Sunday, November 9, 2008

Relief over President Obama

I'm starting to actually feel some relief that the Democrats are completely in charge now. I'm so sick of listening to liberals constantly insult and berate a decent man like President Bush, and blame him for every ill, real or perceived, that they see afflicting our country. A President McCain would let them continue this sniping for four more years. Now they are completely in control, and completely responsible, in a time of great consequence, a situation which has not happened in my lifetime .

It has been 40 years since a Democratic president has had to deal with such a serious time. Ronald Reagan inherited double-digit interest rates and inflation and a military that was dwarfed by the Soviet Union, both in conventional and nuclear weapons. He took the Soviets down, beat down inflation and won the cold war. Bush senior presided over the Iraq war and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bush junior had to deal with 9/11, make hard choices to launch two wars. Pulled us out of the ABM treaty despite the cries that a new arms race was inevitable. For his leadership during these crises, for 7 years free of attacks he is rewarded with a 20% approval rating.

As for the Democratic presidents, the Carter administration speaks for itself. During the Clinton era looked back on so fondly by the left, Clinton reaped the "peace dividend". He slashed our defense spending from 4.8% of GDP in 1992 to 3.0% in 2000. The size of our navy was cut in half. This, combined with taxes pouring in due to the huge tech bubble, led to a balanced budget without much in the way of financial pain. Sure there were terrorist attacks, the World Trade Center, the USS Cole, our African embassies, etc.. but these were all considered"law enforcement" issues. Sure there was the debacle in Somalia and the intervention in Bosnia, but nothing "major." My point is, Clinton got off easy. In fact, he's been known to complain about this, that events (or lack thereof) ensured he could not end up among our greatest presidents.

Now things are different. Around 200,000 troops defend our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other operations around the world protect us from attacks. Annual budget deficits are approaching $1 trillion and the financial crisis shows no sign of letting up. It is time for the sniping from the sidelines to stop. The "Bush lied-people died" signs can go back in the garage. President Obama has his party in control of both houses of Congress. These problems are his. I don't have to listen to my colleagues whine about President Bush. If Obama orders the NSA to stop eavesdropping and a terrorist attack results, the blame rests with him. If he orders a hasty retreat in Iraq and a civil war results, the blame rests with him. If he borrows another $600 billion for "stimulus packages" and the economy keeps sinking, the blame rests with him.

Please don't misinterpret this post. I don't want these things to happen. And I certainly still wish John McCain had won the election. I'm just saying there is a certain relief that, at least for the next two years, I won't have to listen to my left wing colleagues blame everything on Bush and conservatives.


Anonymous said...

How exactly do you justify "Around 200,000 troops defend our freedom in Iraq..."?

right-wing prof said...

Justify which part of the sentence? 200,000? Iraq and Afg? Freedom?

Dan said...

They will still blame Bush. They will still say the Republicans are at fault in Congress because the Dems don't have their "super majority". And a lot of people will be dumb enough to believe them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dan. Every failure will be "inherited from the Bush administration" and Obama will be doing the as much as anyone could ask.

Shoot--they still blame Reagan for many things. Where are you when we need you, Ronnie?

right-wing prof said...

I just don't see this argument working. If the economny is in the tank in October of 2010, I don't see the voters will having much sympathy for the argument "Well we're still trying to clean up Bush's mess." Heck, the Dems have had both houses of Congress for 2 years now, they could have ended the Iraq war by now if they wanted via the pursestring, but they chose not too.

It will be impossible to "blame Bush" for any terrorist attacks that occur in the Obama administration, especially if he alters the current aggressive stance of the Bush administration, see for instance the front page of today's NY Times.

Anonymous said...

You know what the question means, and decided to dodge it...That's fine with can delete the post too, while you're at it.

Dave said...


RWP has not been in the practice of deleting posts like his liberal counterparts. I doubt he will get into the practice. Not that I know him personally, because I don't - it just seems like it would fit the mold.

Perhaps he's just asking you to be more specific. Are you not able to be more specific?

Anonymous said...

Amazing: "200,000 troops defend our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan."

1) There were no WMD in Iraq.

2) There were no links between Sad. Hus. and Al-Qaida.

Would you please name the responsible for the huge military fraction of the budget deficit? Thank you.

right-wing prof said...

"Would you please name the responsible for the huge military fraction of the budget deficit? "

Sorry I can't respond to such horrible english, what does this even mean? The budget deficit isn't split into a "military fraction" and other "fractions." I can tell you that we spend a lot less on our military, as a share of GDP, then at almost any other time in the last 70 years.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about my English.

