pageok
pageok
pageok
VC Poll on President Bush:
In light of my post below about President Bush's approval rating, here's a question: What do you think about President Bush's performance as President? Here's a completely, entirely, 100% unscientific poll for you to take:

Free polls from Pollhost.com
Do you approve of President Bush's performance as President?
Yes, I approve. No, I don't approve. I'm undecided.    

dearieme:
Nor Slick Willie neither.
7.10.2007 6:35pm
NYU 3L:
Would you add a follow-up question? Namely:

"If you don't approve of President Bush's performance, would you like to see him act:

* more conservatively

* more liberally

* more competently

* other

And that should allow for multiple choices (i.e., I'd choose "more conservatively" and "more competently").

The reason: I'm getting tired of Bush approval polls being claimed to show that Bush is too conservative for America. For many moderates and right-wingers, the problem is Bush's competence, not his ideology (and for some right wingers, his ideology as well).
7.10.2007 6:40pm
MikeC&F (mail):
That question is framed improperly. It should read: "Do you support our Commander-in-Chief during this time of War?"
7.10.2007 6:41pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
The question's a bit open-ended. Approve of him on which issue? Iraq? Afghanistan? Other foreign policies? Immigration? Economics? Law enforcement? Handling Congress?
7.10.2007 6:42pm
J.N. (mail):
The question should read "Do you support our President or the terrorists?"
7.10.2007 6:43pm
Crunchy Frog:
I hate these kinds of polls. Approve with respect to what? The war on terror? Yes, although I wish he was more articulate in his reasons. "Comprehensive" immigration reform? Violently disapprove. Judges? Yes, not counting the debacle that was Harriet Miers.

Would I vote for him again in the Republican primary? Not a chance. Would I vote for him again in the general election? Hell yes, as there is not a single democratic candidate that I could hold my nose and vote for. Who knows, maybe I'd just go to a movie that night instead.
7.10.2007 6:44pm
Allan (mail):
NYU 3L,

I would concur, on one condition. Could you tell me what Bush's ideology is? Certainly, he is no liberal. He is no conservative. No way he could be a libertarian.

The way I see it, Bush takes the worst from all ideologies.

For one, I wish he would choose on ideology and stick with it. It would make for much better government.
7.10.2007 6:46pm
OrinKerr:
Sean O'Hara,

I realize the question isn't nuanced, but I still think it's pretty informative as a gauge of reader opinion.
7.10.2007 6:47pm
Bah (mail):
"It should read: 'Do you support our Commander-in-Chief during this time of War?'"

With all due respect, the President is not our "Commander-in-Chief." He is only the Commander of the military. If you're not an active member of the military (as most of the American population is not), then he is only the President.

Remember, we are governed by civilians, not military leaders.

Whether liberal or conservative, I think that most reasonable people agree that this President is not very competent.
7.10.2007 6:49pm
ras (mail):

On Saddam, democracy, Roberts &Alito, tax cuts: yes, I approve.

On spending, NCLB, immigration: no, I disapprove.

On his generally mediocre management skills: same 'ol, same 'ol. Pols are almost always terrible managers. They never seem to know when to step in and when to step out, what they can control and what they can't.

Philosophically, Bush has as much in common with the Dems as with the Republicans and often moreso: see spending, immigration and NCLB as cited above for examples. His is an unusual combination of positions, but one in which he has been consistent over the years (sometimes maddeningly so), both for better and for worse.
7.10.2007 6:51pm
Salixquercus (mail):
Could you add a secondary interrogatory where those who answer "yes, I approve" are asked their highest grade completed? Thanks.
7.10.2007 6:52pm
Redman:
This really doesn't mean much w/o identifying according to party or ideology.
7.10.2007 6:55pm
PEG (mail) (www):
Disapprove. You can count the issues on which he's done well on one hand: Supreme Court appointments, trade, AIDS in Africa, No Child Left Behind... And even then, 1- there are things left to be desired about all those things 2- they are not major, especially compared with his largest screwups (except for the SCOTUS appointments).
7.10.2007 6:56pm
PEG (mail) (www):
And, to commenters criticizing the poll: I think the whole *point* is for it to be unspecific, inaccurate and, well, a little silly.

We all have different opinions about George W. Bush and no poll, no matter how fine-tuned, will allow us to air them accurately.
7.10.2007 7:02pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
The poll's a fun idea; I hope there's some way to exclude multiple votes from the same IP address.
7.10.2007 7:10pm
wooga:
The closest ideology to link with Bush is the "neocon" philosophy (under the real definition of that word as explained by Kristol, not the DailyKos 'frame' of it).

If someone is actually a neocon , they are probably more approving of Bush, even though they wish he were 'more articulate and commanding'. Libertarians, paleocons, populists, federalists, etc., are all going to disapprove of Bush, on general domestic policy and performance, on the right.
7.10.2007 7:12pm
Jim Hu:
How about:

Approve
Disapprove
Undecided
Not happy but the alternatives still look worse to me
7.10.2007 7:14pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
wow... on a conservative blog, Bush gets (so far) a 79% disapproval rating.

The poll would be more interesting if we had "strongly" options... but the fact that the audience of a conservative blog is unsatisfied with Bush appears to be primarily a comment on Bush's overwhelming venality and incompetence, rather than his failure to hew to any ideological line.
7.10.2007 7:14pm
wooga:
I'm a federalist hawk, and I disapprove of Bush, "as a whole."
7.10.2007 7:14pm
OrinKerr:
Anderson,

It doesn't allow multiple votes from the same source, but I don't know if it uses cookies or addresses. Of interest: I've been checking in periodically since I posted it, and the percentages are remarkably constant so far: 17% approve, 78% disapprove, 5% no op.
7.10.2007 7:16pm
xx (mail):
The poll is exactly as nuanced as voting for president. I don't recall getting to vote for Bush's economic policy and against his social policy.
7.10.2007 7:25pm
Taeyoung (mail):
I'm getting tired of Bush approval polls being claimed to show that Bush is too conservative for America. For many moderates and right-wingers, the problem is Bush's competence, not his ideology (and for some right wingers, his ideology as well).

