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Old 12-13-2018, 07:14 PM
4,174 posts, read 4,246,242 times
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He was too concerned about saving Kuwait and not the USA. He did nothing to stop illegal immigration.
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:33 PM
Location: Round Rock, Texas
7,924 posts, read 7,940,669 times
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Originally Posted by Hulsker 1856 View Post
Confused much? In one sentence you dismiss the budget surplus as bogus, then congratulate the GOP for the surplus. You should decide whether it's chicanery or Republican brilliance, as you sound rather ludicrous simultaneously claiming it's both.

The budget deficit began dropping in 1993 due to the Democratic Congress getting President Bush to accept tax increases, increasing federal revenues - despite Republican claims that the opposite would happen, and that it would increase the economic downturn. (Clinton was President in 1993, but economic developments have a lagtime of a year or two) It was a long time getting to the surplus but that process began long before the GOP took Congress in 1995.

Clinton and the Democrats then raised taxes again. The GOP again insisted that this would plague the economy, specifically that it would plunge it back into recession. Again, the GOP was wrong. As previously, the closing of the deficit had positive effects.

It is not true that the GOP cut the rate of spending under President Clinton. As shown below, spending was fairly flat during the Clinton administration, though it did increase somewhat after the Republicans took Congress. There were cuts here and there but they were always offset by increases elsewhere.


The resolution of the government shutdown of 1996 - the one Gingrich later bragged that he decided to cause because he was unhappy about his seating arrangements on Air Force One while en route to Yitzak Rabin's funeral - resulted in tax increases. If you think that was the GOP, and not Clinton, winning, then you're as confused as you are about whether or not the surplus was fake or a GOP triumph.

In 2001, the United States swapped out a Democratic President for a Republican one, while Congress stayed in GOP hands. The result? A return to deficits. That's all you need to know right there.
Your “facts” chart is bogus because the Enron accounting used by the federal government was including the SS revenue to “balance” the budget. Instead of the claimed $559 billion in surpluses the last four years of WJC’s administration, the government increased its debt by over $400 billion.
It is absolutely true the republican congress cut the rate of annual federal spending from 7% to 4% over the objections of the opposition.
However, note that I put the word “surplus” in quotes, which indicates that the notion of the claim of such was questionable.
It is very true that after Bush2 took office the republicans started spending like drunken democrats. Of course the tech bubble (which fueled the huge tax revenue increases of the 1990s) had burst by the end of the Clinton years, then 9/11 happened, which exacerbated the spending frenzy and increased the deficits.
Cutting taxes stimulates the economy and increases revenue - JFK, Reagan, and Bush2 knew that, and it did all three times the cuts were made.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:50 AM
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
6,295 posts, read 4,529,244 times
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Originally Posted by Hulsker 1856 View Post
Did you live through 1992? Because the fact that Bush didn't march on Baghdad had precisely zero to do with the failure of his reelection bid.

No historian and no history book is ever going to claim that Bush didn't get a second term because he declined to topple Saddam Hussein.
It can be argued, once the deed was done, that Bush II's mistake was not in deposing Saddam, but in disbanding the Iraqi military, which led to the dissolution of the state. The same would have applied to Bush I, if he'd chosen to press home his military advantage.
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Old 12-15-2018, 06:52 AM
Location: Corona del Mar & Coronado, CA
1,627 posts, read 1,149,324 times
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Originally Posted by Astral_Weeks View Post
Only a partisan hack would make such a claim. The truth is that a President has far less direct influence on the performance of the economy than many people realize.

Presidential economic records are highly dependent on the dumb luck of where the nation is in the economic cycle. And the White House has no control over the demographic and technological forces that influence the economy.

So while I give credit to both Bush senior and Bill Clinton for being fiscally responsible and raising taxes after Ronnie blew up the deficit in the 80's, the fact is the 90's economic boom was driven by changes in technology and the peak earning years of the baby boom. That economic boom, which nothing to do with anything any president did, combined with prudent fiscal policy is what caused the budget to finally get balanced.
Only a partisan hack would deny that the structural changes to regulation, treatment of capital and the taming of inflation & interest rates are what led directly to the tech revolution.

I will agree that presidents can get too much blame and too much credit for things that happen on their watch, but there are also undeniable consequences of policy.
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:19 AM
Location: western East Roman Empire
6,211 posts, read 10,268,628 times
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Originally Posted by Astral_Weeks View Post
The truth is that a President has far less direct influence on the performance of the economy than many people realize.

Presidential economic records are highly dependent on the dumb luck of where the nation is in the economic cycle. And the White House has no control over the demographic and technological forces that influence the economy.

Originally Posted by TimTheEnchanter View Post
Only a partisan hack would deny that the structural changes to regulation, treatment of capital and the taming of inflation & interest rates are what led directly to the tech revolution.

I will agree that presidents can get too much blame and too much credit for things that happen on their watch, but there are also undeniable consequences of policy.
You both make good points, and they are not mutually exclusive.

I have the impression that some presidents, or presidential families and/or interest groups that surround them - have more concrete input into actual policy than others.

