Tag Archives: George Bush

Team vs. Policy

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a relative new comer to following politics.  And certainly, this is the first time that I’ve followed and paid attention to politics real time.  So I’ve never been in the circumstance of having to critique a republican president.

To be sure, at the end of Dubya’s term, I was aware and didn’t appreciate the lack of end-game concerning the two wars, I didn’t like the fact that we were detaining suspects with no real intention of trying them and I didn’t like the stimulus.

However, now we’re into Obama’s 2nd term and I’ve noticed a definite lack of prosecution regarding the subject of drones, drone strikes and the use of such as it concerns targets; foreign and domestic.

I would have guessed at such silence.  After all, politics is, in many ways, a zero-sum game; the other guy wins when you lose.  So  liberal to take Obama to task for such abuse of power is counter-productive to their “cause”.  I get that.

But this?

“We trust the president,” former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. “And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn’t trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage.”

This isn’t a critique of policy where one side “attacks” the other guy and silently disagrees with our guy.  This is a case where the policy is okay in the hands of our guy but wrong in the hands of the other.

In other words, the act of killing Americans, foreign suspects and innocent civilians isn’t wrong a priori, it’s only wrong in the hands of President Bush.

The only thing more surprising than thinking this?

Saying this.


Executive Privilege: President Obama

Today President Obama protected Fast and Furious documents by issuing Executive Privilege.  I don’t have a lot any knowledge of what this really is so I did a little digging around.

Turns out that our current President is not alone in such actions.  For examples of recent such occasions we learn that Dubya used this power 6 times and President Clinton 14.  Obama certainly isn’t walking down a path not already well worn.

So, what IS Executive Privilege?

Well, in short, it’s this:

The right of the president of the United States to withhold information from Congress or the courts.

Interesting to note that this very succinct definition simply states that that the president may withhold information.  Not one word about the type of information.

A slightly longer but still rather short explanation followed:

The Constitution does not specifically enumerate the president’s right to executive privilege; rather, the concept has evolved over the years as presidents have claimed it. As the courts have ruled on these claims, their decisions have refined the notion of executive privilege and have clarified the instances in which it can be invoked. The courts have ruled that it is implicit in the constitutional Separation of Powers, which assigns discrete powers and rights to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. In reality, however, the three branches enjoy not separate but shared powers, and thus are occasionally in conflict. When the president’s wish to keep certain information confidential causes such a conflict, the president might claim the right of executive privilege.

Again, this seems to offer broad applicability and mentions nothing that the information be directly related to the President himself.  Rather, he can restrict the release of information within the executive branch.

In fact, to this end, the concept of Executive Privilege morphed during Eisenhower:

[another] development in the use of executive privilege became known as the candid interchange doctrine. In an attempt to shield the executive branch from the bullying investigative tactics of Senator joseph r. mccarthy, President Eisenhower directed that executive privilege be applied to all communications and conversations between executive branch employees; without the assurance of confidentiality, he claimed, they could not be completely candid. This doctrine marked a tremendous change in the scope of executive privilege, extending it from the president and the president’s top advisers to the myriad offices and agencies that make up the executive branch.

It seems very clear that this privilege extends to much of the information contained within the executive branch.  It’s interesting hearing the right wing speak out claiming that this privilege extends only to information that the President personally was engaged in.

However, this does not totally remove the shadows of doubt in Obama’s actions.  While the precedent for restricting the release of information goes back to Washington, it did so with a spirit that doesn’t exist today:

The term executive privilege emerged in the 1950s, but presidents since George Washington have claimed the right to withhold information from Congress and the courts. The issue first arose in 1792, when a congressional committee requested information from Washington regarding a disastrous expedition of General Arthur St. Clair against American Indian tribes along the Ohio River, which resulted in the loss of an entire division of the U.S. Army. Washington, concerned about how to respond to this request and about the legal precedent his actions would set, called a cabinet meeting. Although no official record was kept of the proceedings, Thomas Jefferson described the deliberations in his diary. The participants, Jefferson wrote, concluded that Congress had the right to request information from the president and that the president “ought to communicate such papers as the public good would permit & ought to refuse those the disclosure of which would injure the public.” In the case at hand, they agreed that “there was not a paper which might not be properly produced,” so Washington provided all the documents that Congress had requested. This event, though notable as the first recorded deliberation concerning executive privilege, did not carry precedential value until after 1957, when Jefferson’s notes were discovered. In 1958, Attorney General William P. Rogers cited Jefferson’s remarks as precedent for an absolute presidential privilege. Legal scholar Raoul Berger declaimed Rogers’s arguments as “at best self serving assertions by one of the claimants in a constitutional boundary dispute.” Instead, Berger argued, Washington’s willingness to turn over the requested documents shows his recognition of Congress’s right to such materials.

I’m sure Obama’s move is going to enrage the right for some time.  For me, I’m certain that he made this move for political reasons and not for legitimate ones.  For reason, he didn’t restrict this information until the day of the vote for contempt of Holder.  However, Obama certainly isn’t breaking with precedent and is only playing by the rules established by his predecessors.

If you are angry by this move, it would be an example of failing to offer objection to the growth of government power when that power was in “your guy’s” hands.

Make no mistake, I’m distressed by this move made by Obama.  I think it’s motivated by politics alone and is despicable.  But he’s not doing anything that hasn’t been done, and approved of, before.

Bush And Obama: Killing vs. Torture

I was listening to my 2nd favorite talk show host, Jason Lewis, on the way to Charlotte last night.  During his show, he mentioned the news concerning the killing of Al Qaeda’s #2 guy.  I’ll get to Mr. Lewis’ main point in a second, it has to do with the double standard in the war on terror.  But first, I wanna more fully clarify my stance on “enhanced interrogation techniques”, oftentimes known as “torture.”

