View Poll Results: Obama or Bush?

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  • Obama

    32 68.09%
  • Bush

    15 31.91%
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Thread: Obama or Bush?

  1. #41
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    I remember LBJ, and while not a fan, I would not rate him worse than Bush.
    If you look at the devastation of the Vietnam War, and the deceitful way Johnson pushed it into that war (Gulf of Tonkin), coupled with his gross distortion of executive power via the Great Society, I would argue he is close to Bush, if not worse than him. His only saving grace, IMHO, was his commitment to civil rights.

    Perspective is good, and it is good to step back, but what we've seen, and Reagan is a prime example, is that too often history gets rewritten. There is a tendency to give them credit for things they did not really deserve credit for. Our memory gets clouded.
    But in the public eye, the administration doesn't write the definitive historical narrative. Academic historians do.

  2. #42
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch View Post
    If you look at the devastation of the Vietnam War, and the deceitful way Johnson pushed it into that war (Gulf of Tonkin), coupled with his gross distortion of executive power via the Great Society, I would argue he is close to Bush, if not worse than him. His only saving grace, IMHO, was his commitment to civil rights
    .

    Iraq has the potential to be even more devastating on a few levels. And as I understand it, Johnson was lied to, whereas Bush was part of the lie. Though close I might accept.

    But in the public eye, the administration doesn't write the definitive historical narrative. Academic historians do.
    No, politicians do. Reagan, as an example, has a myth not grounded in real historians, but in political mythology. The public's accepted version is not the historical view.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  3. #43
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    .

    Iraq has the potential to be even more devastating on a few levels. And as I understand it, Johnson was lied to, whereas Bush was part of the lie. Though close I might accept.
    As I said, he would give LBJ a run for his money. I'm not sure how much of the blame you could pin on a president after the official turnover of power. If we were to blame all of the devastation on Iraq caused to the present day (and the future) on Bush, we could effectively denounce and condemn every single one of our presidents (or at the least, the vast majority). There should be some sort of acceptable cut-off date.

    No, politicians do. Reagan, as an example, has a myth not grounded in real historians, but in political mythology. The public's accepted version is not the historical view.
    I have two issues here. First, what is the Reagan myth you're referring to? Second, the presidents do write a version of their own history, usually through their memoirs and diaries. But it is not the accepted public version of historian. We leave that to the consensus formed from decades of academic interpretation.

  4. #44
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch View Post
    As I said, he would give LBJ a run for his money. I'm not sure how much of the blame you could pin on a president after the official turnover of power. If we were to blame all of the devastation on Iraq caused to the present day (and the future) on Bush, we could effectively denounce and condemn every single one of our presidents (or at the least, the vast majority). There should be some sort of acceptable cut-off date.
    No invasion, no Iraq. It is as simple as that. It was the decision to invade that is the fundamental error. Everything else either hurt or help, and even after invasion, Bush's neglect of Afghanistan hurt. But it was the initial decisions that hold the majority of the blame. Without them, nothing else happens.

    I have two issues here. First, what is the Reagan myth you're referring to? Second, the presidents do write a version of their own history, usually through their memoirs and diaries. But it is not the accepted public version of historian. We leave that to the consensus formed from decades of academic interpretation.
    As the late President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday is observed, historians point out that his political successes, not his persona, have been mythologized over the years.

    "Today's Republicans created this fantasy role of Reagan as anti-government," said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. "He was really Reagan of government efficiency."

    Reagan's myth has grown over time - CNN

    Ultimately, Reagan signed measures that increased federal taxes every year of his two-term presidency except the first and the last. These included a higher gasoline levy, a 1986 tax reform deal that included the largest corporate tax increase in American history, and a substantial raise in payroll taxes in 1983 as part of a deal to keep Social Security solvent. While wealthy Americans benefitted from Reagan's tax policies, blue-collar Americans paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes when Reagan left office than when he came in.

    (snip)

    With the exception of the 1986 bombing of Libya, Reagan also disappointed hawkish aides with his unwillingness to retaliate militarily for terrorism in the Middle East. According to biographer Lou Cannon, the president called the death of innocent civilians in anti-terror operations "terrorism itself."

    In 1987, Reagan aide Paul Bremer, later George W. Bush's point man in Baghdad, even argued that terrorism suspects should be tried in civilian courts. "A major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are - criminals - and to use democracy's most potent tool, the rule of law, against them," Bremer said. In 1988, Reagan signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which stated that torture could be used under "no exceptional circumstances, whatsoever."

    Five myths about Ronald Reagan's legacy

    Few read the history, but instead hear the myths and accept them. This means the myth becomes the reality for too many. As the journalist in the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" said: "When the truth conflicts with the myth, print the myth."

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  5. #45
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    No invasion, no Iraq. It is as simple as that. It was the decision to invade that is the fundamental error. Everything else either hurt or help, and even after invasion, Bush's neglect of Afghanistan hurt. But it was the initial decisions that hold the majority of the blame. Without them, nothing else happens.
    Then, by that logic, and by using collateral damage numbers, Reagan was arguably better than Clinton, given that Clinton's bombing campaign against Iraq led to a half a million Iraqis losing their lives (most of them under the age of 15). Iraqis are still suffering from the effects from that campaign.