Just for example, I've always had the impression that Reagan and Obama were cheerleaders, perhaps to different audiences, but cheerleaders nonetheless and personally powerless except for their skills at political theater, and real policy came and went through other channels which the office holder rubber-stamped.

On the other hand, the Bush family has not only been the face of political theater for three generations, but they have also wielded real policy power themselves, along with others in their circle. And one cannot exclude the possibility of a fourth.
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:42 AM
8,466 posts, read 8,740,258 times
Reputation: 26399
Originally Posted by MassTerp94 View Post
From a purely historical perspective, how will George H.W. Bush be remembered? While he was relatively influential in terms of foreign policy, domestically his presidency wasn't particularly notable.

I feel he is sort of a modern day James K. Polk. More consequential and important than most one-term presidents, but in 100-150 years the average American won't know much about him, save for perhaps being the "other George Bush"-the father of the more consequential and two-term 43rd president.

Rest in peace and Godspeed, Mr. President.
He was the last republican president I voted for. Given the current state of the GOP, I can't see voting republican for a while either.

He was first and foremost a gentleman in every sense of the word. He showed much respect and personal kindness to those he dealt with. The note he left to Bill Clinton when Clinton assumed the office of the presidency after defeating Bush was a model for how an outgoing president should treat an incoming president.

His accomplishments before becoming President were perhaps more noteworthy than his presidency. He served in combat during World War II. He attended and graduated from Yale University. He did well in business. He served as a Congressman. Later, he served as director of the CIA. Of course, he served as Ronald Reagan's vice president and I always knew the presidency would be in good hands if something happened to Reagan.

He made the right decision when he took the country to war against Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded the neutral nation of Kuwait. He proved that a patient leader can build an effective international coalition to oppose a true tyrant.

Unfortunately, his presidency was not particularly noteworthy. He didn't get a second term for three reasons:

1. He pledged not to raise taxes and than he did.
2. The country likes to change political parties every eight years. Bush was an exception being elected after Reagan had served two terms.
3. The economy went into a recession as he was running for reelection.

His actions after being president deserve mention. I believe he did not approve of his son's actions in invading Iraq in 2002. He was the architect of the Iraq Study Group in 2007 that attempted to create a policy that would get America out of Iraq. Last of all, in 2016, he told his friends he could not vote for Donald Trump--the republican nominee--and would vote instead for Hillary Clinton.

Bush understood the meaning of service and favored his country at all times. Its more than can be said for some.
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Old 12-17-2018, 04:49 PM
Location: Silicon Valley
2,994 posts, read 1,317,457 times
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I remember at the time I didn't care for him much. At the time, personality certainly had a greater influence on me than it does today. He seemed old and Quayle seemed idiotic. Some of those close were just scary, and who knows how much he knew about some the CIA's greatest hits album. As I look back, it seems he really was a good President that just constantly got marred on senseless things. He was fantastic in foreign policy, ending the cold war, but I recall him forgiving debt to Poland even as we had a giant deficit. He raised taxes and really was the last President to want financial equilibrium, even though his famous campaign signal of no knew taxes meant backlash. The economic effects of the peace dividend were really only made possible with his groundwork. The war in Iraq was ended correctly. Enough to end belligerence but not enough to allow Iran free run of the region.

In reality, he got blamed for the shifting groundwork that was starting to outsource manufacturing overseas and consolidate industries. Even there he stood up for US IP to then giant Japan....but is probably only remembered for getting sick and throwing up.

He was really the last President that maintained the Executive scope as well.

He wasn't the best, but he served and he served nobly. You'd have to be half nuts to want that job IMO.
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Old 12-17-2018, 05:17 PM
4,243 posts, read 1,742,673 times
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Originally Posted by Astral_Weeks View Post
The father for a steady hand in foreign policy during times of change and the son for an ill-advised adventure into Iraq financed on a credit card.

You said a mouthful. As someone who mostly votes Republican and has spent a good deal of time talking to people who were on the ground and in intelligence there, I'm amazed that full-scale impeachment charges weren't leveled at 43. There were virtually no WMDs in Iraq, with the exception of some forgotten chemical weapons shells and yellow cake that were already known about by the UN and still had seals on the barrels when found by US forces. Certainly not the nuke factory that Cheney, Tenet, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld wanted us to swallow.

Nope. Our big time smoking gun was Curveball, a guy who was seen as a unreliable source before the invasion by both the British and German intelligence services. As it turns out the biological weapons labs he identified were milk pasteurization facilities. Since then, the guy has gone on record admitting that it was all a lie on his part to get asylum in Germany.

So while Saddam Hussein was a terrible person, we basically shot our way into a sovereign nation based on non-existent intelligence and threw an already chaotic region of the world into deeper pandemonium. We had no plan for the occupation and we disbanded the Iraqi army, which was the one thing that could have actually kept the country from spiraling into civil war and insurgency. Just one incompetent decision piled on top of another.

