Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Evaluating Presidents

Now that President Bush is out of office and President Obama is in, now would be a good time to take stock of the two.

First, lots of people think that Bush is one of the worst Presidents in history. You do not have even go to Comedy Central to hear that kind of talk. It is everywhere. Why do they think he is the worst? They do not give reasons. Disastrous policies seem to be the overwhelming reason of choice, but then again when Obama keeps wire tapping or reauthorize the Patriot Act they will not complain about those same policies. If Obama gives any bailouts then the liberals will be unable to hold that against him either. It really is a mystery to me why he is so hated. But, then some are going to far in defending him as well. What really is there to defend? Sure we have not been attacked since 9/11 but can that really be tied to something Bush did? How long did it take them to attack American soil in-between the two Trade Center attacks? One would assume that we should wait at least that long before we declare we have done anything good. He did capture Sadam, but didn’t the world actually get more dangerous with Kim Jong Il getting nukes and Iran getting close enough that we probably will not be able to stop them? What exactly are they applauding?

Which leads me to my point, we have no idea how to evaluate Presidents. It is ridiculous that we have this high office that we do not understand in the least. I have a suggestion. Maybe we should start evaluating Presidents based on the vow they take to defend and uphold the Constitution. This of course means that President Bush was a disaster. His gross increasing of the Federal Government stands against him, especially in Education and his inability to fix Social Security not to mention adding Prescription Drugs to Medicare. All of it totally unconstitutional. His two wars were “authorized” but never done according to the Constitution. Again then failures. Do not even get me started on the bailouts. Nothing he did will haunt him like the bailouts. For that alone he deserves to be paned as a President. I would vote for Franklin Pierce a thousand times before I vote for Bush. Yet, despite his enormous sins against the Contitution, he cannot be considered the worst ever. FDR and LBJ ignored the Constitution altogether. Woodrow Wilson tried to make America subservient to the League of Nations. That cannot look good for someone who swore to uphold America and her sovereignty. And then Bush never got caught doing something truly corrupt unlike Grant and Harding. Those guys were pretty corrupt.

Second, we need to hold Obama to the same standard. All indications are that following or acknowledging that the Constitution exists are way above Obama’s pay grade. Obama wants to make FDR look like a penny pincher. Nationalizing health care was a top agenda item during the campaign. The appointment of radical Tom Daschale shows that Obama does favor the single payer system, and that America should brace for the worst health care in the world. Soon we will be booking flights to Haiti for dental work. Obama also has shown that he will redistribute wealth. The Founders would all have heart attacks at hearing a President express such notions. And the worst offense at all is his plan to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law, which will abolish state laws concerning abortion so that mass murder that would make the Nazis envious will be the norm in America. In addition to moral revulsion at such as suggestion, the Constitution also cries out against such usurpation of power. So, things are not looking good for President 44.

For people who love the American Constitution and the American system, there has not been much to cheer about in the last 8 years. But then again, today is nothing to cheer about either.


Anonymous said...

Evaluating Presidents…

In response to your posting concerning evaluating presidents, I would make the following comments and rebuttals.
You state that President Bush should receive no accolades for preventing a new attack on American soil after September 11, 2001. Your reasoning is that it will take our enemies at least as long to plan and execute another attack as it took them between the first Trade Center attack and 9/11. Well the first attack occurred on February 26, 1993 therefore it was 8 years and 7 months between attacks. President Bush served 7 years and 3 months without another attack. Granted that is 1 year and 4 months short so does your argument loose validity if we are not attacked in the next year and 4 months or does President Obama take on the responsibility?
As to evaluating presidents based on the presidential vow to “ preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” and your conclusion that President Bush was a disaster. Your logic and reasoning escape me. First you state “his increasing of the Federal Government stands against him, especially in Education and his inability to fix Social Security not to mention adding Prescription Drugs to Medicare. All of it totally unconstitutional.” Now I am not a constitutional lawyer, but a majority of the learned jurist since social security was passed under President Roosevelt has held it to be constitutional. Therefore you saying it is unconstitutional does not make it a fact! I also would like to know how block grants to the states for education are unconstitutional?
Of course, I am ignoring your argument that President Bush’s inability to get a bill through the Congress to “fix” social security makes social security unconstitutional. Would it be constitutional if it were “fixed”?
What about the bailouts! Everyone has opinions on the bailouts weather they are good or bad. Those on the far right say that free enterprise (not in the constitution) does not need any intervention from government. However, in this case as it was during the great depression, some action is justified. Is the action unconstitutional? Again, I am not a constitutional lawyer, but I would suspect the congress passed and President Bush signed the law based on Article II, Section 8. Which states in part “The Congress shall have the power to…provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States…”
As to President Obama – it is too early to make any observations on him or his administration. You may or may not have good arguments on the current administration but you certainly did not convenience me on any arguments you had about President Bush!

Lee said...

I do think that if in the next one year and four months we can start to say that President Bush kept us safe, and that he hurt the ability of terrorists to attack us.

It is true that the majority of jurists post FDR have ruled Social Security and Education and basically anything the government was to do as Constitutional. However, all of the jurists before them thought it unconstitutional. There can be little doubt that FDR fundamentally changed the nation. One of the ways that was done is the new way of judging Constitutionality, which is the standard you are using. Namely, basing Constitutionality on previous decisions or precedent. Using the actual Constitution to judge things is unheard of in today's society as your comment proves.
You are right that my saying it is unconstitutional does not make it so, but if you think Congress saying it is Constitutional makes it so, then we are in worse shape than I thought. If we interpret the "general welfare" clause as you suggest then the 9th and 10th Amendments mean nothing. In fact, then enumeration of powers in Articles 1 and 2 mean nothing because they can do anything they want for "general welfare". This is clearly not what the founder meant when they put this in.
Judging people by the Constitution is not an unreasonable standard. Now this does mean we need to use the Constitution to judge what is Constitutional not a Courth which has for decades been expanding the Constititon to mean whatever it wants. This the basic difference between the "originalists" and the "living document" crowd. I will admit that if you favor the "living document view" then President Bush may actually have been a great president. Because in the end, there is no standard against which he can be judged.