Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush

The article was cross-posted from Mark Levin‘s Facebook page.

My friend Pete Wehner took my criticism of President George W. Bush and some of his most senior staff as a challenge to compare Bush to President Ronald Reagan. Comparing Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush is like comparing Margaret Thatcher and John Major.  That’s not to put down Bush or Major, both of whom were fine leaders, but they were not the historical figures their former staffers and supporters insist. 

Who said? “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” Well, those words would never have passed Reagan’s lips.  It was infamously said by Bush, in defense of his massive spending spree in the last weeks of his presidency.  There’s nothing conservative about it.  But it sums up Bush’s lack of confidence in the free market system, and his repeated and excessive use of government intervention in American society.  

Bush never claimed to be the conservative Reagan was, nor did he spend his early political career challenging GOP orthodoxy, which, until Reagan won in 1980, was mostly incoherent mush of the Rockefeller-Scranton-Nixon-Ford-Bush/41 kind. George H. W. Bush and other mainstream Republican primary challengers sought to thwart Reagan because, they insisted, his conservatism would be rejected by the voters.  Now, Pete insists that as president, Reagan’s record, in virtually all respects, is inferior to George W. Bush’s, in advancing conservative principles.  This is not only counter-intuitive, it is factually defective.  As I proceed with this discussion, I believe it will become evident.  

Some final prefatory thoughts.  I’ve noticed since President Bush’s departure, former staffers strain to rewrite his record, particularly respecting spending and his embrace of big-government.  Is not Bush proud of his policies?  Is not Bush proud of the steps he believed he needed to take to “save the free market?”  Most were not forced compromises but actual policies and actions he affirmatively supported.  Why is it necessary to insist that Bush was an enthusiastic conservative when, in fact, he was not?  I am not exactly sure how his governing philosophy can be defined, but I don’t think it is helpful to his legacy to run from a record which he is proud of.  And being defensive about his record is not the same thing as attempting to defend it.    

Among the many great things Reagan did included his expansion and strengthening of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, both of which Bush left in a shambles even before he left office.  Actually, it wasn’t just Bush, but Bush paid precious little attention to either, which helped the Democrats take the House in the 2006 election and led to a complete electoral debacle in 2008.     

The point is that aside from the policy details, which I briefly delve into below, a president can be uplifting, visionary, and legacy-setting.  Reagan was all that.  This is not to make him a larger-than-life figure, but to accurately put in him context with his successors.  Reagan was an articulate and constant advocate of conservatism.  Bush was not all that articulate in his public statements, period.  And it is too bad.  In private, he was engaging and well-spoken.  But communication skills matter.  

My friend Pete Wehner, the former Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives to President Bush, is unimpressed by Reagan’s conservatism but evocative of Bush’s.  Let’s take a brief look.  First, some important perspective.  As u-s-history.com summarizes nicely:

“The late 1970s had witnessed the triumph of Marxist governments in Angola and Nicaragua. El Salvador seemed ready to follow suit. The U.S. had been humiliated by the outcome of the Vietnam War (1975), and the Soviets seemed secure in their unrelenting mission to conquer Afghanistan.

“Islamic fundamentalists had come to power in Iran. They had captured 52 embassy Americans as hostages, and the Jimmy Carter administration had made a bitterly unsuccessful attempt to rescue them.

“As a result of Carter Administration policies, the American military was plagued by low morale, low pay, outdated equipment, and practically zero maintenance on what did exist. Important U.S. military personnel were not reenlisting; it just wasn’t worth it to them. In fact, thousands of enlisted men’s families survived on food stamps.

“The U.S. economy was struggling, burdened by seemingly unstoppable inflation. High tax increases and an upward spiral of interest rates were an everyday occurrence for Americans. The United States seemed in an era of limits; the country seemed to be running out of oil, and in practice, U.S. foreign policy had adopted a stance of co-existence with the Soviet Union and China.”

Now, to Pete’s points.

1. Illegal Immigration.  Pete writes, in part: “Reagan … signed a bill granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, something Bush never supported. And in a 1984 campaign debate, Reagan went so far as to say, ‘I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.’”

Actually, Reagan was pressed by members of Congress in both parties to embrace some form of amnesty.  He came up with a plan that was very much like Bush’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform, but involved far less illegal aliens.  As then-Attorney General Edwin Meese wrote in 2006, in part: 

“President Reagan set out to correct the loss of control at our borders. Border security and enforcement of immigration laws would be greatly strengthened—in particular, through sanctions against employers who hired illegal immigrants. If jobs were the attraction for illegal immigrants, then cutting off that option was crucial.

“He also agreed with the legislation in adjusting the status of immigrants—even if they had entered illegally—who were law-abiding long-term residents, many of whom had children in the United States. Illegal immigrants who could establish that they had resided in America continuously for five years would be granted temporary resident status, which could be upgraded to permanent residency after 18 months and, after another five years, to citizenship. It wasn’t automatic. They had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible.

“If this sounds familiar, it’s because these are pretty much the same provisions included in the Comprehensive Reform Act of 2006, which its supporters claim is not amnesty. In the end, slight differences in process do not change the overriding fact that the 1986 law and the recent Senate legislation both include an amnesty. The difference is that President Reagan called it for what it was.”

However, as Meese also wrote: “The lesson from the 1986 experience is that such an amnesty did not solve the problem. There was extensive document fraud, and the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections. And there was a failure of political will to enforce new laws against employers. After a brief slowdown, illegal immigration returned to high levels and continued unabated, forming the nucleus of today’s large population of illegal aliens. So here we are, 20 years later, having much the same debate and being offered much the same deal.”

My friend Pete is, I believe, a Burkean, or at least an admirer of Burke.  The point being that despite the 1986 law and its failure, Bush proceeded to quadruple down on Reagan’s amnesty with an even more dramatic and thorough amnesty bill, even though the experience and knowledge gained from the 1986 law should have informed Bush to act otherwise.  The Heritage Foundation reported that the law Bush would have signed, had it reached his desk, and which Bush encouraged, would have attracted tens of millions more aliens into the country — illegal aliens who would be legalized and who, in turn, would attract millions of family members to emigrate to the U.S. as well.  And there is great debate over whether border enforcement aspects of the bill would have been enforced, just as this critical aspect of immigration enforcement was ineffectively supported  after Reagan left office, in part resulting in the presence of  12 million or more illegal aliens in America today.  It is fair to argue that Reagan, in the first instance, supported a flawed policy.  Meese does not believe Reagan would have made the same decision twice.  What’s Bush’s excuse?

Therefore, when Pete says that Bush never supported amnesty, he’s incorrect.  Bush supported massive amnesty, but was loath to admit it, and he did so without learning from Reagan’s experience.  But the public knew better and pressured their representatives to oppose it.  The people learned the lessons Bush, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, and others, apparently had not.       

2. Supreme Court.  Pete writes: “Regarding the Supreme Court, Reagan appointed Antonin Scalia, among the greatest jurists in history. But he also appointed Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, both of whom turned out to be fairly problematic from an originalist perspective. Bush appointed two terrific conservative jurists to the High Court, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and no O’Connor or Kennedy clones.”

Again, some background.  Reagan’s first choice for the seat now occupied by Kennedy was Robert Bork.  Reagan nominated the most accomplished conservative jurist and thinker of our time to the Court. knowing it meant a brutal confirmation battle in the Senate.  After the dust cleared, in a relatively close vote Bork’s nomination was defeated.  Reagan next chose Douglas Ginsburg, an outstanding conservative-libertarian former chief of the Reagan Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  He was forced to pull out due to personal issues which, by today’s standards, probably would not have sunk his nomination.  Reagan settled on Kennedy, then, by all accounts, an originalist on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  There was no indication of his later activism.  Reagan’s nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor resulted from his decision to put a woman on the Court, where none had ever served.  He asked his staff to find a highly qualified individual who would reflect his view of judging.  Barry Goldwater, among others, recommended O’Connor.  People forget that there was not a significant number of conservative women jurists at the time.  During her earlier years on the Court, O’Connor actually was pretty decent from a conservative perspective.  But she obviously “evolved” and her approach to judging became mostly incoherent.    

In praising Bush’s nominees, and comparing them favorably to Reagan’s, Pete ignores some obvious facts.  He makes no reference to Harriet Miers, which is odd.  Bush nominated Miers in 2005 to replace O’Connor.  The vast majority of conservatives were appalled, and rightly so.  It appeared to be a brazen act of cronyism.  I have no doubt Miers is a wonderful person, but Bush’s decision to put her on the Court was mind-boggling.  Had her nomination succeeded, Sam Alito, who Pete rightly praises, would not be an associate justice today.  Moreover, John Roberts and Alito are both alums of the Reagan administration.  I personally worked with Alito during my time at Justice.  Scalia and Clarence Thomas were Reagan alums.  Reagan also promoted William Rehnquist to the position of Chief Justice.  All the originallists on the Court today came through the Reagan administration.  Indeed, Reagan Justice Department was used to build an entire farm team of great conservative lawyers who one day, Reagan hoped, would become future judges and justices. The Department of Justice included such legal heavy-weights as Ted Olson (who won the Bush-Gore Supreme Court decision), Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Ginsburg, John Bolton, Brad Reynolds, Chuck Cooper, and scores of others.   Meese and Olson were also instrumental in forging the Federalist Society, which was a rich source of talent and counsel to Bush. Reagan did not have that advantage. 

Importantly, the entire debate over originalism began under the Reagan administration, particularly by Meese, to fundamentally alter the public and legal perception and reality of judicial review. This is not to downplay the fact that the Roberts and Alito nominations are worthy of praise.  Bush deserves much credit in that regard.  But Pete’s argument is a surprisingly selective rendering of history from someone who knows better.   

3. Taxes.  Pete writes: “Reagan was the architect of the historic 1981 tax cut, one of the most significant pieces of economic legislation in American history. Bush cut taxes multiple times as well, though the cuts were not nearly as large. At the same time, Reagan, unlike Bush, increased taxes many times during his presidency — including what was then the largest tax increase in American history (the TEFRA tax).” Let me elaborate on the Reagan tax cut via Lee Edwards’s account to make sure that folks who were not around at the time understand the huge significance of what Reagan accomplished, and the trail he blazed:

“It would take fireside chats with the American people, deals with boll-weevil Democrats in the House of Representatives, pep talks with discouraged aides, and even near death from an attempted assassination, but on August 17, 1981, President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Act (ERTA) into law. It was the tax reform Reagan had been urging for decades. Newsweek called it a “second New Deal potentially as profound in its import as the first was a half century ago.’

