Diary

2016 GOP Presidential Candidates Must Repudiate The Bush Administration

If Republicans want to win in 2016, they must repudiate the Bush administration.

The 2008 presidential election was a referendum on the Bush administration, as were the 2006 midterm elections. The results were clear: Americans overwhelmingly wanted change.

Let us also be clear on this: the Bush administration was an abject failure.

The Iraq war was the Vietnam war of it’s time. It was based on false premises and heavily mismanaged in the process. Saddam Hussein did have chemical weapons (not sure why this is debated-we supplied him with them in the 80s) but there is no evidence he had plans to use them on us or anyone else. Hussein was not plotting with Al Qaeda. The ideas of regime change and democracy-spreading were not and are not applicable to the Middle East. (This lesson has still not been learned. See: Mubarak, Gaddafi, Assad-pending) While the threat of radical Islam was recognized, nobody bothered to understand that it’s greatest recruitment tool is a massive foreign invasion into “holy” Islamic lands from a Christian nation. It also seems that nobody recognized that the destabilization of Iraq largely benefited Iran on the outside and terrorists cells on the inside, each lacking counterbalances as a result of Saddam’s disposal.

The Afghanistan war was based on correct premises: the breeding grounds for Islamic terrorism had to be destroyed. However, the lessons of the Soviets were not learned. And as a result, Afghanistan, though clearly better off is still an unstable nation.

Toward the end of the Bush administration, Americans (and the overused and abused military) had war fatigue. It is clear today that there is appetite for fighting radical Islam, but nobody has the appetite for repeating the failures of the past. New strategies must be forged.

Domestically, the Bush administration had a few good moments, such as the tax cuts and proposed privatization of Social Security. But by and large, this was also an area of failure.

No Child Left Behind led to the increased centralization of education.

Medicare Part D added to the largesse of government-run healthcare.

The auto and Wall Street bailouts reinforced moral hazard and established the GOP as the party of the rich.

The 2008 stimulus package endorsed Keynesian economics laid the groundwork for an even larger, wasteful bill under Obama.

Before Obama has presided over the largest debt increase in American history. Before him, the leader in that category was George W. Bush.

The Bush administration created the most regulations (such as Sarbanes-Oxley and McCain-Feingold) since Richard Nixon (about 14,000 additional pages to the Federal Register).

The Department of Homeland Security was created and has implemented an all-out assault on America’s privacy and liberties.

The housing bubble was endorsed by George W. Bush, who helped make home ownership a government priority.

This list could surely be continued. At this point, it is clear that Bush was no conservative, let alone faithful to the Constitution. Let’s not forget that for much of this period, Bush had a Republican Congress to work with.

Americans don’t want to go back to the era of Bush. That is why we must not nominate Jeb Bush (due to his name and his policies). It is also why the 2016 GOP candidates must be clear: the Bush administration was a failure, and their administration would be totally different.

Let Hillary yearn for the old days of the Clinton White House. Let her try to defend the Obama administration.

Republicans should tie up the legacy of the Bush administration, put it in a burlap bag, and dump it in a lake. Never to be seen or heard from again.