I think, especially right now that for many right-wingers/conservatives/Republicans, the ideology is actually the biggest issue. Bush burned a lot of bridges for his immigration bill. My understanding of the poll numbers is that it may even have hurt him more among independents than dedicated Republicans, if that were possible. I suspect a lot of the votes for Bush, at this point, are simply "for" him because, as you say, a vote against him will be seen as a vote against conservatism.
7.10.2007 7:25pm
Steve P. (mail):
Anderson, Prof. Kerr — I did some 'research' and no, it restricts multiple votes based on IP address (not cookies). While enterprising people can still find a way to vote multiple times, I doubt there's a Conspiracist who is willing to put their botnet up to the challenge.
7.10.2007 7:31pm
NRWO:
I voted "No, I don't approve." But my vote doesn't capture the intensity of my disapproval. Multiple votes seem reasonable, even necessary. With this in mind, I have a few comments:

1. If the polling software uses cookies, then delete your cookies and revote.

2. If it uses IP addresses, and you have a dynamic IP address, you should be able to logoff and on again, and revote, right?

3. It should be possible to create a script to run-up the vote totals.
7.10.2007 7:31pm
MikeC&F (mail):
The question should read "Do you support our President or the terrorists?"

This is a good point. I am distraught that Orin, usually the most balanced legal thinker who blogs, didn't frame the question this way. Based on the way he phrased it, people are being tricked into disapproving of our Commander-in-Chef.

Another fair way to frame the question: "Do you support our Commander-in-Chief, or are you a traitor?" Or: "Do you love your country?" After all, the United States is a metonym for President Bush.

With all due respect, the President is not our "Commander-in-Chief." He is only the Commander of the military.

The War on Terror is an unconventional war that is taking place on American soil. We are all soldiers. See, also, the Second Amendment. We are all part of the militia. George W. Bush is our Commander-in-Chief. At least he is mine. But I love my country.
7.10.2007 7:33pm
JBL:

With a 52% disapproval rating, I may well be inclined to examine the ground and see exactly what I could be doing better. I'd take it as an indication that I may be able to find areas for marginal improvement without altering my fundamental positions. With 78% disapproval, I'd be less inclined to bother.
7.10.2007 7:35pm
Lonely Capitalist (mail):
paul lukasiak: wow... on a conservative blog, Bush gets (so far) a 79% disapproval rating.

When did this become a conservative blog? I thought it was a libertarian blog. Libertarians would be expected to disapprove of much of what Bush does. But of course would disapprove even more to any of the Democratic possibilities.
7.10.2007 7:37pm
Jim Hu:
so, Orin...
If I preferred my choice #4 above (Not happy but the alternatives still look worse to me) how should I shoehorn that into your choices. I haven't voted in your poll yet, since I have not decided which alternative is closest.
7.10.2007 7:37pm
MikeC&F (mail):
The poll is exactly as nuanced as voting for president. I don't recall getting to vote for Bush's economic policy and against his social policy.

Best comment yet. These types of approval polls don't ask about your views on issues. They ask about your views on a man.

People are generally rational enough to not disapprove of a person because of one policy decision. There are exceptions, of course; but even most ardent conservatives have some forgiveness for a pro-choice candidate who is "right" on most other issues.

Bush is so reviled because of a series of really bad policy decisions. He managed to alienate liberals a long time ago. (My sarcastic comments, above, were not far off from what Bush was saying about liberals just a few years ago.) He has finally managed to alienate conservatives, as well.

It's pretty amazing.
7.10.2007 7:38pm
scote (mail):


With all due respect, the President is not our "Commander-in-Chief." He is only the Commander of the military.


The War on Terror is an unconventional war that is taking place on American soil. We are all soldiers. See, also, the Second Amendment. We are all part of the militia. George W. Bush is our Commander-in-Chief. At least he is mine. But I love my country.

No. No. No. We are not all soldiers. What you are claiming is that we now live in a military dictatorship. We do not. And the militia was never made up of all citizens. He is President, not El Presidente.

Bush hasn't even asked citizens to make any sacrifices in this alleged "time of war." Not even reducing our dependence on foreign oil by driving 55 or increasing the CAFE standards--not even painless stuff. No drafts, no victory gardens, no recycling, no rationing, no nothing. Bush doesn't want citizens paying the price for the war except on credit which some other administration will have to actually pay for.

Bush is the worst tax and spend "conservative" ever.
7.10.2007 7:43pm
Kieran (mail) (www):
Why does scote hate America?
7.10.2007 7:49pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Would I vote for him again in the Republican primary? Not a chance. Would I vote for him again in the general election? Hell yes, as there is not a single democratic candidate that I could hold my nose and vote for. Who knows, maybe I'd just go to a movie that night instead.


Good point, the Schadenfreude from some quarters over the POTUS' low poll numbers is accompanied by an even lower public regard for the Democrat-controlled Congress. Sort of like how in 2000 and 2004 we were told how beatable Bush was as he proceeded to beat both Gore and Kerry.

I'd probably be someone who would say he "disapproves" of the POTUS' job performance because I'm upset over spending and the growth of government and the failure to enact Social Security and health care reform but that doesn't mean I'd be willing to support any of the Democrat alternatives any of whom is demonstrably worse on those issues. Add to that the fact that we're at war and the Democrat Party is pretty much rooting for the other side and but for the 22nd Amendment, if the election were held today I'd give Bush a third term.
7.10.2007 7:49pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
I was going to say disapprove, but I am happy with how his judicial appointments worked out.
7.10.2007 7:52pm
Steve P. (mail):
and the Democrat Party is pretty much rooting for the other side

Totally awesome. Don't ever leave us, Thorley.
7.10.2007 7:52pm
ras (mail):
The poll is exactly as nuanced as voting for president.

It most certainly is not: In the election, you are asked to rate Bush vs another candidate a.o.t. rating him vs a theoretical ideal.
7.10.2007 7:55pm
paul lukasiak (mail):

Good point, the Schadenfreude from some quarters over the POTUS' low poll numbers is accompanied by an even lower public regard for the Democrat-controlled Congress. Sort of like how in 2000 and 2004 we were told how beatable Bush was as he proceeded to beat both Gore and Kerry.


don't get too cocky.... the reason that Congress' numbers are so low is Congress's inability to put Bush on a leash. The Dems really blew it when they folded on Iraq this spring -- if they'd stood firm, their numbers would be much higher.
7.10.2007 7:55pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
don't get too cocky.... the reason that Congress' numbers are so low is Congress's inability to put Bush on a leash. The Dems really blew it when they folded on Iraq this spring -- if they'd stood firm, their numbers would be much higher.


Yes just ask Senator Lamont.
7.10.2007 7:59pm
byomtov (mail):
Add to that the fact that we're at war and the Democrat Party is pretty much rooting for the other side

Weren't some people around here claiming not long ago that conservatives don't say nasty things about their opponents and challenging me, among others to produce examples.

