Profile of a Frustrating Presidency

As one who voted for George W. Bush twice (the first time was an accident — I was aiming for Buchanan) I often sit back and conduct a performance evaluation of sorts — which is the primary right of every voter — and the results are frustratingly perplexing.

It’s not that I regret voting for Bush, taking into account the alternatives at the time. Gore would have been an enormous disaster, especially considering the events that unfolded shortly after the 2000 election.

We can only imagine how America would have reacted had it been Al Gore to take the bullhorn shortly after 9/11, climb atop a pile of WTC rubble, and excoriate Osama bin Laden for the tragic inferno that played hell with the polar ice caps. And Kerry? No thanks. If I want to see Thurston and Lovie on a daily basis, I’ll turn on TV Land. The thought of a first lady who sounds like Eva Gabor with Tourette’s Syndrome was a big turn off as well.

That said, the Bush presidency has given me moments of nervousness — the kind of unease you would experience if you were flying with Amelia Earhart and, 10,000 feet over the Pacific, she turned to you and said “Oh, I thought you brought the compass.”

Barely a week goes by when there hasn’t been an occasion that I’ve listened to George W. Bush and thought, “what are you thinking?”

The most recent example was the president’s appearance on 60 Minutes, the show with the stopwatch that reminds viewers either how much time is left in the program, or how long some of the pre-Mesozoic hosts have to live.

Frankly, Bush agreeing to go on a CBS News program for an interview is a little like Ehud Olmert picking up Mahmoud Ahmadinead’s lunch tab. But I’m sure CBS has come around since allowing Dan Rather to run with the fake National Guard document story. Yep, no agenda there anymore. Nuh uh.

In the interview, Bush admitted to mistakes in the war in Iraq. Sure it’s true, but telling that to CBS can make us do nothing but question his judgment. Where’s the old Dubya? The cowboy whose life credo was “never give ’em the satisfaction”? Did that particular cowboy ever exist in the first place?

The frustrations of the Bush presidency are compounded by the constant passing of huge spending bills, much of it doing nothing more than helping other countries and interests. Bush has rubber-stamped more foreign paper than an overcaffeinated Ellis Island clerk on “two-for-one coupon day.” The nickname for Bush’s veto pen should be “unemployed squid,” because it’s full of ink and doesn’t do nearly enough work.

Then there’s the Bush who takes a brave stand against foreign and domestic terrorism on one hand, and on the other hand seems to have little concern for illegals who are spilling across the border so much that it looks like Mexico left the faucet running. Whenever you announce a plan for amnesty for illegals, don’t be surprised if everybody begins to clamor for position.

Speaking of Bush and fighting terrorism, how about this story that managed to stay, with some exceptions, mostly under the radar during the holiday season:

In the wake of the revelation that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, the number of new students arriving in the United States plummeted from more than 4,000 in 2001 to 1,008 in 2005, according to the U.S. State Department.

But a program initiated by President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah has brought about 10,000 new students to U.S. colleges during the current academic year, bringing the number of Saudi students for the fall semester of 2006 to 10,936.

You can only wonder how much of our tax dollars are going to pay for their flight school. I don’t know about you, but I sleep better at night knowing that the chance that somebody who has a degree from an American university will kill us all is now much higher.

We send our brave soldiers to fight terrorists overseas “so we don’t have to do it here later on” and then invite their neighbors over by the thousands? In that case, we might as well bring the troops home, because if you’re going to have people setting rat traps in the basement but put the bait in your shorts, a rude awakening is on the way and the rest is futile.

These things, and many more, comprise the paradox that is the Bush presidency. It’s so confusing that Bush even confuses himself on many occasions.

Is Bush better than Gore would have been? Absolutely. Better than Kerry? For sure. But still, I can’t help but view the Bush presidency as a series of squandered opportunities punctuated by some successes that were ultimately pasteurized with consent in the name of “bipartisanship” and counterproductive conciliation. George W. Bush has guts and the willingness to do what might be necessary but nonetheless unpopular, but he also seems to have compassion and a humanitarian streak to a naive fault, which all too often trumps the nobility of the former admirable trait.

George W. Bush will not, as many like to believe, go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever, but he will most certainly be remembered as an “if only he’d have…” type of leader — which is often the difference between “great” and “eh, whatever.”

