Middle East Irony
A Report Card for George Bush
Because no president should be left behind: The coyotes hate the partisanship that sees George Bush as either a saint or a demon. Like all presidents, he has his good points and his bad, his successes and his failures. Nor are the coyotes too keen on those silly report cards that show up in sports pages, but they do demonstrate that the writers can think critically, something you can't say about most partisans. Anyway, herewith is George Bush's report card, right before his State of the Union, not intended to be taken too seriously.
- Leadership (B-): Give the guy his due. This Prez no poll-watching panderer. He's got a vision of a different Middle East and an "Ownership Society" at home. And people who don't agree with him can just go and get their own Supreme Court. The coyotes would rate him higher if he were better at selling his vision or even if he could string a sentence together and sound like he meant it.
- Foreign Policy (C): The coyotes rated President Bush highly for the way he worked with Ariel Sharon to isolate Arafat, who should have been isolated years ago, and for the way they seem to be handling North Korea. They rated him down for seemingly trying to piss off everybody else on the planet. Curiously, he seems to be doing a little better with Condoleeza Rice rather than Colin Powell as Secretary of State. At the moment, we seem to be clueless about how to handle Iran.
- National Defense (B): The coyotes like the way Donald Rumsfeld is trying to reform the military. It needed doing, and he did a masterful job of winning the initial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Iraq (I): The coyotes are calling this an incomplete. President Bush could be seen as a hero in the end or an idiot. At the moment, the U.S. military is acquitting itself well. And the administration deserves kudos for helping shepherd the Iraqis to some kind of representative government. Obviously, security is stinky and the coyotes doubt much could have been diferently to change the results. The administration gets bad marks though for much of reconstruction. Establishment of a banking system and a monetary policy was a success. But the administration has done poorly at establishing much of the rest of the infrastructure, thanks in part to a focus on bringing in American consultants to work on giant western-style projects, which are impossible for Iraqis to run and vulnerable to attack (but lucrative to the contractors.) Still, the whole mess could be a success.
- Homeland Security (C): Okay, we marked the President up for the absence of a large-scale terrorist attack on the homeland. You never know, but the administration is doing something right, even if airport security seems a little off the mark. And we marked him down for the hurricane fiasco. The failure wasn't all the administrations doing, but the Fema failure (for which Congress bears some blame) was deep and terrifying.
- The Economy (B+): The economic numbers are excellent, even though the benefits are leaving people feeling less than exhilarated. They say Presidents don't really control the economy, but President Bush did push through tax cuts, some of which surely had an impact.
- The Budget (F): Nothing good to be said. The tax cuts actually increased revenue, we're told, but spending increases ate away the surplus. His support of another entitlement program for seniors, while he was lobbying to fix Social Security, was truly senseless. You expect more from an MBA. Or maybe this is exactly what you expect from them.
- Domestic Policy (D): The coyotes give the President credit for addressing the Social Security problem, though the way he did it was illogical. And then there was the Drug program, which exacerbates the debt. And he is not addressing the two reasons why people are feeling out of sorts in the midst of a good economy, rising health care/insurance costs and the rapid disappearance of pensions.
- Energy Policy (D+): If it weren't for the tax credits on some alternative fuel installations, the President would have failed. The coyotes don't mind his support of drilling in Anwar--Democrats should trade that for a more aggressive energy policy emphasizing production, conservation, use of alternative (self-sustaining) energy, a solution to the nuclear waste problem (so that nuclear energy becomes more viable), and so on. In this world, we need become more independent of loss of oil and other energy resources around the world. He ain't doing it. He's supposed to know something about energy. Doesn't appear to be so.
- The Courts (B-): What was up with the Harriet thing? Other than that, the coyotes are not especially bothered by the Roberts and Alito nomination. Democrats need to focus on getting their views across to the electorate instead of relying on the courts to install by fiat what they can't sell.