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The Opportunity Bush & DeLay Gave Obama

For the past few days, I have been contemplating a few posts offering a kind of retrospective on the Administration of George W. Bush.  The more I think about this project, the more I realize how complicated it is.  The incumbent is hardly the caricature his opponents paint, yet he has blundered badly on a number of issues, particularly on domestic issues in his second term.

On the issue which will (likely) most define his term, particularly in the years immediately after he leaves office, he exhibited characteristics which reveal his greatest weaknesses and greatest strengths.  He stubbornly adhered to a failing strategy from 2004 through the end of 2006, then against widespread opposition from the political class (and even the military brass), shifted course, showing incredibly resolve in adopting a new –and ultimately successful–strategy.

And while I commend the president from learning from his father’s mistake and refusing to raise taxes, that’s all he learned from his father’s domestic record.  He didn’t fully understand that Ronald Reagan’s Vice President betrayed his predecessor’s legacy not merely by increasing taxes, but also by not holding the line of domestic spending.

It seems George Bushes don’t value fiscal discipline; domestic spending increased at a rapid clip during each man’s tenure in the White House.

And with a Republican Congress under Tom DeLay committed more to preserving political power than to promoting conservative policies, the party departed from the fiscal principles which led the GOP to electoral success in the 1980s on the presidential level and in the 1990s on the legislative level.  Our political fortunes would surely have improved had the principled Bob Walker defeated the opportunistic Tom DeLay in the 1994 election for House Majority Whip.

Walker’s loss that year paved the way for Democratic success in 2006 and 2008.  Had he been elected Whip in 1994, he would almost assuredly have become Majority Leader in 2003 when Dick Armey left Congress.  He would not have kowtowed to a spendthrift White House, demanding instead that the president exercise restraint in federal spending. Bob Walker would not have countenanced the explosion in pork-barrel politics which Tom DeLay allowed.

It was DeLay’s success in 1994 coupled with the incumbent president’s failure to understand the small-government philosophy of Ronald Reagan that allowed Barack Obama to campaign successfully on change in the presidential election.  The president-elect’s words yesterday indicate he understands that Ronald Reagan’s ideas still resonate.

And indicate as well that he might not have achieved the political success he had had Republicans remained true to the ideas which served us so well in the concluding decades of the twentieth century.

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37 Comments

  1. If only Bush and DeLay had been real conservatives, and had controlled the growth of spending, and pushed for real fiscal reform. If only Bush had changed course in Iraq in 2005, instead of waiting until 2007. And if Bush had secured the borders in the first term, he might have gotten his Amnesty bill in the second.

    And if only someone back in 2005-2006 had had the courage to say, “Wait a minute! This sub-prime mortgage lending is getting out of control! This is going to come back and bite us!”

    So many lost opportunities that may never come again. It is saddening.

    Comment by V the K — January 8, 2009 @ 3:00 pm - January 8, 2009

  2. It seems George Bushes don’t value fiscal discipline…

    I think the real problem is that they are part of the GOP “Moderate”, mushy, me-too pragmatist establishment. Bush 41, after all, started his runs for the Presidency by criticizing Reagan as too ideological – i.e., too principled. Bush 43 offered the pragmatic mush of “compassionate conservatism” (just a Republican excuse for Big Government), and picked Ford’s former chief of staff as his VP, a man who famously said “Deficits don’t matter”.

    These men – Ford, Cheney, Bush 41, Bush 43 – are all decent enough human beings, and patriotic. But they aren’t comfortable with ideological principles, aren’t good at them, speak the lingo only to get elected, follow them with little or no understanding, and drop them readily. Exhibit A: Bush’s bailouts.

    Isn’t one of the first principles of conservatism supposed to be, “Don’t bail out the failures – they don’t deserve it”? With his bailouts, Bush has abandoned that principle like a whore on Saturday night – profligately and with a smirk. Beyond “protect America” (which Bush has admittedly been good at, other than border control), the man does not care about conservative principles – and, as a result, he has destroyed them domestically.

    if only someone back in 2005-2006 had had the courage to say, “Wait a minute! This sub-prime mortgage lending is getting out of control!

