Saturday, March 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

In 2002, Ben Domenech made a comparison between Bush and Calvin Coolidge that I thought was interesting (I'll pass on giving his site a free plug). I'm puzzled that Republicans would admire the three do-nothing presidents of the 1920s. But I've heard that Bush admires Calvin Coolidge as well (and apparently Reagan did too); Bush and his admirers seem unaware of the job and farming crisis during the 1920s along with various bouts of corruption that were simply ignored until the Stock Market crashed and the Great Depression was on us. Like then, there are many problems now that are being ignored.

Now Bush is sometimes praised for being a strong leader which puzzles me since he has spent a good portion of his presidency sitting on his hands once he makes a decision hoping for the best. The most obvious example was his failure to provide leadership during Hurricane Katrina and in the critical days afterward. The August 6, 2001 memo on Osama bin Laden was another example of Bush sitting on his hands; of course, in that case, he went fishing that afternoon but otherwise did nothing. With Iraq, Bush has spent three years hoping for the best; that's not leadership, that's a failed presidency.

Here's a quote from a few years back from someone who had a chance to watch Calvin Coolidge closely:
Mr. Coolidge's genuis for inactivity is developed to a very high point. It is far from being an indolent activity. It is a grim, determined, alert inactivity which keeps Mr Coolidge occupied constantly. Nobody has ever worked harder at inactivity, with such force of character, with such unremitting attention to detail, with such conscientious devotion to the task. Inactivity is a political philosophy and party program with Mr Coolidge.

—Walter Lippman (Men of Destiny - 1927)

Bush is quite good at confusing a good many conservative Republicans. They mistake all that arm flapping and talking his does for action.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Bush began his presidency saying he intended to operate like a CEO managing a business.

He gets much of his information about what's going on through verbal briefings 1- to 1-1/2-page memos. He delegates to people selected primarily for being ideologically copacetic and unerringly loyal. With those folks taking care of the humdrum, Bush is free to attend to things only the president himself can do.

Thus, he comes close to being forever in campaign mode. He campaigned for his blunder war in Iraq and then for Republican majorities in Congress. He next began a campaign to raise hundreds of millions for his re-election. When he had raised the money, he campaigned to get re-elected. And so it goes.

Bush spent the first half of last year campaigning for his DOA Social Security privatization scheme. He's since been campaigning to salvage public confidence and good will following the Katrina fiasco and implosion of support for his Iraq war.

Meanwhile in the background, like termites gnawing away the integrity of a home, his minions continue their relentless efforts to: gut regulatory oversight wherever it still exists; funnel as much taxpayer money as possible to his corporate backers, preferably sans competitive bidding; undermine organized labor; weaken and sandbag the middle class; and to the greatest extent possible, create a fiscal straitjacket for the next president or two.

So, in his self-serving, party-boosting, corporate-backing, perverse and mess-making way, Bush has been plenty active.

12:24 AM  

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