George W. Bush
As the debt debate continues with no end in sight (not even Aug. 2nd) some people are getting understandably upset. They want to know who to blame, and if anything that’s come up so far will actually fix the problem. Well, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that the Cato Institute has come out with another outstanding video on the situation. The bad news is that you have to blame everybody, and no, there isn’t really a good solution coming out yet:
Again, there will be no dismantling of unconstitutional (or just flat out bad) programs and departments, just “trimming” around the edges, which won’t be good for the long term as they’ll a piece of cake to overcome. The “Cut Cap Balance” idea is a good start, but the Democrats will never go for it, and it’s only that—a start.
Operation Gunrunner, also known as Operation Fast & Furious, has been a bit of an embarrassment to the BATFE to say the least. The operation, which knowingly permitted illegal straw purchases to go through, knowing that the guns would be send south of the boarder to Mexican drug gangs, hasn’t gone as sunny as planners had hoped. Now, the spotlight in turning onto Attorney General Eric Holder and his Justice Department.
The ATF’s acting director, Kenneth Melson, has been singing like a canary to congressional investigators as he pushes back against administration pressure for him to resign and take the fall for something that, at the very least, had to include the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and possibly the Homeland Security Department.
In a letter to Holder released yesterday, Rep. Daryl Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley accused the Justice Department of blocking their investigation into the burgeoning scandal (which has resulted in the deaths of at least two American agents and countless Mexican civilians), muzzling the ATF and involving other federal agencies, including the FBI and the DEA, in funding the crackpot scheme.
“The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons, but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities,” they wrote.
For those of you who have never heard of Alfonzo Rachel, he is a conservative commentator who recently joined PJTV team after becoming a viral success on YouTube:
AlfonZo Rachel is a musican and martial arts instructor who founded Macho Sauce Productions to create right-minded entertainment. His popular rapid-fire rants, originally self-produced on YouTube, have now found a home on PJTV.
His videos are a bit unorthodox among conservative pundits, which may have much to do with its appeal to younger conservatives and even some libertarians. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this:
‘Zo’ begins the video quite oddly by equating independents with libertarians. He then defines a libertarians as “just liberals that don’t have a love-hate relationship with capitalism.”
Then comes a key comment: “The Constitution does not say that the government can tax the fruits of our labor, or impose an income tax. Which makes total sense because the government would bleed the people dry like they’re doing now as they defy the Constitution.”
That’s the question that entered my head this morning. Conservatives often accuse libertarians of “supporting” Obama by being critical of Republicans and conservatives. Obviously, this is nonsense, as no one is obligated to withhold criticism simply because of a person’s party. Libertarians are by no means required to even support Republicans, much less ignore their glaring deficiencies and attempts to abridge liberty.
What I’m asking is, is there any situation that could arise to cause a libertarian to actually vote for Obama in 2012? The current crop of GOP hopefuls, with the possible exception of Gary Johnson and perhaps a couple others, looks less than thrilling for libertarians (or really anyone). It is entirely possible that we will end up with a Huckabee, Romney, or other nominee that one could find impossible, or at least difficult, to support. Is anyone’s vote then going to Obama?
Personally, I’d argue that any libertarian who would consider this is, well, nuts. I realize there are some who supported Obama in 2008, most likely because of his supposed anti-war stance. But as the his actions have shown, especially his amplification of the Afghanistan war and his actions in Libya, Obama is most certainly not anti-war. Further, his behavior on the domestic front has been, in a word, horrendous. From ObamaCare to spending levels that would make George Bush blush, he has been anathema to libertarians in nearly every way.
So my question is, are any libertarians even considering voting for him in 2012? If so, what conditions would need to exist? And more importantly, why? I’m honestly curious to see if he retains any support in this segment. I highly doubt if it is significant after the above-mentioned. I just want to know if it still exists at all.
