John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


History Condenses

Posted on January 12, 2009

Exit Stage Left


            President Bush had his last bout with the White House Press corps, and I thought he gave as he good as he got.


            The White House press corps, like a lot of Americans (if the polls are any indication), liked the President personally, but didn’t think he was up to the job and hated his policies.


            The President is still a pretty savvy politician, and he is right about the future of the Republican Party.  He said that he thinks the party will come back, but he also believes that it needs to change its tone for it to be successful


            He uses the word compassionate.  I think that is a bad word for conservatives, because they don’t want government to be compassionate.


            I prefer the word “realistic”.  Ideology has a place in the philosophy, but government has to be governed by realism.  What works?  What doesn’t?  What sells? What doesn’t?  What attracts voters?  What doesn’t?


            We need a realistic immigration policy.  It is not realistic to believe that we are going to export 12 million people.  But it is realistic to focus on criminal gangs, meth dealers, and other law-breakers as we give honest immigrants a chance to become citizens. 


            Much has already been said about the President’s legacy.  


            On the plus side, after 9/11, he kept us safe from terrorism.  That is no small feat.  If you don’t believe me, look at Europe, Israel, Pakistan and just about anywhere else on the globe.


            He challenged the teaching establishment to do better, especially in the worst schools in the country.  (And by the way, as unpopular as it is, No Child Left Behind is working).   


            On the minus side, there is New Orleans.  The President should have immediately federalized the city, cleared out the corruption, put the lawbreakers in jail, and rebuilt the levees.  It was pretty clear that Ray Nagin was not up for the job, and the President couldn’t afford to let the situation fester as long as he did.


            Iraq was a mixed bag.  It looked good, then it looked really, really bad, and now it looks pretty good again.  “Mission Accomplished” was stupid.  Is the world better off without Saddam Hussein?  Yes.  Should we have kept our focus on Osama Bin Laden?  Probably. 


            The economy is a big minus, although it is hard to blame the President for it all.  A better culprit might be Alan Greenspan, who didn’t sound the alarm quickly enough on either the housing bubble or the dark world of credit default swaps.  Chris Cox was a very weak appointment at SEC, but there are so many ex-Clinton people who are up to their eye-balls in this thing (including Robert Rubin) that the blame should be bipartisan. 


            But the free-market has taken a huge hit because of insider corruption.  The President didn’t do enough to weed out the corruption and as a result, the philosophy that he has promoted so aggressively for the last 8 years will be shelved for at least the next four years.  Too bad.  You take out corruption, you ensure fair markets and you have reasonable regulation, and you will get prosperity and economic growth. 


            In a hundred years, the Presidency of George Bush the Younger will be remembered for three things:  the attacks of 9/11, the war in Iraq, and the election of Barack H. Obama.  History condenses.