Discuss: Bud’s list of ‘Worst Presidential Moments’

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I was impressed by this list that Bud posted in a previous thread, and thought I’d toss it out for broader discussion:

Worst Presidential Moments (in no particular order)
1. Hoover watching passively as the great depression unfolds
2. Buchannan presiding passively over the last days before the Civil War
3. Clinton claiming he did not have sex with that woman
4. Bush Sr. promising no new taxes
5. LBJ suggesting American boys would not fight for Asian boys
6. Carters hostage crisis
7. Reagan’s Iran/Contra debacle
8. Nixon proclaiming he is not a crook
9. Bush Jr. inexplicably continuing to read to second graders while the WTC is attacked
10. Bush Jr. ignoring the presidential daily briefing about 9-11
11. Bush Jr. lying about WMD in Iraq
12. Bush Jr. proclaiming Mission Accomplished
13. Bush Jr. failing to help Katrina victims
14. Bush Jr. presiding over banking collapse
15. Andrew Jackson defying supreme court sends Indians on long, deadly march to OK
16. Harding Teapot dome fiasco
17. Grants patronage fiasco
18. James Madison presiding over failed invasion of Canada
19. Theodore Roosevelts Philipine debacle
20. FDRs failed attempt to expand the supreme court
21. Reagan’s Lebanon debacle
22. Ford’s misguided pardon of Nixon
23. Adam’s alien and sedition calamity
24. Andrew Jackson’s misguided banking policies
25. FDRs internment of Japanese Americans

Here’s partial feedback from me…

First, 11 and 12 didn’t happen. So they can’t make any list I would compile. I might accept, as a substitute for 11, something like, “W. placing way too much emphasis on WMD (which he and everyone else believed were there) in the run-up to the invasion, thereby setting the nation up for a huge setback on the slim chance we were all wrong about their presence.”

Then, I think there are some items that just don’t belong on the list next to other, truly horrific things. Compare No. 9 to No. 15. It’s highly debatable whether No. 9 was even a little bit bad (at worst, a momentary lapse in having one’s “game face” on), much less a “worst presidential moment.” While No. 15 was a great evil — I’d call it a manifestation of our nation’s original sin if slavery weren’t there staring us in the face.

What do y’all think?

62 thoughts on “Discuss: Bud’s list of ‘Worst Presidential Moments’

  1. Silence

    Silence’s list of “worst presidential moments”:
    Zachary Taylor drinking the icewater.
    W.H. Harrison not washing his hands.
    Lincoln buying theatre tickets.
    McKinley going to the fair.
    Garfield not appointing Guiteau as the US Consol in Paris.
    JFK deciding to take the convertible to the parade in Dallas.
    Al Haig taking control of the executive branch.

  2. Doug Ross

    Moments aren’t that important, decisions are.

    All the decisions that led up to wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were the worst made by Presidents during my lifetime.

    Nixon’s coverup of Watergate. I wonder what the political environment would be like today had
    he just owned up to it from the start? He would have survived that, I think.

    Ford’s economic policy: Whip Inflation Now…

    Ronald Reagan’s decision to remain in office for a second term despite likely suffering from Alzheimers.
    He was a figurehead President.

    Bill Clinton’s decision to embarrass the office of President with an extended affair and then lying about it

    George W. Bush selecting Dick Cheney as Vice President.

    Barack Obama pushing through Obamacare.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    On that last one, Doug, I’ll quote Ed Harris as Gene Krantz in “Apollo 13:” “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.”

    OK, so maybe that’s hyberbole. What I really mean is that, flawed as it is, it’s the first attempt to deal with a serious national problem that has been neglected for far, far too long. So on the whole, a good thing.

    And please explain: Which “decisions that led up to” war in Afghanistan do you think were among “the worst made by Presidents during my lifetime?”

    The main decision I recall was the one to go after the Taliban, which was harboring Osama bin Laden at the time of 9/11. Was that one of “the worst made by Presidents during my lifetime?” If not that, then what do you mean?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I mean, on that one… I don’t think any president in my lifetime would have done anything different from going after the Taliban and al Qaeda, given that provocation.

      1. Doug Ross

        The decision to put tens of thousands of troops in harms way to go on a manhunt was excessive use of unnecessary force. Out troops should be ready to fight real wars against actual threats to our security… not as nation building pawns with limited chance of success. We aren’t going to change Afghanistan to become America Lite and we shouldn’t have to.

