Missing Bush

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July 17, 2007

Not only do I hate Bush, but he is so bad that at times he has made me miss Clinton. Yes, I know. This is not something to be said lightly. After all, Clinton killed all those Serbians, all those Albanians, all those Iraqis, and those Branch Davidians. He killed others. He did a lot of terrible things, as one would know from reading Jim Bovard's terrific Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years ' or, perhaps, from simply having lived under Clinton 's rule. But once in a while, I have had some nostalgia for the man who, evil as he was, opportunistic and conniving and disingenuous as he was, had very little interest in doing anything that would completely destroy the country. He knew that by completely killing off the host, the parasitic state in which he and all Democrats are invested would die along with it. And so he knew not to drive the nation off a cliff. There is some sense in which this is generally more true of Democrats than of Republicans. As Lew Rockwell has put it,

The Democrats are the party of government, with the owners consisting of mostly public sector employees and their dependents. These are some of the most loathsome characters in American politics. Paradoxically, however, they have the strongest interest in keeping government functioning well, which implies balancing the budget, cleaning house, stamping out corruption, maintaining some semblance of order and peace, not doing things that utterly discredit bureaucracies, finding fixes to make things work a bit better for themselves and their friends, etc. As the most direct owners of the state, they have the strongest interest in its health and well-being.

The Republicans in contrast are the party of the private sector and the government contractors. Their primary interest is in getting their hands in the pot that belongs to the government. They are anti-government alright, so much so that they are willing to loot for themselves just about everything that is not nailed down. They arrive in town with the desire to grab as much for themselves and their friends as possible, and do it before their time is up. Remember the scenes in the first weeks after the Iraq invasion when American soldiers were stealing and abusing everything in sight? That's Republicans when they capture the executive branch.

Bush and the neocons, for their part, have taken this Republican recklessness to a whole new level. The current power elite is in many ways far more brazen than the last few Republican administrations as well as the Clinton government. Today's American rulers have abandoned the classic, prudential, Machiavellian welfare-state and empire building of the post-World War II era. They have pursued policies that have quickly exhausted 60 years of cumulative international support for US hegemony. Without regard for the consequences, they are contemplating ever more war against ever more helpless peoples. These guys are really dangerous in a more urgent, apocalyptic sense than the Clintonistas were. They are like Wilson without the humble restraint. The Bushies and neocons' significant and remaining support within the traditional GOP has been the crazed, belligerent wing of the Christian right '' many of whom believe the war on terror will secure Israel, accelerate the return of Jesus, and bring on the rapture they don't seem to have the patience to wait for. The people running the United States are batty and dangerous. They are playing around with world war. So you can see how, at least once in a while, I'd be tempted to miss Clinton. But then I remember Madeline Albright and Janet Reno and I usually snap out of it. But here's an unsettling thought. Bush will likely be president for 18 more months, yet I'm already kinda missing the guy. Whereas it took me a couple years of Bush before I felt this way for Clinton , I'm already having hints of nostalgia for Bush. Why? How? Mostly, it's Rudy Giuliani. Have you heard this man talk? I can't endure it for a minute. I thought I hated hearing Shrub mutter. But at least there's a strain of comedy value in the Babbling Bush. He sounds kind of funny, like an evil but goofy clown. There's a chuckle to be had on occasion. Even if it's black comedy. Rudy is just terrifying, not funny at all. His speech is just as incoherent, just as sleazy, just as totalitarian as Bush's. But he comes off as even more disjointed in his thinking with even a more maniacal drive toward fascist rule. Furthermore, he seems more capable than Bush, which is not a good thing. Worse yet, Americans seem to like him. The warmongering religious right, those guys who want to nuke Iran for Jesus, respect and like Rudy, all because he's also a warmonger. They love him even though he was married to a cousin, dumped one of his wives via press conference, and has defended subsidized abortions and gun grabbing. The moderate lefties like him because . . . well, because he has defended subsidized abortions and gun grabbing. The Republicans see him as a relief from Bush, whose obvious bumbling has hurt the GOP's reputation. The neocons absolutely adore Giuliani and he loves them, as demonstrated by his pick for foreign policy adviser, Norman Podhoretz, the quintessential neocon. The centrists think he's a uniter, which he is '' meaning the very worst kind of politician: the effective kind. And of course, if he doesn't win, it'll most likely be because Hillary won. Ugh. I don't need to reiterate the case against her, do I? She is horrifyingly wrong on every issue. She seeks total state control in all directions, with herself at the helm of this unprecedentedly despotic power. Indeed, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are both worse than Bush. Either one will get tiresome more quickly. You'll come across fewer people who question or distrust the federal government, at least initially, once one of these monsters is sworn in. Yes, Hillary is at least up front with her Leninism. And conservatives hate her, so she might have less mandate than Rudy '' but they'll mostly be attacking her for being insufficiently aggressive in the war on terror, an invective which she most certainly won't merit. Under either Hillary or Rudy, expect more crackdowns, more spending, more military deployments, more bombings, more databases, more police, more laws, more government. I suppose if it has happened in regard to Bill Clinton, Reagan, Kennedy, Hoover , Taft, McKinley and many others, there's no reason it can't happen again. Ah. Remember the Bush years? The good old days.

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Anthony Gregory's picture
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Anthony Gregory is a Research Analyst at The Independent Institute, a Policy Advisor at the Future of Freedom Foundation, and a columnist at LewRockwell.com. His website is AnthonyGregory.com.