I'd say calling most or all Democrats traitors is about as nasty as it gets. Does this meet VC "civility" standards? Haven't commenters been barred for much lesser insults?
7.10.2007 8:02pm
John P. Lawyer (mail):
More polls:
66 percent: The percentage of Americans who believe President Bush should not have commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence, according to a new Gallup poll.
(link: http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=28090)
7.10.2007 8:07pm
A.S.:
In the election, you are asked to rate Bush vs another candidate a.o.t. rating him vs a theoretical ideal.

Yes, a good alternative poll would be: "if you had to vote today, would you vote for Bush or Kerry?" I'd be interested to see the extent to which the results of that poll among VC readers varies from the poll that Orin posted.
7.10.2007 8:08pm
ATRGeek:
Given that I am a private sphere progressive and public sphere mild libertarian, it is no surprise I am not a big fan of Bush's policies. All that is compounded by the fact that I like my governments to be minimally competent and law-abiding.

By the way, it may be true that someone like Gore would have pushed worse policies (although I have my doubts). But I am quite confident that the Republicans in Congress would have provided a meaningful check to this hypothetical President Gore. That, of course, is one the many problems with partisanship: partisans tend to overlook the importance of meaningful checks and balances.
7.10.2007 8:08pm
OrinKerr:
FWIW, I thought this poll was pretty cool, and I'll probably do so more of them over the next few days. (Not so many to be annoying, just a few to get a sense of who the readership is, etc.)
7.10.2007 8:09pm
whackjobbbb:
Well, I have to say I'm part of the 6% undecided about Bush. He's done plenty wrong, but his electoral opponents, in general terms, agreed with most of what he's done wrong (spending, Iraq invasion, "comprehensive immigration reform", etc.).

So there's not much to distinguish him from them it appears (and I don't necessarily agree there's a distinction on judges, although you lawyers may disagree here, perhaps with merit, but I don't think any Ginsburgs would get through that Senate, even now). And yes, his campaign opponents would also be attempting to build a massive Wisconsin-legislature-style leviathan federal government in the Green Zone in Iraq, same as he is, so there's no difference there either (heck, Biden was cheerleading for this nonsense from the jump, no matter his blather nowadays).

This does appear to be more libertarian a site, so I'm not at all surprised Bush's approval rating would be so low here. I'd be over there too, if you didn't leave me the undecided route to express my equal dissatisfaction with his opponents.
7.10.2007 8:16pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
Yes just ask Senator Lamont.

I would...but the GOP abandoned its own candidate in favor of Lieberman -- and Lamont did not really have the kind of infrastructure support for the Democratic party that most of its nominees in Connecticut enjoy. (I can't find any current approval rating numbers for Lieberman, but I'm confident, given the fact that he lied to Connecticut voters about what he would do vis a vis Iraq, there is a LOT of buyers remorse.)
7.10.2007 8:20pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
FWIW, I thought this poll was pretty cool, and I'll probably do so more of them over the next few days. (Not so many to be annoying, just a few to get a sense of who the readership is, etc.)


If you do decide to create future polls, might I suggest using some of the comments above about asking more specific questions about whether you approve or disapprove with Bush's handling of a particular issue or having readers choose between two or more options (Bush versus Kerry or between some of the likely presidential candidates).
7.10.2007 8:20pm
Kazinski:
I judge a man by his enemies. I'd be inclined to disapprove of Bush on spending, immigration, and big government, but his enemies spend so much time talking about the things I like about his policies such as tax cuts, Roberts and Alito, the GWOT, his intransigence on global warming, that I am unable to concentrate sufficently on his real failings.
7.10.2007 8:25pm
Justin (mail):
The idea that the Democrats "agreed" with the Iraq invasion is wrong. Yes, they were too cowardly to admit that they disagreed, but does anyone here honestly believe that any of the Democratic candidates for President (either this year, or sans Lieberman, in '04 or '00) would have sent an Iraq AUMF to Congress?
7.10.2007 8:27pm
Laura S. (www):
I think its pretty clear the answer to the question should be "No". But what does this mean? Is this really license for the Democrats to cream the administration in hearings and policy?

Take Iraq: I'm upset with the state of affairs but I find it difficult to articulate a solution that would deserve my approval even if it didn't work.

Its like when Kerry and Bush started fighting over whether two-party talks or six-party talks were the right strategy for North Korea. Seriously what a crazy distinction to put before the voters; as if I (or most people) had a real clue as to which approach might be more likely to work.

Its easy (and obvious) to disapprove of failure. But so what? All that tells is that Iraq and North Korea are still policy failures. That's what counts.

I'd be interested in seeing a poll asking what people expect will be the consequence of withdrawing from Iraq would be.
7.10.2007 8:27pm
whackjobbbb:
Well let me help you concentrate, Kaz. Bush is in love with this global warming scam. He's all about the carbon crusade. That swing you any?
7.10.2007 8:28pm
JB:
I was a liberal in 2000, ambivalent in 2004, and libertarian in 2006. Never has Bush been closer to my ideology than his opponents. (Any points he gets for the tax cut are lost by his gross mishandling of foreign policy--cutting taxes isn't fiscally responsible when accompanied by bottomless-purse spending abroad. Plus, tax cuts are easier to obtain than government intrusion cuts. Tax rates will rise and fall ten times before we get back the freedoms we've lost under the Patriot Act).
7.10.2007 8:32pm
MikeC&F (mail):
and the Democrat Party is pretty much rooting for the other side

If the War in Iraq goes badly, Democrats gain an advantage. QED, Democrats want the bad guys to win.

Before 9/11, Bush was viewed as a total joke and had low approval. After 9/11, he had great support and almost unanimous approval. QED, Bush was responsible for 9/11.

Gotta love "Thorleyian logic."
7.10.2007 8:36pm
jim:
Weren't some people around here claiming not long ago that conservatives don't say nasty things about their opponents

Well, no true conservative....
7.10.2007 8:37pm
A.S.:
Like Orin, I also thought the poll was pretty interesting. It certainly confirmed my previous suspicion that the commenters on VC are signficantly more anti-Bush than the public at large.
7.10.2007 8:38pm
whackjobbbb:

The idea that the Democrats "agreed" with the Iraq invasion is wrong.


It most certainly is not wrong. That resolution authorized an invasion of Iraq if Sadaam did not comply with its terms. And nearly 1/2 the Democrat political sect voted for it. Some tried to include other triggers to slow down the process somehow, including UN involvement, but they were unsuccessful, and nearly 1/2 of the sect STILL voted for it.