        We bring war now to other places not because we are in danger but because we have a military force with nothing else to do.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          It wasn’t a “manhunt.” The mission was to change the conditions in that country so that it was no longer a safe haven for al Qaeda, or for anyone else who wanted to use it as a base from which to attack this country. Or to attack other countries. Which is why allies were willing to go in there with us.

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah and today’s USA Today front page story on al Queda’s move into Africa has this quote: “Indeed, less than two years after the death of Osama bin Laden, recent events have shown that global terrorism is alive and well. As the fractured terrorist networks with shifting alliances adapt to this new world, counterterrorism experts say the United States and its allies need to craft a strategy to counter this ever-changing enemy.”

            So we’ve achieved nothing in Afghanistan other than push the problem onto another continent. We think a sledgehammer can kill a fly. It can’t.

    2. Doug Ross

      As for Obamacare – define your success criteria. Today’s article in The State notes that a big increase ($85 million) is coming to cover state workers due to rising costs. In which year do we expect to see healthcare costs go down or become “Affordable”? If Obamacare was so effective, why haven’t we seen any results yet?

      You’re just pleased that something was done.. process over results.

      1. Scout

        Well it’s not fully implemented yet, right? So wouldn’t it be premature to expect results right now? I don’t know how long is reasonable to expect results once it’s implemented, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to not expect them before it is implemented.

        1. Steven Davis II

          I expect we’ll see the costs come down around the same time the Democrat controlled Senate introduce a balanced budget.

  4. JasonG

    Methinks that George W. Bush must have shorted Bud’s bed sheets at church camp, or something. Either that, or history for him began on January 20th 2001, or whenever he thinks Bush ‘stole’ Florida.

    I’d add in a good bit that Jefferson & Madison did in their two terms – from patronage scandals, to promoting a bellicose attitude towards Britain (and not seeing a problem with Napoleonic France), and at the same time letting the military languish in Jefferson’s dumb scheme to have a volunteer Navy and harbor defense.

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    A good Federalist argument.

    I’ll never understand the Democratic Republicans’ love affair with revolutionary France.

    But in Jefferson’s defense, he didn’t let his fantasies about how we could be a nation of totally autonomous yeomen farmers with little or no government get in his way when reality conflicted. He overcame his “small government” ideology long enough to jump at the greatest deal in our history, the Louisiana Purchase. And he didn’t let his objection to having a Navy get in the way of going after the Barbary Pirates (without a congressional declaration of war, I might add).

  6. Karen McLeod

    I’d put on the list President Obamn ‘s failure to ensure an investigation of the allegations of torture which arose during the previous president’s administration. We signed the Geneva convention regarding treatment of prisoners. We have repeatedly sanctioned other countries for human rights failures. Torturing POWs then refusing to investigate how and who allowed it effectually trashed whatever worth our nation’s word was given in the world market. And I know other countries have done and continue to do worse. Would you excuse a someone who committed one murder on the grounds that many others had committed mass murder? It may not have been a good idea politically, but it would have been the right thing to do.

  7. bud

    Doug, of course I disagree with you on Obamacare but I’ll concede it’s far from ideal.

    As for the Afghanistan invasion it was probably not feasible for any president to ignore the Taliban AFTER 9-11. Heck even I supported that war, early on at least, given the circumstances. But if you’re talking about Bush’s many, many, many failures leading up to 9-11 then you are spot on.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The intelligence failures that led up to 9/11 were systemic. Basically, we had some people in the government who knew those hijackers were here in our country, and some other people in the government who knew who those guys were and how extraordinarily dangerous it would be for them to be here — and they weren’t talking to each other.

      If I recall correctly.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What I just said is based on my memory of having read The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 several years back.

        Reading that, you learn about such people as John P. O’Neill, who as Assistant Deputy Director of Investigation for the FBI was America’s top bin Laden hunter. He was the guy who more than anyone else really knew how what a threat al Qaeda was.

        But he retired from the FBI in August 2001, after which he got a job as head of security at the World Trade Center. He was killed on 9/11, in one of the more remarkable ironies I’ve encountered in recent history.

  8. bud

    If I recall correctly.
    You don’t. It was a failure within the administration that led to an overarching fascination with star wars technology and a lack of focus on routine intelligence gathering. The dots were all there and just needed a bit of hard work and most impotantly focus to connect them. Sadly Bush and his minions had their minds in space and their attention focused on non-threats. And the result was disasterous.