And, by doing so, it cost this country 4,500 soldiers, cost the country a couple of trillion dollars, and killed God knows how many Iraqis. It completely destroyed the internaitonal goodwill that we had gained after the invasion of Afghanistan, a completely legitimate operation. The Iraq was was utterly tangential to the War on Terror, given Hussein's hostility to Al Queda. The only terrorists he was interested in funding were the ones lobbing mortar shells across the Israeli frontier.

W's performance, however well-intentioned, was nothing less than criminal, the precise opposite of the cool, thorough gamesmanship of his father. I just hope someone secretly tape recorded conversations at the Bush family Thanksgivings as a gift to future historians.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:46 PM
92 posts, read 19,408 times
Reputation: 335
This is not a good time to be asking that question. Right now, George Herbert Walker Bush has just passed and we are in the hagiography phase of his historical assessment. This is understandable and hardly unique to Bush, for when leaders pass we (I'm speaking collectively, as a society) tend to focus on their positive attributes and minimize their shortcomings.

How will Bush be remembered? As a middle of the road President. He will get high marks for his management of the conflict against Iraq, though given the realities of the United States/United Kingdom/France/Saudi Arabia/Egypt/Canada/others v. Iraq, the outcome should hardly come as a surprise. His credit will be for not botching it, though on the other hand it will be noted that many larger powers - including, at other times, the United States - have botched asymmetrical campaigns.

His non-threatening stance during the collapse of the Eastern Bloc has been noted as of late, though it should also be observed that it was during the final year or so of the Reagan administration that it was belatedly realized that times called for a radical scaling back of posture and rhetoric to give Gorbachev domestic space to maneuver.

On the other hand, the invasion of Panama will be noted as the removal of a brutal kleptocrat who was previously a brutal kleptocrat in good standing with the United States - and managed by the very CIA that Bush ran for a time - until it was decided that the brutal kleptocrat was no longer sufficiently subordinating his country to American interests. He will be remembered for conveniently pardoning Caspar Weinberger prior to a trial in which Weinberger's diaries would have been revealed and demonstrated to contradict Bush's sworn testimony.

And standing in stark contrast to recent professions of Bush as a paragon of decency and values, history will noted that the moderate pro-civil rights Bush changed tack to become an outspoken opponent of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 when he determined that he couldn't win a Senate race in Texas, where white supremacy still remained very popular, without opposing civil rights. He will be remembered as derided Reagan's economic policies, as being pro-choice, and as supporting the Equal Rights Amendment, all up until the very moment that he agreed to be Reagan's running mate, when he suddenly did a 180 on all of these issues. This sort of shifting is hardly unknown among politicians, but in Bush's case it was considerable and unusually blatant. And regardless of its banal frequency, it still refutes the litany of accolades presently being heaped upon Bush for having the character to always do the right thing. Two words: Willie Horton. Simply put, when political necessity required it, Bush often did the wrong thing. Again, he's hardly the first. But also again, it demonstrates that he was not some sort of outlier in American politics who refused to compromise himself.

Domestically, Bush will be noted for lacking what he himself called 'the vision thing'. That's not necessarily a bad thing. He was a reactive President to domestic developments. He'll be remembered for violating his vow not to raise taxes, which itself wasn't a mistake - it demonstrated that once Bush was President he had abandoned supply-side economics, and in reigning in the deficit it helped pave the way for the long economic expansion of the 1990s, despite the insistence of critics that it heralded economic doom. The mistake was in making the pledge in the first place, though to be fair to Bush in the summer of 1988 his eventual landslide was not obvious and his perceived need to rally the base is understandable.

He'll be remembered positively for signing NAFTA, which was then ratified after he left office, and for the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act.

In the end, Bush was a mixed bag and his mix falls decidedly on the middle. I should note two factors that will impact his historical assessment. First, he lost his reelection bid, which marks him with the taint of 'loser'. Fair or not, the judgment of the electorate will be a factor shading how history perceives him. Second, Bush was not an ideologue. His pursuit of stasis, wherein both parties were a mix of periodically-cooperating conservatives and liberals, limited his impact on political change and thus will be of less interest. Change and conflict are more interesting than governance.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:36 PM
1,695 posts, read 737,660 times
Reputation: 2120
He made his home in Houston and he is best known here for stepping up and helping to raise funds after natural disasters.
Charities & foundations supported:

Bush Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund
Covenant House
FC Harlem
Heifer International
Save the Children
Smile Train
United Nations Development Program
Vijay Amritraj Foundation

He and his wife, Barbara, raised millions for cancer research and other causes in Houston. As former presidents, he and Clinton joined forces to support relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. He united with presidents Clinton; Obama; Carter; and his son, George W. Bush, to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief.
A wonderful life: George H.W. Bush was a president and a gentleman - CultureMap Houston
Barbara was a champion of literacy; George believed in the power of public service. As a couple who lost their daughter to leukemia, they threw their tireless support behind the Texas Medical Center’s leading childhood cancer treatment programs.

I don't keep up with politics like some but heard this over the radio with Pres. Bush (Sr's) passing:
Regan may have brought down the wall in Germany, but it was George H. W. Bush that united Germany.
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