Own this, lefties. Own this AND the Green Zone, which you and Bush are both in lust with.
7.10.2007 8:40pm
MikeC&F (mail):
Roberts and Alito

If Bush had had his way, it would be "Roberts and Miers." Actually, it would have been "Gonzales and Miers." That's who, in Bush's judgment, belonged on the Supreme Court. Thankfully, he was steered away from that. But given that that is how Bush thinks, how can anyone take the man seriously?
7.10.2007 8:41pm
chrismn (mail):
One thing to note is that after the 2004 election, I don't think Bush's number was ever over 50%. Basically, at that point, it was approval by the 52% who voted for him, disapproval by the other 48%. So the drop in poll numbers is basically due to him being abandoned by Republicans. As one myself, I can see why.
7.10.2007 8:42pm
paul lukasiak (mail):

Its like when Kerry and Bush started fighting over whether two-party talks or six-party talks were the right strategy for North Korea. Seriously what a crazy distinction to put before the voters; as if I (or most people) had a real clue as to which approach might be more likely to work.


if your eyes glazed over, then the media wasn't doing its job, because the debate was really a fundamental question regarding approaches to US foreign policy (do we talk directly to regimes we disapprove of or don't we?) that is central to the crisis in Iraq. Personally, I'm of the opinion that not talking to nations who have legitimate interests in what happens in neighboring nations is foolhardy --- it doesn't matter what we think of Iran or Syria, the simple fact remains that as Iraq's neighbors, they have a legitimate interest in the outcome in Iraq, and acting as if they were pariahs is counter-productive to US interests.
7.10.2007 8:42pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
>We are all part of the militia. George W. Bush is our
>Commander-in-Chief. At least he is mine. But I love my
>country.

From what I understand, the unorganized militia doesn't have a chain of command. You do not have a commander until you get drafted from the unorganized militia into a posse comitatus (in which case your commander is your local Sheriff) or an organized militia (in which case your commander is either the Governor or the President depending on whether it's a state or federal militia).
7.10.2007 8:43pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
I think he got it right on the vast majority of the "major" issues he faced: economic and military response to 9/11 (accelerated tax cuts and overthrow the Taliban); Iraq (based on what the Intelligence Community was reporting); two of the three nominations he made for the SCOTUS; social security; and immigration. He also (again based on what he knew at the time) did well in 2001 with his his Cabinet nominees--I seem to recall his choices of Rumsfeld and Powell being applauded (hell, even I looked forward to working for Rumsfeld in OSD--until he had been there for two months). I am not impressed by 20/20 hindsight.
I despise his unwillingness to fight the Republican Congress on spending and his stubborn loyalty to proven incompetents--Franks, Rumsfeld, Myers, Pace, Tenet, Wolfowitz, Feith in my sphere alone--but those flaws do not--to me--overwhelm the correct big decisions he made.
7.10.2007 8:48pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
Oh, and maybe you remember what he was being castigated about four years ago? You know, the sorry economy and all the lost jobs that would never be replaced and the ever increasing budget deficit?
Maybe a little perspective is needed about his poll numbers today.
7.10.2007 8:51pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
NRWO, don't cheat -- accurate results are interesting, and bogus ones aren't.

One would expect the VC audience to be more anti-Bush, since we're presumably better informed about the 6-year train wreck than people getting their news from TV, say.
7.10.2007 8:57pm
JosephSlater (mail):
This really is unscientific (albeit a fun way to talk about why Bush is so unpopular).

But I'm interested in the fact that there have been almost 900 votes in the three hours this poll has had almost 900 responses -- and this during dinner time in the eastern time zone. Do that many people really lurk on this blog?
7.10.2007 9:03pm
MikeC&F (mail):
No. No. No. We are not all soldiers.

From what I understand, the unorganized militia doesn't have a chain of command.

It is a sad reflection of the current political climate that more than one person did not get that I was being sarcastic. I wasn't even trying to be subtle or dry. I put my comments so far out there that I thought everyone would see the sarcasm. Yet many did not.

This tells me all I need to know about what Bush and his ilk have done to my country. (And about that, alas, I am not being sarcastic at all.)
7.10.2007 9:05pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Good lord, that was a badly worded, redundant sentence. "Almost 900 votes in the three hours this poll has been up."

Preview is my friend. Preview is my friend.
7.10.2007 9:06pm
MikeC&F (mail):
But I'm interested in the fact that there have been almost 900 votes in the three hours this poll has had almost 900 responses -- and this during dinner time in the eastern time zone. Do that many people really lurk on this blog?

According to their sitemeter, they had 1,000 visitors in the past hour:
http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s13volokh

Granted, some of those are people who find the site via random Google searches. But I'm not surprised at all that they had 900 votes in a three-hour period.
7.10.2007 9:10pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Its like when Kerry and Bush started fighting over whether two-party talks or six-party talks were the right strategy for North Korea. Seriously what a crazy distinction to put before the voters; as if I (or most people) had a real clue as to which approach might be more likely to work.


To a certain extent I have to agree that a lot of people probably didn't "get" what the big difference was. To me it boiled down to (1) we tried two-party talks before in the 1990's and they broke the deal that came out of those talks, (2) the North Koreans wanted to do two-party talks again which would be rewarding them for their deal-breaking and (3) going to 6-party talks meant that we could get Japan and China to exert pressure on the rogue nation in their back-yard as whatever North Korea did would be more likely to affect them than us but (4) it also meant giving up some control to those countries (e.g. if China wanted to derail the six-party talks or use them to try to extort concessions from the United States on other matters they could). Ultimately I thought the benefits of (3) outweighed the costs of (4) because China's self-interest would be balanced by Japan's particularly if Japan threatened to use a nuclear North Korea as an excuse to rearm.
7.10.2007 9:33pm
Laura S. (www):

if your eyes glazed over, then the media wasn't doing its job, because the debate was really a fundamental question regarding approaches to US foreign policy (do we talk directly to regimes we disapprove of or don't we?) that is central to the crisis in Iraq.


Wohoa. Its by no means obvious that the two polices breakdown into that categorization. Unlike Iran we were engaged with North Korea. The question was whether or not to make a firm stand against bilateral deals. The fear underlying the six-party approach was that of triangulation and the unwillingness of the community to enforce such a deal and the risk that the US would be saddled with certain costs alone.

I reiterate that evaluating that level of nuance exceeds my expertise.

Your framing of the question removes all the subtly from the issue and reflects the politicization of the topic. i.e., rebrand the issue into a principle people will be energized about, never minding the distortion of doing so. IMO, don't talk to "evil" is stupid as a principle in and of itself, but it's a different question.
7.10.2007 9:34pm
scote (mail):

It is a sad reflection of the current political climate that more than one person did not get that I was being sarcastic. I wasn't even trying to be subtle or dry. I put my comments so far out there that I thought everyone would see the sarcasm. Yet many did not.

