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   Tony Shepps  Wednesday Jul 25 11:24 AM

7/25: Bush and the pope (thx ndetroit)



ndetroit points out this photo, which makes a great statement even if it's an out-of-context statement.

Yesterday in all my daily surfing, I came across a recent turn of events with a Philly free-lance writer meeting Bush at a handshaking event. It included a dialogue that went something like this:

Guy: Glad to meet you, Mr. President. You know, I hope your term is only four years, because I don't really you've been doing a very good job.
Bush: Who cares what you think?



kisrael  Wednesday Jul 25 12:10 PM

http://www.honan.net/thegift.html is that link. Although GWB's response is *amazingly* undiplomatic for a world leader, wishing someone so poorly and saying that they suck is way too smartass thing to do, especially because rightly or mostly wrongly, he is the damn president.



Tony Shepps  Wednesday Jul 25 02:56 PM

Yah, there ya go. That wasn't exactly the page I visited - and dammit, wouldn't a searchable history inside a web browser be the bee's knees right about now. But it is exactly the story, including a second verification that the event really happened.

It certainly isn't Presidential, but I enjoy it because it's Bad Politics. You just know that Clinton, given a similar situation, would have a ready-made PERFECT answer to the gent. Maybe even enough of an answer to turn the guy around, you know? But politics alone shouldn't be our criterion for whether he's doing a good job or capable of doing a good job. Politics should be what we rely on when all else fails: "He may have no plan for education, but at least he TALKS a good game."



dynamo  Thursday Jul 26 09:41 AM

Reluctantly, I'll add my two cents.

I didn't vote for Bush, but honestly, he's already exceeded my expectations. Before I explain, let my make two points.

First, the americans here know from their civics classes that the president doesn't actually have much power. He leads with a megaphone, shouting commands, and hoping to sign bills when congressmen listen.

Second, the work the president does has very little effect on the everyday american, it's state and local officials that fix my roads, run my schools, etc.

So I was saying that Bush has exceeded my expectations. The reason comes down to one thing. I believe we pay WAY to much in taxes around here for what we get, Bush promised a tax cut and I was skeptical. But not only did he come through with a tax cut, he gave me an unexpected token refund of $300.

dynamo



kisrael  Thursday Jul 26 10:03 AM

Most people like tax cuts. On the other hand, most people aren't able to point out federal programs that they think should be dramatically reduced or eliminated. ("[Al Gore] want[s] the federal government to control Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." --George W. Bush)

$300 is a token gesture. His taxcuts, rightly or wrongly aimed at the wealthy, will make it difficult to keep a balance budget and fund things we as a nation find important. Combined with his insistence on an unworkable anti-missile plan (which ain't gonna do us no good against the suitcase nuke or biological agent that's a much more likely threat) ticks off our allies and potential rivals alike, makes the world a more dangerous place overall, and will cost bajillions we won't have, what with the tax cut and all.

Bush has disappointed me in so many ways. His appointments seem to reflect a belief that he has a huge mandate, even though more people nationwide voted for Gore. He's into severe, low- or zero-tolerance drug penalties, despite his own "youth indescretions" (And by the federal scholarship standards , his silence on his past drug use counts as a yes-- what a cowardly hypocrite!) His waffling on stem cell research, hugely popular nation wide, even with many "pro-lifers", may cost public health in ways we won't be able to calculate.


On my website I posted a New Yorker quiz: which headline didn't showup during the first 100 days of the Bush administration. It's pretty telling.



vsp  Thursday Jul 26 10:52 AM

Before you rejoice over your "token $300 refund" too much, you might want to check out the thread in Current Events on the subject.

In a nutshell, that $300 isn't a gift or a bonus -- it's money that you would have gotten in your tax refund next summer anyway, distributed early.

jeff. who's long-winded enough on the subject over there that he won't repeat it here.



russotto  Thursday Jul 26 11:21 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Shepps
It certainly isn't Presidential, but I enjoy it because it's Bad Politics. You just know that Clinton, given a similar situation, would have a ready-made PERFECT answer to the gent.
How soon we forget. Clinton had someone picked up by the Secret Service for saying that he sucked.


Shivetya  Thursday Jul 26 12:42 PM

Sounds Like Kisrael just can't get over it

After reading your reply all I can figure is that you should realize that the horse is dead, and the ideas expressed only work on those who can't find the truth.

How can people live in such a self-centered world?



kisrael  Thursday Jul 26 01:55 PM

Can't get over what, exactly?

Bush in general? There are some things I think Bush does right, just not many.

The fact, any weird ass shenanigans in Florida aside, (and there was plenty of that), Bush one the electoral college and lost the popular vote. More people voted for Gore. The popular vote not mattering has not happened for decades and decades; yes, Clinton got fewer votes than daddy Bush and Perot combined, but neither gentleman got more votes alone.

So what exactly is it I can't get over? That Bush is, by and large, dumb? (Interesting counter theory to that in today's Salon; it's not that he's dumb, it's just that as an ex-alcoholic, he has to choose his words with more care than what comes naturally to mind.)



dynamo  Thursday Jul 26 04:49 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by kisrael
Most people like tax cuts. On the other hand, most people aren't able to point out federal programs that they think should be dramatically reduced or eliminated.
Shoot, it's harder to name programs that I WOULDN'T like cut. Let's remove Social Security, that's a winner, let people take care of themselves with their own money. How about INS, unhindered immigration is what made this country great in the first place.

