Bush-Obamaism: Rejected


It took George Bush six years to dismantle his party.  Barack Obama accomplished the same feat in two.  Bush ran the GOP into the ground by governing as a liberal.  Obama performed his neat trick on the Democrats by administering as a leftist.  The difference between Bush and Obama is not one of quality but of degree.  Obama is an enhanced version of Bush.  But there is a continuum between the two.  We can think of it as Bush-Obamaism. 

Under Bush, we saw any number of standard items on the liberal wish list pursued with the ardor of any orthodox modern liberal.  That this particular liberal champion had a drawl, enjoyed clearing brush on his Texas ranch, and had a capital 'R' at the end of his name does not change that reality. 

Bush wrapped the Federal government's tentacles around education with "No Child Left Behind."  He added a major new Federal entitlement, the Medicare prescription plan; he signed the "McCain-Feingold" campaign finance reform bill; he endorsed Sarbanes-Oxley; he added the rebuilding of whole cities to the federal repertoire (post Katrina); he attempted to ram "amnesty" down the throat of the country; he supported affirmative action; he increased federal discretionary spending and doubled the nation's debt. 

When the mortgage crisis hit, he was the Democrats’ lead man for every Keynesian bailout and stimulus package he could find. 

He did "stimulus," with a $168 billion rebate; he protected Fannie and Freddie instead of privatizing them (updated cost to taxpayers: $148 billion and still counting); he launched the TARP program at a price tag of $750 billion.  Along the way, he found time to bailout Bear Stearns, AIG, Citigroup, Indy Mac, GMAC, Bank of America, GM and Chrysler. 

Obama and the Democrats simply picked up where Bush left off.  The fiscal hemorrhaging has by now attained mythic status: the big three, of course, were "Stimulus" ($800 billion), cap and trade (to be implemented through EPA mandate), and Obamacare ($2 trillion and probably much more). 

There was also the intrusive financial regulatory overhaul ("Dodd-Frank"); the extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks; "cash for clunkers"; "cash for caulkers"; huge increases in domestic spending; billions more for Fanny and Freddy; government takeovers of student loans, the automakers, and the mortgage industry.

Obama (like his predecessor) threw the whole Keynesian playbook at the recession with little to show for it other than a tidy $3 trillion of new debt: the Bush-Obama continuum.

For its trouble, the Democrats and Obama were treated to a "shellacking," as the President put it, not unlike the "thumping" (Bush's word) the Republicans received in 2006; sixty plus congressional seats switched hands and a powerful, new Republican majority has emerged. 

The GOP also picked up ten gubernatorial seats and twelve state houses giving them strong majorities at the state level in this crucial year of redistricting.

Obama and fellow Democrats offered any number of explanations including: "the economy," poor "advertising," bad messaging, lackluster "packaging," George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, shadowy conservative groups, corporations, undisclosed foreign donors, the GOP, Citizens United, Congressman John Boehner, and the Chamber of Commerce. 

When all else failed, they blamed the American people who, as they saw it, fell victim to fear, rage, bigotry, ignorance, stupidity, racism, paranoia, and a host of other pathologies and defects. 

Nowhere in the discussion was there heard anything about the unpopularity and unsoundness of the policies themselves. 

The media too fell in line with Democratic tropes, none of them bothering with the painful task of self-reflection: to contemplate their failure to properly vet the deeply flawed candidate Obama in 2008, the many question marks surrounding him and his shallow record of achievement; nor did they examine their own cheer leading of his agenda.

Last cycle, the Democrats ran as the anti-Bush.  This year, they ran as themselves, which is to say ultra liberals, and even the partisan media could not save them.

As difficult as it is for liberals to accept, the recent thrashing was not about the economy, talk radio, corporate money, or “stupid” Americans, but of Barack Obama and his agenda. 

It was a rejection particularly of the outrageous spending and deficits of the last 20 months.  But it was a rejection also of the entire Obama program: cap and trade, stimulus packages, bailouts and takeovers, and, of course, Obamacare. 

Obama campaigned as a centrist, a post-partisan, post-racial candidate who would unify the country.  Once elected, he embarked on a radical and deeply polarizing legislative agenda, further dividing the country he was supposed to unify and derailing the economy he was supposed to help. 

The election was a rebuke of Obama leftism; just as the 2006 (and 2008) election was a refutation of George Bush liberalism.  Taken together, it was a repudiation of Bush-Obamaism. 

Americans want prudent, fiscally responsible governance.  Not more programs, deficits, and class-warfare.  If Republicans deliver on this mandate they will move from strength to strength.  If not, their time in the limelight will be short-lived, indeed.     