  9. Matt Bohn

    Lincoln ignoring the Supreme Court and Ex Parte Merryman. Pierce’s inability to deal with Bleeding Kansas. Hoover and the Bonus Marchers. Johnson’s “swing around the circle.” This could be addicting!

  10. Steve Gordy

    Brad, your blind spot as to W’s dereliction of duty BEFORE 9/11 is surprising. We’ll be arguing for many decades to come as to whether the policy decisions made after the World Trade Center came down were good or bad, but the plain truth is W was to blankety-blank mentally lazy to deal with something as unorthodox as the threat of an attack on U.S. targets using aircraft. I guess he never read Tom Clancy.

  11. bud

    Seriously Brad, the man was handed a major briefing that touched on the threat from Al Qaeda. Then he failed to act. Apparently there were many other warnings that were just simply ignored. We’ll never know for sure if President Gore would have successfully connected the dots but I’d lay odds at about 10-1 that he would have.

    1. Steven Davis II

      Dear Leader doesn’t bother himself with these briefings. He’s got Hillary Clinton to fall on his sword for him.

  12. bud

    Brad, I do find it both fascinating and entertaining to read the lengths you go to to defend George W. Bush. It’s like nothing that went wrong on his watch was even the tiniest bit his responsibility. You even defended the idiotic “Mission Accomplished” banner.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, I don’t go to great lengths. Y’all go overboard with the criticism, and I try to pull things back to what I think is more sensible territory.

      I’m a believer in the “S__t Happens” view of the world. Sometimes, things happen that are beyond any reasonable expectation of preventing them.

      There are all sorts of steps that could have prevented 9/11. You can go back many years. One such stage was after we helped drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Then we went away and ignored the country, and the Taliban rose to power, giving bin Laden a safe haven, and so forth. I could go on and on about what a great example that is of why we have to stay ENGAGED with the world’s trouble spots. But I don’t, because blaming 9/11 on those who saw the country as having more urgent priorities back in the 90s would be going overboard.

      Before you say I go to “great lengths,” let me ask you to do one small thing: Tell me what you think Bush should have done before 9/11 — something that a president might realistically have done, based on the intel he had — and how that would have prevented the attacks.

      See, I think YOU go to great lengths. The way you keep hitting on that thing about the president finishing reading that book to those kids on the morning of the attacks. Whether that was the wrong thing to do is highly debatable, and even if it was wrong, it was no big deal. But people to whom it is very important to demonize Bush, it’s a big deal.

      I didn’t much like George W. Bush. He wasn’t my choice for president. But the way so many people go overboard about him brings out the “yes, but…” in me.

      Oh, and what was “idiotic” about the people on that aircraft carrier (NOT the president) putting up that “mission accomplished” banner to celebrate returning from a deployment? Bush didn’t say “mission accomplished” in that speech. In fact, he said, “our mission continues.”

      Again, this is a touchstone for Bush haters, but it’s based on a misrepresentation of what happened.

      I’m the guy in the middle, caught between the Bush haters on one hand and the Obama haters on the other…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Something else Bush said at that time, in addition to “our mission continues”…

      “now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country… We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We’re bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous…”

      Does that sound to anyone like “mission accomplished”?

  13. Brad Warthen Post author

    That Tom Clancy turned out to be prophetic was one of the many stunning things about 9/11. I had thought that his having a terrorist fly an airliner into the U.S. Capitol while the president, entire Congress and Supreme Court were there, killing them all and making Clancy’s hero, Jack Ryan — who had just been sworn in as a sort of placeholder vice president and had just left the building — president (take a breath, this is a long sentence) was one of the most far-fetched ways of advancing a plot I’d ever encountered.

    Which didn’t stop me from being thoroughly absorbed by Executive Orders, which was all about an all-American regular guy being president and having to deal with a whole series of nightmarish national-security scenarios while rebuilding the government to suit his own commonsense (in Clancy’s view) notions.

    But setting that aside… Steve Gordy’s comment makes me wonder…

    If W’s father, the ex-CIA chief, had been president in late summer 2001, would he have picked up on the clues?

    Maybe. But probably not. The idea of POTUS pulling all the threads together and figuring it out himself really is the stuff of a Jack Ryan novel. The stuff that was available at the highest level of command just wasn’t specific enough to act on, unless I’m forgetting something.

    And what actions would he have taken? If we’d had the names of the hijackers and known what they were going to do, then the FBI and other agencies would have acted to stop them without orders from the president.

