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Baby Bush Worst President Ever?

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September 11, 2009 – Comments (27) | RELATED TICKERS: GS , JPM , C

MY COMMENT: No need to argue with some Fool about whether Baby Bush was the worst president ever, Doug Casey provides the best write up I have seen.  I really think you save a copy of this in case some Pro-Bush nut tries to feed you some Pro-Bush propaganda. Also do not waste time here cheerleading Obama. "By their deeds you shall know them" - it is not over just started, and he can make it much much worse.

Taken from the Big Picture

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/09/baby-bush-the-worst-president-in-history/

Baby Bush: The Worst President in History?

By Doug Casey

I recognize that I’ve antagonized many subscribers over the years with “Bush Bashing.” In the January TCR, just after OBAMA!’s election, I said I wouldn’t mention Bush again, his departure having made him irrelevant. I only feel bad that he and his minions will apparently get away scot-free with their crimes; better they had all been brought up before a tribunal and tried for crimes against humanity in general and the U.S. Constitution in particular. But that is objectively true of almost all presidents since at least Lincoln.

Most of our subscribers appear to be libertarians or classical liberals — i.e., people who believe in a maximum of both social and economic freedom for the individual. The next largest group are “conservatives.” It’s a bit harder to define a conservative. Is it someone who atavistically just wants to conserve the existing order of things (either now, or perhaps as they perceived them 50, or 100, or 200, or however many years ago)? Or is a conservative someone who believes in limiting social freedoms (generally that means suppressing things like sex, drugs, outré clothing and customs, and bad- mouthing the government) while claiming to support economic freedoms (although with considerable caveats and exceptions)? It’s unclear to me what, if any, philosophical foundation conservatism, by whatever definition, rests on.

Which leads me to the question: Why do conservatives seem to have this warm and fuzzy feeling for George W. Bush? I can only speculate it’s because Bush liked to talk a lot about freedom and traditional American values, and did so in such an ungrammatical way that it made him seem sincere. Bush’s tendency to fumble words and concepts contrasted to Clinton’s eloquence, which made him look “slick.”

I’m forced to the conclusion that what “conservatives” like about Bush is his style, such as it was.  Because the only good thing I can recall that Bush ever did was to shepherd through some tax cuts.  But even these were targeted and piecemeal, tossing bones to favored interests, rather than any  principled abolition of any levies or a wholesale cut in rates.

Is it possible that Bush was actually the worst president ever? I’d say he’s a strong contender. He  started out with a gigantic lie — that he would cut the size of government, reduce taxes, and stay out of foreign wars — and things got much worse from there.

Let’s look at just some of the highpoints in the catalog of disasters the Bush regime created:

• No Child Left Behind. Forget about abolishing the Department of Education. Bush made the federal government a much more intrusive and costly part of local schools. Project Safe Neighborhood

• Project Safe Neighborhoods. A draconian law that further guts the 2nd Amendment, like 20,000 other unconstitutional gun laws before it.

•  Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. This the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ and will cost the already bankrupt Medicare system trillions more.

• Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Possibly the most expensive and restrictive change to the securities laws since the ‘30s. A major reason why companies will either stay private or go public outside the U.S.

• Katrina. A total disaster of bureaucratic mismanagement, featuring martial law.

• Ownership Society. The immediate root of the current financial crisis lies in Bush’s encouragement of easy credit to everybody and inflating the housing market.

• Nationalizations and Bailouts. In response to the crisis he created, he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and passed by far the largest bailouts in U.S. history (until OBAMA!).

• Free-Speech Zones. Originally a device for keeping war protesters away when Bush appeared on camera, they’re now used to herd.

• The Patriot Act. This 132-page bill, presented for passage only 45 days after 9/11 (how is it possible to write something of that size and complexity in only 45 days?) basically allows the government to do whatever it wishes with its subjects. Warrantless searches. All kinds of communications monitoring. Greatly expanded asset forfeiture provisions.