Just for the record, I couldn’t have done that job any better. Heck, I’d still be in an “undisclosed location” — which is where most politicians should stay.

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"Is it hot in here, or is Al crazy?"

Some high schoolers are about to be taught the valuable lesson that nothing in life is free, except indoctrination:

Five-hundred high school students will be able to attend for free the January 22nd speech by former Vice President Al Gore in Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University.

The kids will be shown indesputable evidence of global warming, such as this:

The forecast for next Monday in Boise, Idaho: 36 degrees … Friggin’ SUV’s!

“Is it hot in here, or is Al crazy?”

Some high schoolers are about to be taught the valuable lesson that nothing in life is free, except indoctrination:

Five-hundred high school students will be able to attend for free the January 22nd speech by former Vice President Al Gore in Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University.

The kids will be shown indesputable evidence of global warming, such as this:

The forecast for next Monday in Boise, Idaho: 36 degrees … Friggin’ SUV’s!

Democrats Pledge To Work Five Days — Apparently Not In A Row

There’s an old joke by Steven Wright that goes like this:

One time I woke up in the middle of the night and I was hungry. I went to the convenience store and noticed it was closed. The sign said “Open 24 hours” and there was a guy locking the door. I said “Hey, your sign says you’re open 24 hours.” He said, “Not in a row!”

If there was ever a joke that applied to the new Democrat majority (aside from “the new Democrat majority”) it’s that one.

On January 4th of this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that Congress would be working longer hours, including expanding their workweek to five grueling days in a demonstration of solidarity with the rest of America. Those five grueling days are apparently, as Steven Wright said, not in a row.

The Democrats outlined their new hard-working plan so they could be more in tune with Joe Sixpack. Obviously Mr. Sixpack went to the Ohio State/Florida game, because Congress immediately took the Monday following Reid’s “bureaucratic nose to the grindstone” announcement off so a couple of them could attend the Fiesta Bowl. A few members of Congress heard the word “Tostitos” and that’s all it took. We should name every college post-season game “The Pork Bowl” and we’d not see Congress for the entire months of December and January.

Today, of course, is Martin Luther King day. Another day off. Next Monday is the anniversary of the day Ted Kennedy managed to get a sailboat inside of a bottle of Chivas — and it wasn’t even a model – so there will be another day off for that observance of that feat.

Now we’re approaching presidential campaign season, and some of the worst offenders will be busy doddering around in Iowa and New Hampshire, missing votes by the bushel while dragging along Hollywood celebrities for their coveted endorsements. Aren’t these the kind of flap-jawed, ivory-towered know-betters that people move to Iowa and New Hampshire to get away from?

At any rate, I’m starting to like this new, improved, hard working Congress. I hope they keep it up until they’re working so hard that they never show up for work.

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Frank-ly Speaking: American Samoa Gets StarKist By Nancy Pelosi

We’re just a few days into “the most ethical Congress in history” that was pledged by Democrats, and already there’s something rotten in Denmark — or American Samoa in this case. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long.

When the House passed an increase in the national minimum wage last week, an exemption was made for American Samoa. Since then, some comical events have unfolded.

The minimum wage for workers in American Samoa is $3.60 an hour. What was the reason the Democrats gave for exempting American Samoa? “It would hurt their already faltering economy.” Well, if it hurts a faltering economy there, could a minimum wage law do anything but harm any economy?

In actuality, it would hurt a company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district.

This from HotAir, who posted a hilarious video of Barney Frank who reminded me of how Elmer Fudd would act with “Roid rage.”:

The Republican arguing with power-hungry Barney Frank is Patrick McHenry. McHenry rose to offer an amendment that would exempt American Samoa from the stem-cell bill — a clear dig at the fact that Samoa, which is home to StarKist factories that employ nearly 75% of the island’s work force, was conspicuously exempt from the minimum-wage bill that had passed the day before. Why is that important? Because StarKist is a branch of Del Monte Foods Co., which has its headquarters in San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s district.

Pelosi said she’s never gotten campaign donations or been lobbied by StarKist or Del Monte Foods. Uh huh. Well then, why reward that company for moving jobs out of her district and allowing them to pay far below national minimum wage? Something’s fishy beyond the tuna.

