Bush Has 18 Months Left In The White House
Time Enough To Leave A Glorious Legacy
Does President Bush still have time enough to turn his presidency around? To save his legacy? To get Iraq right and to leave something else besides a shattered, near broke country in his wake?
Bush had big plans when he took control of the White House in late 2000. He said he would use a platform of "compassionate conservatism" to transform the country and to rein in government spending. Most of Bush's original agenda has fallen by the wayside. His supporters claim that the 9/11 attacks and the 'War on Terror' is to blame for much that he has failed to complete, but even the projects that got full funding and widespread support, like the education-based No Child Left Behind Act, has soaked up billions and produced few of the promised results.
In eighteen months, a new president, presumably Senator Hillary Clinton, will replace Bush in the Oval Office.
According to this story from CBS News, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Joel Kaplan, claims Bush still has a "very ambitious agenda" to pursue and complete before February, 2009 :
The president still hopes to enact legislation to reduce U.S. consumption of gasoline by 20 percent over 10 years and to make the cost of health insurance tax deductible up to a maximum of $15,000 a year.The Democrat-controlled Congress is sinking into a political insurgency against Bush Co. and clearly intend to pursue their agenda of probing investigations, senate hearings and possibly charges of perjury against key staffers all the way into the official start of the 2008 election campaign.
But this second term hasn't been kind to Mr. Bush. Despite the claims he made after his re-election that he has political capital to spend, his efforts to pass Social Security and immigration reform bills ended in failure.
Nor do his prospects for the remainder of his term in office look any more promising.
He has all but given up on reforming the U.S. tax code — which during his campaign for a second term, he called a "complicated mess."
The final year and a half of the Bush presidency also presents the prospect of more investigations by and subpoenas from the Democratic Congress. But the administration hopes it won't be hog-tied by them.
Says Kaplan: "It does require the Congress and the Democratic leadership to make a choice of whether they are interested in legislation or whether they're just interested in excessive oversight and fishing expeditions that are designed not to actually accomplish anything for the American people but rather to provide political and communications advantage in some way."
Kaplan has the right to hope, but it looks like the Bush White House is headed into a major showdown with Congress over the president's claims of executive privilege. The issue could end up in the Supreme Court
Further, the 2008 presidential campaign is well under way, and the president's approval ratings are in the cellar.
"I don’t think it will affect in any way what the president tries to pursue on behalf of the American people," says Kaplan. "We’re gonna keep coming to work every day, working on those issues and working with Congress."
And then there's the impeachment issue, which we'll get to in a future post.
Meanwhile, Frosty Wooldridge has some suggestions on how President Bush can best spend his time and the nation's tax dollars in the next 18 months :
Newsweek, in a recent poll, showed that 80 percent of Iraqi citizens want the U.S. military out of their country. Yet Bush overrules their demands with his comment, “Staying in Iraq is necessary work.”
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times said, “When Iraqis beg us to leave, and say we are making things worse--then it’s presumptuous to overrule their wishes and stay indefinitely.”
What if he changed course in the last 18 months of his incompetent presidency? What could he do to create a fantastic legacy?
First of all, each troop deployed in Iraq to stand around and get shot at by Iraqis themselves--costs U.S. taxpayers $390,000.00 a year according to the Congressional Research Service. In 2007, Iraq will cost us $135 billion. That amounts to a quarter of a million dollars per minute, every hour, every day, every week and every year over there.
Bush spends over $10 billion a month to kill and maim our troops in a country that doesn’t want them while we suffer 47 million Americans without health care, 14 million unemployed Americans, $700 billion annual trade deficits, horrific energy crisis and infrastructure failure of our inner cities, roads and bridges. We suffer more problems in this country than you can shake a stick at!
Meanwhile, what could Bush accomplish at home that would make him a hero by the time he thankfully bows out on January 20, 2009? What success might he enjoy if he pulled out of Iraq within three months?
- How about using that $135 billion for national health care for Americans that would cover them for the next 30 years?
- With the $789 billion allocated for the Iraq War, Bush could have created jobs for 14 million unemployed Americans in every sector.
- What about serving in excess of one million homeless in America with health care, housing and job training?
- How about bringing 13 million American children living below the poverty line into the American Dream by allowing their parents job training, housing and hope?
- How about our minority flunk out/drop out rate of 50 to 60 percent from high schools? Wouldn’t an infusion of jobs for their parents and themselves bring about human dignity for our less fortunate Americans?
- Any chance Bush might use those billions of freed-up dollars for research on alternative energy so we might leave the Middle East all together?
- How about all the good will he might engender around the world by stopping his war? World citizens loathe our occupation of Iraq.
- Is it possible he could secure America’s borders from the ‘real’ invasion of our country by millions of illegal migrants and terrorists setting up shop against our culture, language and communities?
- What if he advocated for America’s interests instead corporate elites, the ‘Military Industrial Complex’ and continued $700 billion annual trade deficits?
- Wouldn’t he become a hero if he stopped offshoring, outsourcing and insourcing jobs away from American citizens?
- Can you imagine the tremendous benefits of billions of dollars injected into American school systems to educate and impassion our youth toward productive lives?
- What kind of a hero would Bush become to every mother whose kids suffer addiction to the $130 billion of drugs crossing from Mexico into our communities annually? What if he stopped that national nightmare by placing our troops on our borders to stop drugs? What a concept!
- How about using that money for our pot-holed roads, city slums, dilapidated bridges and our citizens?
- How about a major effort to mitigate climate change? How a national 10 cent deposit/recycle law on every bottle, can and plastic container so we might move toward 100 percent recycling?
- Stop adding to the $8.6 trillion debt. Begin paying it down!
- How about Bush upholding his oath of office by enforcing our immigration laws to repatriate 20 million illegal aliens? What a concept! What a boost to law and order! He would become a national hero like Eisenhower.