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Six Years later – A Failed Presidency
President Bush came into office with great promise, and the reality has been one failure after another, and this is coming from a writer who was a conservative Republican before the President knew what the term meant. Let’s use former President Ronald Reagan’s requirements for a successful Presidency. Do you remember the last debate between then President Jimmy Carter and candidate Reagan? The former Republican Governor of California asked the American people in closing if they thought they were better off today in 1980, than they were when President Carter took office four years earlier in January of 1977. The following Tuesday, the American people threw the failed President from Georgia out of office in a landslide.
Here we are now six years into another Presidency, and the only thing that I believe has been successful about this Presidency is the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is somewhat above the same level it was in 2000 when this President was elected. Let’s look at a few of the big issues this President has faced and to which he has reacted poorly in resolving.
1) The tragedy of 9/11 – Six years later, Osama Bin Laden the direct murderer of almost 3000 Americans remains FREE, and unencumbered by the United States military. Do we still have military units assigned to hunting him down? There is not a word in the press about it if we do.
2) Making America SAFER in response to terrorism – Do you really believe we are safer? I for one believe that no American passenger airplane will ever be taken hostage again by terrorists. I believe this only because of the American passengers on board who will react immediately to a hostage situation, not because of the marshal program but because Americans still remember how to defend themselves, and they will. As for planes crashing into buildings, do you really think all those FED EX, UPS, and US Postal Service planes are secure? Do you think private corporate aircraft are secure? What about the tens of thousands of private airplanes in America?
Recently a private airplane in NY flew up the East River, made a U-Turn and crashed into an apartment building on the East Side of Manhattan. Nobody realized what was going on until the crash occurred. As a result the government has not banned flights up the East River. It’s kind of late, don’t you think?
3) The Docks are not safe – How difficult would it be for a terrorist group to sneak a low yield nuclear weapon into this country aboard one of the tens of thousands of merchant transport ships that bring cargo into this country each year? Only a small percentage of the cargo is inspected.
4) Subway and Bus System still completely exposed – The terrorist acts in Madrid and London in the last several years exposed flaws in our own public transportation systems that have not been addressed. Do you really think that terrorists carrying backpacks with explosives in them would have any problem getting on a NYC bus or subway car, and committing their insane acts?
5) Hurricane Katrina – This terrible tragedy exposed government ineptness, and lack of responsiveness. There were bodies of American citizens floating down the Mississippi River in the streets of New Orleans, and this is the 21st century. FEMA which is the Federal Emergency Management Association proved to be completely incapable of handling, or even helping in this crisis. Do you really believe that these inadequacies have been addressed? If chemical or biological warfare were used against the United States by terrorists, do you think that we would have anything approaching an adequate response to such an attack? I don’t believe it.
6) Initial Iraq decision making process – You have got to be kidding us, Mr. President. We know in retrospect that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein posed no direct threat to America. In other words, he was not going to attack us. The basis for the war was in error, and I personally supported it. We have wasted 3000 American lives during the invasion, and 3000 subsequent to the invasion in ERROR, plus 30,000 men who have been injured including terrible losses of their limbs.
7) Post Invasion decision making - Wow, could it really have been worse? Could the people reporting to the President have done a poorer job in post war Iraq, if they had wanted to? We had the unnecessary disbanding of the Iraqi army, to the throwing out of the Sunni civil servants that knew how to run the day to day government operations. We then installed the Shia civil servants who had not run the government in several hundred years. The whole thing was a series of colossal, could have been ANTICIPATED mistakes. Our window of opportunity to do the right thing has now passed. The American electorate has lost its patience with this President, and this war. Our options are running out, and there is no good ending in site for us.
8) Largest deficits in American history – You have got to be kidding when this man calls himself a conservative President. There is nothing conservative whatsoever about his spending policies. He has systematically outspent every one of his predecessors in history to the tune of trillions of dollars. He has not vetoed one Congressional spending act – first time in history. His prescription drug bill for seniors is costing almost billion dollars per year more than it should because he included overpayments to drug companies, and created unnecessary giveaways to insurance companies to act as intermediaries in the program. Who would have believed that a Republican President would do such a thing?
9) Tax policies that don’t make sense – I believe in the lowest rate of taxation possible. I do not believe that you cut taxes for the rich in a time of deficit, borrow the money from Japan, China, and Europe to fund the deficits, and then send tax refund checks to the richest 2 percent of the population with the borrowed funds. Furthermore, I do not believe that the very rich in our society believe you should do this either. Yet, that’s what the President has done, an act of fiscal irresponsibility at best, and insanity at worst.
You figure it out for yourself. Look at the above and it equals a failed Presidency. All of this from a man who has never once consulted his father as to what he should do about Iraq. Both men have stated that they have not talked about it. This is a President that still can’t talk about issues, or give even a minor speech without READING the entire prewritten document. He is that uncomfortable in his own skin. How will we survive another two years of this kind of leadership?
About the Author: Richard Stoyeck’s background includes being a limited partner at Bear Stearns, Senior VP at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb, Arthur Andersen, and KPMG. Educated at Pace University, NYU, and Harvard University, today he runs Rockefeller Capital Partners and StocksAtBottom.com