    Actually, I think Bush and McCain did both try to say that, or to regulate Fannie and Freddie, back in 2005-6.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 8, 2009 @ 3:40 pm - January 8, 2009

  3. Sorry, Dan, but I have to disagree about your perception of Tom DeLay. He was a very principled, in-your-face type of conservative that Dhimmicrats feared the most – that is, until Sarah Palin came along.

    The fact that a liberal DA in Austin tried to both railroad him and Kay Bailey Hutchison out of office tells you that DeLay must have been doing something right to irritate the hell out of the Dhim’s. And the fact that he had no fear of the consequences his actions would provoke showed some intestinal fortitude.

    Bob Walker strikes me as the same kind of vascillating milquetoast country-club GOP dinosaur that produces so-called “leaders” like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The ones that think they have to be liked by the opposition in order to get something done – then look surprised when the Dhimmicrats stab them in the back as usual.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 8, 2009 @ 4:25 pm - January 8, 2009

  4. Tom DeLay and I share a common charitable option: adoption and foster care. He has done stellar work for the foster care and adoption community in Texas.

    That said, as a politician, he ramrodded through the Prescription Drug Giveaway, and was one of the architects of the Republican “spend like Democrats” congress.

    Comment by V the K — January 8, 2009 @ 5:28 pm - January 8, 2009

  5. Tom D-eLay and I share a common interest: adoption and foster care. He has done stellar work for the fos-ter c-a-r-e and adop-tion community in Texas.

    That said, as a politician, he hammered through the Pre-scrip-tion D-r-u-g Give-a-way, and was one of the architects of the Republican spending strategy that alienated conservatives.

    Comment by V the K — January 8, 2009 @ 5:31 pm - January 8, 2009

  6. Delay and I share a common in-ter-est, adoption and foster care. He has done stellar work for the fos-ter c-a-r-e and adop-tion community in Texas.

    That said, as a politician, he hammered through the Pre-scrip-tion D-r-u-g bill, and was one of the architects of the Republican spending strategy that alienated conservatives.

    Comment by V the K — January 8, 2009 @ 5:31 pm - January 8, 2009

  7. The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/30/AR2005123001480.html

    Can you explain this Mr. Hughes.

    Comment by rusty — January 8, 2009 @ 5:57 pm - January 8, 2009

  8. Rusty, shouldn’t you be off in your Angrydome wishing misery on Sarah Palin’s family?

    Comment by V the K — January 8, 2009 @ 6:15 pm - January 8, 2009

  9. actually was just viewing Gov Palin in an interview for an upcoming movie. . .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-95wkCMeUkk&feature=channel_page

    but thanks for asking V. . .have a good day

    oh and V here is something to make your day

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaE5NGgLtxo&feature=channel_page

    Comment by rusty — January 8, 2009 @ 6:42 pm - January 8, 2009

  10. I’m just checking to see if I can post.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — January 8, 2009 @ 7:24 pm - January 8, 2009

  11. Can you explain this Mr. Hughes.

    Can you explain to me why Screamin’ Howie Dean LIED HIS ASS OFF when he claimed liberals didn’t take money from Abramoff or his lobbyists?

    Can you explain to me why Byron Dorgan served on a panel investigating Abramoff, even though he had received $79,300 and even held a fundraiser in an Abramoff skybox?

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/01/40-0f-45-democratic-senators-took.html

    Can you explain to me why liberals shouldn’t be considered hypocritical bastards when the DCCC pocketed $354,700 and Harry gReid enjoyed $68,941?

    Can you explain to me why liberals lie to the American people pointing the “culture of corruption” finger at Republicans hoping like hell that they won’t be smart enough to figure out how dirty the liberals themselves are?

    Can you explain to me why corrupt liberals still have their jobs?

    Can you explain to me, with all the liberal wailing and gnashing of teeth over hurricane Katrina, why they didn’t kick William Jefferson’s sorry ass for commandeering rescue vehicles? Just think of the people who could have been rescued instead of his cold cash. Can you explain that one to me?

    Can you explain to me how liberals run around blaming everybody else for their Fan/Fred slush fund, Enron etc. and expect the American people to take them seriously?

    I have quite a few more questions I’d like for you to explain to me, but I doubt you have the balls to even try.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 8, 2009 @ 11:31 pm - January 8, 2009

  12. Back on subject, one thing Comrade Obama can learn from DeLay is that you can be indicted and wait for years for your day in court. This, by the same folks who piss and wail for speedy trials for our enemies captured on the battlefield.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 9, 2009 @ 4:02 am - January 9, 2009

  13. WOW TGC, that was a healthy purge. Hope it gave you as much satisfaction as you daily morning constitutional.

    But was just asking for some clarification on Delay. . .and his current situation.

