This morning millions of Americans welcomed the Obama administration with open arms and a noticeable sigh of relief that President Bush had finally become "Former" President Bush. Still, millions more are now filled with a certain degree of uneasiness and even a bit of fear thanks in part to the belief that our country is now on the wrong track and headed for failure. I have been struck by the degree to which my conservative friends are fearful of what the Obama administration is capable of, due in part to my view that our country has endured quite a lot of damage throughout our history and yet it has always persevered, as well as the irony that seems to be lost on them thanks to the flawed logic of 1) our country's current problems were not Bush's fault & 2) all future problems will be Barack Obama's fault.
I fully expect that the arguments I hear good and bad in the days, weeks, and months to come (I'll be guilty of this as well) will depend heavily on who we read. In case I'm wrong in this assertion, I decided to take a pulse of the blogosphere and link to various reactions from across the web. Enjoy.
Inauguration Day Reax
- Fred Barnes (a born again Christian) lists Bush’s had ten great achievements during his eight years in the White House. #2 should force all of us to ask ourselves if it is right to abandon our moral code in response to fear:
His decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore
Enhanced (i.e. torture) interrogation of terrorists. Along with use of secret prisons and wireless eavesdropping, this saved American lives.
The rebuilding of presidential authority, badly degraded in the era of Vietnam, Watergate, and Bill Clinton.
Achievement number four was Bush's unswerving support for Israel.
Finally, a no-brainer: the surge.
- President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades.
- Charles Krauthammer claims that keeping some bush appointees somehow vindicates Bush. You make the call:
“Except for Richard Nixon, no president since Harry Truman leaves office more unloved than George W. Bush. Truman's rehabilitation took decades. Bush's will come sooner. Indeed, it has already begun. The chief revisionist? Barack Obama.”
- According to FiveThirtyEight, History May - or May Not - Judge Bush More Kindly:
Although George W. Bush's approval ratings have rebounded slightly, as often happens at the end of a president's tenure, he will nevertheless finish his presidency with among the lowest scores since approval ratings came into widespread usage. Gallup pegs Bush's final approval numbers at a -27 net (34 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove), the worst for any outgoing president save Richard Nixon.
Surprisingly, however, there has historically been fairly little relationship between a President's popularity at the end of his term and the way that he has tended to be regarded by history.
- The Weekly Standard gives the following four reasons why the only thing we have to fear is Barack Obama:
1. He doesn't know what he's talking about
2. He's a pushover
3. He's another Jimmy Carter on foreign and national security policy
4. Obama has nerves of jello (I had to include the following sentence from the article) “This fear may be unfair, since there's no evidence one way or other as to how he might react in a crisis.”
- What was Bush’s finest moment in Iraq? It may not have been the surge.
- George W Bush, "Destroyer of Conservatism." From Rod Dreher (a Conservative Christian) via beliefnet.
- Bush's Entourage: Government Appointees or Enablers of Bad Policy?
- Via The Next Right, Patrick Ruffini provides his take on the Bush Legacy (emphasis added by me):
On taxes, Bush did everything right. Being a shrewd politician, he tackled the easy part first, but never followed up on the hard part (spending). Lest we be too hard on the man in this case, he is not exactly unlike most politicians in that way, and most of the responsibility for the spending atrocities rests with Congress. Were it not for the war, this would have been an era of tax cuts and fiscal responsibility -- and certainly so in comparison to Obama.
(editor's note: Were it not for lack of money, I'd be a millionaire)
- Joseph Farah: An Exercise in Stupidity
I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God's. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God's straightforward Commandments.
So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.
Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: "For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed."
- Time Magazine Offers Up Bush’s Eight Economic Misstakes
- Michael Goldfarb states that Bush won in Iraq. How did I miss this?
- Courtesy of the NYT's, Poll Finds Faith in Obama, Mixed With Patience