As I type this it strikes me as possible that people hear “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the same way that I hear “kinetic military action.”

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The Limits Of Government Power

In the last 6 years, the government has done stuff that leaves me wondering if there is a  limit to what it can do.

For example, we see bills such as the Patriot Act passed into law that really push the limits on government intrusion.  If they can do “that”, what can’t they do?

Then there were the wars in foreign nations.  If we can just do “that”, is there any thing that we can’t do?

Then TARP, TARP II and the bailout of the car companies.

All of which leads us to Obamacare and the preventative care mandate.

What can’t they do?

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Obama’s Recession Recovery: Reagan and Bush

I’m very excited to see the economy continue to strengthen.  I’m happy when folks spend money.  I like seeing my local restaurants have waiting lines of an hour or more.  I enjoy it when people feel optimistic.

However, Obama isn’t driving the recovery; he’s dampening it.  Reagan trounced him and I’m not even normalizing for a smaller work force.  Bush beat him by 40% or so, and again, the economy was smaller then.

Maybe A Mirror Would Be Better

For nearly 5.5 years now Barack Obama has been blaming Dubya for the condition of the economy.  In some cases, to be fair, he’s right.  Dubya and the Republicans had control of things for a number of years and they all spent like massive fools.  They deserve their share of the blame.

The strategy has run it’s course.  Except for the far left Liberati, the idea that Bush is to blame is a Trivial Pursuit answer; next to meaningless.  The current administration has had time to try their grand experiments, the results are in and stock must be taken.

Obama has to see that what he’s doing isn’t working.  In fact, what he’s doing is making it even worse.  In short, he’s taken a bad, very bad, situation, and simply done wrong.

Obamacare – an economy killing piece of legislation.  Feel good?  Free rubbers for everyone?  Sure; maybe.  But a jobs driver?  Not so very much:

From the post:

Correlation is not causation, but in fact we have a lot of independent evidence (including my own experience) that many small and middle sized companies have changed their hiring plans based on costs and uncertainties of Obamacare.

Say what ya want.  Data seems to be adding up that kids of socialist Marxists growing up learning to despise colonizers who then go to liberal law schools and organize the poor while never holding a job that demands results within the context of larger organizational constraints don’t make good Presidents.

I’m just sayin’.

Recession Recovery: Unemployment – Obama, Bush, Clinton and Reagan

I have posted on a comparison of the last major recessions.  The first such comparison featured the GDP growth as we march through that recovery.  Each President; Obama, Bush, Clinton and Reagan had a shot at a recovery.

This post will feature the unemployment rate as we continue from recession to recovery.  This specific comparison, or feature, will look at the raw unemployment rate.  All data is taken from the BLS.gov website.

So, what does the data show?

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Spending: Obama vs Bush

I think that I am consistent with the Republican party’s claim that one Mr. Barack Obama spends too much.  Further, I think that I am consistent with the same Republican party in their view that it’s spending, not revenue that’s the problem.  After all, I’ve demonstrated that receipts increase year over year at a 7.2%.  And by simply slowing the growth of government, we can balance the budget in as little as 19 years.   God forbid what happens if we actually REDUCE the year over year of the government spend.

To that end, there has been much talk in the nation about that government spending.  Where it came from and who is actually spending it.

Remember, the subject is spending.  And that Barack is doing more of it than anyone else.

The context is “who is contributing to the massive increase in government spending we are seeing?”

And the answer to that question is being answered by this graph:

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Wherein Barack Obama Channels George Dubya Bush

Remember when Barack Obama was against all that Bush was for?

Debt limit being raised?  Against it.  [Though to be fair, every single Democrat in the Senate, every single one, voted against it.  And I suspect now that each and every one will vote FOR it.  Again, in the spirit of fairness, every single Republican also voted FOR it.  Sill y business hits.]

War in Iraq?  Against it.

Gitmo?  Against it.

Rendition?  Against it.

And now this one.  Libya.

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Recession: Obama, Bush, Clinton and Reagan

We are now 7 quarters into our recovery from the previous recession.  I have long thought it time to conduct a review of this current recovery as compared to previous recoveries.

I have gone back to the previous 4 recessions and their recoveries.  Above is a graph showing the growth of GDP for each recovery starting with the date in which the NBER calls each recession cycle.

The numbers above reflect the GDP growth in current dollars. Further, I have only gone out 12 quarters, or 3 years.  Anything past this and I think we have normal economic cycles taking place that have little to do with the recovery efforts put in place during the recessions described.

There has been little secret that the current administration holds the previous administration responsible for the recession.  However, if that is true, the current administration is responsible for the recovery.  So, how has it done?

At this point, the Obama’s recovery is only slightly ahead of any of the other 3.  The current quarter represented a 4.0% increase in GDP over the previous quarter.  The only other recovery that had a worse showing was the Reagan recovery of 1982; it had a 3.9% increase.  However, unlike the Obama recovery, the Reagan recovery had significant growth for the first 6 quarters.  Obama’s recovery has not shown that degree of success.

Reagan vs Obama

Here is the direct comparison:

The visual is clear, the Reagan recovery was much more vibrant than the current Obama recovery.  While Obama did better this quarter, the lack of growth in the preceding quarters is disappointing.

Obama vs Bush

Perhaps a more damning comparison, at least for this specific political cycle, is the comparison of Obama vs Bush:

Here the Obama recovery is very similar to the previous Bush recovery.  However, the pressure is on.  Beginning in the 8th quarter on, Bush had a very impressive record of strong GDP growth.

We’ll see if Obama is able to match that record.