How about this one. About 75 percent of Del Monte stock is owned by shareholders of the H.J. Heinz Company – whose heirs include Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John Kerry. Tell me the American Samoa exemption wouldn’t have been shot down if these were Republicans.

Sinister assumptions aside, maybe the Democrats are just plain dumb. I ran across a reason Democrats should loathe the decision to exempt American Samoa: In 2003, Wesley Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Del Monte Foods, donated to the Bush for President campaign. Democrats are allowing Del Monte to skimp on labor cost and pass the savings on to Republicans. Oh the humanity!

I almost forgot — Here’s the video of Barney Frank in a snit while wielding his gavel.

On the topic of the minimum wage itself, talk host Neil Boortz has posed one of the better questions on the subject:

Do you think that it would be appropriate for the federal government to force you to pay more for a product at the store than that product is worth to you? What if the government came to you and told you that the company making the product you wish to buy just isn’t making enough money. Their profit margin has been stagnant for four years, and so the government wants you to pay more for the product so that the company making the product could get more profit. Like the idea? Do you think the government should tell you what must pay more for an item from the department store or grocery shelf than it is worth? If not .. then how can you support the idea that the government should tell an employer that he has to pay a person more for his labor than it is worth?

Hmm, I don’t know. Hey, let’s ask Barney Frank!

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Taking Condi From A Baby: War Suddenly Turns Barbara Boxer Pro-Life

California Senator Barbara Boxer (D-UMB), perhaps one of the biggest proponents of non-living children in the United States, has actually criticized a woman for her appalling choice to not have kids.

This week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stared stupid straight in the face and lived to tell about it:

Rice appeared before the Senate in defense of President Bush’s tactical change in Iraq, and quickly encountered Boxer.

“Who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price,” Boxer said. “My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young.”

Then, to Rice: “You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family.”

If it makes Boxer feel better, we’re all paying a price for her being in the senate.

Barbara Boxer is quite possibly the biggest doofus ever to enter the Senate chambers, including carpenter ants, mice, and the time Paris Hilton and her friends took a private tour. Each time she opens her mouth, out comes a bigger embarrassment than the time Robert Byrd ‘sharted’ during a filibuster.

So, is Boxer ultimately right to criticize Rice for having a say in foreign policy decision without having children of her own at risk? Jeremie Jordan sums it up right at the CornBeltwayBoys blog:

I don’t want my leaders weighing important war time decisions on whether or not it will affect their immediate families. Check almost any liberal blog and you will see a button or an advertisement that says something to affect of “send the Bush twins.” This attitude is clearly wrong. Bush and Rice need to make overarching policy decisions based on the greater good, not whether Barbara and Jenna will see combat and possibly die.

War sucks. War should be avoided at all costs. Life is precious, but unfortunately there are times when a nation must call on its’ military personnel to make the greatest of all sacrifices; putting their lives on the line. Whether or not a President’s son or daughter will be involved in the fighting should be part of the equation for war, but it should not be the overriding reason for it or against it. Basing a military decision solely on the personal welfare of one person just isn’t sound policy.

If it isn’t sound policy, you’ll hear it being promoted by Barbara Boxer. I do enjoy consistency in politicians, and Boxer delivers.

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Clinton, Carter to "Improve" Image of Baptists?

Oh my, this should be interesting:

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are part of an initiative to create a new Baptist voice and improve the negative image of Baptists in North America.

When Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are brought in to improve your image, you’ve got serious problems. Oh well, maybe the Baptists are figuratively running with Rodney Dangerfields advice, “If you wanna look thin, hang out with fat people.”

How long will it be until the church organist falls into a deep malaise and at least two members of the ladies choir are knocked up?

Clinton, Carter to “Improve” Image of Baptists?

Oh my, this should be interesting:

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are part of an initiative to create a new Baptist voice and improve the negative image of Baptists in North America.

When Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are brought in to improve your image, you’ve got serious problems. Oh well, maybe the Baptists are figuratively running with Rodney Dangerfields advice, “If you wanna look thin, hang out with fat people.”

How long will it be until the church organist falls into a deep malaise and at least two members of the ladies choir are knocked up?

The Crying Game: Does America Want Weepy Leaders?