• The War on Terror. The scope of the War on Drugs (which Bush also expanded) is exceeded only by the war on nobody in particular but on a tactic. It’s become a cause of mass hysteria and an excuse for the government doing anything.

• Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush started two completely pointless, counterproductive, and immensely expensive wars, neither of which has any prospect of ending anytime soon.

• Dept. of Homeland Security. This is the largest and most dangerous of all agencies, now with its own gigantic campus in Washington, DC. It will never go away and centralizes the functions of a police state.

• Guantanamo. Hundreds of individuals, most of them (like the Uighurs recently in the news) guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are incarcerated  for years. A precedent is set for anyone who is accused of being an “enemy combatant” to be completely deprived of any rights at all.

• Abu Ghraib and Torture. After imprisoning scores of thousands of foreign nationals, Bush made it a U.S. policy to use torture to extract information, based on a suspicion or nothing but a guard’s whim. This is certainly one of the most damaging things to the reputation of the U.S. ever. It says to the world, “We stand for nothing.”

• The No-Fly List. His administration has placed the names of over a million people on this list, and it’s still growing at about 20,000 a month. I promise it will be used for other purposes in the future…

• The TSA. Somehow the Bush cabal found 50,000 middle-aged people who were willing to go through their fellow citizens’ dirty laundry and take themselves quite seriously. God forbid you’re not polite to them…

• Farm Subsidies. Farm subsidies are the antithesis of the free market. Rather than trying to abolish or cut them back, Bush signed a record $190 billion farm bill.

• Legislative Free Ride. And he vetoed less of what Congress did than any other president in history. The only reason I can imagine why a person who is not “evil” (to use a word he favored), completely uninformed, or thoughtless would favor Bush is because he wasn’t a Democrat. Not that there’s any real difference between the two parties anymore…

As disastrous as he was, I rather hate to put him in competition for “worst president” in the company of Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson, the two Roosevelts, Truman, Johnson, and Nixon. He is simply too small a character — psychologically aberrant, ignorant, unintelligent, shallow, duplicitous, small-minded — to merit inclusion in any list.

On second thought, looking over that list of his personal characteristics, he’s probably most like FDR, except he lacked FDR’s polish and rhetorical skills. I suspect he’ll just fade away as a non-entity, recognized as an embarrassment. Not even worth the trouble of hanging by his heels from a lamp post, although Americans aren’t (yet) accustomed to doing that to their leaders.

Those who once supported him will, at least if they have any circumspection and intellectual honesty, feel shame at how dim they were to have been duped by a nobody.

The worst shame of Bush — worse than the spending, the new agencies, the torture, or the wars — is that he used so much pro-liberty and pro-free-market rhetoric in the very process of destroying those institutions. That makes his actions ten times worse than if an avowed socialist had done the same thing. People will blame the full suite of disasters Bush caused on the free market simply because Bush constantly said he believed in it.

And he’s left OBAMA! with a fantastic starting point for what I expect to be even greater intrusions into your life and finances. Eventually, the Bush era will look like The Good Old Days. But only in the way that the Romans looked back with nostalgia on Tiberius and Claudius And then Nero. And then the first of many imperial coups and civil wars.

27 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 11, 2009 at 5:26 PM, whereaminow (30.78) wrote:

Wow. Just wow.  I'll have the AUDACITY OF HOPE when a million citizens are marching on the Bush ranch for a citizen's arrest.  (Don't wait around the for the government to do it.)

David in Qatar

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#2) On September 11, 2009 at 5:42 PM, TMFCrocoStimpy (93.16) wrote:

I was with Casey right up until he listed Lincoln as a candidate for Worst President Ever.  That seems a little bizarre to me.

-Stimpy

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#3) On September 11, 2009 at 5:44 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

I don't like to say 'ever', but I can confidently say the worst in my lifetime, and hopefully that record will hold for the rest of it.

