Dover Bitch

Thursday, October 27, 2005

You're no Ronald Reagan...

DB has been greatly entertained by those who suggest the current scandals in the White House are merely "natural" rites of passage for a two-term administration. Sure their voices are cracking, but it's just puberty! Give them a break!

But the ones who really seem to be missing the mark are those who are calling for George Bush to learn from Ronald Reagan and the way he turned things around.

What they're all missing is that 2005 has even less in common with the late 1980's than Bush has to Reagan.

1. "Advisor to five, no four, is it four? OK, FOUR presidents" David Gergen suggests that Bush should clean house the way Reagan did. Might have been a good idea a while ago, but John Poindexter and Ollie North were gone well before their indictments came down in 1988. Bush might be facing indictments of people still working for him.

2. Nobody turned on their television in 1988 and saw reports that American soldiers were being killed by Contras on a daily basis. Nobody ever accused Reagan of creating more communists with his shenanigans. Americans saw reasons to believe the Berlin Wall could come down without a shot being fired. They saw signs the Soviet Union was nearly over. The USSR pulled out of Afghanistan. The Iran-Iraq war even ended that year. Bush can fire everyone he ever hired, but the war Bush started in Iraq isn't ending any time soon. Neither is his war against fiscal sanity.

3. The Iran-Contra indictments also came down after Congress had issued its final report on the affair. We still have no idea what really happened in this CIA leak case. As the facts come out, the rationale for war will be rehashed endlessly. It does not look likely that many, if any, of the revelations we can expect will bolster the case for invading Iraq.

4. People in the Reagan administration were accused of subverting (a Democrat-controlled) Congress. There's no separation-of-powers/Commander in Chief philosophical argument to hash out here. Congress went along with this president on what is increasingly looking like a manipulation of intelligence. American citizens put their faith in George Bush.

5. Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Tom Noe, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed... Bush can't fire any of those guys.

6. Reagan beat his Democratic opponents by an absurd electoral margin of 1,014-62 (489-49 over Carter, 525-13 over Mondale). Bush wouldn't be president today if not for a 5-4 party-line Supreme Court decision in 2000 and a narrow victory in Ohio in 2004. This president just does not have the broad support Reagan had.

7. Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court. Bush nominated Harriet Miers. Whether he rallies his base with his next choice or looks for consensus, the charges of cronyism that have been resounding since Katrina, will not be quickly forgotten.

8. DB also deeply believes that the American people don't like seeing people destroyed for trying to engage in our important national debates. Freedom of speech and an honest discussion about the direction of the country are the foundations of a democracy. When people are smeared for speaking out on questions of life and death, it undermines the fabric of who we are. Reagan didn't win by silencing critics, he won by getting more people to buy what he was selling.

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