I don't want any conservative to look at my January 16 post titled "The True Bush Legacy" and think that I'm just another Bush-basher. I'm not. As far as I can tell, Dubya is a nice guy. All bashing is best directed at the people and policies that surrounded George W. Bush. Of course, as Commander-in-Chief Guy, he is ultimately responsible.
It's just that Dubya was most likely a patsy, a tool. Or was he the greatest, most brilliant political frontman and actor of all time? That is the only history yet to be written. At best (for Bush), Bush was nothing but a figurehead in executing the new Republican, neo-conservative world vision. Sarah Palin was to be the perfect follow up.
The neo-conservatives were born during President Johnson's Great Society. Things picked up for them with the fall of Nixon, at which point they began working toward creation of a coalition between traditional Republican business interests, wacky neo-conservative foreign policy and economic ideas, and the Religious Right.
Leaving aside any elements of religion and so-called family values, here are the hallmarks of this coalition:
- Government is a corrupt, inefficient monolithic entity that must be suppressed until it is small enough "to drown in a bathtub", in the words of Grover Norquist. Ronald Reagan put in his 2 cents worth with his "nine most feared words in the English language - I'm from the government and I'm here to help" zinger.
- We, America, are freedom and democracy. Suppressed people everywhere will fall to their knees and kiss our feet when we liberate them. They will adopt what we do and become like us.
- Supply-side economics, never ending tax cuts, trickle-down economics. This was the total subversion for economic gain of Arthur Laffer's "curve". What is the ideal tax rate "t" that maximizes tax revenue? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Laffer-Curve.svg We don't know. Regardless, we've gone way beyond "t" so that we will either spend our way into a depression, or government will be made small enough to drown in a bathtub.
As for bullet number 1 above, we are the government; government is us. Bullet 2, only when we are a respected citizen of the world. Bullet 3, if you buy into neo-conservative voodoo economics, then you've been fooled; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, um, um, um, can't get fooled again. The bottom line is that you've been tricked into voting against your own economic self-interest.
My little diatribe is just the tip of the iceberg on the 8-year Bush legacy and the 45-year history of neo-conservatism. Paul Krugman has a whole bunch more that you would know if you have not been getting your news from reliable sources:
Do not allow any of this history to be stolen or re-written. George W. Bush's legacy has only one remaining question: George W. Bush - The eternal optimist, a lovable but tragic Don Quixote figure, a patsy, a tool? Or the most brilliant actor and political frontman in United States political history?