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#4) On September 11, 2009 at 5:46 PM, abitare (93.16) wrote:

Lincoln should have avoid the Civil War, the issues could have been settled with out war. Slaves could have been freed the same way they were in Europe with out war.

Also, for Fools, who think this has nothing to do with stocks, IMO it has everything to do with how I look at the overall market.  It is really most of what I watch. I care about what the rulers and masses are doing. The ruler/politicans/FED create the inefficitencies in the market, which allow you to outperform it or protect your wealth.

FYSA - I have the Top Fool Badge via abitarePERFECT, #2 Underperform player and I was Top Fool in points for about 5+ months. Also, I have been recalled to the Legions and have lost significant SA on the market ongoings due to bandwidth limitations etc.... Report this comment
#5) On September 11, 2009 at 6:12 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

Interesting piece.  I'm not a Bush supporter...or an Obama supporter, and it looks like the author is the same...but the tone of this article makes me laugh at the author.  I can discuss the facts with Bush supporters...giving them this article will strengthen their convictions.

"contrasted to Clinton’s eloquence"???  Bush was a bumbling idiot, so Clinton may seem eloquent by comparison, but Clinton certainly contributed to some of the "disasters" on this list.

This one made me laugh:  With reference to the 132-page Patriot Act; "how is it possible to write something of that size and complexity in only 45 days?"  Hmm...we've seen 1,000+ page legislation thrown together recently in less time and passed, when we know for a fact that not one single person voting had read the crap in it's entirety.  I'm not defending the Patriot Act...just that the author's statement seems a bit idiotic.

I don't know if Bush is the worst ever...in contention, but you could probably come up with an equal list of failures/disasters for most president...most politicians.  We'll see how things turn out with Obama...depending on how things play out, he may be called a hero or he may be even more hated than Bush. 

For the record, I would consider myself "conservative".  Not all conservatives are Bush-lovers  My conservativism is derived from religious beliefs, and not political beliefs.  Do I wish to "limit social freedoms"?  No.  However, sociological research confirms that some "social freedoms" weaken society, and from a religious perspective, I believe that what some claim as social freedoms will destroy our nation...if fact, they may have already weakened our society beyond repair.  For liberals that believe that big government will preserve your "social freedoms", you're mistaken.

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#6) On September 11, 2009 at 6:20 PM, awallejr (81.13) wrote:

I am only going to consider those presidents I have lived under. And while I have issues with Bush, my vote goes to Jimmy Carter.  He was a one term President for a reason.  A nice guy who just got in over his head.  We had double digit everything under him with the whole Iran hostage situation hitting us almost every day.

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#7) On September 11, 2009 at 6:56 PM, AntiRonChapmanJr (99.81) wrote:

-1 rec

I love how Bush haters somehow believe that he was both a complete idiot who could not form a complete sentence and a brilliant mastermind behind the scenes.  Which one is it?  If he was an idiot, then someone else was controlling all these things and making these decisions (Cheney?).  If he was actually orchestrating all of this, then he fooled everyone who thinks he was an idiot.  People need to decide which one and then figure out what that means. 

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#8) On September 11, 2009 at 7:03 PM, ChrisGraley (29.94) wrote:

Bush II was an idiot and the President before him was a crook and the one after him is a communist.

Only history will be able to tell, which one did the most damage.

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#9) On September 11, 2009 at 7:10 PM, Varchild2008 (85.72) wrote:

I'm one of those crazy, insane, Pro-Bush types so I guess I won't say anything else other than that...oh and perhaps the fact we took out many of Al Queda's top leadership....gave freedom to millions in Afghanistan and Iraq....

But who cares about freedom when you can blame the recession on Bush entirely and completely ignore years of economy prosperity generated with across the board tax cuts to get us out of the 2003 recession.  4.5% unemployment?  I can't wait to see another President achieve that...  Won't happen again in my life time.