Eight hundred and fourteen days. That is how long it has taken me to lose my last shred of respect for the current President of the United States. Erupting onto the national political stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama was immediately praised as a rising star. A charismatic, well-spoken young politician, he clearly had a future in politics. A tall, lanky senator from Illinois, he drew comparisons to Abraham Lincoln. A black man that avoided being characterized as a black politician (as opposed to a politician who happens to be black), he avoided bombastic speeches about racism and reparations. He gave white Americans still harboring guilt over our ancestors’ participation in the evil of the human slave trade the chance to prove they were no longer racist by voting for him. His entire campaign was a nebulous celebration of “Hope and Change”. He was the post-racial, post-partisan candidate that as president would heal the divide between black and white, Republican and Democrat.
That was then, this is now.
Last month, having given speech after speech decrying the need for fiscal responsibility and the need to rein in the deficits and get the debt under control, President Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion dollar federal budget that increased federal spending and projected (based on unrealistically optimistic growth rates for the next few years) $1.6 trillion in deficits for the year, with annual deficits averaging around $1 trillion over the next decade. It increased spending. It did nothing to control the largest contributors to the deficit and long term debt (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the $14.2 trillion national debt). In short, the serious discussion he claimed to want regarding fiscal responsibility was nowhere to be found in his budget.
As President Obama laid out his case for intervention in Libya (and really, almost anywhere) some remarked, on Twitter and on blogs, that his speech was the best one George W. Bush ever gave. The implication was that Obama’s justification for aggressive action paralleled Bush’s almost to the word - wherever people are “yearning to be free”, the United States must be on the side of the yearners. It is a frighteningly broad criteria for making war, because, let’s face it - most of the world is not free, in fact massively so. Can we possibly take sides everywhere some are oppressed?
Given the actions of the left during the Bush presidency and the Iraq War, it would then not be irrational to expect widespread demonstrations and protests. Surely Code Pink, MoveOn, et al would hold rallies and vigils against a truly unjustified military action that put our troops at risk for no good purpose. After all, we can’t just go about shooting missiles everywhere, right?
Yet the so-called “anti-war” left is mostly silent, with few exceptions. Surely this is a double standard, but it should not surprise anyone in the least. The left has fashioned itself as being entirely in favor of intervention in every other aspect of life, from our choice of light bulbs to whether or not we choose to buy health insurance. So for what logical reason would they have any deep opposition to intervening abroad? The fact is, the left has never been and never will be truly anti-war.
While laid up in bed last week recovering from surgery, my coworkers sent me a care package that included Sen. Rand Paul’s new book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to get past the first few pages. But Matt Welch brings us this passage from the book of Sen. Paul slamming George W. Bush:
Imagine this-what if there had never been a President George W. Bush, and when Bill Clinton left office he was immediately replaced with Barack Obama. Now imagine Obama had governed from 2000 to 2008 exactly as Bush did-doubling the size of government, doubling the debt, expanding federal entitlements and education, starting the Iraq war-the whole works. To make matters worse, imagine that for a portion of that time, the Democrats actually controlled all three branches of government. Would Republicans have given Obama and his party a free pass in carrying out the exact same agenda as Bush? It’s hard to imagine this being the case, given the grief Bill Clinton got from Republicans, even though his big government agenda was less ambitious than Bush’s. Yet, the last Republican president got very little criticism from his own party for most of his tenure.
For conservatives, there was no excuse for this.
Welch also notes:
Paul goes on to say stuff like “any self-described conservative who ‘misses’ the last president and his version of the Republican Party should probably quit subscribing to that label,” and “if judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush.”
This week, Jason and Brett speak with former Cato’s Former Director of Budget Studies and author of Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, Stephen Slivinski.
The discussion centers around the Republican Revolution of 1994, how the GOP traded principles for power, the big spending, and how the fever of fiscal conservatism from 1994 compares to the tea party movement today.
Telegraph has an article up that serves as a wrap-up analysis of the Bush presidency on the eve of his departure. There was one paragraph that really stood out:
Peter Feaver, who served as special adviser for strategic planning on Bush’s White House National Security Council, agrees: “He’s had a once-in-a-century natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, a once in a history of the Republic terrorist attack and he’s had a once-in-a-century financial crisis. Any one of those would be a pivotal moment. To have three is extraordinary.”