    Say, TGC, do you also SPEAK in TONGUES, and if so, by chance have it on video. T’would think most of that would be lost in translations through print.

    Have a great day.

    Comment by rusty — January 9, 2009 @ 7:37 am - January 9, 2009

  14. V, just noticed your earlier posts prior to my query to Mr Hughes. I, too, have something in common with Delay, in that I have spent the last 20 years as an early childhood educator, parent/family advocate and also worked as a CASA/Guardian ad Litem.

    Does that mean I can seek your redemption, oh great V. THANKS

    Comment by rusty — January 9, 2009 @ 7:41 am - January 9, 2009

  15. Rusty, did you notice this paragraph?

    Whatever the real motive for the contribution of $1 million — a sum not prohibited by law but extraordinary for a small, nonprofit group — the steady stream of corporate payments detailed on the donor list makes it clear that Abramoff’s long-standing alliance with DeLay was sealed by a much more extensive web of financial ties than previously known.

    The WaPo has clearly applied a dose of innuendo to its anal reporting. Do you suppose that they will do the same with the Clinton Library list of donors now that they are known.

    Rusty, do you imagine that any other Republicans or even (gulp) democrats have such innuendo in their fund raising closets? Certainly not Obama. No Soros or Madoff or campaign contributions from foreigners there.

    DeLay really frosted you guys, didn’t he. You see him as a smarmy sneak who acts like a democrat.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 9, 2009 @ 9:10 am - January 9, 2009

  16. Filter Check

    Comment by heliotrope — January 9, 2009 @ 9:10 am - January 9, 2009

  17. Yep, I got filter whacked/

    Comment by heliotrope — January 9, 2009 @ 9:11 am - January 9, 2009

  18. Please let me out of the filter.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 9, 2009 @ 9:11 am - January 9, 2009

  19. Bush pursues good and asinine policies with equal vigor and stubbornness, which suggests to me that his eventual success in Iraq was a happy accident that only happened because the Surge was Bush’s latest buzzword: not because he had any idea what was going on.

    Comment by DoDoGuRu — January 9, 2009 @ 11:31 am - January 9, 2009

  20. I agree with Peter H. regarding Tom DeLay. I have problems with many of George Bush´s decisions. As his term comes to an end he is being praised for keeping America safe, following 9/11. If this were the absolute truth then why hasn´t he given a pardon to Border Agents Ramos and Campion, who were railroaded into jail for doing their sworn duty while the Mexican drug traffiker they wounded goes free? I have sent several e-mails urging the President to pardon them.

    Comment by Roberto — January 9, 2009 @ 11:47 am - January 9, 2009

  21. #6 – I would, but TGC in #10 did it far more accurately and succinctly than I could.

    No need to gild the lily on this one! 😉

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 9, 2009 @ 11:50 am - January 9, 2009

  22. Thanks, Mr. Hughes. I found out all I needed about Abramoff and Delay ‘Stemming The Rose’ but it wasn’t with each other, rather it was those folk who the two colluded to get the shaft.

    I wonder who Abramoff is ‘stemming’ during his secured time at the Cumberland facility.

    Favorite Delay Quote:
    “I am the Federal Government–
    to a waitress who asked him to put out his cigar because smoking in a restaurant in Washington is against Federal law. “

    Comment by rusty — January 9, 2009 @ 12:28 pm - January 9, 2009

  23. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/09/2009 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

    Comment by David M — January 9, 2009 @ 12:32 pm - January 9, 2009

  24. So rusty, what you’ve made clear is that you only consider it wrong to take money from Jack Abramoff when the people who do are Republicans.