    But with the vague outline that something was coming and it might involve commercial aircraft… what would have been effective, short of the kind of moratorium on air travel that we had for a time AFTER 9/11. And do you think the president would have had the political support to have pulled that off?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Simplistically, no question: If you’re the guy who’s in charge, and you don’t stop a bad thing from happening, then you failed.

      But then the question becomes, who would have succeeded, given the same circumstances and the same intel? I just don’t know. I wouldn’t dare say that I would have.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author


        But hey, he had a great resume.

        A fellow former editor, Gordon Hirsch — he used to comment here, but we haven’t heard from him in a while — used to tell a story about when Veep Bush was attending a dinner in the Lowcountry and bit into a shrimp, not knowing it had to be peeled first.

        Mealtimes were not his best moments.

    1. Steven Davis II

      Or when Obama gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod… just what every 80 year old woman wants. Probably full of Jay Z and Beyonce with maybe a track or two of Snoop Dog.

  14. Bart

    The list is just another BS reason for bud to vent his spleen over his unbridled hatred of GWB. Every president has made mistakes, some we will never know about. It is a tough job and anyone who goes after it must have an ego the size of the earth and then some.

    Maybe bud should try his hand at public office, run things for awhile and then get back to us. Frankly, I am getting pretty damn tired of the constant trashing, bashing, and venemous diatrides against bud’s enemies. Yes, enemies because if you read enough of his comments, how the hell could you think otherwise.

    Mistakes by presidents? Gee, how perceptive.

  15. Bart

    NO, I am not defending GWB and I do wonder why BHO is not on the list. I seriously doubt he could do anything that would warrant inclusion on anything that could be considered as a failure even in the slightest.

  16. Brad Warthen Post author

    Well, in Bud’s defense, beyond the Bush stuff that you knew would be on his list, I was impressed that he thought long and hard enough to come up with all those other examples from history.

    Hey, I’ve got an idea — how about a list of “Best Presidential Moments”? For Obama, it would probably be when he decided to sent the SEALs after bin Laden (I saw “Zero Dark Thirty” over the weekend, and was struck that the woman whose work led to finding bin Laden wanted to bomb instead — I wonder if that was accurate; I know that was the position of some of the president’s advisers), or maybe his famous campaign speech about race in America.

    With Bush, I’d have to go back and look, but he had some good speeches in the year after 9/11, particularly ones in which he spelled out important values of a liberal democracy.

    With JFK, it would be his inaugural speech, or the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    FDR would have a number of them.

    Nixon went to China.


    1. Steven Davis II

      “For Obama, it would probably be when he decided to sent the SEALs after bin Laden”

      I thought Hillary Clinton had to push him to do that?

  17. Norm Ivey

    My contribution to the worst moments: Reagan’s slashing of the National Renewable Energy Lab’s budget.

    Nominations for best moments:
    Teddy’s conservation efforts
    Ford’s pardon of Nixon
    Washington’s two-term decision
    Eisenhower’s Interstate system
    Roosevelt’s REA

  18. Phillip

    There’s one obvious Top Mistake that could quite possibly have zoomed to the top of the list, had history turned out a little differently:

    John McCain selects Sarah Palin as his running mate.

      1. Phillip Bush

        …hence the “if history had turned out a little differently” qualifier…my point being that if he had been elected, and heaven forbid the stresses of the office took their toll on the health of the President, that mistake might have dwarfed all the others.

        1. Bart

          Was not aware this is a “what if” exercise in presidential screw-up history. Going on that premise, the list could probably circle the globe several times using single spaced lines.

        2. Steven Davis II

          So what you’re saying is McCain would have been the first to have a bumbling idiot as vice-president.

  19. bud

    I would add to Norm’s list:
    Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban missile crisis
    Johnson’s signing the civil rights act
    Bush Sr. eskewing his “No New Taxes” pledge
    Carter’s brokering peace between Israel and Egypt
    Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech
    Ike’s “Military industrial complex” warning
    and of course:
    Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclaimation

    All you conservatives out there please note there are more Republicans than Democrats on my list. Shows how radical the GOP has become of late.