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#10) On September 11, 2009 at 7:15 PM, Alwayzwrong (94.49) wrote:

Apparently, we don't have many historians here on Fool.  Zachary Taylor or U.S. Grant are not on this list, but Teddy, FDR, and Lincoln are?


Scary.

 

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#11) On September 11, 2009 at 7:25 PM, rd80 (98.14) wrote:

It's not even close.

Worst in modern history = Carter

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#12) On September 11, 2009 at 7:36 PM, soycapital (< 20) wrote:

For sure you jest, Carter takes this by a long shot, take a poll.

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#13) On September 11, 2009 at 8:02 PM, ChrisGraley (29.94) wrote:

I would lean toward Carter as well.

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#14) On September 11, 2009 at 8:07 PM, whereaminow (30.78) wrote:

Varchild2008,

 gave freedom to millions in Afghanistan and Iraq....

Someone with firsthand knowledge, um .... me, is falling off the chair laughing at that statement.  You really need to come out to the Middle East and see the beautiful freedom Bush gave them.  He replaced one tyrant with a thousand tyrants.  

David in Qatar

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#15) On September 11, 2009 at 8:08 PM, JibJabs (89.72) wrote:

I call him Shrub.

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#16) On September 11, 2009 at 8:09 PM, DOW4000 (< 20) wrote:

Those that disagree with the points made in the article, I encourage you to respond to each one by one. Overall, I would tend to support the author's view. However, a few, such as claiming that Bush "created" the crisis, are incorrect. He certainly advanced it, but every adminsitration since the 1980's can be implicated.

 So, to make it easy, below are the points stated in the article. You can copy and paste and leave a response just below each:

 

• No Child Left Behind. Forget about abolishing the Department of Education. Bush made the federal government a much more intrusive and costly part of local schools. Project Safe Neighborhood

• Project Safe Neighborhoods. A draconian law that further guts the 2nd Amendment, like 20,000 other unconstitutional gun laws before it.

•  Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. This the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ and will cost the already bankrupt Medicare system trillions more.

• Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Possibly the most expensive and restrictive change to the securities laws since the ‘30s. A major reason why companies will either stay private or go public outside the U.S.

• Katrina. A total disaster of bureaucratic mismanagement, featuring martial law.

• Ownership Society. The immediate root of the current financial crisis lies in Bush’s encouragement of easy credit to everybody and inflating the housing market.

• Nationalizations and Bailouts. In response to the crisis he created, he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and passed by far the largest bailouts in U.S. history (until OBAMA!).

• Free-Speech Zones. Originally a device for keeping war protesters away when Bush appeared on camera, they’re now used to herd.

• The Patriot Act. This 132-page bill, presented for passage only 45 days after 9/11 (how is it possible to write something of that size and complexity in only 45 days?) basically allows the government to do whatever it wishes with its subjects. Warrantless searches. All kinds of communications monitoring. Greatly expanded asset forfeiture provisions.

• The War on Terror. The scope of the War on Drugs (which Bush also expanded) is exceeded only by the war on nobody in particular but on a tactic. It’s become a cause of mass hysteria and an excuse for the government doing anything.

• Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush started two completely pointless, counterproductive, and immensely expensive wars, neither of which has any prospect of ending anytime soon.

• Dept. of Homeland Security. This is the largest and most dangerous of all agencies, now with its own gigantic campus in Washington, DC. It will never go away and centralizes the functions of a police state.

• Guantanamo. Hundreds of individuals, most of them (like the Uighurs recently in the news) guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are incarcerated  for years. A precedent is set for anyone who is accused of being an “enemy combatant” to be completely deprived of any rights at all.

• Abu Ghraib and Torture. After imprisoning scores of thousands of foreign nationals, Bush made it a U.S. policy to use torture to extract information, based on a suspicion or nothing but a guard’s whim. This is certainly one of the most damaging things to the reputation of the U.S. ever. It says to the world, “We stand for nothing.”

