Friday, September 05, 2003

Bush-whacked: With your post concerning Bush's "lies" in mind, I listened to a bit of the Dem debate last night. Interestingly, they all went after W, and very little time was spent separating one from the other. Liebs hit Dean a little on his tax plan, but most of it was a full-fledged assault on Bush with the primary focus on the economy and Iraq. Kerry was certainly the most vicious (the words "miserable failure" being hard to interpret any other way), and he threw in the word "Vietnam" just about every time. I suppose it gets old to those who follow him (or stalk him as Eno does), but I also suppose that he can't miss an opportunity to tell someone who doesn't know who he is that he's a decorated war veteran.

Anyway, I agree that the Bushies didn't "lie" to us about Iraq. I do think the administration did take the best gloss on every situation however when figuring out what to do. In the end, I've come to the conclusion that while the mission was just, the planning was poor. We rushed into Iraq. Or maybe we won too easily. In any event, we weren't prepared for what came next, and that is pretty much not debatable. This run to the U.N. underscores that failure to prepare adequately. There did not seem to be a good idea for the cost, the manpower, or the political quagmire (there, I said it) that Iraq is, and I mean that more from the standpoint that internal Iraqi politics are very complex as opposed to saying that Iraq will be W's Vietnam.

Having laid that out, Bush should be taken to task for it. It's hardly an impeachable offense, and I wouldn't say it's a "miserable failure", but he seems to be winging it. For all the good the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz doctrine does in going to war, it helps very little in establishing peace. If there's a chink in the armor, that's it. The economy needs attention, to be sure, but I still hold that a sitting president can do very little to move the economy (short of all out war) near-term. He gets the blame/praise, to be sure, but the market will act regardless of who's the commander-in-chief. But, as I've also said before, it is the leader's duty to make soothing sounds and show leadership in terms of long-term goals/effects. While he'll tout his tax cut, most view that as a political tool (*gasp*) and not an economic tool. The manufacturing issue is real, but heaven forbid Bush follow Kucinick's lead and aboloish NAFTA and the WTO (by the way, the only cheers the man got from the Lefty crowd) or listen to Dean and "renegotiate" NAFTA and shut out imports. Those kind of withdrawals from the world economy to satisfy the AFL-CIO are economic suicide.

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