George W. Bush FAILED MISERABLY on his two attempts at transformative change in this country. He took his “man-date” after the ’04 election and squandered what little good will he had on a pathetic attempt to privatize Social Security, planning to put Wall Street in charge of the nation’s social safety net — before we were reminded that what can irrationally go up is just as likely to exuberantly go way, way down. The Democrats held firm against his ill-advised plan, thank Buddha, a rare site indeed.
Bush still had a congressional majority when he tried, and failed, to fix immigration, which tore his party in two. I’ll give him education reform, something he put through with decent bi-partisan support (most importantly, with help from the late Ted Kennedy who was also expecting No Child Left Behind to be funded). However, President Obama plans a sweeping overhaul of education policy to fix the gaping holes and unmanageable metrics Bush’s plan left behind.
Bush also pushed through two huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (which are about to expire) on top of the unfunded Medicare Drug Plan (addressed in both the House and Senate bills), plus starting a couple of pathetically run wars (now hopefully being handled more responsibly with less cowboy “strategery”), the illegal one about to be wound down.
Bush’s stunning nose-dive in approval, from 90% to 22%, helped usher in Democratic majorities in Congress and all but assured that whoever won the Democratic Primary would become our next President. But it was his foreign policy fiascoes that were primarily responsible for bring him down and contributed to thwarting his late term legislative initiatives.
There never was any sense that the Democrats ever wanted to take George W. Bush down they way they want to with Obama, and tried with Clinton. Within hours of the 2006 “Thumpin’” that turned Congress over to the Democrats, Speaker Pelosi announced that impeachment was “off the table.” These two parties simply operate with different rules. One wants to actually govern, while the other doesn’t care if they accomplish anything as long as they can say they “won.”
When all is said and done, it doesn’t look like there will be any lasting effects from the Bush Administration’s agenda, save for the hundreds of thousands killed, millions forces from their homes and the dreams of a comfortable retirement for so many Americans shattered.
The list of Obama’s legislative accomplishments is pretty impressive when you put it in perspective, a first year’s laundry list that trumps anything since the New Deal or the Great Society according to Norm Ornstein (via):
[T]his Democratic Congress is on a path to become one of the most productive since the Great Society 89th Congress in 1965-66, and Obama already has the most legislative success of any modern president — and that includes Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson. The deep dysfunction of our politics may have produced public disdain, but it has also delivered record accomplishment.
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Most of this has been accomplished without any support from Republicans in either the House or the Senate — an especially striking fact, since many of the initiatives of the New Deal and the Great Society, including Social Security and Medicare, attracted significant backing from the minority Republicans.
It’s a pretty striking wish (fulfillment) list, even if the gaping hole known as Health Care Reform languishes in perdition:
We stabilized the banks:
Saved 2 million jobs:
Passed 25 different tax cuts covering 95 percent of working families:
- Cut taxes for small businesses,
- Cut taxes for first-time homebuyers,
- Cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children,
- Cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college.
Made some health care reforms in advance of the sweeping changes that are closer than ever to becoming a reality:
Made COBRA 65 percent cheaper,
Even passed some infrastructure modernizations with “massive investments” in:
Of course, neither the Pundiocracy, the public nor Greater Blogistan should let facts get in their way, especially when this Congress, which has accomplished so much in so little time, has a dismal approval rating. Pile on, kick the dogs when they’re down.
The nearly complete absence of cronies and lobbyists from administration positions, federal boards and commissions has only made it easier to count and point out the few that got exemptions. Where was the snark when Bush let lobbyists write his budget or Cheney and his oil executive buddy’s took crayolas to the map of Iraq? Watching the Health Care sausage get made has us sick to death of the debate, but that hasn’t stopped the carping because every discussion with everyone, everywhere wasn’t on CSPAN once actual legislation passed both houses of Congress.
Yep, unemployment sucks beyond belief, and that overshadows all things great and small. But could it also be that our liberal media, the real liberals like Olbermann and Schuster, may have forsaken policy analysis for gotcha games with rival conservative pundits and the tweets of rat-F’er wannabees?
The rally cry for every incumbent Democrat this fall should be: “Have you SEEN the list of what we got done?”