“The measure cut all income tax rates by twenty-five percent, with a 5 percent cut coming that October, the next 10 percent in July 1982, and the final 10 percent in July 1983. The law also reduced the top income tax rate from 70 percent to 50 percent, indexed tax rates to offset the impact of inflation, and increased the tax exemption on estates and gifts. Conservatives have consistently argued that ERTA was a prime factor in the economic growth that prevailed throughout the 1980s.

“There followed sixty straight months of economic growth, the longest uninterrupted period of expansion since the government began keeping such statistics in 1854. Nearly fifteen million new jobs were created — a total of eighteen million by the time Reagan left office. Just under $20 trillion worth of goods and services, measured in actual dollars, were produced from 1982 to 1987. To give some notion of how much that is, by the end of 1987 America was producing about seven and a one-half times more every year than it produced in John Kennedy’s last year as president.

“The expansion was felt everywhere, as conservative economists had predicted, including in the government’s own income. Total federal receipts in 1982 were $618 billion. Five years later, federal receipts were just over $1 trillion, an increase of $398 billion. More than enough, one would have thought, to satisfy all but the most eager advocate of the welfare state.

“And as Reagan had promised, the military benefited the most from the economic growth. In President Carter’s last budget, America spent just under $160 billion on national defense. In 1987, the Reagan administration spent $282 billion, more than twice as much on the military. During Reagan’s first seven years, he was able to expend over $1.5 trillion on national defense, “a staggering amount by anyone’s standards.’”

Reagan was not able to accomplish all we may have wanted, including cutting spending as deeply as we hoped and opposing all tax increases, but he was tremendously successful in taking a major first step which future presidents could follow.  And to his credit, Bush did follow in instituting important yet less bold tax cuts.

What Reagan did do in trying to cut federal spending is veto spending bills.  In fact, I can recall two occasions when the federal government was shutdown, albeit for short periods, over his spending (and policy) disagreements with Congress in 1981 and 1984.  There were no shutdowns under Bush.  Reagan issued a total of 78 vetoes, Bush only 12.  Bush was, I believe, too timid in this regard.  Reagan was much more fierce in his desire to contain spending.  And he wasn’t worried about a “new tone,” either.

When Reagan entered office after the disastrous Jimmy Carter years, inflation was about 12%; mortgage interest rates averaged, on traditional loans, as high as 16%; unemployment was 7.5% and rising fast; oil and gas prices were through the roof at the time; and America was headed for a historically difficult recession.  Respectfully, Bush came to office in a far better economic climate left by a Republican Congress and Bill Clinton, although it is likely the economy was experiencing the beginning of a recession.

As for Reagan raising taxes — having slashed tax rates across the board to low levels unheard of then and which are unlikely to be matched in decades to come, in this context Pete then mentions Reagan being responsible for numerous tax increases, including “then the largest tax increase in American history (the TEFRA tax).”  I recall, at the time, that congressional Democrats had agreed to cut $2-$3 dollars in spending in exchange for $1 dollar in tax increases.  The Democrats never made the cuts, an important lesson for today’s Republican leadership.  By itself, however, this is meaningless.  What would be useful is an analysis of the net outcome at the end of a presidency resulting from tax cuts and increases.  The reason is simple: if there are massive tax cuts at the beginning of a presidency, and several tax increases (and further cuts) during following budget cycles, what’s relevant is the net.  As Dr. Daniel Mitchell put it: “Reagan did sign several tax increases after his 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act, but the cumulative effect of those unfortunate compromises was relatively modest compared to the positive changes in his first year. When he left office, he bequeathed to the nation a tax code with meaningful and permanent tax rate reductions. The Bush tax cuts, by contrast, expire at the end of this year, and virtually all of the pro-growth provisions will disappear. This doesn’t mean Bush’s record on taxes was bad, but it certainly does not compare to the Gipper’s.”

Spending.  Pete writes: “President Reagan gets the nod over Bush on federal spending, especially in his first year, when Reagan made a real run at cutting domestic spending. Still, under Reagan, spending increased by around one-quarter in real terms. Federal spending as a percentage of the economy was higher during the Reagan years than during the Bush years, though Bush inherited a more advantageous starting position. Under Reagan, the national debt increased from just over $700 billion to more than $2 trillion (this included the defense build-up at the end of the Cold War); for Bush, the figure increased from $3.4 trillion to $5.8 trillion (including the costs of two wars).  Some conservatives are highly critical of Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), though history will vindicate that decision because much of the TARP money has been repaid, and its cost to taxpayers is lower than even its strongest early supporters expected (see here).”

This is a misleading.  The figures provided by the CBO, linked through Wikipedia, show the following respecting the national debt as a percentage of GDP: the end of Reagan’s first term 43.8%, the end of Reagan’s second term 53.1%; the end of Bush’s first term 63.5%, the end of Bush’s second term 83.4%.  Furthermore, the problem with TARP was not only the enormous amount of taxpayer money used to subsidize financial institutions but the fact that it created a precedent for government intrusion in the marketplace not seen since Herbert Hoover laid the foundation for Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  The size and scope of Bush’s federal intervention cannot be easily dismissed.  Bush used $17.4 billion in TARP for loans to GM and Chrysler, even though Congress had rejected subsidizing those companies — and, as best I can tell, without specific statutory authority.  He also signed the $152 billion Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the $300 billion Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.    

In 2007, before much of Bush’s massive increases in discretionary spending, the CATO Institute compared the annual growth of spending by presidents since 1964, adjusted for inflation.  It concluded that Bush’s increase in discretionary spending far exceeded not only Reagan’s, but LBJ’s: Bush 5.3%, LBJ 4.6%, Ford 3.0%, Carter 2.4%, Reagan 1.9%.

Also, look here and here and here and here and here and here and 1000 other reliable links.

Last month, Dan Mitchell wrote: “Since February is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth and I still haven’t gotten over my man-crush on the Gipper, I figured it would be interesting to look at Reagan’s fiscal record, particularly to see whether he was successful in restraining the growth of domestic spending.

“There is lots of good information in the Historical Tables of the Budget, which is produced by the Office of Management and Budget. I was particularly fascinated by the data on inflation-adjusted total domestic spending (discretionary and entitlements), which can be obtained by adding columns E and H of Table 8.2…. Reagan managed to limit average domestic spending increases to less than one percent per year. These figures, which are adjusted for inflation, show that spending has grown more than five times as rapidly during the Bush-Obama years.”

Frankly, it is absurd on every level to compare Reagan’s spending (and tax) record to Bush’s.  Bush was an enthusiastic interventionist.

Entitlements.  Pete writes: “The complaint about Bush is that he was the architect of a prescription-drug entitlement. Fair enough, though it should be said that because of free-market reforms, the cost of the plan was 40 percent below the estimates, an unheard of achievement. But even if one opposed the Medicare prescription-drug plan, one should take into account Bush’s decision to put his political capital behind Social Security reform, including personal retirement accounts. The effort was unsuccessful but politically courageous. No president, including Reagan, attempted reforms nearly as far-reaching. Reagan agreed to a plan to save Social Security that included large payroll-tax increases. In addition, Reagan enacted what at the time was the most dramatic expansion of Medicare coverage since its inception, including a complex system of price controls.”

I actually agree with Pete to the extent he says that Bush proposed reforms to Social Security.  But it is hard to argue for Social Security reforms when you are also fighting for the biggest expansion of entitlements in 40 years with the Medicare prescription drug program.  Most conservatives rightly consider this utterly irresponsible, despite the lower cost estimates referenced by Pete.  All that proves is that an already unsustainable program will become unsustainable a little later, yet still sooner than otherwise would have occurred but for the Bush prescription drug program.  Reagan never proposed or implemented anything close to what Bush did in this one act.  To suggest otherwise is nonsense.  Bush touts this as an accomplishment.  Why do his former staffers try to persuade us that it was good conservative policy?

While not strictly an entitlement, but close enough, I would add that Reagan also attempted to eliminate the Department of Education.  Among his most fervent opponents was Howard Baker, who was Senate Majority Leader at the time (and who had been George Will’s favorite candidate in the 1979 Republican presidential primary).  Reagan also attempted to block-grant most of the Elementary and Secondary Education funding, and much of it was.  Conversely, Bush insisted on a significantly increased federal funding and policing role in local education, including the “No Child Left Behind” program, with the help of Ted Kennedy.  This not only goes to spending but, again, the appropriateness of the level of federal intervention promoted by the Bush administration.  After 9/11, Bush also created the massive Homeland Security Department, with its endless layers of bureaucracy and overlap and massive budget, and federalized airport security (whose members are likely to soon be unionized).     

Terrorism.  Pete writes, “Reagan was impressive in some respects, including ordering the bombing of Libya in the wake of the 1986 discotheque bombing in West Berlin. On the flip side, Reagan retreated from Lebanon after the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks. (In one of his fatwas, Osama bin Laden cited the pullout as evidence of American weakness.) Reagan also agreed to sell arms for hostages — and not just to any nation, but to the Iranian regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini. Bush, in contrast, was unyielding on terrorism.”

The issue is national security, not terrorism per se, but I understand Pete’s desire to constrict the discussion.  But I am not so obliged.  Reagan had to rebuild the U.S military.  He had to confront Soviet and communist expansion in our hemisphere, in Africa, in Afghanistan, and he was successful as any president could be in all those regions.  Hence, when Bush came to office, there was no Soviet Union left to deal with.  No small accomplishment, but one Pete ignores.  Reagan attempted to kill Gaddafi for his murder of Americans through terrorist acts.   But in 2008, Bush actually paid Libya reparations for the bombing and opened diplomatic relations with the terror state. This would be the same regime the Democracy Project advocates insist we obliterate today (a view, incidentally, I share).  So, when Pete says Bush would never have authorized arms to Iran for the release of hostages (which Reagan supported only after getting reports that CIA official and hostage, William Buckley, was being brutally tortured), we do know that Bush authorized reparations to a regime that paid terrorists to blow an passenger jet out of the sky, killing scores of Americans.    This does not seem “unyielding on terrorism to me.”