Sigh...I did consider the possibility that you were being sarcastic. I even took a second look before responding. I suppose that is just one of many problems with an administration and supporters who are so outrageous as to be parody-proof.
7.10.2007 9:54pm
Hattio (mail):
Thorley,
You claim that by engaging in only 6 party talks we were giving more power to other countries like Japan and China. Strange then that of the 6 parties, 5 of them supported 2 party talks...that's right, everyone but us. And the previous negotiations were not solely 2 party talks. They were a mix of 2 party and 6 party talks. Which was exactly what North Korea wanted...and China, and Japan, and South Korea, and Russia and Taiwan.
And while we stood on principle? North Korea gained 8 working nuclear weapons.
7.10.2007 9:57pm
Reg (mail):
The thing about Bush is that he's always done exactly what he said he would do. I disagree a lot (NLRB, immigration, McCain Feingold), but I appreciate this about him.

He's a Republican party guy, not a conservative or a libertarian. I'd prefer somebody more ideological, perhaps he would be able to more ably defend his administration. This is really the biggest problems he has: he doesn't know how to defend himself when his Texas cronies get him in trouble. They have no finesse with anything. They make Clinton's Arkansas cronies look good in comparison.
7.10.2007 10:03pm
whackjobbbb:
Actually, behind the scenes, we've been negotiating with China all along on these issues. Clinton foolishly attempted to short-circuit that process, and we saw the results... US taxpayer money given away to the Norks, as they continued merrily on with the nuke program. Heck, they ADMITTED they were, and asked for MORE money to "stop" again. Bush may be a moron, but he was smart enough to say "no" to that noise.

China is the key. Bilateral talks were ALWAYS useless re the North. Mao originally encouraged the Great Leader to invade the South back in the 50's, and Stalin finally gave his approval after much Mao haranguing, so off the Dear Leader went, and into their graves went 40,000 of our soldiers, many by Chinese hands. And Mao originally set up the North with their nuke program as we know. The negotiations have ALWAYS been about China, who birthed and midwifed those Nork dopes. China is finally accepting their responsibility, and exerting their influence, and that's what was always needed here. And Japan has been making some noises about going nuclear. THEY weren't gonna put up with this nonsense even if Clinton and Allwrong WERE, and China wants no parts of a nuclear Japan as we know.

The multilateral talks are the key, to include the Chinese who are the REAL key to this. This all now appears to be bearing fruit. Actually, this is one of the few areas you can score Bush well on.
7.10.2007 10:06pm
whackjobbbb:
And by the way, Hattio, former Sec of State Jim Baker has publicly acknowledged that the North had functional nuclear weapons when HE left office back in 1992. By yours, Clinton's, Allwrong's and many others' principles, US taxpayers should STILL be PAYING the Norks to further develop that nuclear program. Nope, sorry.
7.10.2007 10:12pm
bellisaurius (mail):
I wonder how the poll would pan out if the question was referred to instead:

"Has President Bush:
a Fell short
b Met
c Exceeded
the expectations you had for him in 2004?"

It would be interesting to see if even his opponent's standards have visited new lows.
7.10.2007 10:16pm
whackjobbbb:
And by the way Part Deux, Hattio, China won't EVER sit at a table with Taiwan, so you can scratch that part of your argument, too.
7.10.2007 10:27pm
ATRGeek:
It turns out the neocons were likely wrong back in 2002 about North Korea having a serious uranium enrichment program, our purported reason for suspending the 1994 agreement. See here:

New Doubts On Nuclear Efforts by North Korea
7.10.2007 10:29pm
scote (mail):

The thing about Bush is that he's always done exactly what he said he would do. I disagree a lot (NLRB, immigration, McCain Feingold), but I appreciate this about him.

You forget the part where he swore to uphold the Constitution. He sure as hell isn't doing that.

I think he also said that he'd be a "uniter not a divider," capture Bin Laden "dead or alive," find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, fire any leakers from his administration, win the war in Iraq...

I don't think you hold him to your standards very strictly.
7.10.2007 10:32pm
whackjobbbb:
Well goodness, if the Washington Post says there was no Nork nuclear program, then it MUST be true!
7.10.2007 10:38pm
ATRGeek:
I'd point out to whackjobbbb that the article includes current Administration officials among its sources, but I have noted that whackjobbbb is unconcerned with such petty details.
7.10.2007 10:43pm
whackjobbbb:
Actually, the article says nothing about anybody being "likely wrong", but I'll leave you to your fantasies again, as you prefer.
7.10.2007 10:48pm
CaseyL (mail):
I think it's hysterical that immigration was what broke Bush's support on the Right. Not Iraq, not the deficits, not warantless domestic surveillance, not torture... but immigration.

I don't care, really. The Bush Era has been instructive in separating the wheat from the chaff. We've found out how many Americans can be terrorized into giving up everything that makes us Americans, and how easily that can be done. We've seen the worst of the fear-ridden, "Other"-hating, ignorant and sadistic among us come out from under their rocks and noisily support the most Anti-American Administration in our history.

It'll be equally instructive to see who those Anti-Americans support in the future.
7.10.2007 10:49pm
BGates (www):
byomtov - on the issue of 'which side fights dirty,' I could point to Bill Clinton saying "This is the way the Republicans make a living in national politics, by destroying their opponents. That's their bread and butter. They don't care if they are hypocritical. They don't care if they are fair. They don't care if they're dealing with doctored evidence. They don't care anything about that. That's their deal. They are not interested in governing and changing," Kennedy saying calling the war "a fraud", Howard Dean saying Republicans are "evil", etc, etc, etc.
A few months later, you can point to a blog commenter questioning the patriotism of the Democratic Party.
Well played.
7.10.2007 10:51pm
scote (mail):

A few months later, you can point to a blog commenter questioning the patriotism of the Democratic Party.
Well played.

And yet, in spite of your best efforts, you couldn't come up with any accusations of treason. Looks like you can't find actual evidence to support your point.
7.10.2007 10:56pm
whackjobbbb:
That should be the next poll, Kerr. "Which political sect is the most treasonous?"

We'd really have to think hard on that one.
7.10.2007 11:02pm
BGates (www):
More Presidential vitriol, on critics of his Iraq policy:
"Some of Steve [LaTourette, R-OH]'s colleagues -- good, decent, patriotic people -- believed the best thing for the United States to do at that point was to step back and to kind of let the violence burn out in the capital of Iraq."