• The No-Fly List. His administration has placed the names of over a million people on this list, and it’s still growing at about 20,000 a month. I promise it will be used for other purposes in the future…

• The TSA. Somehow the Bush cabal found 50,000 middle-aged people who were willing to go through their fellow citizens’ dirty laundry and take themselves quite seriously. God forbid you’re not polite to them…

• Farm Subsidies. Farm subsidies are the antithesis of the free market. Rather than trying to abolish or cut them back, Bush signed a record $190 billion farm bill.

• Legislative Free Ride. And he vetoed less of what Congress did than any other president in history. The only reason I can imagine why a person who is not “evil” (to use a word he favored), completely uninformed, or thoughtless would favor Bush is because he wasn’t a Democrat. Not that there’s any real difference between the two parties anymore…

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#17) On September 11, 2009 at 8:15 PM, devoish (97.27) wrote:

gave freedom to millions in Afghanistan and Iraq....

Someone with firsthand knowledge, um .... me, is falling off the chair laughing at that statement.  You really need to come out to the Middle East and see the beautiful freedom Bush gave them.  He replaced one tyrant with a thousand tyrants.  

David in Qatar

Something else we can agree on (only second hand sources for me though).

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#18) On September 11, 2009 at 8:25 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

I love how Bush haters somehow believe that he was both a complete idiot who could not form a complete sentence and a brilliant mastermind behind the scenes.  Which one is it?

complete idiot.

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#19) On September 11, 2009 at 8:30 PM, tramagli (< 20) wrote:

Yes, Bush II was awful. He advanced the police state just like a tin-horn dictator. But the worst president ever has to be FDR. He left a legacy of worthless funny money, complete abdication of fiscal responsibility, social insecurity, the raw deal, contempt for civil rights and the individual, he even wanted to stack the supreme court in his favor, to a total of 13 justices when he thought the supremes would correctly rule his Ponzi scheme (SS) unconstitutional. He would be followed by Carter, a bumbling idiot if ever there was one. Then of course Slick Willy, no further discusion neccesary there.

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#20) On September 11, 2009 at 8:33 PM, JibJabs (89.72) wrote:

Good article- i'll try to find the link for another great one I remember. In the meantime, why in the hell are FDR and Lincoln on the list for all-time worst presidents, whereas the likes of Nixon, Carter, Harding or Andrew Jackson are not? I admit Andrew Jackson is a bit unusual, but let's not forget his reaction to the Supreme Court deciding to uphold the treaty rights of some Native Americans sitting on gold-riddled hills in Georgia: "The Supreme Court has made their decision. Now let's see them enforce it." His subsequent actions are now known as The Trail of Tears. 

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#21) On September 11, 2009 at 8:36 PM, JibJabs (89.72) wrote:

Found it. A great read. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html 

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#22) On September 11, 2009 at 10:29 PM, Tastylunch (29.37) wrote:

W's up there, top 5 probbaly  not no.1 worst imho.

James Buchanan is my vote for worst. Basically completely ineffectual caused the civil war to more or less happen. Abe lincoln may have forced the issue but the country was tearing in half anyway.

As far as W goes, political genius (the man knew how to get stuff passed and get elected, knew how to appear to appeal very well to certian groups and play people off each other). The guy basically completely faked being devout. That takes some real skill.

however he was also, extremely reckless, arrogant, intellectually lazy and extremely inflexible but not purely stupid. He'd come up with an idea and go with it no matter what the evidence suggested.

We might have been better off if he was actually stupid. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing especially if enough other people can believe you know what you are doing.

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#23) On September 12, 2009 at 4:22 AM, GeneralDemon (< 20) wrote:

My two cents.

I believe the worst leader is one who destroys confidence in the system.

Does anybody believe Bush acted in the country's best interests? He destroyed hope (opposite of Reagan, who raised the country's hope).

Bush displayed a fundamental lack of concern for the country. When asked about the economic pain the people were experiencing, he actually laughed and said something to the effect "I came in (as president) in a recession and I'm going out in one". This I believe exposes him to be a sociopath. If he were a Doctor he would not really care if you lived or died - it's not about you, it's about him being a Doctor and being "the decider". The people don't matter to Bush.

