Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Bush Presidency as Tragedy

In a blog entry commenting on Bush's campaign ads, Mark Schmitt concludes with a nice overview of the Bush presidency.
"[Bush] didn't have to cast political arguments into grand battles between the forces of light and the forces of dark. He didn't have to stake everything on radical tax shifting and foreign policy insanity. The central argument of E. J. Dionne's superb new book, Stand Up, Fight Back, (although I have also heard it referred to as 'E.J. Unleashed) is that Bush had two chances to govern in a way that would have unified the electorate and assured him support, if begrudging, across a broad swathe of the electorate -- after the Supreme Court made him president and after Sept. 11 -- and both he aggressively rejected. I think that's it in a nutshell, and probably how history will see this second one-term Bush presidency.

... [W]hen you stake your supporters to the cause of stopping gay marriage, when you stake the economy to a gamble on surviving massive deficits, when you stake your reputation as an international leader on a 'you break it, you own it' invasion of a country, thoroughly unprepared for either the predicted or unpredictable consequences, you just have to hope that all those dice roll in your favor. If they do, you win 'big time.' If not, you lose. Bush has no option in his reelection message but to try to reinforce and justify the choice he's made to go [to] extremes. ... "

1 comment:

Ben said...

And that's the frustrating thing. Usually it is out of these kinds of events that a leader has a chance to be great, and Bush chose to go the opposite route.

It was frustrating to watch, the Democrats assuming the best, just letting it happen, trusting him. Everyone seemed to trust him. I think before Howard Dean came along, I was about ready to put my head through a wall.

Another President, in Bush's situation, he could have been great. I'm not saying Gore would have been, who knows, but the opportunity was there.