Anti-Bush might fit new presidentIt’s a new president, a new era, but maybe we can salvage something from the Bush-bashing days gone by, namely some political catchphrases that have updated meanings in our altered circumstances.
By: Jay Ambrose, The Dickinson Press
It’s a new president, a new era, but maybe we can salvage something from the Bush-bashing days gone by, namely some political catchphrases that have updated meanings in our altered circumstances.
You begin to see their utility when you look at how critics worried that President Bush was “sacrificing liberty for security” in some efforts to avoid a new terrorist attack after 9/11, and then ask whether President Obama and the Democrats aren’t aiming to sacrifice liberty for different kinds of security.
The most obvious example is the eagerness of many congressional Democrats to sacrifice free speech on radio by reimposing the so-called Fairness Doctrine. This assault on the First Amendment could very well chase the hated Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives from the airwaves, providing the Democrats with increased security from criticism. We all know how important that is.
Then there’s the effort for enhanced electoral security. Obama and many of his Democratic friends are in synch on a scheme to sacrifice the liberty of workers to use secret ballots in elections on whether to have a union. Here is a device to maintain labor backing in campaigns and extend the number of Democratic voters.
All kinds of commercial liberties might be denied as Obama surveys his options on keeping the market in tow, revising energy policy and combating greenhouse gases. There’s been talk of the complete nationalizing of banks. And to give us security from dependence on foreign sources for oil, Obama plans to deprive the auto industry of the right to build the kinds of cars consumers want. It’s a move that could do severe hurt to an already damaged industry to no sure-fire avail.
Another catchphrase employed against Bush was that he had “no exit strategy” to get out of the war in Iraq, when in fact he did: victory and peace.
A genuine fear is that the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve have no exit strategy to get us out of a spending and money-printing spree that could help stick us with a $1.7 trillion deficit in 2009, lead to a collapsed dollar, cause a doubling or worse of taxes and, down the road, lead to runaway inflation, an even worse, interminable economic crisis and devastating decline as a prosperous world power.
Especially considering that we are faced with trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security and that the bill starts coming due in a relatively few years, it’s hard to see how we are going to extract ourselves from the consequences of this extravagance. We need a plan, or at the very least, an explanation of how we avoid disaster. I have not heard any.
Finally, it was repeatedly said of Bush that he made up well-founded if finally incorrect stories about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and thereby “lied us into war.” Now there are people such as Dick Morris, former advisor to President Clinton, contending that Obama is using the moment’s high anxiety to lie us into socialism.
It’s said, for instance, that the stimulus package will do more to create a welfare state than to arouse the economy, and that when you put this together with regulatory overkill now being plotted, we’ll have a centralized, government-controlled economic system that routinely robs from Peter to pay Paul. The recently-passed House bill is loaded with evidence of the thesis — billions upon billions for all kinds of wealth-transferring welfare programs that address this crisis about as much as a sneeze.
No one wants — or should want — to subject Obama to what Bush faced, criticism that was sometimes unfair to the point of calumny. But there is too much at risk for us all to hold hands and sing kumbaya. We need vigorous debate, and some of the phrases used ad infinitum in the Bush years can help us put some very real issues into sharper focus.
— Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas and Denver,
is a columnist living in Colorado.