I meant something like: how much has the war in Irak cost us so far? How much has it contributed to our deficit?

Or still: how much would we have saved, if we had never gone to a country without WMD or links to Al-Qaida?

Let me know if I made myself a little bit more clear. Thanks.

professorpolisci said...


Does that mean you and the talk radio gang won't be sniping at President Obama for the next four years?

I agree that if the economy is horrible in 2010 that democrats will pay a price but probably not nearly what you think. Almost every president loses seats in Congress during the midterm election (even Reagan lost them...twice).

But...almost every economist has stated that this recession will linger through the end of 2009. That means things will be starting to get better as people prepare for the midterm in 2010. To expect the democrats to give us a miracle pill that fixes what 8 years of bad economic policies have caused is irrational.

right-wing prof said...

Anonymous, this post isn't about the Iraq war, I'm not going to get in a debate about it with you here.

Polisci, it is ridiculous to ascribe the current crisis to "eight years" of bad economic policies. We basically have a normal recession at a normal time in the cycle, exasperated by a large drop in housing prices that followed a large increase in housing prices and was combined with some failure of regulation. The housign part of the equation has many causes, most of which are not due to Bush or his policies.

professorpolisci said...


If it is ridiculous to say that the current economic crisis is a result of the economic policies of the current president then won't it be equally ridiculous to blame Barack Obama if things are still bad in two years?

You see, I actually agree that Bush gets way too much blame for the current situation just as Reagan got way too much credit for the economic growth of the 80's and the end of the Cold War. Economies do function in cycles and this happens to be a bad down cycle right now that has been made much worse than a normal recession by some of the Bush policies and the fact that we are exporting $120 billion a year to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq. Imagine what we could build at home with that money and how many jobs would be created building roads, bridges, and schools? Those workers would take their earnings and spend them in the economy leading to more job growth. Cuts in government spending during a recession are the LAST thing we need...but it is what we'll get. My governor is about to announce a massive cut in education spending this week meaning people will lose their jobs and less money will be spent and less taxes collected....

I don't know if you are familiar with Washington State and the economic problems the city of Seattle had in the late 90's and early this decade. Instead of employing the conventional wisdom the city pushed ahead with expensive building projects for stadiums, libraries, and universities. All those projects kept thousands of workers employed and helped keep the city from experiencing the worst of the recession.

My point is that is what we need to do now, not cut spending that provides jobs. Instead of drill, baby, drill, we should be saying build, baby, build!!

Anonymous said...

The stock market needs to be allowed to correct.

A long-term bull market started in about 1974. Conservative policies that came into effect in the early 1980’s (for example, the reduction in the top tax rate from 70% in 1980 to 28% in 1988) helped to fuel the stock market, as did the lowering of the deficit (through higher taxation levels but mostly through significantly reduced government spending) in the early- to mid-1990’s.

A tremendous amount of capital was being spent by companies on the Y2K issue and on increasing productivity through information technology in the mid- to late-1990’s.

This spending, and the capital gains tax cut of 1997 (from 28 to 20%) produced a bubble for information technology stocks that burst in early 2000.

Instead of allowing the market to correct, the G.W. Bush administration tried to bring back the stock market by lowering personal tax rates in 2001, and dividends and capital gains tax rates in 2003. The Federal Reserve lowered the Federal Funds rate to 1% by 2004. There was also very little regulation or oversight of financial institutions in the 2000’s, partly as a result of deregulation in the late 1990's by a Democratic administration.

The result was a stock market bubble that began bursting in July 2007.

As of this writing (December 2008), the outgoing Republican administration is injecting 700 billion dollars into financial firms through the "Troubled Asset Relief Program" that passed Congress in September 2008. The Federal Reserve board has again taken the Federal Funds rate down to 1%. The incoming Democratic administration has talked about a stimulus package ranging from 500 to 700 billion dollars.

They are just delaying the inevitable. Certainly, a stock market that declines by 80%, for example (as Japan's has done since 1989), is painful, to say the least, but when the U.S. government runs out of stimulus - when it can no longer print money (through lowering of the Fed Funds rate), and when it can no longer borrow (because of massive deficits), and when it can no longer keep tax rates low (because most people erroneously believe that low tax rates, rather than uncontrolled growth in government spending, create deficits), and when government spending overwhelms revenue by multiples (because revenue will decline with tax or tariff increases)- then the stock market decline is going to be much worse than what occurred from 1929 to 1933, and the resultant depression much longer than the one of the 1930's.