Respecting the terrible killing of our Marines in Lebanon, the problem Reagan faced was not one of omission or passivity or priorities.  It was not so clear who was responsible at the time, or who or how to effectively strike.   Reagan was not one to duck a retributive strike against terrorists.  I would also caution Pete that although bin Laden mentioned it, let me suggest that bin Laden didn’t need that act of terrorism or any other excuse to motivate him to unleashed the 9/11 attacks on our country — or what he hopes to unleash even now — after the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.  

Social issues.  Pete writes: “Both presidents were rock solid on abortion — though Bush probably has the policy advantage given his judicial nominations, his stand on embryonic stem cell research, his support for the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, and his opposition to partial-birth abortion and human cloning. Bush also promoted a constitutional amendment opposing same-sex marriage, an issue Reagan didn’t confront. On gun control, Reagan favored the Brady bill, while Bush was a stalwart defender of the Second Amendment.”

Let me try to unravel this. How were Bush’s judicial nominations better than Reagan’s on the abortion issue?  Am I missing something?  I guess Pete is talking about the Supreme Court.  Kennedy and O’Connor were considered pro-life when nominated.  In Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the first case in which O’Connor was involved in the abortion issue, she voted with Rehnquist and Byron White for life.  It is hardly logical to hold a president responsible for the changed positions of life-time appointed justices whose records and representations when nominated are of a similar philosophy but change down the road.  Furthermore, if there is a distinction on the circuit courts, what are they?

The science relating to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning was not advanced enough during the Reagan presidency to make them issues.  That said, Bush’s position on stem cell research was actually a compromise. See here and here.  Moreover, I am pleased Bush signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.  It was legislation spear-headed by, among others, Senator Rick Santorum.  Is there any doubt Reagan would have signed it?  Reagan’s support for the Brady bill was unfortunate.  I recall, perhaps inaccurately, that Bush did support the Reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban, although it did not pass in Congress at the time.  But why limit the discussion to only the Second Amendment.

Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law despite campaigning against it in 2000.  More than violating his campaign pledge, the law was an affront to political speech.  In Citizens United, the Court rolled backed major aspects of it (all the Reagan alums, including Bush’s two appointees, voted in the majority and against Bush).  On the other hand, Reagan’s commitment to the First Amendment and free speech was evident in his FCC’s deregulation policies, which lead, in part, to the birth of modern talk radio.  And when it comes to another part of the Constitution, equal protection, Reagan would never have signed on to legal arguments defending racial preferences in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger.

Finally, Pete gratuitously asserts that Bush was Israel’s best presidential friend.  I have no idea what he means, since he does not explain himself.  Most Republican presidents have been supportive of Israel.  But if I had to choose one who stands out from the others, it would be Richard Nixon for his efforts in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  Nixon agreed to replace all of Israel’s aircraft and tank losses, pledged U.S. military support, and faced down the Soviet Union, which wanted to come to the defense of its Arab allies, who were taking a beating shortly after they had launched their attack.  Nixon soon quadrupled U.S. aid to Israel and the U.S. replaced France as Israel’s largest arms supplier.

I doubt I will succeed in persuading Pete of very much, given his admirable loyalty to President Bush.  I am a big fan of the president myself, but not all his policies — particularly much of his fiscal policies.  I think it is worthy to defend Bush, especially if you worked for him and believe in his actions.  But there is no need to base that support on claims of fidelity to conservatism when, in fact, such claims are often fanciful and incredible.  Of course, no president is perfect, and that includes Reagan, for no person is perfect.  There is no shame in defending Bush’s policies for what they are and for what you believe they accomplished. 

I have spent more time than I should on this reply as I have other work-related deadlines.  But I did so not primarily to move Pete off his positions, but to hopefully inform third parties who read these debates and provide them with a perspective different from Pete’s and many Bush advocates/former staffers, which I believe is more accurate.

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  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    War is the last resort. War consumes resources, both human and economic. It creates long term resentments that can be costly and unpredictable.

    If a leader has to resort to war it is because all the other options failed them.

    War is a failure of leadership not its validation.

    Young men are swept up in the excitement of recklessly proving themselves heroic.

    Old men prove themselves by knowing better.

  • Dustoff

    War is a failure of leadership not its validation.
    Depends on what side your talking about. IE. Iraq (Saddam failed)

  • Niniane

    Had Baby Bush been less of a donkey in elephant’s clothing, there would be no Barack in the WH today. What voters did was throw the lesser of two evils (Republicans) down the sewer to get perhaps the greatest evil of all. 2012 cannot get here soon enough and I really want to see a strong candidate this time for the Republicans, one who understands economics at least a teeny bit and one who appreciates that this is a sovereign country, not an international joke.

  • GusMalanga

    It’s a fair assessment, except for repeating the apparently unchallenged conservative assumption that Reagan’s 1986 legalization of illegal immigrants was a failure. It was not. It was a resounding success and a primary reason why the Reagan booming economy continued past his presidency and the United States does not face the bleak demographic prospects of Europe and Japan.

    Only those who define “success” as preserving the demographic mix of 1950s America fail to see the value of legalizing millions of hard working immigrants who remain “illegal” because US law has changed since the 1990s to make it almost impossible to immigrate legally unless you already have a legal spouse or a unique skill. Then life was great for monolingual White Anglo males with high school diploma, but not for Blacks, Hispanics, educated women, etc. The 1950s were a unique period for prosperity derived from having won WWII.

    We need to control our borders to protect our citizens from terrorists and illegal drugs now crossing the border with impunity because our present laws are impractical. We also need to attract more highly skilled immigrants. Instead, so called “conservatives” keep devising sneaky schemes to steal US citizenship from the American children of “illegals”, and harassing those whose crime is wanting to be Americans just like our own ancestors. Entering the US illegally is a misdemeanor with a five year statute of limitation, not a capital crime.

    Reagan’s legalization was a success and Bush was right in trying to emulate it. As a former Governor of Texas he understood that America’s future lies with embracing all its people, and not just those whose ancestors were dominant in the past.

  • Sweetrae aka: LeAnn

    Thank you Mr. Levin for all the great information in your article about compairing the two. Reagan was my president, and I had just turned 18 the year of 1980 and cast my vote for Mr. Reagan and was not sorry ever for voting for that man twice. I saw the hardships the country was going through ( much like today) under a weak anti-Semetic coward like Jimmy Carter. I believe it was Bush who coined the term “compassionate conservative” which really means liberal or RINO.

  • raymondo1

    Mark makes important distinctions between the Gipper and W that need to be understood in the context of Conservative thought. I’ve read both biographies on Bush as well as Mark’s Liberty and Tyranny but unfortunately none on Reagan. We need to embrace the small government, strong defense principles that have worked in the past…not those of the limousine liberals and Rockefeller Republicans if we want to restore the nation to it’s former greatness.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P44ZURLNZXHECQGYHMYQMATERQ John

    Mr. Levin,

    There was no need to repsond to Mr. Wehrner. He did himself a disservice by taking up your challenge. His article is exactly the current problem with the Republican party and Mr. Bush’s presidency. It takes being conservative as a scorecard to be kept versus a set of ideals. The simple ideal is that the pursuit of liberty is always to be preferred to government intervention. Reagan clearly understood this, Bush 2 clearly did not. With silly statements coming from the Bush administration (such as “Deficits don’t matter) no scorecard of policies will make Mr. Bush more conservative than Mr. Reagan. Mr. Bush simply did not fully comprehend what conservatism is all about. If he did he never would have allowed the spending he allowed and the balloon of the deficit he allowed. It was bad stewardship.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    According to James Risen who wrote on November 3, 2003 that Saddam tried to advert a war he knew he could not win and offered to step down. Look it up.

    Saddam apparently saw no gain in being a “War President”

    I remember a little rooster at the time, one who would never admit failure, talking about the need to go to war. I remember his staff talking about flowers and candies. I remember the talk of how cheap it was going to be and how it was just the start.

    If we had waited for Julian Assange and Wikileaks Saddam would have been overthrown by his own people and we would not have lost thousands of lives and trillions in fortune.

  • haworthone

    Long Live The “King”

  • Tony_Seco

    You’re talking about an article that was on an Arabic news website. It was picked up by a few news agencies, but never confirmed (Imagine that ). Every now and then some hate site drags this old lie out again.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Guest

    Bush never had an original thought in his life.

  • Tony_Seco

    On the supply side, Bush’s fiscal policies were great. His tax cuts were right on, and got us out of both the .com bubble burst and the economic funk brought on by the 911 tragedy. This action put our federal revenue right back on track, with less money out of my pocket. The best part of it was when the Libtards had to admit that doing away with the Bush tax cuts would raise taxes on the middle class!!!

    On the spending side, he went overboard. Creating new entitlements, new departments and increasing the budget much higher than the tax cuts had increased the federal revenue.

    On the banking side, he played both sides of the fence. While on the one hand he warned against the poor handling by the banking committee’s policy towards the banking industry. On the other hand he crowed about how many minorities had been able to buy their first home during his administration. You can’t effect change against bad policy by damning it in front of congress, and praising it in public. If you are going to change a policy, you need the people behind you.

  • ^TDO^

    Correct me if I am wrong, Tony,

    But didn’t Bush give him and his sons 48 hours to get out of dodge.

    Or was that a doctored youtube post too.

    Although, I do seem to remember seeing that live for some reason.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    It was in the New York Times. But I know the pattern of picking out the corn.There was a rush to war, a clanging of the alarm bell, a vision of mushroom clouds.There was no question of cost. No apology for having to commit this country’s lives and wealth to war. It was all glory.It was a lie and a failure.But you’ll keep picking out the corn.

  • Truncheon

    Nice bumper stickers….

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Made for some good cowboy TV didn’t it? Wonder if he marked up the floor wearing his silver spurs in the Oval Office.

    How many takes do you think he had to do it in to come across presidential?

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Even at that, being reduced to slogans it still escapes you.

    Perhaps I should be saying something pithy like “Drill Here, Drill Now” something you can grasp.

    Is there something equally vacuous slogan about atomic power? I’m sure those are being scratched off of bumpers as we speak.

    Reducing the argument to “nice bumperstickers” rather than address the issue raised defines banality. Something you do with every post.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XEMWAKCYWG63X35ZHTNDS77D3E Paul '52

    Actually, Bush inherited the MILDEST recession of the last 80 years. And using the great policies you tout, IT ONLY TOOK HIM FOUR YEARS TO GET EMPLOYMENT BACK TO PRE-RECESSION LEVELS.