Thanks also to CaseyL for reminding byomtov of what side he's on.
7.10.2007 11:03pm
ATRGeek:
Excellent parody, whackjobbbb.
7.10.2007 11:03pm
whackjobbbb:
Give it up, big guy. That BDS will eat you up if you don't.
7.10.2007 11:05pm
ATRGeek:
Classic stuff. Good job.
7.10.2007 11:12pm
Mark Field (mail):

Weren't some people around here claiming not long ago that conservatives don't say nasty things about their opponents and challenging me, among others to produce examples.

I'd say calling most or all Democrats traitors is about as nasty as it gets. Does this meet VC "civility" standards? Haven't commenters been barred for much lesser insults?


Dave always seems to miss these comments. I'm sure it's just an accident that we saw no retort from him to this statement. Or to the assertion in the first LA thread that the ACLU "supports the rape of children". Or to the assertion in another recent thread that "liberal judges are traitors". Civility, too, seems to follow the Golden Rule: IOKIYAR.
7.10.2007 11:28pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Bush is an internationalist. He buys into the whole the notion of multiculturalism, globalization of the economy, and the weakening if not eradication of our borders. He seems obsessed with placating Mexico. I sometimes wonder if he even supports the notion that America is a sovereign nation state and not some kind of abstract "trading zone." He has succeeded splendidly in alienating almost everyone.

He has all but destroyed the Republican Party and conservative movement. He has paved the way for a massive Democratic victory in 2008. The Republicans need to repudiate him utterly, but they are evidently too stupid to realize this. Listen to the self-destroying statements they make.

Trent Lott says, "talk radio is running America, we have to deal with this problem." John McCain taunted Mitt Romney by saying, " [he should] get out his small-varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn." Lindsay Graham in a speech to the brown supremacist organization La Raza tells them, "We're going to tell the bigots to shut up."

What did Bush and the Republican leadership accomplish by alienating a big piece of their base of support? Nothing. Or should I say "nada."
7.10.2007 11:33pm
paul lukasiak (mail):

It would be interesting to see if even his opponent's standards have visited new lows.


then you really need to rephrase the question, because I expected Bush to be a disaster, but even I still have a hard time believing he's done THIS much damage...

consequently, I don't know if I would vote "exceeded" or "fell short" of my expectations...
7.10.2007 11:45pm
whackjobbbb:
BTW, Geek, you know that A.Q. Khan nuclear weapons bazaar that you were unaware of Libya's participation in? Well, when Bush and Blair bludgeoned Khadaffi into surrendering his nuclear program and sending it all to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, we interviewed all his technical people, and they assisted us in unravelling others' participation, including the aforementioned Norks (you know, for all the equipment mentioned in that article, the same type stuff that Khadaffi had but you and the Washington Post are certain the Norks DIDN'T!).

So score another one for non-proliferation, big guy. And no thanks to your wonderful UN, who are STILL trying to figure out what was goin' on.
7.10.2007 11:53pm
Steve:
I think it's hilarious that whackjob believes George W. Bush had some special insight into the psychology of the North Koreans vis-a-vis the Chinese and so forth.

This is a guy who can barely manage to name world capitals. If he actually managed to listen to the right people on foreign policy for once, rest assured it was sheer luck. Not to dissuade anyone from their narrative of "Bush outsmarts entire foreign policy establishment," but let's get real.
7.11.2007 12:18am
The General:
I wish he were more conservative by a lot. he shouldn't give Ted Kennedy the time of day. But he's done a net good job overall, though most of that is from the first term. He's done a hell of a lot better than Gore or Kerry would have done.
7.11.2007 12:45am
Justin (mail):
Odd. Bush's popularity seemed to stable out at 16%, but since then its slowly been climbing, reaching 21% as of now.
7.11.2007 1:05am
whackjobbbb:

I think it's hilarious that whackjob believes George W. Bush had some special insight into the psychology of the North Koreans vis-a-vis the Chinese and so forth.


Actually, it required no "special insight" for Bush to return to the foreign policy we'd been practicing with the Chinese for the 20 years previous to Clinton's decision to ignore that process, and start paying off the Norks with US taxpayer money, all so that they could build nukes with it.

This is all pretty much a statement about Clinton's and Allwrong's stupidity, and not necessarily Bush's "special insight". Still, he did the right thing, and got us off that blackmail train, and reengaged the Chinese, and that's what counts.

But if I had to give credit to anybody, however, I'd give it to that former Japanese prime minister, who actually rallied support within Japanese society for a rearmament program, including potentially nuclear weapons. Who woulda thunk it? And that's what the Chinese REALLY didn't wanna see, so they blinked.

And now, the Norks are on CHINA'S payroll... and that's a beautiful thing!
7.11.2007 1:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
"Could you tell me what Bush's ideology is?"

Corporatism. If it's good for big business, it's good. After all, he's our first MBA president.

I think this explains lots of decisions that otherwise seem perplexing. Exhibit A: immigration. Also the Dubai ports deal. And the heavily privatized war. And the heavily privatized response to Katrina. Social Security "reform." Etc.

Bush is all about transferring wealth from the pockets of our children into the pockets of his pals. Via Chinese bankers.

"I think he also said that he'd be a 'uniter not a divider,' capture Bin Laden 'dead or alive,' find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, fire any leakers from his administration, win the war in Iraq... "

Don't forget this one: in 2000, he repeatedly campaigned on the idea that he would restore honor and dignity to the White House.
7.11.2007 1:32am
Randy R. (mail):
What I find particularly funny is that 5% are undecided. Who are these idiots? Are they living with their head in the sand? Maybe in a cave. I can perhaps understand undecideds out there in the real world, where so many people don't even know we have a VP, let alone know his name.

But here in Volokh country? Just plain bizarre.
(Or perhaps I've just lived inside the Beltway too long, and I"M the idiot.....)
7.11.2007 1:39am
Thomas_Holsinger:
It would be nice to have a President who thinks his job is to lead rather than preside. Bush would do a much better job as the ceremonial president of a parliamentary government like Germany or Israel.
7.11.2007 1:53am
Kazinski:
MikeC&F:

This tells me all I need to know about what Bush and his ilk have done to my country. (And about that, alas, I am not being sarcastic at all.)

Wow, blaming Bush for Scote.
7.11.2007 1:56am
A. Zarkov (mail):
According to Duncan Hunter Bush expressed "surprise" that only 13 miles of the 854-mile border fence has been built in defiance of legislation that passed both houses of Congress. From the CNN situation room:

MALVEAUX: Are you saying the president isn't enforcing the law?

