taxation!
    Plus Clinton attacked Iraq plenty as well,he just chose to do it for political reasons and never really accomplished anything with it other than adding headlines to the newspaper and trying to look tough. Clinton also said Sadaam needed to be disarmed, said they had WMD and chose to do nothing. He said and thought many of the same things Bush did when he chose to invade Iraq. So Bush is bad because he chose to have the guts to do something rather than kick the can down the road to the next generation. He had numerous chances to get OBL but was too interested in BJs to actually do something about it. So yes he did get people killed by his lack of moral courage as a president. And no I don’t care that he got a BJ from an chunky, immature dimwit; I just wish he wouldn’t do it while he is sipposed to be leading our country.

  5. Kathy says:

    BL, are you seriously telling me that you’d prefer to have our children paying off debt to China and other foreign countries rather than having our citizens pay enough taxes to fund the work of the government? And please don’t tell me if we cut all the social programs, we could afford the war with no debt. Social programs are such a tiny percentage of the budget as a whole that cutting all of them would only be a drop in the bucket. Bush chose to start this war, and he chose to cut taxes during wartime — an unprecedented action. He either didn’t know or chose to lie about the number of troops needed to succeed in Iraq, and he seriously underestimated the cost, in dollars and lives. Don’t you remember the administration telling us that Iraqi oil revenue would pay for the rebuilding? That hasn’t happened. Instead, billions of our dollars have disappeared down a rabbit hole, wasted or stolen by inexperienced political loyalists, corrupt Iraqis, and companies like Halliburton.

    And, by far the worst thing, our soldiers are still dying there, stuck in the midst of a de facto civil war. I really don’t want you to end up being one of them.

  6. Cosmic Glue says:

    BL, are you seriously telling me that you’d prefer to have our children paying off debt to China and other foreign countries rather than having our citizens pay enough taxes to fund the work of the government?

    And I’m sure, Kathy, that you live in a house, drive a car, and have other annual expenses whose total cost — not installment payments — equals or is less than your annual income.

    Actually, I daresay you, like most Americans, uses intelligent borrowing to leverage the amount of money they have available and purchase items for which the cost of borrowing is outweighed by the value involved.

    A car, for example, is a smart investment because it facilitates your getting to work (earning salary), it provides you more options of where to work (earning a better salary) , and it saves you time. Furthermore, while you might be able to buy a used car within your income threshold, the newer the car, the less you usually have to spend on repairs and maintenance.

    Social programs are such a tiny percentage of the budget as a whole that cutting all of them would only be a drop in the bucket.

    Right.

    Instead, billions of our dollars have disappeared down a rabbit hole, wasted or stolen by inexperienced political loyalists, corrupt Iraqis, and companies like Halliburton.

    Well, first, money spent on US firms by the US government is hardly wasted; it goes to the workers of those companies. Would you prefer that defense contractors, which by law are required to design, procure, and assemble the vast majority of their materials in the United States, using US workers, stop getting contracts — and put those workers on welfare instead?

    Second, I only wish you could get this worked up about the estimated $50 billion or so dollars — about 10% of the total — that disappear from Medicare and Medicaid each year, Kathy. But that would require bashing the Federal government and torpedoing the idea that Democrat pet projects waste money — not going to happen.

  7. Del says:

    I wouldn’t put my enemy, who owned the bank, in a position to take away my only means of transportation by borrowing from that bank.

    Well, first, money spent on US firms by the US government is hardly wasted; it goes to the workers of those companies.

    What other domestic industries do you feel deserve this kind of investment? To go back to that car problem, it would be nice if the government bought us all a new car made by an American company and American workers. Would that be a waste of money? Or, to be more accurate, it could buy American-made cars for people in the Middle East.

  8. Cosmic Glue says:

    I wouldn’t put my enemy, who owned the bank, in a position to take away my only means of transportation by borrowing from that bank.

    But how worried would you be if your monthly payments were his primary prop of support, and if he repossessed your car, he would ruin his income stream?

    We are China’s primary export market. That’s part of the reason they’re so willing to finance us; our consumerism helps them keep their population employed, busy, and reasonably happy. Cut us off, and they have to find something else to do for the literally hundreds of thousands of workers who are kept active feeding our appetite for goods.

    What other domestic industries do you feel deserve this kind of investment?

    I’m actually going to turn this question around. How do you feel about industries like agriculture that receive this type of investment?

  9. Del says:

    Sure, we’re China’s import market—for now. China thinks in the long, long term. IMO they’re playing us like a cheap violin.

    And no, I don’t like federal bailouts of agriculture, either. Especially now that most of the money is going to Con-Agra and Friends. Corporate welfare is even more pernicious than the WIC kind.

    We’ve spent quite a bit more in Iraq than we do on farm subsidies, though. And, except for those nasty equipment accidents, even Con-Agra doesn’t kill many people.

  10. Bottom Line says:

    Con-Agra? Not familiar with that one and I know a good bit about the farm programs due to my upbringing.
    As for China, yes they are playing us pretty well, which is probably why they got some politicians in their back pockets.

  11. Del says:

    Conagra, along with Tyson, Smithfield, and a company called Cargill, have a vertical lock on livestock markets from feed production to the breaded, frozen chicken breast in your grocer’s freezer. Conagra in particular is also diversified to the extent that it’s very difficult to avoid buying SOMETHING they own every time you shop. The combination of deregulation, trade policy, and subsidies, plus the control the Big Four exert over the market, lower their feed costs dramatically. Not to mention direct subsidies to their animal factories.

    And no, I’m not a vegetarian :) And I’m all for capitalism, but not when it leads to the whole country shopping, in effect, at a single Company Store.

  12. Bottom Line says:

    I am willing to bet the government interference help conagra and if capitalism were allowed to work in agriculture things would be much better. But Places in the Heart tugs at heart strings so people feel the need to throw money and government intervention at a problem rather than let natural change, evolution and capitalism work things out.

  13. Del says:

    If you’re saying the government policy helps Conagra, then yes, I agree. I also agree that the public is “sold” the farm subsidies on the emotional ties you mention, but that the great majority of the money goes to huge agribusiness corporations.

    I believe that pure, untrammeled capitalism is dangerous in that a system tends to “settle out” after a certain period with all the capital concentrated in the hands of a few, since as we all know capital begets more capital. Even the Bible dictates the 50th year of Jubilee to guard against this kind of result. I wonder if modern Christian reconstructionists who are so anxious to impose a theocracy on the US plan to adopt that particular part of the Law.

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