    But Obama, on the other hand, is a clear failure because he didn’t cure the biggest recession in 80 years within 18 months.

  • Tony_Seco

    “Bush inherited the MILDEST recession of the last 80 years”

    September 11, 2001 was the first finance related shutdown of the NYSE since 1933. You were saying?

    You then brought up Obama. I did not. If you wish to debate my words, don’t put them in my mouth. That’s very unsanitary.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    I appreciate your in-depth comparative response to Pete, i read his piece first (and what a piece it was), your piece is far more comprehensive and I actually learned some facts from this.

    Pete should just go ahead and join the Obama-Pelosi-Reid party and hopefully he’ll take RINO Mitt Romney with him.

  • Tony_Seco

    You are exactly right TDO. If the NYT said Hussein tried to bug out, then I’m sure that there was a real small “unconfirmed” in there somewhere. Just like the stories (plural) that I just read at this gentleman’s bidding.

  • Tony_Seco

    Here’s a nice bumper sticker you might go out and buy…

    “War is not the answer”

    I read that and wondered “what’s the question”? Are we just ignoring the fact that war was a pretty good answer to Nazism, Imperialism, Fascism and Communism. It works pretty good on Liberalism too!

  • KnownUnknowns

    here we go again, another ‘Blame it on Bush’ post. Even **I’M** getting sick of it !

  • Tony_Seco


  • HOO

    The BOY President says, “I picked Kansas last year and got hurt.”

    If it weren’t for Boehner he would now be saying, “I picked communism last year and I got hurt.”

    Boehner must go- start with a vote of NO CONFIDENCE by the House GOP. When you are in a War and one of your senior commanders neglects to inflict a major defeat on a mortal enemy when Victory is assured, that Commander MUST BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY. He may be very tan, a fine golfer, and a nice guy, but he must be FIRED because he just DOES NOT GET IT. DON”T waste more time hoping he will get it, just fire Him!

    Why does Mark keep saying SOFT Tyranny? I guess the third Reich in the 30′s was soft Fascism.

  • patriot1792

    The War in Iraq was not only necessary–it was successful. When 9/11 hit us, President Bush was smart enough to use the greatest advantage available to any commander-in-chief: that of choosing your own battlefield.

    We chose Iraq because it was the nation most capable of producing a stable democracy, supporting itself economically, and remaining friendly to the United States. While their democracy will never be as strong as ours, the Iraqis are slowly, but surely achieving this.

    I applaud President Bush for being a strong leader on the defense front.

    The financial front, on the other hand, is another matter…

  • HOO

    I am sorry but W is the political Father of Obama. Everything W did pales into insignificance compared to his dogged determination to turn the other cheek to America’s most vicious enemies.

  • KnownUnknowns

    i understand Bush is viewed as an easy punching bag. I mean, he IS the worst. president. EVER! after all.

    but juxtaposing the losers lined up for the GOP nomination in 2012 with beat-up Bush is not really fair to Bush, now is it ?

  • KnownUnknowns

    we should have “chosen” to attack the country who attacked us, Saudi Arabia.

    but instead, Bush kissed the Saudi dictators arse, like his family has been doing for decades.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KAORWL55EUFKCJWYW3HMW55IHE Angelo

    Who’d have thought is would be possible for Levin to be even more of a gass bag in written form than on the radio.

    He presents a few interesting thoughts, but nothing that couldn’t have been conveyed in two paragraphs at most.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KAORWL55EUFKCJWYW3HMW55IHE Angelo

    Who would have thought it possible for Levin to be even more of a gas bag in written form than on the radio.

    He presents a few interesting thoughts, but nothing that couldn’t have been conveyed in two paragraphs at most.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Do you spend much of your time arguing with bumperstickers?

    Since “War is Not the Answer” was not the premise it seems you are easily distracted. Perhaps you should be taking public transportation and leave the driving to people who don’t suffer from attention deficit.

    War is the failure of finding a better alternative. It is the last resort. That doesn’t mean fighting isn’t necessary.

    Without liberalism there wouldn’t be a United States. Without liberalism we would still be governed by brutal kings like William the Conqueror. But why confuse your little storybook understanding of history?

  • KnownUnknowns

    thats gonna suck for you that it took you two posts to say this short …. rant.

  • Tony_Seco

    Personally I would put Carter in that spot. There is a list and neither Bush nor Carter is not in last place.

  • KnownUnknowns

    Please, lets be serious.

    notice how Bush is conveniently despised by all Republicans today.

    Carter is beloved by many, his humanitarian work alone should be commended.

  • Tony_Seco

    Generally, little aka small minds often resort to ad hominem attacks.

    Have you reached your last resort so soon?

  • Tony_Seco

    Carter should be commended for his habitats for humanity work. Maybe he should keep working on that and stop trying to be a representative of the US completely independent of the Administrative, Legislative, or Judicial branches.

  • Truncheon

    Troll writes: “Without liberalism there wouldn’t be a United States.”

    You’re not a liberal, we are. “Classical liberalism”, the kind that led to the United States, is now called “Conservatism”. What you are is not the “liberalism” that led to the formation of the United States.


    “Classical Liberalism”

    “Classical liberalism is a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets … It drew on the economics of Adam Smith, a psychological understanding of individual liberty, natural law and utilitarianism, and a belief in progress.

    In the late 19th century, classical liberalism developed into neo-classical liberalism, which argued for government to be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom.

    The term classical liberalism was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier nineteenth-century liberalism from the newer social liberalism.”

    You’re a communist, that calls himself liberal. Kindly don’t play this stupid game, it’s old, it’s tired, nobody here is falling for it.

    You are the diametric opposite of a “Classical Liberal”. You are just a “liberal”, a statist dirtbag.

  • Tony_Seco

    Sorry, the worst all time president is Harding followed by Buchanan, then Andrew Johnson. No Bush isn’t next either.

  • Truncheon

    Known writes: “Please, lets be serious.”

    Let’s? That would require you to undergo a brain transplant, Known. I’m uncertain anyone has perfected that procedure….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    Bush was a string of failures, his only strength was military defense (and then only after he dropped his guard PRE-9/11).

    But he is responsible for Americas worst disaster ever: GETTING OBAMA ELECTED!

  • Truncheon

    Troll writes: “Is there something equally vacuous slogan about atomic power?”

    I’ll leave that for you, you seem to the be the expert on vacuous slogans…as well as laughably idiotic monikers…

  • Truncheon

    Troll writes: “Do you spend much of your time arguing with bumperstickers?”

    You haven’t been called a “bumpersticker”, you’ve been called the author of bumperstickers.

    Yes, we often converse with the authors of bumperstickers. If we didn’t, there would be precious few liberals to speak with….

    If you continue having these difficulties with reading comprehension, there are surely many community colleges in your area offering remedial courses at reasonable rates.

  • HaroldHill

    Dustoff defend your President GW! Show your adoration and love for this fine Christian!

  • Truncheon

    Troll writes: “rather than address the issue raised”

    I addressed the issue with the seriousness in which it was presented. You presented bumper-stickers, you got bumper-stickers. If you want serious consideration, get serious….

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    More banality or if you like” bumpersticker”Perhaps your liberal is conservative, up is down should just be termed for what it is, pretzel logic Was Thomas Paine a communist? Of course there wasn’t the term. Was he a liberal? Would he considered to be a liberal today? I think you would call him a communist. George Washington and Gouverneur Morris called him worse an Englishman and were prepared to let him die.Was Teddy Roosevelt a conservative? Of course, well kind of right? Roosevelt dismissively called Paine a dirty little atheist.A dirty little atheist calling for agrarian justice? That doesn’t sound like “classic liberalism.” That sounds like communism. Thomas Paine was the Che of his era.

  • Tony_Seco

    Why the hostility toward the bumper sticker authors? In your post “Bush lied People Died” could have fit right in your list between:

    If a leader has to resort to war it is because all the other options failed them.


    War is a failure of leadership not its validation.

    Some of those bumper sticker guys make real money! If this is not your livelihood you have missed your calling.

  • HaroldHill

    Defend Bushes wars that costs a trillion plus! Defend the phony war on a method that brought us naked body scanners that have been found to radiate 10 times higher then they told us! You are those that believe we must give up liberties to protect our freedom!

  • Truncheon

    Fair enough, however … sadly … I’m afraid the American people are a lot more responsible. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of that. As cynical as I am, it came as quite a shock.

  • Truncheon

    You have no interesting points, and you could have done them in a single post….

  • harley2002

    Yeah forgot you Marxists get bored if your information is longer then a 30 second sound bite with a slogan. Bush lied people died, Yes we can. Feel better now LOL.

  • Tony_Seco

    You sir are devising “pretzel logic” Conservatives revere the founding fathers, Liberals think that the founding fathers had no idea of what would come in 200 years and are therefore to be taken lightly. In an argument however, the founding fathers are liberals LOL!!!

  • Truncheon

    You mean, unlike this one?

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Did you read that on a bumpersticker?

    I read one about wimps and internet machismo.

  • Tony_Seco

    More ad hominem attacks. Are you really that small? Please defend your point by virtue of it’s logic.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    What a load. You guys love your big government when big government is doing the things you like.That’s like the “original intent” argument. The Constitution was a compromise and conceded to be flawed at its inception by the “founders.”

  • Truncheon

    Heh heh, all he was doing in that screed was babbling incoherently. I guess he figured blowing question marks around might bedazzle, and distract our eyes away from his discomposure.

    Ad lib twenty seven unrelated questions and hope the audience assumes there just *has* to be something smart in the empty spaces…

    Gotta love the abject morons who do the “liberals made America” thing. So pathetic…

  • KnownUnknowns

    has your family HEARD from you lately ?

  • Tony_Seco

    Who came and took Thorstein? The guy we were debating with. What happened to the prose?

    “What a load”? “You guys”? Thorstien, if you’ve dumped your load already I’m outta here! I thought we had a wit…

  • Truncheon

    It’s Known, I’m betting money on it…..

  • Truncheon

    Uh…I don’t get it….

  • Tony_Seco


  • Truncheon

    Yep, he’s got a sock puppet. He’s just the sort who would pick someone as totally obscure as Veblen. I’m wagering he was googling something that had “conspicuous consumption” in it, and hit Veblen on accident…

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    It was determined that this job could be handled by unskilled foreign labor with only minimal english language skill.”Bob” of Mumbai will be handling your correspondence from now on. Even though he fell off the scooter on the way to work and hit his head he should be more than equal to the challenge you present.