HUNTER: Well, he is -- he has not built the fence. I wrote that bill in October. It was passed by the Senate by a vote of 80-19. It was passed by the House overwhelmingly. That extends a double border fence 854 miles -- mandates its extension across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

I checked the other day and the administration has only built 13 miles of the 854 miles. So --


Bush is either lying or woefully misinformed on major issues in his administration. In this and other matters Bush doesn't think he has to obey the law. How can this president get even 20% approval rating?
7.11.2007 3:15am
Steve P. (mail):
"Has President Bush:
a Fell short
b Met
c Exceeded
the expectations you had for him in 2004?"

bellisaurius — The problem that I see, with that poll, is what to do with those short-sighted people who didn't vote for Bush. What exactly is their baseline? If they expected nuclear war by voting him into office, then he certainly has exceeded their expectations. Then again, if they expected general incompetence and more unrest in Iraq, it could be argued that he met their expectations.
7.11.2007 3:40am
scote (mail):

"I think he also said that he'd be a 'uniter not a divider,' capture Bin Laden 'dead or alive,' find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, fire any leakers from his administration, win the war in Iraq... "

Don't forget this one: in 2000, he repeatedly campaigned on the idea that he would restore honor and dignity to the White House.

...and Bush excoriated (I doubt he can say that word) Gore in the debates, saying the US had absolutely no business "nation building" overseas. Now were years into one of the most dangerous, expensive and disastrous attempts at "nation building" ever attempted. Clearly "nation building" is a bad idea--when neocons do it...
7.11.2007 3:55am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
scote: "nation building"

I forgot that; good point. Here are some quotes:

I'm worried about an opponent [Gore] who uses nation building and the military in the same sentence.…

I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building…

a nation-building corps from America. Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight…


A similar statement from Eliot Abrams in 2/03:

The responsibility for turning Iraq into a stable, peaceful democracy falls to the people of Iraq. The most we can do is get--if this conflict occurs, is get this monstrous regime that is preventing them from doing that out of the way.


That concept will probably be revived next summer, when the GOP (in the interest of saving its own bacon) decides it's finally time to declare victory and get out, just a few nanoseconds before Election Day.
7.11.2007 7:56am
ATRGeek:
I agree that corporatism is a decent unifying principle, but a bit too abstract for Bush. I think of Bush as Polemarchus from Plato's Republic (an ambitious young politican who inherited his wealth from his now elderly stateman father, Cephalus). Polemarchus defined justice as the art of doing good to your friends and evil to your enemies. So, it is true that Bush often does good for corporations, but I think that is because they are being run by his friends.
7.11.2007 8:48am
ATRGeek:
I just reread a bit of The Republic, and I am struck by how resonant it really is. When asked by Socrates, "In what sort of actions or with a view to what result is the just man most able to do harm to his enemy and good to his friends?," Polemarchus first answers that justice is particularly relevant in matters of war. When pressed for examples of matters in which justice is applicable in times of peace, Polemarchus comes up with contracts and financial arrangements. Socrates points out that those who are good with money tend to also be good at stealing money (and interestingly, Socrates also raises here the issue of perjury), and Polemarchus struggles to explain how his theory of justice would deal with theft and perjury.

Fun stuff.
7.11.2007 8:58am
ATRGeek:
And finally, Socrates puts away Polemarchus with this nice bit of snark: "I believe that Periander or Perdiccas or Xerxes or Ismenias the Theban, or some other rich and mighty man, who had a great opinion of his own power, was the first to say that justice is 'doing good to your friends and harm to your enemies.'"

Next up in the dialogue is, of course, Thrasymachus, who angrily pushes aside Polemarchus in order to argue that "justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger" and that "for subjects to do what was commanded by their rulers is just."

Gee, I wonder who is playing Thasymachus' role today?
7.11.2007 9:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
atr: "that is because they are being run by his friends"

Good point, and I don't disagree. But I think it goes further; I think there's a question of how he knows who his friends are.

In my opinion, the real religion of America is commerce. (Christmas is a classic example of how the nominal religion is bent to serve the real religion.) Our relationship with money is truly worshipful. Our real churches are the shopping malls.

I think Bush is a full-blooded, purebred money-worshipper, with roots that go back generations. He's a perfect prince of that tribe. He was raised deep inside that church. I think there's not much in him, other than this.

So I think it's worth considering how he defines who his "friends" are. Like any member of a big tribe, he has lots of friends he hasn't met yet. But he easily knows them when he sees them, because their blood is green, just like his.

I think of this in terms of how global business operates. Its only value is money. It has no other values, like national loyalty, or a sense of humanity. And this isn't just true of the corporation itself as an abstract entity. It's true, to a surprising extent, of the people in charge. They seek out, trust and embrace people like themselves: worshippers of money. In a way, Bush is Worshipper-in-Chief.

Don't get me wrong; many people at the top of the business world are intensely honorable, praiseworthy people. But I think the public would be shocked if it truly understood how many business leaders are well-dressed snakes. (And of course Bushism embodies the idea of making business and government indistinguishable, so for the sake of this discussion, Bush can be considered a business leader.)

I have a lot of personal experience inside the world I just described, including personal relationships with the kind of people I just described. That's where I'm coming from.

"those who are good with money tend to also be good at stealing money"

Crooks end up in jail. Really smooth crooks end up in board rooms and in the White House. (I know that's already been said by all sorts of people.)

I think your references to The Republic are very relevant, and you're inspiring me to pick it up again. The first time around I was much too young to understand it. Maybe still am, but hopefully less of it will go over my head.
7.11.2007 9:58am
ATRGeek:
jukeboxgrad,

I don't fundamentally disagree, but I wanted to mention I actually think it is not a bad thing that commerce is the American state religion (which, by the way, one can see particularly clearly in the underlying business practices of televangelism and megachurches). I also wanted to emphasize that I do think many top people in business are by nature fine citizens (or no worse than anyone else at least). The problem, of course, is that people in business have no choice but to go wherever the money can be found, because if they don't they will get replaced by someone who will. So, when a government adopts a policy of handing out favors to its political friends, including favors with high monetary value, business leaders have little choice about angling to become such friends.
7.11.2007 11:06am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Gee, I wonder who is playing Thasymachus' role today?

Great, now I will always picture Dick Cheney in a chiton when I read that.
7.11.2007 12:39pm
Taeyoung (mail):
Re: jukeboxgrad:

"Could you tell me what Bush's ideology is?"

Corporatism. If it's good for big business, it's good. After all, he's our first MBA president.