    As the late President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday is observed, historians point out that his political successes, not his persona, have been mythologized over the years.

    "Today's Republicans created this fantasy role of Reagan as anti-government," said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. "He was really Reagan of government efficiency."

    Reagan's myth has grown over time - CNN

    Ultimately, Reagan signed measures that increased federal taxes every year of his two-term presidency except the first and the last. These included a higher gasoline levy, a 1986 tax reform deal that included the largest corporate tax increase in American history, and a substantial raise in payroll taxes in 1983 as part of a deal to keep Social Security solvent. While wealthy Americans benefitted from Reagan's tax policies, blue-collar Americans paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes when Reagan left office than when he came in.

    (snip)

    With the exception of the 1986 bombing of Libya, Reagan also disappointed hawkish aides with his unwillingness to retaliate militarily for terrorism in the Middle East. According to biographer Lou Cannon, the president called the death of innocent civilians in anti-terror operations "terrorism itself."

    In 1987, Reagan aide Paul Bremer, later George W. Bush's point man in Baghdad, even argued that terrorism suspects should be tried in civilian courts. "A major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are - criminals - and to use democracy's most potent tool, the rule of law, against them," Bremer said. In 1988, Reagan signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which stated that torture could be used under "no exceptional circumstances, whatsoever."

    Five myths about Ronald Reagan's legacy

    Few read the history, but instead hear the myths and accept them. This means the myth becomes the reality for too many. As the journalist in the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" said: "When the truth conflicts with the myth, print the myth."
    That appears to be an argument that Reagan's image among republicans has been mythologized. It doesn't really do any good in assessing his actual success as president or his ranking among other presidents.

  6. #46
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch View Post
    Then, by that logic, and by using collateral damage numbers, Reagan was arguably better than Clinton, given that Clinton's bombing campaign against Iraq led to a half a million Iraqis losing their lives (most of them under the age of 15). Iraqis are still suffering from the effects from that campaign.
    Not a fan of Clinton. And did not support his bombing effort. And we have caused Iraqis a lot of harm over the years. But yes, you can make a case Clinton is worse than Reagan.

    That appears to be an argument that Reagan's image among republicans has been mythologized. It doesn't really do any good in assessing his actual success as president or his ranking among other presidents.
    In terms of how the president is viewed by the public, no it does no good at all. Perception becomes reality for far too many.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  7. #47
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    Not a fan of Clinton. And did not support his bombing effort. And we have caused Iraqis a lot of harm over the years. But yes, you can make a case Clinton is worse than Reagan.
    And yet, I'm hesitant to actually make that case. It may be true if we look at foreign policy alone. But my subjective methods would require analyzing both foreign and domestic policies. But I do think there should be some sort of cutoff date when assessing the effectivness/utility of a presidency. I understand that our foreign policy has been responsible for the rise of many dictators and wars around the world. But there still should be some sort of cutoff date. A transfer of power, dissolving of ties, etc.

  8. #48
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch View Post
    And yet, I'm hesitant to actually make that case. It may be true if we look at foreign policy alone. But my subjective methods would require analyzing both foreign and domestic policies. But I do think there should be some sort of cutoff date when assessing the effectivness/utility of a presidency. I understand that our foreign policy has been responsible for the rise of many dictators and wars around the world. But there still should be some sort of cutoff date. A transfer of power, dissolving of ties, etc.
    Each president is responsible for his actions. They don't go away with the passing of the torch. The new guy will likely have new things to be criticized for, as did Clinton and as does Obama. But the actions their predecessors made don't vanish. Bush will always be responsible for what he did during his term, as will Reagan, Clinton, and Obama.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  9. #49
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    Each president is responsible for his actions. They don't go away with the passing of the torch. The new guy will likely have new things to be criticized for, as did Clinton and as does Obama. But the actions their predecessors made don't vanish. Bush will always be responsible for what he did during his term, as will Reagan, Clinton, and Obama.
    I didn't say "the passing of the torch." What I'm saying is that I don't think that William McKinley should be blamed for whatever economic stagnation occurs in Puerto Rico today or that Abraham Lincoln should be blamed for the failures of Reconstruction. Likewise, I don't believe Bush should be blamed for the troubles that occur in Iraq after a transfer of power has occurred. But if we did happen to include post-war Iraq into Bush's record, it would undoubtably improve Bush's overall ratings (given that today's Iraq is better off than Saddam's Iraq).

  10. #50
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    Re: Obama or Bush?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch View Post
    I didn't say "the passing of the torch." What I'm saying is that I don't think that William McKinley should be blamed for whatever economic stagnation occurs in Puerto Rico today or that Abraham Lincoln should be blamed for the failures of Reconstruction. Likewise, I don't believe Bush should be blamed for the troubles that occur in Iraq after a transfer of power has occurred. But if we did happen to include post-war Iraq into Bush's record, it would undoubtably improve Bush's overall ratings (given that today's Iraq is better off than Saddam's Iraq).
    Nor do I. I think he's responsible for what he did. He invaded two countries, one on a pretext. Iraq has always ultimately been up to the Iraqis. If Iraq is better, it is because of Iraqis, paid for with their blood. And if it falls apart, that too will be their legacy and not Bush's.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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