  • Tony_Seco

    So how’s the weather?

  • KnownUnknowns

    They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    “The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the b@st@rds were finally going to get what was coming to them.”

  • Tony_Seco

    Yep, that’s the weather underground! LOL!!!

  • Guest

    That post is simply excellent. Love you Mark, I mean the “great one”, but you are way off base describing GWB as a John Major type compared to Thatcher. GWB would be like comparing Reagan to Nixon, a complete failure for America. George W. Bush will go down as the worse president this country has ever had, until Obama is thrown out on his ass. Then, he will be the second worse.

    Really liked your last line.

  • westoast

    I like what you said and say the same myself. I would add that Iraq was a giant weapons dump filled with free weapons for terrorists that would have flowed into Afghanistan.
    They have had to make other plans, to some degree, since George W. Bush.

  • Dennis Cavanaugh

    Carter was not a great President but as you said has done outstanding humanitarian work.

  • Dennis Cavanaugh

    Initially his policies were OK…but his inaction when the stock market started to tank lead to the biggest free fall in our nations history.

  • Dennis Cavanaugh

    what a surprise. You don’t agree and now you are being called a troll.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UY2VBGWLNVKFW3XYZDVKII56YA Chico Elcheapo

    The American (Stupid) Voter got Obama elected.

    They listened to idiots in CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WAPO, Newsweek(They once compared Obama to God), should I keep going….?

    And these people are still covering all of Obama’s mistakes, and they have been many.

    Next time, Stupid American Voter, stay home and let wise voters elect your next president.

  • Truncheon

    Trolling, trolling, trolling … keep that keyboard trolling …


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    At exactly what point does a terrorists “liberties” cease to concern you?

    Is it before they attack or after?
    do you prevent tragedy through hindsight or foresight?

    and do the rules go out the window when you or someone you love are the intended victim(s)?

    I would love to hear your suggested alternatives to the investigative methods you object to, if not a pat down or a scanner how do you detect the weapons that would be used against you, your Happiness, your Liberty, your Freedom, and your life?

    What do you suggest?

  • Truncheon

    I’m in perfect harmony with your general position, however I must grant your retarded opponent one point. The TSA is utter crap.

    The problem with airport security under the TSA is that they are looking for bombs, rather than terrorists.

    They are needlessly intrusive, because they are ideologically prohibited from focusing on the actual threat. Terrorists. As long as they seek the devices, they remain one step behind, and they must necessarily encumber those of us who have a statistical probability approaching zero of being a terrorist.

    This is utterly inefficient, totally misses the point, can’t be justified mathematically in a risk/reward analysis, defies all the “science” that liberals claim to revere, etc. It’s senseless.

    If they looked for *terrorists*, instead of devices, they’d catch them all. As it is, they catch only devices that have already *worked once*. They don’t catch the next device until it *works once*, because they are unfamiliar with the current innovation being devised to escape detection.

    The delivery vehicle, i.e. the terrorist, remains the same quantity. Seek terrorists, and it doesn’t matter what device they have. You’ll find it, before they use it.

    There is little justification for the methods of the TSA. It’s a lot of money, and a lot of inconvenience, for nothing other than preserving insane notions of “multiculturalism”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    I agree the choice to target suspects should be accepted, but that’s the nail on the head, so long as C.A.I.R. (a.k.a. muslim brotherhood) is able to exert influence Grandma will have to lift her skirt too, the other choice is no search at all.

  • Truncheon

    I’d prefer no search at all. Sometimes “security” works to your detriment.

    It has been demonstrated that in areas with little to no stoplights and “informative” signage, people drive more carefully. They are more alert. Excessive government coddling engenders an unobservant, falsely secure populace. People trust the signage.

    Much that the TSA does simply enables liberals to coast along in their bubble. Without that government-enabled bubble, it would become increasingly difficult for liberals to sustain their “multiculti” fantasies.

    They’d start “profiling” a bit…

    It also gives to government an old, classical tool for command and control. Inhibition of the freedom of movement.

    I, personally, would rather take my chances with the terrorists. Live free or die, yada yada.

    Kill them where they live, leave our airports alone. Bush doctrine for the win.

  • AustinAndy

    So you really must have liked Jimmy Carter. Richard Nixon did criminal things as president, and was really a moderate if you look at his policies domestically. George W. Bush is not the worst president ever, in spite of your assertions, but he will certainly not rank very high in the pantheon. This president now in office makes Jimmy Carter look competent, who before this was the absolute worst president ever. There is a reason he only served one term and his vice president failed in his bid to unseat Ronald Reagan.

  • Truncheon

    This isn’t so much about whether Bush was bad, it’s about whether he was a Conservative. He wasn’t so bad, compared to many.

    He certainly wasn’t a Conservative.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    And i respectfully disagree, an airport is a point of entry and wouldn’t want my family being the victim of a careless system with no oversight.

    Basically my naked body will one day belong to the undertaker, and don’t think he won’t fondle it, until then i’ll have to deal with my pride and shame or stay off the plane.

  • Truncheon

    I cannot quibble with your position. I would have little regard for a female whose first instincts weren’t precisely yours. My testosterone poisoning alters my perceptions, of course. :P

    That doesn’t indicate I wouldn’t oppose you politically, however. I’m still unconvinced that the female perspective is adequate for the governance of a harsh, cruel world.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VF2EJZPEDUYL6HQW52DE4HDAUQ CodeMonkey

    “George H. W. Bush and other mainstream Republican primary challengers sought to thwart Reagan because, they insisted, his conservatism would be rejected by the voters.”

    Sound familiar?

  • AustinAndy

    Reagan’s amnesty was not a success or we would not be addressing the same problem as then, except with 12 million illegal immigrants versus what would be about 2 million illegal immigrants. Control of our borders has nothing to do with race and much more to do with our national sovereignty.

    Bush adopted his amnesty stance because he felt that it would politically enhance his standing with Hispanics or Latinos. It certainly is not a stand for conservative principles to not reward illegal behavior.

  • Guest

    The idiot is also living in the past.

    What a child…!

  • terry1956

    Mark I will have to disagree with one of the statments that GW and Majors were fine leaders.
    In fact they were the opposite they were terrible leaders not as bad as the democrat presidents or labour party PMs in the past 100 years but they still were pretty awful.

  • Guest

    Removed by author…

  • Guest

    Removed by author…

  • Truncheon

    How’s it hanging, brother?

  • terry1956

    Well there is one thing for sure weither going to war with Saddam was in the defense interest or not, the decesion to declare war should have been the US congress and we should have never ask the UN or NATO because constitutionally the US should not belong to either nor the WTO, the IMF, the world bank, SPP, G-20 etc.
    And no congress did not give a proper declaration of war nor has it since 1941.
    Now if Saddam had be an actual clear and present danger neither GW or Daddy Bush or Clinton needed a declaration of war to act on a eminet attack and they were violating their duty of office as commander in chief by not acting swiftly if they though Saddam was a clear and present danger.
    It was a lot of years before they brought Saddam down but if he had been a real and present danger they should have acted in minutes

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    And i am still not convinced men ever could or will run this or any other country effectively, ultimately being stubborn and prideful is the downfall of man.

  • terry1956

    Gw was bad news but I don’t think he was as bad as the daddy or his granddaddy or his brother the ex governor of FL.

  • Guest

    Before saying that Nixon was a criminal, read The Gods of Antenna but Bruce Hershonson (sp?) that chronicles the last two years of Nixon’s presidency.

    A friend who was the editor of the Killeen Daily Herald (at Fort Hood) went to Dallas/Fort Worth for several days to listen to the worst of the Nixon tapes. He said the only thing he heard that was damaging to Nixon was when he told one of his close advisers (Halderman?) to “take some money and get some men and get this Watergate thing behind us. I’ve got a country to run and a war to win and don’t have time for this.”

    Actually, it would be a rare thing for someone on the level of a president to be directly in charge of something like what happened at the Watergate. This would be more than micromanagement.

    I now wonder if the White House still has recordings of what is going on in the hallways… I bet Carter had them disabled or removed or, in not Carter, then Bubba Clintoon had to have done it lest it come back to bite him/them in the Buttox.

    Truman is attributed with getting us out of the war in Korea. Vietnam, the war of Kennedy and LBJ, was left to Nixon to get us out of it. Since then, we are getting in more wars than getting out of them although Bush said post 9/11 that this effort against terrorism was going to take a long time. However, if we had done nothing, we may well have been challenged with several wars already. Who knows? But, to do nothing is to invite some ambitious dictator to flex his muscles. With what we have in the White House now, let’s hope this does not happen since we’d just get talked into a deeper mess. Ahbinadirtjob of Iran has already proved this.

  • terry1956

    Yes war is a failure of leadership but not necessary so of the leader in the war on the defense side although it was the case in WW2 that there was a failure of the leaders both on the agressor side( the leader of Germany, Japan, Italy and the Soviet Union) plus also a failure of the leaders on the defense side FDR and Churchill but mostly FDR on the right side.
    Churchill may have not been in good health and may have not had the energy to stand up to FDR’s foolishness including FDR’s collusion with Stalin who was actually on the agressors side in WW2 although not allied with Germany ( for most of the war) or Japan.
    Although they did play up to Japan as their friend towards the end of the war in ” negotiation for their freinds” the US and the UK.

  • Guest

    Trunch gave you an honest out with the doubt that you were other than what you just said. Then you came along and removed the doubt of whether to take serious your thoughts as being Conservative.

    You would have been better off to have kept your mouth shut.

  • Guest

    The definition of “Liberal” has change since the 1800′s. At one time, it represented someone who at least had some common sense. Now it only means vacillating, flexibility when rigidity is required, softness and an emotionalism that is greatly out of place. It is the mentality of a child and, furthermore, a child with little or no understanding; of not knowing enough to keep its little mouth shut.

  • HOO



    Thank you very much for your thoughtful response. Winston Churchill: ” Never, never, never, never give up!” Don’t LET UP on our first Communist Racist President or the useful idiots who enable him.