Except . . . not really. One of the most significant pieces of legislation he has passed (after the tax cuts, NCLB, etc.) was Sarbanes-Oxley, which was . . . not particularly great for big business. Contrast that with Clinton, whose big securities regulation law was the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which was like tort reform. Excellent for big business, because it make it harder for people to sue them for securities fraud.

Now, it's probably not the case that Bush was gung-ho for Sarbanes-Oxley, any more than it was the case that Clinton was gung-ho for the PSLRA. But on an objective level, they're the one's that signed off on it, and they're the ones that were responsible. And I think that, particularly when you take things like NAFTA into account, Clinton was objectively more pro-big business than Bush was (not that I'm denying Bush is pro-big business). I'm just saying Bush isn't at all out of the mainstream of recent presidents, on support for big business.
7.11.2007 12:41pm
byomtov (mail):
BGates,

The discussion of nastiness refers to comments on this blog, not the outside world. Dave N. apparently believe conservatives never make hate-filled comments. I thought I'd point out this particular example just because it happened to show up now.

As for non-VC political discourse, that topic has been chewed endlessly on a million threads, so I'm unimpressed by a couple of Clinton quotes you happened to find.
7.11.2007 1:05pm
Mark Field (mail):

Great, now I will always picture Dick Cheney in a chiton when I read that.


Maybe it would ease your mind to picture him as Rasputin.
7.11.2007 1:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
atr: "I actually think it is not a bad thing that commerce is the American state religion"

Fair enough. I'm not inherently anti-commerce, and I'm not inherently anti-religion. And our religion of commerce is arguably more benign than various other religions.

To a great extent maybe it's just a question of degree, and moderation. Mae West said too much of a good thing can be wonderful, but obviously it's not always that way. I think for some people the worship of money has the character of a cult, where it crowds out lots of other things that are essential for personal and social health (like a sense of humanity and community, for example). I also think a lot of powerful people in business and government are members of this cult.

You can call this a mental health problem, or a spiritual problem, or a lack of morality and values, or just plain corruption, selfishness, greed and bad choices. And I'm also not claiming there's anything new about this; I'm sure it's a permanent feature of human nature and society. I just think at this moment we have a particularly bad case of this, and think I Bushism is a kind of symptom of it.

I also think our problems with addictions (of all forms: not just substances, and certainly not just illegal substances) are connected to this. But I'll stop right there, because I'm already far enough off-topic.
7.11.2007 1:59pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
taeyoung: "Sarbanes-Oxley"

Good point. I didn't think of that at all. I don't know that much about SO, but what you said about it makes sense.

"Clinton was objectively more pro-big business than Bush was (not that I'm denying Bush is pro-big business). I'm just saying Bush isn't at all out of the mainstream of recent presidents, on support for big business."

I certainly agree that Clinton did a lot for big business. It would be an interesting analysis to argue about which one of them (Clinton/Bush) is more of a corporatist, but I completely agree with your basic point, which is that they both are.

To a great extent I think we have a single party system. I never viewed Clinton as much of a Democrat; I saw him more as Republican Lite. Or Democrat Lite, which I suppose is the same thing.

Since 1976, I've voted for the 3rd party candidate every single time there was one in the race. However, I took some liberties with this based on the fact that I lived in "safe" states, if you know what I mean.
7.11.2007 2:24pm
Mark Field (mail):

To a great extent I think we have a single party system. I never viewed Clinton as much of a Democrat; I saw him more as Republican Lite. Or Democrat Lite, which I suppose is the same thing.


A friend of mine likes to say that of the last two Republican presidents, he preferred Clinton.
7.11.2007 2:33pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Thanks, that's a better way of saying exactly what I was trying to say.
7.11.2007 3:07pm
scote (mail):

Except . . . not really. One of the most significant pieces of legislation he has passed (after the tax cuts, NCLB, etc.) was Sarbanes-Oxle

...but Sarbanes-Oxley passed in spite of Bush not because of him, and it was a watered down version that the Republicans had to pass to appear to be doing something in the wake the meltdowns of several massive corporate kleptocracies. In any case, the laws are irrelevant to corporations as long as they know the Administration isn't interested in enforcing them.
7.11.2007 3:14pm
whackjobbbb:

particularly when you take things like NAFTA into account, Clinton was objectively more pro-big business than Bush was (not that I'm denying Bush is pro-big business). I'm just saying Bush isn't at all out of the mainstream of recent presidents, on support for big business.


And this is pretty obvious, Taeyoung, which is why I'm always amused with the BDSers' rants, which clearly miss the obvious.

Functionally, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between these 2 political sects.
7.11.2007 3:38pm
Warmongering Lunatic (mail):
In 2004, I thought I was voting for the Bush Doctrine. If I wanted a candidate who would just futz around Iraq for a few years, while trying to talk countries giving material assistance to people trying to kill Americans into being nice, I'd have voted for the candidate who was actually saying he'd do that—John Kerry.
7.11.2007 4:10pm
Warmongering Lunatic (mail):
And, jukeboxgrad, it would be nice if you actually looked up the term "corporatism" in a proper book about political science. I am reasonably certain Bush is not putting U.S. industry under the control of economic planning boards consisting of of government, stockholder, and labor representatives.
7.11.2007 4:17pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warm: "the term 'corporatism' in a proper book about political science"

You're right; I should have done that. It looks like I'm using the wrong word. But I think you know what I mean. If you can help me think of the word I'm really looking for, I'd welcome the help.
7.11.2007 4:37pm
A.S.:
Contrast that with Clinton, whose big securities regulation law was the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which was like tort reform. Excellent for big business, because it make it harder for people to sue them for securities fraud.

Actually, Clinton vetoed the PSLRA. Congress overrode his veto. But I completely agree about Sarbanes-Oxley - it was a tremendous cost to big business.
7.11.2007 5:53pm
ATRGeek:
There is a popular usage of the term "corporatism" which goes along with jukeboxgrad's usage. See here:

Corporatism in popular usage

An alternative would be the neologism "corporatocracy". See here:

Corporatocracy

Of course, fans of Eisenhower would probably still use the term "military-industrial complex".
7.11.2007 7:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
atr: "Corporatism in popular usage"

Thanks, that's very helpful. I looked at that wiki article, but I stopped reading too soon.

I appreciate that there are smart people here.

"military-industrial complex"

Yes, I think what Ike said was prescient and worth repeating:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.


Our defense budget roughly equals the rest of the world combined. Two of the three broadcast networks are owned by companies that are leaders in the war business. These are powerful forces.
7.12.2007 11:27am