  • Harvey Chaimowitz

    December 3, 2010

    For once in your endless rants, tell what you would do specifically, what should be done, not what should not be done. That is the main difference between the fakery of "conservativism" the most meaningless word of all time and the slim, weak hopefulness of liberalism, also a silly term. Progressivism probably is more descriptive. What should be done in the view of ultraconservative Dr. Moss?

  • Oscar Hoffman

    December 4, 2010

    Americans want prudent, fiscally responsible governance. Not more programs, deficits, and class-warfare. If Republicans deliver on this mandate they will move from strength to strength. If not, their time in the limelight will be short-lived, indeed.

    With all due respect Mr. Chaimowitz, what did you not understand from the above statement?

  • Theodore E. Kass

    December 4, 2010

    Dear Mr. Chaimowitz,
    Richard Moss has outlined some many government excesses that I question your ability to not come up with a suggestion of your own.

    I will try to enumerate some of the things that should be done at this time.
    Immigration should be halted as we do not have a program to deal with it that works. Illegal immigrants should be deported as they have, obviously, broken American laws to remain here - taking advantage of our healthcare, benefits, housing, jobs and crowding our prisons.
    The government should downsize immediately by ridding itself of the many departments that overlap each other. In France, 25% of the work force is employed by the government. The students are rioting, they have taken in so many immigrants that the police are afraid to walk into some of the areas where this condition is prevalent. And they like ourselves have been dumbing down with their educational standards. In their case they make very few if any requirements for the students. We on the other hand are blocked by a teachers union that is choking this country. The teachers and campus hacks have rewritten American history and destroyed the reputations of some of the greatest Americans of all times. They,like Obama, seek a one world government ruled by the poisonous politicians of the UN.
    I would approve school vouchers and leave behind the delinguents that have no business attending our schools. In New York, we have had the Off Track Betting corp. bankrupt itself. They are now seeking to be bailed out by the State of NY. The people that head this have been politically appointed and have sucked this organization dry with 4 day work weeks and huge salaries. When was the last time you ever heard of a gambling institution that takes in billions of dollars and has no high rentals or fixtures or dining facilities losing all this money. It was just siphoned off like the government runs with the other intstutions that it funds. Are you getting a better picture Mr. Chaimowitz or do you find that, I too, am also ranting?

  • Richard Moss

    December 8, 2010

    "Conservative" just happens to be what the country is. At least based on our Constitution and founding. That it has been corrupted is unfortunate.

    Suggestions for reducing government and deficits? Many have been made by multiple individuals and think tanks. Here are a few:

    Repeal Obamacare. Return government spending to 2008 levels or even earlier. Limiting govt spending to 20% of GDP or less. That is the historical average over decades. Currently at 26% of GDP under Obama. Hence $trillion deficits. Revenue usually at 18% of GDP. Maybe 18% GDP govt spending would be better.

    Sunset Resolutions on all mandates, programs, agencies every two years. Some programs have outlasted their usefulness and need to go. Cut federal bureaucracy across the board by 20%. End public sector unions. "Must Read Bill" legislation. Must find constitutional basis to any new legislation.

    Ending various agencies, programs, and even whole departments (literally hundreds of possibilities here). End TARP and "Stimulus" and return all unspent funds to lower deficit. End "auto pilot" whereby a multitude of programs are automatically increased a certain minimum percentage each year, no vote, no debate. Everything should be debated and looked at each year. Balanced Budget Amendment.

    Take on entitlements: long discussion here: but ultimately will have to wean nation off these over time. Raise retirement age. Means testing. Structural changes in how benefits are increased (inflation vs wage for SS). Some element of privatization. Real "trust fund" for SS and Medicare. Not mixed with general budget to be spent by politicians buying votes.

    Accrual accounting so future liabilities are included in overall deficit (like real businesses do in private sector), not phony accounting accepted in govt. Privatize Fannie and Freddie (already cost $150 billion to bail out, will go much higher).

    No further bailouts or takeovers. Businesses must be allowed to fail. No bailouts for bankrupt states either (California). End various subsidies (farming, etc) and corporate welfare. No crony capitalism with govt subsidizing commercially non viable industries, firms, etc (ethanol, “green”).

    Begin free market approaches to entitlements to reduce costs. Capping growth of entitlements, limit percentage of growth each year. "Block" grants to states for medicaid instead of matching payments which incentivizes states to increase medicaid spending.

    Many other possiblities as well. End illegal immigration. Change immigration policy from family reunification basis to skills and market needs basis. Immigrants, legal or illegal, should not have access to public programs. Change culture: big one here too: encourage marriage/family culture. Married intact families generally produce engaged, productive citizens. Non married families often do not.

    We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.

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