Thursday, May 26
In Historians vs. George W. Bush, Robert S. McElvaine examines the extreme and systematic liberal bias of historians, presenting gems like this analaysis of the President:
He is blatantly a puppet for corporate interests, who care only about their own greed and have no sense of civic responsibility or community service. He lies, constantly and often, seemingly without control, and he lied about his invasion into a sovereign country, again for corporate interests; many people have died and been maimed, and that has been lied about too. He grandstands and mugs in a shameful manner, befitting a snake oil salesman, not a statesman. He does not think, process, or speak well, and is emotionally immature due to, among other things, his lack of recovery from substance abuse. The term is "dry drunk". He is an abject embarrassment/pariah overseas; the rest of the world hates him . . . . . He is, by far, the most irresponsible, unethical, inexcusable occupant of our formerly highest office in the land that there has ever been.It's the same stuff we see every day from the fever swamp, completely at odds with the facts, hopelessly emotional, personally abusive, but in this case it's presented as an academic analysis of the present administration.
The thing is, after spending several paragraphs showing us just how sadly deranged his colleagues are and thereby earning our respect, McElvaine suddenly veers leftward into the swamp with his own assessment of the Bush Administration. He suggests that Bush:
Presided over the loss of approximately three million American jobs in his first two-and-a-half years in office, the worst record since Herbert Hoover.Collapse of the dot-com bubble? September 11? What about the other nearly two years of his administration? No, let's pick the period that makes him look the worst, ignore any other factors, and present that as a statement of fact. We are, after all, Historians.
Overseen an economy in which the stock market suffered its worst decline in the first two years of any administration since Hooverâ€™s.Right, bucko. Take a look at this:The Dot-Com bubble. Artificial inflation of high-tech stock prices (Alan Greenspan's "irrational exuberance") added trillions of dollars to the stock market during the Clinton administration. When the bubble burst, it wiped $4 trillion off the market. The September 11 attack sank the market by another trillion. How President Bush can be held responsible for either of these is frankly beyond me, but then, I'm not a Historian.
Taken, in the wake of the terrorist attacks two years ago, the greatest worldwide outpouring of goodwill the United States has enjoyed at least since World War IIWhich lasted all of what, five minutes?
and squandered it by insisting on pursuing a foolish go-it-almost-alone invasion of IraqI love that phrase, "a foolish go-it-almost-alone invasion".
thereby transforming almost universal support for the United States into worldwide condemnation.The coalition of the unbribed freed the people Iraq from a murderous thug and gave them a chance for self-determination. That matters to me, but then, I'm not a Historian.
Misled (to use the most charitable word and interpretation)Most charitable?
the American public about weapons of mass destruction and supposed ties to Al Qaeda in IraqCite.
and so into a war that has plainly (and entirely predictably) made us less secureHow has it made us less secure, exactly?
caused a boom in the recruitment of terroristsWho were previously known as the government.
is killing American military personnel needlesslyTwenty-five million Iraqis beg to differ, but then, they are not Historians.
and is threatening to suck up all our available military forces and be a bottomless pit for the money of American taxpayers for years to come.Well, America could bring home the troops currently stationed in Europe and South Korea, where they are apparently not wanted. I mean, they've been there for years.
And you know, Iraq might not be sucking up all available military forces if President Clinton hadn't gutted them in the first place. This thought occured to me, but then I'm not a Historian.
Failed to follow through in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and Al Qaeda are regrouping, once more increasing the threat to our people.Hey, there is a certain small kernel of validity to this one! We are still in Afghanistan, still fighting the Taliban, most certainly still hunting down and eliminating Al Qaeda, but we could be doing more to aid the reconstruction there.
Insulted and ridiculed other nations and international organizations and now has to go, hat in hand, to those nations and organizations begging for their assistance.Eh?
You wouldn't care to produce an example of this, by any chance? I like to see specifics rather than sweeping claims, but then, I'm not a Historian.
Completely miscalculated or failed to plan for the personnel and monetary needs in Iraq after the warIt's a war, bucko. You don't know how a war is going to go until it's gone, because you have an enemy who is trying to stop you.
so that he sought and obtained an $87 billion appropriation for Iraq, a sizable chunk of which is going, without competitive bidding to Haliburton, the company formerly headed by his vice president.Halliburton!
Now, I know the reasons and origins of the Halliburton contract - which dates to the Clinton administration - and would never resort to misleading my audience that way. But then, I'm not a Historian.
Inherited an annual federal budget surplus of $230 billion and transformed it into a $500+ billion deficit in less than three years. This negative turnaround of three-quarters of a trillion dollars is totally without precedent in our history. The ballooning deficit for fiscal 2004 is rapidly approaching twice the dollar size of the previous record deficit, $290 billion, set in 1992, the last year of the administration of President Bushâ€™s father and, at almost 5 percent of GDP, is closing in on the percentage record set by Ronald Reagan in 1986.Another kernel of validity. There are good reasons for the deficit, but the budget does need to be cut to bring it into line with the tax cuts. Me, I'd start with farm subsidies. Whack.
Cut taxes three times, sharply reducing the burden on the richAgain, the claim that the tax cuts only benefited the rich.
reclassified money obtained through stock ownership as more deserving than money earned through work.Is there any reason why capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as other income? Because the nature of capital gains is completely different to, for example, a Historian's salary.
Severely curtailed the very American freedoms that our military people are supposed to be fighting to defend.Exactly what are these freedoms that the Patriot Act has curtailed?
Called upon American armed service people, including Reserve forces, to sacrifice for ever-lengthening tours of duty in a hostile and dangerous environment while he rewards the rich at home with lower taxes and legislative giveaways and gives lucrative no-bid contracts to American corporations linked with the administration.First, if you are in the armed service, including the Reserve and the National Guard, you are there to serve. It's not a free-education and world-tour club.
Second, we freed fifty million people from tyranny. When did that last happen without sacrifice, Mr Historian?
Third, your points on taxes and Halliburton have already been made and refuted. You don't get to run them up the field again.
Given an opportunity to begin to change the consumption-oriented values of the nation after September 11, 2001, when people were prepared to make a sacrifice for the common good, called instead of Americans to â€˜sacrificeâ€™ by going out and buying things.The values of the nation are the values of the nation, not the values of the President, or the values of a Historian. And America, like it or not, was founded and has thrived for nearly two hundred and thirty years on capitalism, on your "consumption-oriented values".
Proclaimed himself to be a conservative while maintaining that big government should be able to run roughshod over the Bill of RightsWhich has not happened.
and that the government must have all sorts of secrets from the peopleAs has every government in history, something one might expect a Historian to know.
but the people can be allowed no privacy from the government.Eh? What privacy of yours has been infringed, Mr Historian?
And here's McElvaine's parting gift:
Some voters may judge such assessments to be wrong, but they are assessments informed by historical knowledge and the electorate ought to have them available to take into consideration during this election year.Informed by historical knowledge? That certainly doesn't show.
But they are most certainly untroubled by any knowledge of economics or the conduct of war, by any care for human rights, or any concern for hewing to the truth.
An F for you, Mr McElvaine. A B+ for President Bush.
Posted by: Susie at Friday, May 27 2005 11:10 AM (V1YvO)
Posted by: TallDave at Friday, May 27 2005 03:32 PM (9XE6n)
Posted by: skh at Saturday, May 28 2005 09:15 PM (c0W4c)
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