I think we have to admit that some of the left’s criticisms of Bush are valid. Not all of them, and not the craziest ones. Bush did not steal the 2000 election in Florida, and did not steal the 2004 election in Ohio. Bush did not blow up the World Trade Center. Bush did not lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Bush did not blow up the levees to drown black people after hurricane Katrina.
With all the derangement the left has spewed over the past six years, it was only too easy to dismiss valid criticisms, buried like ponies in the manure of left-wing rhetoric. But as his administration prepares to ride out of town, now it can be said, sometimes the left was right about Bush.
What brings this to the fore is Bush’s refusal to pardon or commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two Border Patrol agents railroaded to prison after shooting a well-connected drug smuggler in the buttocks. Under Bush’s policy of letting the United States be Mexico’s bitch, an overzealous prosecutor gave immunity to the drug smuggler and lied to Congress about the prosecution, hid information about the drug smuggler from the jury and secured a Draconian sentence for the two Border Patrol agents.
This case encapsulates much of the valid criticisms of the Bush Administration made by the left: Arrogance, Elitism, and Cronyism.
Arrogance: Both Democrat and Republican members of Congress and thousands of concerned citizens have petitioned Bush to reconsider the harsh sentences meted out to Ramos and Compean, but Bush refuses to listen to them.
Elitism: Ramos and Compean are members of the working class, as far as Bush is concerned, they are inferiors. He would go to bat for a member of his class, say Scooter Libby, and ensure that he never spend a day behind bars. But not for peasants.
Cronyism: As noted, Bush went to bat for Scooter Libby and gave him an immediate, unquestioning commutation. Part of the reason Bush refuses to do so for Ramos and Compean is that they were prosecuted by his good buddy Johnny Sutton, and Bush would rather see two good (if lower class) men rot in prision than embarrass a member of his clique.
It also validates at least one criticism from the right: Bush doesn’t give a damn about border security.
So now, let’s consider which of the right’s critcisms about Obama will be validated. Again, we can dismiss the crazy ones. Obama is not a Muslim. From what I’ve seen, Obama doesn’t really worship anything other than Obama, a religion he shares with the majority of the mainstream media.
But, the right will no doubt be vindicated in its more reasonable criticisms of Obama: he has corrupt associations, he is a lightweight, he is a big-government statist social-democrat.
Corruption: We have not yet reached inauguration day, and we are up to two scandals (Blagojevich and Richardson) and a brouhaha (Rick Warren). The brouhaha does not matter so much, the corruption does. Obama was brought up through the Chicago Democratic Machine; it’s simply not credible that he was the only virgin in that whorehouse. As he prepares to dispense trillions in “stimulus,” more corruption will emerge. It is simply unavoidable when that amount of money is at stake.
Lightweight: Obama has clearly demonstrated that he is out of his depth without a teleprompter. His facile responses in three-question press conferences would never be tolerated in a Republican, but would be seen as the mark of someone evading the press because trying to answer tough questions would embarrass him. That Jedi calm that Time magazine gushes about may well prove to be more Forrest Gump than Obi Wan Kenobi.
Statism: Obama’s “cure” for the economic recession is to be a massive expansion of public debt to pay for a thousand “Big Dig” scale infrastructure projects. Considering the recent history of both the “Big Dig” and the Capitol Visitors Center, it is likely, even inevitable, that these projects will cost multiples of their projected budget and be plagued by shoddy workmanship and corrupted award processes. If they are accompanied by massive new environmental regulations, as indicated by Obama’s aggressive choices for EPA management, the result will be not only a prolonged and deepened recession but massive public resentment over new restrictions and regulations.
Time will tell, but the lesson that should be taken from the Bush experience (but probably won’t be) is that one should consider to the criticisms of one’s opponents.