Quote:
$300 is a token gesture. His taxcuts, rightly or wrongly aimed at the wealthy, will make it difficult to keep a balance budget and fund things we as a nation find important.
I'd say rightly, but that's a different argument. The thing is, we'll never be able to agree as a nation on things that we feel we should fund. That should happen at the state or local level. Otherwise it's coersion, you're forcing me to pay for something I'm not interested in. And it's not outlined in the constitution, so why should I have to? For example, if you want a prescription drug program, then you and a bunch of like minded people should all go live someplace that has it and charges taxes for it. Otherwise our federal taxes get up to 50% or more (like our neighbors to the north) and all of a sudden, we're socialist.

Quote:
Combined with his insistence on an unworkable anti-missile plan (which ain't gonna do us no good against the suitcase nuke or biological agent that's a much more likely threat) ticks off our allies and potential rivals alike, makes the world a more dangerous place overall, and will cost bajillions we won't have, what with the tax cut and all.
Now you're gonna think I'm a hypocrite because I actually like the federal government trying things like "unworkable anti-missile plans" because they're almost the only ones that can. Throwing money at research and developement furthers technology and makes our lives better in the long run. We're still reaping the benefits of the space race. Also, Reagan's plan for SDI was to give it away, I would assume Bush has the same plan (maybe a big assumption) so that wouldn't piss anyone off. Makes the world a safer place.


kisrael  Thursday Jul 26 05:53 PM

Ok, you have obvious libertarian leanings, while I tend to have what you'd see as socialist leanings, and we probably shouldn't waste the diskspace here hashing it all out. I do remember that NPR report on a poll that discovered most people who self identify as Republican and more anti-big-gov't end up siding on the 'democratic' side when asked about most particular issues. (Suffice to say outright removal of Social Security would be an unpopular move.) In practice, modern society is based on making decisions in a group kind of way, even if some disagree. If enough disagree, then you and a "bunch of like minded people" can vote for politicians who better support your views. Good luck; as far as I can tell the libertarians drum up shit at the polls.

On your second point, I think there are better and more direct ways for the federal government to fund general scientific development than funneling it through a missile defense. And even if it were *great* for general R+D and not just the rather speific disciplines of aeromechanical and radar engineering, it would still be a dumb idea, because A. it won't work as promised and B. if it did work as promised its promise doesn't deal well with the suitcase nuke or smallpox aerosol.

Reagan promised to share SDI with the Russians... yeah, I think I believed that at the time. Of course, I was like, what, 10? The problem is, even if there was some joint protection going on, worldwide antimissile shield, we would still hold the trump card. No one would trust us not to act unilaterally when we felt the need. "Sorry Pakistan, where kind of pissed at how you sucked up to the Chinese at their Olympic games, we're not sure if their might not be a little oopsy when it comes to detecting India's nukes." Even if that's not what we'd do, the world doesn't *know* that, (especially with yahoos like Bush's entourage in the whitehouse, who seem very happy to act unilaterally, hence the disregard or abandonment of Kyoto treaty, ABM treaty, test ban treaty, biological warefare prevention treaty etc etc) and that's why it raises tensions.



jaguar  Friday Jul 27 02:41 AM

kisrael?
a fellow semi-demi socialist?
thank god i was starting to feel outnumbered =).
How about funding the tax cuts by making some of the worlds largest companies give *some* money ot tehgovt, considering its currantly the other way round (see attached doc)
damnit i cna't attch, too big, ill link to it tomorrow no time now



elSicomoro  Friday Jul 27 11:53 AM

Actually, big business DOES give a lot of money to the government--so that their favorite politicians are re-elected.

Dubya is stumbling. The one thing that bothered me about Clinton is that he could have been the one to sign off on scrapping missile defense. As far as the Kyoto Protocol, he probably would have said something in a manner that would have soothed the masses all over.

But...Clinton is off to a life of golf and government checks. During the first 3 or 4 months, Bush showed himself to be competent. He has earned the respect of world leaders. He showed that he DOES has some edumacation. But I don't think he is in ANY position to push a conservative-based agenda. If anything, he has to play a more centrist agenda than Clinton. There appear to be some quality candidates out on the horizon, and I think it will be hard for Bush just to win his own party's nod in 2004. We'll see...

More and more people are going to college, learning more about the world around them. Many of these folks do not have quite the same value system as their parents. Furthermore, the minorities are growing, and tend to lean liberal-to-centrist. Therefore, I can only hope that there will be more liberals in our world over the next 20 years. (Although, looking back at the past, it would seem that it goes in cycles.)



kisrael  Friday Jul 27 11:57 AM

What has he done to earn world leader's respect? Mostly I just see him ticking them off... a good salon article on that today . Plus, he doesn't strike anyone as being all that smart. Say what you will about Clinton, that he made some dumb and/or immoral decisions, but no one thought him a dummy.



elSicomoro  Friday Jul 27 12:13 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by kisrael
What has he done to earn world leader's respect? Mostly I just see him ticking them off...
Putin was apparently receptive enough that there will be further discussions beyond the missle defense realm. Has Russia not been the biggest critic of the missle defense, among the critics? Given how staunch Russia's position has been over this, Bush must have said SOMETHING right.


kisrael  Friday Jul 27 12:41 PM

I don't know, it's not like it was enough to stop China and Russia from signing some joint declarations to show their solidarity against the idea.

And just because Putin was/is willing to listen... I think that's just realpolitik. Obviously, the USA is a force to be reckoned with, and he might just be following his own form of "constructive engagement".



elSicomoro  Friday Jul 27 01:07 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by kisrael
I don't know, it's not like it was enough to stop China and Russia from signing some joint declarations to show their solidarity against the idea.

And just because Putin was/is willing to listen... I think that's just realpolitik. Obviously, the USA is a force to be reckoned with, and he might just be following his own form of "constructive engagement".
Well of course...it's not like Bush is a faith healer or anything.

In 2001, the US is in an interdependent relationship with the world. They both need each other...like it or not. I only hope that any damage Dubya does in the next 3 years is either minor or reparable.


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