Charles Kenneth Roberts

Politics, History, Culture

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Libya and History

So, the war in Libya is continuing on just as illegal as can be with relatively little concern from the public, as best I can tell. It’s just another war far away, and that’s kind of a bi-partisan thing, so nobody wants to raise a fuss about it.

This brings to mind something that I have been thinking about for a while. George W. Bush has a bad reputation right now, but I think it’s going to improve in the future, for two reasons. First, the things he was pretty good about, but failed on (most notably Social Security reform and immigration reform) are big, important things that somebody is going to have to address in the future. When, or if, those problems get fixed, I think they’ll be fixed along the lines that Bush was working.

Second, the worst of Bush’s policies have been continued by the Obama administration. Both promoted using billions of dollars to fix “the economy,” a stand-in for making direct government pay-outs politically connected financial and business interests. And both are committed to expanding an imperial presidency, with its assorted powers to wage war and suppress dissent without opposition. Obama has either tacitly endorsed the misdeeds of the previous administration (protecting those responsible for torture, for example), or even expanded them (the crack-down on whistleblowers in the government).

So, when people look back on Bush, they’ll want to condemn him for what he did, but it won’t be possible to say that Bush was a particularly bad president on those counts: people will say that ill-defined wars and encroachment on civil liberties was just what presidents did back then, and Bush was no better or worse than those who followed.