    1. Phillip

      Re that, I’m still mystified at the obsession over Benghazi, and not necessarily in a way that reflects well on either the Obama administration or the Republicans’ typically out-of-touch-with-the-big-picture-Fox-fanned obsessiveness. The security failures, whatever they were, that allowed the breaches at the embassy there and the loss of life, aren’t they serious security failures whether the attacks were preplanned or spontaneous or some combination of the two? This is typical Republican overreach, because in either scenario there WERE serious security lapses and misjudgements and these were absolutely the failures of people within the Obama administration and by extension the Administration itself, but the GOP is so in love with conspiracy theories that they have to believe all sorts of errors were in fact politically motivated, and they miss the chance for a base hit because they’re swinging wildly for the fences.

      Mitt Romney lost the Presidency in part because of this overreach. Rather than simply blaming Obama for security lapses he overreached and made blatant, provably false misstatements about what Obama did and didn’t say and the timeline therein. The momentum Romney had built from the first debate was stopped in its tracks at that moment.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        And we know there were no security lapses at foreign installations under Bush’s watch, right?

        They have to gin up a conspiracy to deflect from the reality that they would be pots calling the kettle black on security lapses.

        1. Doug Ross

          Susan Rice made statements on television five days after the attack. All the American public wants to know is who created those talking points and based on what sources? Why is it wrong to try and understand the flow of information? She didn’t develop the theory out of thin air.

      2. Bart


        The “momentum” Romney had built up was nothing more than an illusion and has been debunked by the revelation of the ground game Obama and his supporters had been engaged in since his first win in 2008. As someone who respects a well organized effort or successful project management of a plan, the way the on-going campaign was conducted and kept under the radar was impressive indeed. Not only did it insure Obama’s re-election but it put in place an solid base or bloc of voters who will remain loyal to the Democrat party for a long time to come. Voters Democrats won’t have to court anytime in the near future. At this point, it is a safe prediction to say that the next president will be another Democrat.

        The decision to isolate and target small segments of voters and turn them into a large, cohesive bloc and secure their commitment to vote for Obama was a brilliant stroke of planning and the implementation of the plan was carried out with little press and without fanfare. Romney was defeated well before he secured the nomination and his efforts were in all practical terms, a waste of time. He never knew what hit him until it was too late.

        Romney may be a great organizer at his comfort level in business but he was not prepared for someone who knew how to organize at the personal level by reaching out on an individual basis by loyal, committed volunteers who started knocking on doors in 2009 to secure victory in 2012.

  20. Bart

    “All you conservatives out there please note there are more Republicans than Democrats on my list. Shows how radical the GOP has become of late.”…bud

    I am shocked I tell you, simply shocked that bud would think the GOP has become radical of late. Based on his comments over the years, I find this revelation astounding.

  21. Bart

    By the way bud, not all conservatives are Republicans, if anything, most of us are independents but without a viable alternative to Democrats or Republicans, we make the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years look as if they were amateurs.

    But then again, when one’s field of vision is what can be seen through a straw……

  22. Brad Warthen Post author

    Bart, we all know Bud’s views — that’s one of the main purposes of the blog, to get to know thoroughly what each other think — but I don’t think its unfair for him to associate “conservatives” with the Republican Party.

    Having thus defended him, believe me, I identify fully with your desire not to be lumped in with partisans. And yes, it can feel like wandering in the desert for 40 years to live in a world in which if you disagree with one side, you are assumed to belong to the OTHER side. This is my bane.

  23. bud

    I long for the day when the Republican party represented a thought provoking opposition that would give me pause to reconsider my liberal views. It would be nice to here someone on Fox discuss the Benghazi raid without launching into attack mode over the ultra trivial issue of whether Susan Rice intentionally distorted the underlying cause of the attack. I watched Current TV last night, perhaps the most liberal of all the political talk networks, and they were just as critical of the Obama Administration over Benghazi as Fox. But they said nothing about the Susan Rice talking points. Why can’t the right understand that Obama is a fine man who has a world view different from theirs and launch into a reasoned critic of his policies rather than lashing out as though he really is a Kenyan-Born socialist. Maybe if they did the GOP would not lose the popular vote 5 times out of the last 6.

  24. Steve Gordy

    The conservative resurgence after 1964 was a melding of two strains: Goldwater-style (later adopted by Reagan) libertarian-leaning, mostly from the Western states, and George Wallace-style populist-leaning, mostly (although not entirely) from the Deep South. Until Newt Gingrich came on the scene, the former strain was predominant in the GOP; thereafter, the latter came to the fore. One has only to plot the loss of the Republican party’s ability to win the electoral votes of states such as California, Michigan, and Colorado (all strong areas for Reagan) to watch this unfold.