If the President is like a Captain steering a great ship, Bush has steered this country towards the falls. We still don't know how close we are to falling off yet or if it is even possible for current or future Captains to get the ship turned around.

Most people I know are more afraid for the future, poorer, and more prone to feel that they have to "go it alone because the system is not going to help them". Thanks George W. Bush.

The "middle Americans" are now filled with angst and turning outright fringe fanatical - allowing themselves to getting riled up by Limbaugh and Beck.  When 'Middle America' turns nuts - you know the country has been dealt a body blow. Thanks George W. Bush. The wake you have left us will be filled with sadness and tragedy. And you're too stupid to realize you're to blame. 

Disclosure: I am a Left Republican who is ashamed I voted for Bush (first time). I grew up believing Democrats started wars and grew government. Hah.

 

 

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#24) On September 12, 2009 at 4:39 AM, DarkToast (54.30) wrote:

We had double digit everything under him

we took out many of Al Queda's top leadership....gave freedom to millions in Afghanistan and Iraq....

I laughed, I cried... two thumbs way up

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#25) On September 12, 2009 at 4:02 PM, kaskoosek (90.37) wrote:

Bush is a complete idiotic.

I do not think he made the decisions regarding Iraq and the torture.

 

Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rumsfeld are to blame. They are the puppet masters. 

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#26) On September 12, 2009 at 7:27 PM, caterpillar10 wrote:

I'll address the draconian measures across many of the points, including Patriot Act, TSA, no fly, abuse of war powers w/cooked intel & media manipulation, consolidation of intel & security, free speech zones, arbitrary imprisonment, and torture.                                                

These were relatively easy to plan and implement - no mystery there. Basically, a cut and paste job. The plans were started with leftover 'talent' after WW2 particularly behind the Manhattan Project. They have since been refined and expanded to this day. Is there more where that came from? Oh, you betcha'. Does it extend all the way to an Oliver Stone JFK style military junta scenario? I don't know; I was never rated high enough to know that.                                                          

I can say plans like this were never meant do be deployed one right after the other by sanctimonious megalomaniacs in other than a totally defensive mode in circumstances most dire. While 9/11 was a definite step in the direction of most dire, the whole gang, serving at the pleasure of Bush II, had many, many options, powers, and technologies to deploy w/o undermining the very things extreme contingency plans are designed to defend. Therein lies a definite flaw in our system. It is why elections and informed, vigorous debate do matter.        

The thing to remember is how close that election was - hell, the court had to install him. I believe we've had many presidents and candidates that could have done as bad or worse in the same time and circumstances; but he was there so he gets the prize - #1 worst.    The genius of our system is that once enough people with enough influence came to their senses the brakes came on and he mostly went thru the 2nd term with his feet shot out. It could have been far worse. Here's to never knowing how far - remote view the Corona in my hand:-) Can you see it? Oh, you can....is there a lemon or a lime in the neck?....wow, you're good, hey, we might have a job for you.    

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#27) On September 13, 2009 at 11:59 AM, jgseattle3 (< 20) wrote:

Bush defenders say look at his track record, no attacks since 9-11 due to his leadership.  I hope everyone feels safer because of his leadership, i do not.

I wonder sometimes about W and the methods he employed.  A massive war in Afganistan to start.  We can look at history and know this is not win win situation.  (Russia tried and failed for 8 years, we have been there for 8 years now)

Bush was able to excite his base, I often wonder how.  1st election smaller government and less taxes.  Then 9-11.  Second election how?  I have protected you.  But what about small government from the 1st election, out the window.

So I would have to say Bush was the most opportunistic president ever.  Think about the best thing that happened for Bush politically while in his 1st term and then think about what carried him to winning his 2nd?  Are they the same event?    That is opportunistic!

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