I posted the following on one of my member sites, ACRNAlumni.com. It’s a response to one of my friends, JJ, who was stating that criticism of the Democrats (by board members) was taboo, but criticism of the President (again, by board members) was all right. This was my off-the-cuff response:
The reason I’m not a fan of the President’s is because, when you get right down to it, he’s not a responsible leader. I think John DiIulio & Ron Suskind put it best when they described the Bush Administration (particularly Rove and that lot) as “Mayberry Machiavellis”.
If you talk to most anyone who’s either had to work in the White House, or even with senior staff, they all say the same thing: policy takes a back seat (way back, like in the trunk) to politics.
Now, I’m not a political virgin, so I know that politics is a huge consideration at the Presidential level, but these folks treat it as if it’s the only consideration. And before you mention it, please don’t say “Bill Clinton”. I won’t post a defense of Bubba here and now.
How can I say that it’s the only consideration? Consider, if you will, Mars and Moon Base Alpha.
Back in 1990 or ’91, Bush the Elder thought that going to Mars would be a neat thing to do. So he commissioned a study to see how much it would cost. When he received the price tag, he shelved any plans to go to Mars any time soon.
Twelve years later, his son decides that the time has come to blaze “new frontiers”, so to speak. He orders NASA to plan a manned mission to Mars–his dad’s old idea, to be made possible by building a moon base. And he orders NASA to devote every resource to that purpose. And in order to accomplish this, he’s going to devote $12 billion to this.
As you marvel at this sum of money, it’s worth remembering why Bush the Elder scrapped the Mars mission: The price tag was $500 billion. And that was without building a moon base.
Meanwhile, as a result of Bush’s decision, we’ve scrapped both the Hubble space telescope and the shuttle. Say what you will about the shuttle; we still had years of use left in the Hubble.
And the thing of it is, he didn’t even mention it in his State of the Union Address. Say what you will about the speech; surely, going to Mars rates a mere mention above steroids.
And this isn’t the only example I can come up with. Iraq. Afghanistan. That $477 billion budget deficit, a scant three years after we had a surplus, and were on course to be debt-free for the first time since 1835. The refusal to investigate two of the greatest intelligence failures in human history, one of which directly led to the death of over 3,000 Americans. The greatest loss of jobs since the Hoover Administration.
Look, for me the bigger question is this: how can you defend Bush? We are talking about a man who has presided over the largest growth of government in twenty years. For a Libertarian, I would suppose that would render the man anathema. But perhaps you’re considering the War on Terror as the linchpin for your support.
If so, it’s a weak linchpin. I’m not as familiar with Afghanistan, but I can tell you that here in Iraq, we’re about 5 to 15 years away from having a stable state here. Not a democracy–a stable state. And we’re facing a big dilemma here, come July 1. That’s when the Iraqi provisional government’s supposed to take power, but we have no mechanism in place to select that government that meets with the approval of the majority of Iraqis. We’re trying like the dickens to avoid a civil war between the Shi’a, the Sunni and the Kurds. And the same thing’s been replicated in Afghanistan, where there is a civil war raging, still. Meanwhile, Osama has morphed into Osama bin Forgotten, and the Taliban’s on the march back.
And for all the claims that we’re safer, who can really say for sure? With the alert system spiking every other month, and another one of my friends lying cold on the ground, I’d beg to differ. And I suppose that another 9/11-style attack would show us that we’re not, in fact, safer.