“… this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall gather ’round for a hug and a good cry.”

– The Gettysburg Address as it would have been delivered had Lincoln been less emotionally cold

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A few days ago I overheard a conversation at a party, and a woman who was no fan of the president couldn’t understand why, if Bush really cared about all the death and destruction around the world, he didn’t show it more. Maybe by now she’s seen this picture taken on Wednesday, but even if she has, I’m sure she’s thinking that those tears are phonier than the breasts on Malibu beaches.

Her comments reminded me of a column I read a few years ago entitled “Does Bush cry?”

So I sat down to consider whether or not America should consider electing weepier leadership.

Lack of outward emotion is often mistaken as heartlessness or a lack of caring by people who TiVo Oprah daily and think that the problem hasn’t been invented that can’t be solved by a jammy party, group hug and tearful confession. What’s more perplexing is that some of the people I’ve heard complain about Bush’s reactions would readily vote for Hillary Clinton, who herself has the warmth and emotional range of a Popsicle.

Imagine you’re on a commercial airline, and every time your flight hits severe turbulence your pilot gets on the intercom and screams like a woman who just saw a mouse in the kitchen. Would it ease your nerves to know that the pilot is “just like us” because he’s sharing our emotions?

Some view a crying leader as a weak one, and some view a leader who never cries in public as a cold one. I tend to view a weepy politician much like the female orgasm — it’s an emotional human reaction that can also, by the right practitioners, be convincingly faked. And if anybody knows fakery, it’s a politician.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a leader who cries at the drop of a hat. Take some of the greats as examples. What if Gen. Patton had altered one of his famous quotes to satisfy those demanding tears from their leaders? “An army is a team. It eats, sleeps, fights and cries as a team.”

How about Sir Winston Churchill? He’s remembered as one of the world’s great leaders, and he wasn’t known to bawl in public, nor chastised for failing to do so, for that matter. And it would have been easier for ol’ Winston, since bawling comes naturally when you’re jacked on Johnnie Walker Black Label while V1s explode nearby.

What if Churchill would have said, “We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire,” then choked up and concluded with a weepy, “Clemmie, hand me a Kleenex”?

What if President Truman’s nickname was “Give ’em sobbing, Harry”?

What if Martin Luther King Jr. had said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by how much they cry in public”?

What if Douglas MacArthur said “I shall return, after a good bewailing”? A bunch of Filipinos would have been suddenly a little more insecure, that’s what.

What if Reagan had said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this emotional wall between us”?

There have been leaders who cried, and with mixed results. Who? Well, Bill Clinton got misty a lot and was still politically successful. A TV camera does to Bill Clinton what chopping onions does to the rest of us. Clinton can turn on an emotional dime, vacillating between tears and laughter with such ease that he must have trained himself to do so by simultaneously yanking out nose hairs while watching “The Three Stooges.” Not all politicians, however, can pull off tears and survive.

Back in 1972, it was alleged that Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie wept on the steps of the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, N.H., while defending his wife, whom that paper editorialized as “emotionally unstable.” Word of Muskie’s cry ruined his presidential hopes, and, in many cases, put a quick end to the practice of a politician defending his wife.

Crying is a natural and healthy human emotion, but a leader’s success shouldn’t be judged by how much waterworks they produce in public. In national emergencies, tragedies and all other sorts of nasty goings-on, a real leader needs to be focused on producing a real solution, not a saline solution.

That was an emotional subject. Somebody hand me a tissue.

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The Mile-High Flub: Democrats Choose Denver for 2008 Convention

A stroke of genius! Denver’s low oxygen environment will be the perfect compliment to ideas that only make sense while in the throes of brain asphyxia.

The city of Denver is right now loading up on the Chivas for Teddy; hiding the china and silverware from Hillary and the wire coat hangers from Boxer; reinforcing the rear bumpers of ambulances for Edwards; removing copies of “Dumbo” from video store shelves so as to not offend Obama; hiring more Indian convenience store cashiers so Biden feels more at home; stocking up on ear plugs for Dean’s speech; making sure kids get an education so they aren’t stuck in Iraq during the convention; and, especially for Gore, are replacing all fossil fuel burning city vehicles with battery-powered Hoverounds.