    Regards, HOO

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GJNJ7AFAZYWHV4BL3SWS4FC6UY Jerry Greave

    This article ignores many relevant facts about Reagan. Reagan devalued the currency at the Plaza accord in 85. He nationalized the 7th largest bank in the country (Continental Illinois National Bank) in 83, he signed into law a health care mandate that requires emergency rooms to stabilize patients regardless of their ability to pay, he raised taxes almost as much as he cut them, Reaganomics was clearly Keynesian in effect if not design. Bush was far more conservative than Reagan.

  • Tony_Seco

    I say that we insist that all air passengers carry a knife. There a hell of a lot more good people on a plane then bad. If everyone is armed, everyone is safe. The only guns allowed would be trained professionals. It is an airplane after all.

  • Tony_Seco

    Now it means communist POS

  • terry1956

    Actually its very stupid for the people to give the president or congress the authority to throw out the rules( the constitution) preante.
    If the president thinks he must break the rules to save one or more lifes then he should stand the chance of congress impeaching him and throwing him out of office or after he leaves office( unless he is impeached) of a prosector bringing a case against him before a fully informed grand jury just like I or you should have to do.
    And if after the grand jury judges the law and fact against the president, you or I and indcts either then we have a right to a fully informed jury of our local peers in the crimnal trial with the authority, the right, the duty to judge fact, to judge law, to reduce sentence or fine even to zero.
    But if all 12 of our peers say we are guilty or we don’t like the sentence or fine then we can appeal properly even to the crimnal trial judge.
    The governor can turns us lose in most states, maybe all and if it was a federal trial and sentence the next president can let us go.

  • westoast

    President of States?

  • Guest

    What a self-inflicted dreamer.

  • Tony_Seco


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    Who said we would “give the president or congress the authority to throw out the rules( the constitution) preante.”

    would you consider “probable cause” to be “unconstitutional”? How about “hot pursuit”?

    I insist our police already exercise such authority everyday, is a check point unconstitutional? If you say yes fine but it’s simply not the opinion of the U.S. supreme court, you know that constitution interpreting authority of the land.

    Once again it’s a point of entry and if you CHOOSE to pass through you’re subject to search, legalized by supreme court ruling.

    Personally i would profile the muslims, but then again that makes me a racist, or so i’ve heard.

  • Guest

    For years, even during the Clintoon years, many Congresscritters, including a scroad of Democrats, did not miss many opportunities to say that Saddam had WMD which has been verified. Even the BodyBombs are now said to be WMD since they kill indiscriminately and often kill dozens of people at a time. Plus they are potentially the product of every dedicated Muslim.

    But, Blame it on Bush is the mantra. Apparently the MSM and Democrats at large have proven the old Nazi axiom of saying something, even a lie, often enough and people will believe it. However, I contend that they do not really believe it, they most often do not believe much of anything, but the resistance to the lie falls while people are busy in other endeavors.

  • patriot1792

    That’s not strategic at all–that’s just plain ignorant. Invading Saudi Arabia would have caused upheaval in the Middle East and even more anti-American resentment in the world.

    Look at it this way: when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, who did the United States go after first? Not Japan. We pursued Germany first, even though they hadn’t attacked us.

    It’s all a matter of planning and picking your battles in a way that gives us the strategic advantage, and that’s what President Bush did.

  • terry1956

    Well I don’t think its the federal government job to check American passsengers getting on planes in the state.
    Security methods are a need but unlike in a Soviet shoe factory one size does not fit all.
    I hear that airport security in Isreal does not see the need to give everyone two choices let them run you through x ray or grab your childs privates like a sick pervert.
    I’m just not going to fly unless its a matter of life or death while this total BS is going on.
    Plus if tens of millions of Americans who were flying would join me in boycotting the airlines better more productive alternatives would be found to looking at us nude or grabbing our kids private parts like a child molestor.
    But far to many have become almost like silly sheep while our forefathers and fore mothers would have put a knot on the head of a government agent or anyone grabbing their childs private parts.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    Four words say it all:

    Fat Man
    Little Boy

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    Airport security in Israel is based on profiling.

    see “C.A.I.R.” commentary above

  • westoast

    And if you add two plus two you are simply profiling four.

  • Guest

    Hanging fine but I feel a bit dangling because I thought this was the Ann Coulter tsunami discussion. How in the world did this happen…?

  • patriot1792

    George Bush had many great qualities that were attacked by the media and ignored by his fellow conservatives.

    1. Bush was the strongest pro-life we have ever had, signing executive orders banning embryonic stem cell research and enacting restrictions on partial-birth abortion.
    2. If he had had his way, the social security system would have been privatized and the current debt situation would be far less daunting.
    3. His appointments to the Supreme Court have protected our Constitution (gun rights especially).
    4. He enacted conservative tax cuts that created jobs.
    5. He protected marriage, led the fight against AIDs in Africa, and protected the rights of our military to interrogate and try suspected terrorists.

    As to your assertion that George W. Bush, who was in office for little more than nine months, was somehow responsible for 9/11 after “dropping his guard”–that’s something so ignorant it could only be found in a Michael Moore film.

    And George Bush is not the reason Obama got elected–that’s clearly John McCain’s fault.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    “As to your assertion that George W. Bush, who was in office for little more than nine months, was somehow responsible for 9/11 after “dropping his guard”–that’s something so ignorant it could only be found in a Michael Moore film.”

    Check your facts please, George Bush delegated his authority to subordinates as they concerned WEEKLY BIN LADEN SECURITY BRIEFING SET UP DURING THE CLINTON YEARS (in response to world trade center attack in the 90′s), but hey you can’t be right all the time, i wouldn’t say you’re “ignorant” but uninformed maybe.

    In his pathetic defense Bush didn’t actually PLAN to be a war time president.

  • Guest

    Now, that’s really thinking. I think. However, I also believe it’s a low hit on the Bush family. A family of political leaders and a war hero, to boot. Kinda makes me wonder about where you’re coming from and where you are going with this; Not very far, I imagine.

  • patriot1792

    Actually I’m quite confident that I don’t have to check my facts, as all of them in my previous statement are true.

    I’m sure we are both conservatives who share a common goal, but we obviously disagree on this point. George Bush was a strong leader who chose the right battlefield, and won a war. I thank him for that.

  • Guest

    And Nixon was blamed for things his subordinates and advisers did with their assumed authority. As caption of the ship of state, though, Nixon got blamed for it.

    Now we see a president that we find has subordinates that are socialist or worse and have been found in dereliction of duties. Does Obama assume any guilt as captain of his ship of state? Heavens no! Or, should I say “Paradise No” since this is more the Muslim thing to say…?

  • Guest


    Thanks for your clear thoughts on the subject.

  • Guest

    Have you kept count of Israel’s failures in airport security? Compare theirs with ours. Kinda makes you think that they get some help from upstairs.

    I wonder if God profiles? Could this be why Liberals and Atheists hate to profile? A matter of attempted self-defense?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    Are you claiming he continued to PERSONALLY attend these weekly briefings as Clinton did, and as he began to do after 9/11?

    I’m not a conservative, I’m an independent thinker, I don’t care for trivial loyalty to political parties or groups.

    And i too stand behind my reasoning that george bush should have and COULD have done a better job with national security PRIOR to 9/11, i never once claimed he was “responsible” for 9/11, likewise i hope you’re not suggesting he WASN’T responsible for national security?

  • terry1956

    If he did those things plus I know he voted to increase the unconstitutional federal social security tax then he comitted illegal acts by violating the constitution.
    On the other hand some of your other statments and the one about GW being more conservative than Reagan is far from the truth.
    Reagan is the best president we have had since Cal.
    Neither is supply side economics Keynesian but durning those years or durning the GW years or the GOP congress years under Clinton most of the main advisors touted supply side failed to warn about the dangers of debt and bad currency polices .
    I wonder if Laffer ever paid off the bet he lost to Schiff?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    No i’m not blaming George Bush for 9/11, but i am blaming George Bush for HIS DECISION to NO LONGER PERSONALLY attend weekly Bin Laden briefings, certainly the “captain” made that decision on his own.

    Only heaven knows the outcome had different decisions been made, but “BLAME” lies squarely with Islamic Radicals.

    Being a poor cop wouldn’t make you an accomplice to criminals who get away.

  • patriot1792

    Ha, actually no, I have made no such claim…I should have thought that was quite clear.

    There is no need to patronize me. I’m obviously not suggesting the president is not responsible for national security, but you seem to fail to grasp my argument. Being briefed on national security issues (which he was regularly) obviously did not prevent the actions of a small group of men. You’re living in a fantasy world if you think he could have done more.

    So please, if you’re going to twist my words and lecture me like a liberal college professor, please have the decency to use proper capitalization and punctuation.

  • Tony_Seco

    New math is OK, not new history. Dec. 7, ’41 was Pearl Harbor. Dec.8 the US declared war. Dec 11 Germany declared war on us. June 4, ’42 the battle of Midway. Nov 8, ’42 the allies attack north Africa. This, even thought at the Arcadia conference in January 14 ’42 it is decided that Germany would be the priority, we were already forced to do battle in the pacific.

  • patriot1792

    Being briefed on the whereabouts of Bin Laden would have done nothing to stop those planes.

  • terry1956

    actually even the Supreme Court doesn’t have the last word on what is constitutional.
    The framers were not that stupid to give that much power to a few people appointed for life by the poltical class .
    If your talking about customs entry at the border, sea ports and yes airports from foreign passage then yes customs has the authority to check and charge duties but within the states on private or non federal government property federal agents don’t have the authority to stop intra and interstate passengers.
    Private security and maybe county or local police have certain authority at private airports.
    local government or county airports the local police or county sheriffs department has ceratin authority and hired private security less authority.
    Yeah I would say generally the check points the state troopers and the sheriffs departments and local police do here in Tennessee would violate the Tennessee state constitution and the US constitution if the 14th amendment was properly ratified.

  • patriot1792

    I’m not sure your dates contribute anything to the conversation–I simply pointed out that the Allied command decided we should vanquish Germany before Japan.

  • patriot1792

    What are you trying to say, exactly?

  • planeboy

    Mr. Levin…you are indeed the great one…you sir are the greatest hold their feet to fire man I’ve ever listened to…bless you and your family sir…

  • terry1956

    Nothing illegal about profiling but what the TSA is doing is illegal.

  • patriot1792

    And we must remember–if George Bush had had his way, social security would have been privatized, saving our financial future. George Bush was a fiscal conservative his first term.

  • Tony_Seco

    Except, like I said, on the spending side and being duplicitous on matters of bank regulation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    Then what are you arguing? semantics?