    Furthermore, you’ve also demonstrated that you’re an antireligious bigot. That doesn’t surprise us either; it’s typical behavior for the gay left.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 9, 2009 @ 12:44 pm - January 9, 2009

  25. Oh, NDT, taking time out from banging the drum. . .how thoughtful

    http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=85654

    SF City Supervisor (notably gay) Bevan Dufty issued a resolution denouncing the act of Vandalism. OOOPSY

    Just was wondering why all the fuss was about the ‘Temple of Delay’ . . .that’s all

    Comment by rusty — January 9, 2009 @ 1:02 pm - January 9, 2009

  26. […] The Opportunity Bush & DeLay Gave Obama […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » On Economics, Obama Promises More of the Same — January 9, 2009 @ 1:33 pm - January 9, 2009

  27. Ooh, looky here…. gay liberals telling the whole truth.

    This Catholic church (poorly described as Gay-friendly, when it should be described as Catholic-funding) was a fair target due to their attacks on the gay community.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 9, 2009 @ 2:34 pm - January 9, 2009

  28. And here’s another one:

    The Catholic Church is our enemy. Catholics who tithe are supporting the Vatican. The Vatican calls me an abomination and WORKS to deprive me of happiness and basic rights with this money.

    I’ll chip-in for the spray paint.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 9, 2009 @ 2:38 pm - January 9, 2009

  29. DO NOT EVEN GO THERE – TOM DELAY IS ABOUT AS PRINCIPLED AS THE GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS.
    I WAS A DISTRICT OFFICE MANAGER FOR BOB WALKER WHEN TOM DELAY STOLE THAT SEAT BY BUYING VOTES.
    MY BOSS REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING TO BUY THE VOTES.
    I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT HAD BOB WALKER WON WE WOULD NOT BE IN THE MESS WE ARE NOW.

    Comment by patriotmom — January 9, 2009 @ 6:19 pm - January 9, 2009

  30. Oh, and rusty, as I outlined today, the Bay Area Reporter — our local gay rag — had Bevan Dufty trying his PR spin on the front page, and had gays talking about how justified the vandalism was or blaming it on Opus Dei on the inside.

    As I pointed out, it’s odd that the Bay Area Reporter didn’t publish these letters to the webpage, like they do every week. Wonder why?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 10, 2009 @ 12:11 am - January 10, 2009

  31. Say, TGC, do you also SPEAK in TONGUES, and if so, by chance have it on video. T’would think most of that would be lost in translations through print.

    Thanks for proving my point re:

    but I doubt you have the balls to even try.

    Good job, rusty & sackless.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 10, 2009 @ 5:10 am - January 10, 2009

  32. In Delay’s defense, as creepy as he may be, he was an excellent majority whip and did exactly what a whip is supposed to do — got the party’s agenda passed. But the whip is not responsible for crafting that agenda, so blaming him for it is a little like blaming the bus driver when the fares go up.

    I dont know anything about supposed buying of votes, but I do know that the charges Ronnie Earle trumped up are utterly bogus. Indeed, the reason Democrats were out for his head to the point that they broke the law to bring false charges against him is precisely because he was so effective.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 10, 2009 @ 5:27 am - January 10, 2009

  33. Delay… did exactly what a whip is supposed to do — got the party’s agenda passed. But the whip is not responsible for crafting that agenda…

    So he was only following orders? Doubtful. Part of the whip’s job is to give advice on what orders he considers reasonable, or is able to pass. Delay brought tremendous enthusiasm to passing the agenda HE wanted, much like a bus driver who is thrilled and enthusiastic about passing the new/higher fares, rather than complaining to his superiors or even resigning in protest.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 10, 2009 @ 11:09 am - January 10, 2009

  34. (and that agenda was a K-street agenda of spending and pork to try and buy a “permanent majority”)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 10, 2009 @ 11:10 am - January 10, 2009

  35. Yes, he was merely following orders. Let me put it this way, had the President and Republicans had an agenda you approved of, I think Delay would have passed that with equal enthusiasm. I don’t think Delay is anywhere near as much an ideologue as he is a partisan. And you know what, whip is the perfect job for such a person.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 11, 2009 @ 7:25 am - January 11, 2009

  36. And it is precisely because he was so effective in that job that Democrats went to such extraordinarily corrupt lengths to get rid of him.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 11, 2009 @ 7:27 am - January 11, 2009

  37. House Republicans had internal meetings and debates to set their agenda and policies. Delay was very much a part of them. That he would have gone enthusiastically with an agenda of deep spending cuts and “no pork, no lobbyists” seems, shall we say, implausible. I will let others in this thread who would know more about GOP internals / dirty laundry take it from here.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 11, 2009 @ 11:21 am - January 11, 2009

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