  25. bud

    With a couple of exceptions the conservative contributors on Brad’s blog make well thought-out comments. I don’t recall anyone specifically suggesting the president is a Kenyan born socialist.

  26. Bart


    Whether Obama was born in Kenya or not is of not real import at this point. Anyone still using the same tired cliche is still clinging to something that will never happen – Obama will not be removed from office due to citizenship requirements. Frankly, I find the exercise by the die-hards boring and totally unproductive.

    However, on one point I have reached a conclusion based on research and reading his books, commentaries, writings, listening to his speeches not usually broadcast on the networks or cable and that conclusion is that Obama is a socialist to core of his being. Whether he is a militant socialist or not will be unveiled over the next four years. Whether he intends to increase socialism in increments or large bites, it is my firm conviction that he will enact a more socialist oriented agenda than he did in his first four years.

    Once again, using however to make another point, while doing my research and study of Obama, it has become apparent and anyone who is a history buff will or should admit that America will embrace a version of European socialism in due time and his election/re-election was the heralding trumpet of the impending change. It is inevitable in the process of a nation’s development that declares itself a republic with strong overtones of a democracy. It matters not that socialism in Europe is finally facing the hard facts about providing almost unlimited services while not accounting for the cost associated with maintaining the level of social services that are never static but growing with each successive change when control of government changes from one political party to another. Once entrenched, services provided to the citizens of a country for decades are practically impossible to rescind in any meaningful manner or scope. If the austerity measures proposed in Greece and other European countries are fully enacted, you can expect some very violent civil demonstrations and unrest among the ones affected the most and the desire for power within the political class will not go against a dissatisfied citizenry for very long. All one needs to do is witness what has transpired in France with the new tax increases that are in direct conflict with the inability of the citizens across all financial levels to maintain them.

    If we stop for a moment and look back over the last several decades, we too have slowly but surely followed the same path but under a different flag and without a better descriptive phrase at hand, “deceived ourselves into thinking we are a true capitalist country”. What has happened is that Obama has literally “ripped the covers off” and revealed what has been hidden to most for decades. The divide between the economic classes is wide and in some instances, bordering on the obscene. Romney’s 47% comment was not inaccurate at all, if anything, he may have underestimated by a few percentage points. That is the underbelly that was revealed in this last election. Now that it has been exposed and made into a political issue instead, it will be used as a tool to further the cause of following a broader path to a socialist form of government for America. All we can hope for at this point is that while the transition is taking place, there will be a few sensible voices that will be heard and listened to so the change will be civil and without violence.

    The total transition will take several years but eventually, it will be complete and America will become another country whose rise and fall will be chronicled for future generations to study and debate.

  27. bud

    Bart, I appreciate your thoughtful response. And I don’t entirely disagree. Where we part company is when you couch the terms “socialism” and “capitalism” as absolutes. Obama does subscribe to certain socialist principals such as the support of medicare and social security along with a somewhat expanded government support for medical care. Given the staggering burden a largely private healthcare system has imposed on Americas citizens, along with poor outcomes compared to the rest of the developed world, I don’t find that a particularly illogical imposition of some additional “socialism”.

    But to suggest that Obama is in favor of 100% government control of all means of production, as a pure socialist would, is not in line with his actions or proposals as president. The auto bailout is a good example. It is clear now that Obama found it very distasteful for the government to own a large share of GM and has vigorously pursued a course of action that returns all ownership of the car maker to the private sector. That is hardly in keeping with a man hell-bent on creating a socialist empire on his watch.

    On the other side of the aisle it was George W. Bush who implemented a huge expansion of healthcare through the Part D legislation. Likewise he pushed hard for a heavy-handed government involvement in educatioin through no child left behind. No one suggests W is a socialist yet he did advocate greater government involvement in those areas among others. Likewise most Republicans support medicare and social security on some level. Ron Paul is probably an exception. Plus most Republicans pursue a far greater government roll in the military beyond what is need for legitiment defense of the homeland. Certainly far more so than Obama. That certainly counts toward a socialist agenda if not outright patronage of the military industrial complex.

    The bottom line is that yes Obama does have a socialist agenda. But he also supports a thriving free-enterprise system. That would pretty much desribe any recent president. Yet it is only Obama who gets branded for his particular agenda as president. As long as the right continues down the path of labeling him with deragatory terms like “socialist” then they will continue to move away from what most Americans want. And that will be to the detriment of the Republican party.

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