Monday, February 16, 2004

President's Day vs. Precedent's Day

Now lots of my more pessimistic friends (and my father) still believe that George W. Bush will ultimately win in November, because no unchallenged (in the primary) incumbent president has ever lost re-election in the modern era.

The American legal system is also based on precedent: what judges have ruled before, must, by definition still be right now. It should be based on the present, or even better, the future. That is, what will be true or what is now true.

Many conservatives are complaining about the MA SJC's ruling on Gay Marriage. But what about Brown v. Board of Education, or Roe v. Wade? As times change, the law should change with it. So too, can the so called rules of politics and elections. Some say that tea Democrats should, therefore, abandon the South and seek haven in the Southwest and Midwest (as well as the coasts). Others think that the Internet has turned campaigns and their management upside down, from a pyramid to a sphere, Dean's huge public belly flop notwithstanding.

How about starting our own trend by defeating the man who is, in comparison, the worst U.S. President before and after the modern era both before he assumed office, and during his tenure (we can't evaluate after just yet, but we will with other former Presidents).

Let's compare Bush vs. Hoover. Well Hoover lost more jobs, and a bigger percentage of jobs, but it was after all the Great Depression and the Great Dustbowl. All Bush has to blame is his own ineptness, massive tax cuts (which should stimulate the economy, if you believe in the Laffner curve), corporate cronyism (which he looked away from and was a part of in his day, as well as his Administration). Bush likes to blame 9-11 [which of course were something that was to a degree forewarned and also did not do anything about (at least Clinton dropped some bombs).

Bush vs. Rutherford B. Hayes: Both lost the popular vote, and then somehow became President although Hayes was far more shady than Bush Supreme Court 5-4 decision (you don't hear conservatives yelling about the courts on Bush v. Gore do you? Funny) Unlike Hayes, who promptly promised to only serve one term to quell the furor (although he singlehandly stopped the Reformation and his immediate legacy was Jim Crow), Bush has done nothing of the sort and ruled as if he won by landslide. Furthermore, Bush has raised in real terms far more than any President ever for re-election, most of it from the same industries that he carried water for in his first term.

Bush vs. Nixon: Like Nixon, he is very good at lying through his teeth (remember the old Checkers speech?), hiding in secrecy (Energy Commission) and blaming his bad deeds, when caught on others (both have had a string of resignations and damning revelations from people high in the White House). Unlike Bush, Nixon got us out of Vietnam (after not-so-secretly bombing Cambodia), created the EPA, banned cigarette advertising on TV, and was there when Man landed on the Moon. Of course, these were due to massive pressure and the legacy of Kennedy, but I am getting ahead of myself here.

Bush vs. Ford: Ford also came to power in a contested fashion. Ford did a create many number of progressive things, but this was because his hand was forced by the overwhelmingly progressive post-Watergate Congress. He was a weak president mostly because he was A) not elected and B) pardoned Nixon but at least the man tried. A great many lieutenants of Ford are now in the Bush White house, and like W. they are trying their version of "Quantum Leap" -- setting Right, what once went wrong the last time they had power.

Bush vs. Reagan. Like Bush, Reagan raised spending, especially on weapons systems, while cut taxes for the richest few. But Reagan had the Democratic congress to blame, and also cut a deal to go after those loopholes and tax cheats. Bush is working to widen the loopholes and relax regulation for his friends who are tax cheats. Reagan too lied about wars like Iran-Contra. But at least the Democratic congress held his feet to the fire and people were carted off to jail. Bush has a Republican congress that wouldn't dream of doing anything to hurt him.

George W. Bush vs. George H.W. Bush: OK, this has been well documented but lets do a fly by....41 took politically courageous steps to balance the budget, 43 did nothing of the sort. 41 called himself the environmental president, but helped big plotter's continue. 43 calls himself a man of peace, and you know what the results of his "peace" have been. 41 pardoned his aides who might squeal on the aforementioned Iran-Contra, 43 might do that for his own skin as well. 41 pulled out Willie Horton against Mike Dukakais, 43's henchmen pulled out Osama and Saddam on Max Cleland. Both had recessions both are hopelessly rich and out of touch with everyday Americans. Landmark legislation: 41-- Americans with Disability Act , 43-- No Child Left Behind. 'Nuff said.

Add it all up and you've got the worst president ever. One who is more interested in Photo-Ops than achievement, approval ratings than accomplishment, words rather than deeds. History will look back and say, "What in the world were 48.7% of Americans thinking?"

Speaking of presidents, one wannabe just got another big blow. Howard Dean's Campaign Chair Steve Grossman (once head of the MA Democratic Party and failed 2002 Gov candidate) is quitting the campaign. "I have no doubt he'll support the nominee in any way he can, no matter who the nominee is and obviously that nominee looks to be John Kerry," Grossman said in a telephone interview with the Post from Vermont. "He may say that Tuesday night. He may wait until Wednesday or Thursday to say that."

Meanwhile the AFP (via Yahoo! News) is reporting that Dean is getting ready to turn his campaign into a PAC and use it to attack Bush and repair his profile in the party. Guess he isn't planning on winning in Wisconsin either.

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