    I stated he dropped his guard, that decision is what i’m refering to.

    You can defend his decision til you turn blue, it was a poor one. (even he recognized it and reversed it after 9/11)

  • Tony_Seco

    George Bush was equally conservative on his second term, but he had a democrat congress.

  • patriot1792


  • Tony_Seco

    If you would like to argue semantics, then I would say that Bush didn’t fully have his guard up yet until after 911.

  • Tony_Seco

    All anyone needs is to have the capacity to comprehend the facts. Remember the day… January 3rd, 2007 was the day the DemocRats took over the Senate and the Congress: At the time: The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77 The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5% The Unemployment rate was 4.6%. Bush’s Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION! Remember the day…
    January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy? BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!!! THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment… to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOS! So when you want to blame Bush… REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007…. THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER! Argue with facts all you want, it’ll just show your lack of mental capacity and comprehension abilities.

    An article by joe 6pack

  • http://twitter.com/skipt94 Skip Thompson

    This discussion between Mark Levin and Peter Wehner is excellent. It is really at the heart of the matter, in my opinion, of what is going on with the Republican Party. Or better said, who is in best position to lead it.

    Mark brings up an issue that has not been properly addressed by the Rhino, AKA Bush wing of the Republican Party. And that is the condition he left the party in. To be fair though and Mark does not bring it up, John McCain had a lot to do with this as well.

    These two, Bush and McCain, have a lot to answer for IMHO with regards to how they left this party. Meaning: “They left it neutered.” Why neither of them said anything about the way a Republican woman was (and still is) being treated is appalling. Their silence in this matter is about as pathetic as it gets for so called leaders of a political movement to act. (And, people say Obama has checked out. Evidently, we have our very own versions of checking out as well.)

    You don’t have to like or dislike Sarah Palin to understand the disgusting nature of silence in this matter. You don’t have to like or dislike Sarah Palin to see what is wrong with heaping on more without some consideration to all that has gone before. (Are you listening Peter?)

    There is more at stake in defending Sarah than merely an ideological one. It is about growing a pair and having the guts to use them.


  • patriot1792

    Thanks President Bush.

  • terry1956

    I happen to agree with you but of course Clinton failed to act also although he had years more to know than GW did.
    The fact is as far as preventing terrorist acts private citizens, private business, county and local government can do a far better job than the federal government with all its billions and burreucracy. I think the main reason we have not had another major attack has been the people and local governments, the federal government and to some extent the state governments have mostly being a minus.
    In fact I think the individual states could do a better job.
    On the other hand because of scale the federal government is a good idea on the big defense matters helping the states and the people prevent a mass attack from Red China, Russia or even Pakastain with its nukes or any country or group with nukes.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    No one took the alleged threat seriously but no one wanted to gain the ire of the neocons who were promoting it..Yeah, yeah, yeah Saddam’s a threat. But it no one gave it anymore than lip service.They were playing to the largely pro-Israel lobby, the Frank Gaffneys telling them what they wanted to hear.Until George Bush.

  • terry1956

    Well McCain was a great war hero but has been a sorry good for almost nothing US Senator and would have been a worse president than GW, better than Obama but about the same as Daddy Bush, Jed and Prescott.
    Although with McCain and GW at lest they had/ have good intentions, the others mention don’t or didn’t.

  • planeboy

    Hey just keep fooling yourself I’am sure you’ll do fine…I’am sure that anything beyond two paragraphs is somewhat confusing to you…but hey what the heck…You said “Who’d have thought is would be”…really and your going to nit pic Mark…your a fool of the highest order…

  • Jason Johnson

    I hope the RNC will one day quit fielding Deomcrat-lite candidates.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    “So please, if you’re doing to twist my words and lecture me like a liberal college professor, please have the decency to use proper capitalization and punctuation.”

    And if you’re GOING to play semantics and criticize my “capitalization and punctuation” at least proof read your rants for spelling errors.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GJNJ7AFAZYWHV4BL3SWS4FC6UY Jerry Greave

    Reaganomics was not supply side economics. It was a Keynesian stimulus that was called supply side economics. Industrial production in the mid 80s experienced zero growth. Look at the INDPRO data set on the St Louis Fed site and see for yourself. Investment averaged 16.8% of GDP under Reagan. Under Carter it averaged 18.2% of GDP. Govt spending in 1983 was 23.5% of GDP. For the sake of comparison, govt spending in 2010 was 23.8% of GDP. Reaganomics was clearly Keynesian in effect if not design. The consumption component of GDP became larger, investment component became smaller, govt spending became larger, private and public sector debt increased, savings rate declined, industrial production stagnated, that is not supply side economics.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GJNJ7AFAZYWHV4BL3SWS4FC6UY Jerry Greave

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Bush’s tax cuts were a disaster. They did nothing to stimulate economic growth. Real GDP per capita grew at an annualized rate of 2.18% from 1950 to 2001. From 2002 to 2007, real per capita GDP grew at an annualized rate of 1.80%. The business cycle expansion from Dec 2001 to Dec 2007 was one of the weakest in history. To the extent there was growth, most of it was generated by the housing boom.

    On the revenue side, in 2000, GDP was 9.821 trillion and individual income tax revenue was 1.004 trillion while corporate tax receipts were 207.8 billion. In 2010, GDP was 14.508 trillion while individual income tax receipts were 898.549 billion and corporate tax receipts were 191.437 billion. The economy is 47% larger yet income tax receipts are more than 10% lower. Two thirds of the current deficit is due to the Bush tax cuts.

    The 2001 recession was extremely mild. Real per capita GDP increased 1.1% in 2001.

    On the banking side, you need to distinguish talk from action. Talking about wanting to help poor people buy homes means nothing. The housing boom was not about helping the poor get into homes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    I’ll give you a hint: We didn’t drop them on Germany.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GJNJ7AFAZYWHV4BL3SWS4FC6UY Jerry Greave

    You can’t possibly be suggesting that the recession that started in Dec 2007 was due to decisions made by Congress between January 2007 and December 2007. Home prices started to crash in 2006. In Q3 2006, real GDP grew at an annualized rate of .1% and investment shrank at an annualized rate of -5.5%. In Q4 2006, gross private domestic investment contracted at an annualized rate of -10.9 %. Blaming actions taken in 2007 for the Wall Street meltdown exposes you as someone who is clearly financially illiterate. Hope for your sake you know that you are spewing nonsense and are simply trying to spin facts to pin the blame on Democrats.

  • DepthTested

    Wait, Levin is chastising somebody for comparing Bush and Reagan, and yet he’s comparing Palin and Reagan. Uh, whatever, Mark. Palin is no Ronald Reagan. She’s not even a GW Bush. You Palin supporters are becoming plain silly. The woman has had 2 1/2 years to get her act together, and yet today she’s the same bubblehead (a much richer bubblehead, I add) that she was during the ’08 election. At this point I’d be a fool to continue supporting her. Go ahead, Mark, keep insulting fellow conservatives for this woman. I’ve already stopped listening to your show. If I want insulted, I’ll watch MSNBC.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LYFDSKKAXRNDVHS7ERCK7EXQIM Michael Boyer

    To compare Reagan to either Bush I or II is like comparing Surf & Turf to Ham salad sandwiches. Not even on the same menu.

  • ArtNYC

    GOP governors acting Presidents of the United States as Obama leaves leadership vacuum. See ConservativeStates.com

  • ArtNYC

    Top 10 liberalism-destroying moves by Red State governments:

    1. Ban Obamacare
    2. Ban Islamic Sharia Law
    3. End collective bargaining
    4. Protect 2nd Amendment gun freedom
    5. Defy federal government’s claim of sovereign power over states
    6. Crack down on illegal immigration
    7. Restrict or end abortion in states
    8. Reduce tax and regulatory burden on businesses
    9. Break up government monopoly on education
    10. End Democrat vote fraud using Voter ID bill.

    The Red States are defeating liberalism, fighting Washington D.C., and taking leadership of America’s future. See ConservativeStates.com

  • terry1956

    Also isn’t there a bill pending in either MT or ID that would require federal and state agents to get permission from the elected county sheriff before aressting someone in the county?
    That is the way it should be.

  • terry1956

    Your right on that Palin is no GW Bush she is much better.
    In fact she would be the best president we have had so far since Reagan.
    But how can that be denied, Obama, GW, Clinton and New World Order Daddy have been pretty bad as presidents a radom selection out of the phone book of average Americans would have likely produced better results.
    But Palin like Reagan would be better than the radom selection.
    Would Palin be better than Reagan? No in some ways she would not but in some ways she would be because in hindsight she can learn from his mistakes.

  • JimPVA

    Thank you, Mr. Levin for an accurate recounting, including proper context, of President Reagan’s term in office. If I may suggest, please write a book on the subject. It’s needed, particularly for those who did not live through the era. I’m sick of seeing and hearing Reagan’s accomplishments misrepresented.

  • terry1956

    Jerry, I see you point now, I’m not sure about your stats I would have to look at them.
    In effect what happen under Reagan very well may have been Keynesian but I don’t think what happen when was president can be accuretly called Reagannoics which the intent had a lot to do with supply side economics.
    Now I do know that under Reagan federal spending increases durning the 8 years was one of the highest after WW2 when one party had the presidents office.
    Not the highest that would be JFK/LBJ years and the Clinton Years was the lowest.
    I think Reagan has been the best president since Calvin Coolidge and Ike would come in as a distant second.
    Its laregly because of Reagans outlook, it really did help pull this country out of a rut that Carter helped dig for us.
    The one fault I think Reagan had is that he trusted people to much sometimes and gave up to much such as going along with the social security tax increase on the promise from others that other taxes would be cut later.
    I think a president Sarah Palin or Alan West or my favorite Nicki Haley would learn a big lessons from Reagans mistakes and learn many many postive lessons from his service.

  • terry1956

    Yes in large Part because Stalin was our ” freind” and he was ” negotiating” with Japan ” for us”

  • terry1956

    No clearly so far by far without any doubt FDR was the worse president, followed by Truman as a distant second worse, folllowed by Wilson as the third worse going by the amount of death, economic damage and damage to the constitution and the rule of law.
    GW would not even be in the 10 worst list but of course he would not make the 10 best list either.

  • Billtexas

    Who says McCain was a “Great” War Hero, or even a war hero? I’ll grant you he along with all the other POW’s were heroes, but he wasn’t any different from the rest. If it weren’t for his Dad being CINCPAC at the time I doubt he would have been remembered at all. His nickname was “Ace” and wasn’t for shooting down enemy aircraft!

  • westoast

    Conservatives complain that there are no good candidates to run in 2012. One of the problems is that they are letting the media tell them who is not a good candidate.
    The left would love to see you run a Mike Huckabee or a Newt Gingrich. They are practically unelectable all on their own.
    What they don’t want to see is Sarah Palin running because she stands on her own even while they are attacking her.
    Granted, they have done a good job of torpedoing and lampooning her, but they are still afraid of her because she stands for something. Something that other politicians have a hard time focusing on for some reason.
    She stands for getting us back the America we used to have.The America they don’t want us to have anymore.

  • Dixon_Cox

    Two weeks before he stupidly invaded Iraq, Bush did not realize there was a difference between the Shia and the Sunnis. How is that possible?

    How is it possible for Tim Russert to ask him if the war was one of choice or necessity and he was momentarily stumped? He didn’t consider that?

  • Dixon_Cox

    On TSA issue, perhaps someone could invent a booth people would enter that would detonate any bombs they might have concealed on their person.

    Then you might hear, after the boom and puff of smoke “Attention please: there is now an available seat on United flight #…”

  • patriot1792

    You’re an ignorant fool. The atomic bombs were dropped on Japan after we had achieved the surrender of Germany. I was asking why this information is at all relevant to the conversation we were having?

  • jwebsmall

    Good to read Mark Levin here on Human Events, Reagan’s favorite newspaper!
    The GOP has made the conservative ride at the back of bus relying on the strategy we had no place else to go.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    You have some nerve to call me an “ignorant fool” after your idiotic down-playing of our attack on Japan.
    “Invading Saudi Arabia would have caused upheaval in the Middle East and even more anti-American resentment in the world.”

    So Iraq didn’t?

    Re-write history in your head all you like or play semantic time line games you aren’t propping your credibility up with name calling or misrepresenting facts.

    A country we ‘nuked’ twice is no comparison to Saudi Arabia, which has yet to be named a target.

    “I was asking why this information is at all relevant to the conversation we were having?”

    read your own top post you made it relevant by discussing the war and 9/11.

    Who again is an “ignorant fool”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Pettengill/100000010189459 Michael Pettengill

    Reagan reversed 35 years of reducing the debt burden, which was over 100% of GDP at the end of WWII, and then fell during every single presidency until Reagan who then increased the debt burden in both his terms, as did all presidents since except for Clinton in his second term, but that was done only by Clinton blocking Republican tax cut attempts.

    Reagan established the principle and Cheney was fond of saying “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”, at least not Republican deficits. But of course, to Reagan supporters, deficits do matter: they must be large and growing larger in order to allow for job killing tax cuts.

  • Ed_USA

    “those words would never have passed Reagan’s lips”Because Reagan watched what he said better than what he did. Reagan got “voluntary” import restrictions on Japanese autos. How does that accord with his free trade stance? The L. von Mises Institute, much beloved on HE, said in 1988 “The Reagan administration has been the most protectionist since Herbert Hoover’s” http://mises.org/freemarket_de…Only because the S&L crisis hit big time after GHW Bush took over was Reagan spared the need to do his own massive bailout. Make no mistake about it, Depression survivor and FDR fan Reagan would have done a big bailout. As it happened, he only had to do a small one of about $10 billion. Most of the $150 billion that the S&L debacle cost the taxpayers came later under GHW Bush.

  • BGen_Peter_F_Steele_USMC_Ret

    Reagan is more Conservative than any of the Bushes and we voted for Reagan twice because he was the Great Communicator and the Gift of God for us. If Dad were alive today he’d be celebrating the 100th birthday of Reagan along with me.

  • deeme

    I’d take either both presidents who loved America over what we have now…

  • patriot1792

    No, no, no, you didn’t understand the comparison at all. I was not comparing Japan to Saudi Arabia. I was actually comparing Iraq to Germany: the Germans didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor, but we still pursued them first. My point is that it is completely irrelevant where the terrorists who attacked us are from. A terrorist is a terrorist, regardless of where he is from, and needs to be killed.

    This entire statement was in defense of George Bush picking Iraq as the battlefield for the War on Terror; it had nothing to do with Saudi Arabia. You’re trying to twist words again.

    Pick up a book once and a while.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    “we should have “chosen” to attack the country who attacked us, Saudi Arabia.

    but instead, Bush kissed the Saudi dictators arse, like his family has been doing for decades.”


    “When 9/11 hit us, President Bush was smart enough to use the greatest advantage available to any commander-in-chief: that of choosing your own battlefield.

    We chose Iraq”


    “That’s not strategic at all–that’s just plain ignorant. Invading Saudi Arabia would have caused upheaval in the Middle East and even more anti-American resentment in the world.

    Look at it this way: when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, who did the United States go after first? Not Japan. We pursued Germany first, even though they hadn’t attacked us.

    It’s all a matter of planning and picking your battles in a way that gives us the strategic advantage, and that’s what President Bush did.”



  • patriot1792

    You just don’t get it, do you? The person stated his belief that we should have invaded Saudi Arabia because some of the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001 were from there. Instead we chose to pursue Iraq and Afghanistan.

    My point: the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, but we first decided to achieve the surrender of Germany. Do you see the parallel there? The overall point: there is a strategic advantage in choosing your own battlefield.

    I’m going to give you a little advice: when trying to have an intelligent discussion with someone, don’t use all-caps, ranting language and garbled sentences. It’s making you look like a child, and then your argument becomes far less effective.

    It must suck getting owned by a teenager.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn


    I ‘got it’ perfectly the first time.

    You’re an idiot plain and simple!

    Your Germany – Japan Time Line is Irrelevant to the comparison, you can only play semantics not debate facts!

    We EVENTUALLY NUKED JAPAN TWICE, do you see a similar situation occurring with Saudi Arabia?

    “I’m going to give you a little advice: when trying to have an intelligent discussion with someone, don’t use all-caps, ranting language and garbled sentences. It’s making you look like a child, and then your argument becomes far less effective.

    It must suck getting owned by a teenager.”





  • http://poorwilber.blogspot.com Poor Wilber

    defending Bush now? Interesting.

  • http://poorwilber.blogspot.com Poor Wilber

    I don’t believe the Sunni versus Shia question was involved in the decision to take Saddam’s regime down. It was the intelligence provided by US, NATO, and the Russians that the regime had WMD. Iraq had violated over a dozen UN resolutions, violated the terms of the cease fire, were shooting at NATO pilots enforcing the no fly zone. Saddam had it coming.

    Personally, I would have preferred other tactical options than sending in 200 thousand troops.

    Although Bush was not a Conservative President (on domestic policy), made errors on foreign policy, polls now show a clear preference for W over the current teleprompter sock puppet currently sitting in the White House.

  • Ed_USA

    Not at all. Reagan was better than GW Bush, which isn’t saying much.

  • HaroldHill

    Cowards only sellout their liberties! While you expose yourself to radiation and let TSA perverts look at your naked body the baggage handlers, aircraft maintenance crews, and mechanic crews use magnetic strip cards to accesses the Airport without going through metal detectors or naked body scanners. Your the joke! You buy the lie and allow yourself to be treated like a piece of meat and by so doing you are being conditioned for the control grid system.
    The land of the free home of the brave… maybe once upon a time… but this no longer holds true for the majority of the people in this once great country.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    “Your the joke”

    I’m not the one arguing for less security at airports.

    It’s a nice touch to remind me of security failures that need to be secured only to then advocate we give up security all together because you’re ashamed looking like a three year old between your legs.

    “The land of the free home of the brave”

    You don’t seem very brave crying about radiation and someone looking at your wee wee, pull up your panties and grow up or stay out of American airports.

    “you are being conditioned for the control grid system.”

    You’re a wee bit Conspiratorial huh?

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    And your word on this is about as reliable as would be Nathan Bedford Forrest’s word on the intelligence of black people.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    “The L. von Mises Institute, much beloved on HE…”

    Really? I’ve been on this site for four years, and this is the first time I saw it mentioned.

    I know. This is one of those times where I ask you to justify your “much loved” claim, and you avoid it by arguing a point I never made.

    And if you want to discuss the S&L scandal, then don’t forget Whitewater and please include the Clintons, Susan McDougal (who served 18 months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to answer any questions relating to Whitewater, and was later granted a pardon by President Clinton just before leaving office.), and Clinton successor Governor Jim Guy Tucker (also convicted).

    True, the Clintons were never charged, but there were mysteries surrounding their testimonies and actions that were never solved to any satisfaction, and this mess ended with 15 persons involved being charged with 40 crimes, not to mention the mysterious death of Vince Foster.

    Four of these people were pardoned (wink, wink) by Clinton in the final hours of his presidency.

    The Reagan administration was ready to launch an investigation into the S&L scandals, but……….”The Democrat leadership in the House as well as the Keating 5 in the Senate (4 Democrats, 1 Republican – Glenn (D-OH), Cranston (D-CA), DeConcini (D-AZ), Riegle (D-MI) & McCain
    (R-AZ).) stonewalled that investigation. Among other things, the Democrat Congress drastically reduced appropriations for any investigation of the S&L irregularities. That stonewalling allowed the S&L irregularities to turn into a crisis.”

    Now, we get ready for the spin!

  • patriot1792

    Well I see the advice against garbled sentences and mad ranting went unheeded…

    But since you still don’t understand the historical comparison (you continue to insist it’s about Saudi Arabia) I’ll just offer you my sympathy. It must be a terrible thing not being able to communicate clearly or effectively. Your last statement was so sad that I could not tell where one raving sentence ended and another began.

    Thanks for the laugh though, and I hope you seek help.

  • Ed_USA

    Sometimes you say things that are so ridiculous, even for you, that I can’t ignore them. “I’ve been on this site for four years, and this is the first time I saw [the von Mises Institute] mentioned.”Perhaps you’ve seen von Mises mentioned? Or maybe his protoge Murray Rothbard, a founder and academic VP of the von Mises Institute. Here’s a link to an HE obit for Rothbardhttp://mises.org/rothbard/mise…HE certainly seemed to recognize the Institute. The fact is, I really don’t see von Mises or Rothbard mentioned anywhere BUT on HE. Also, the S&L crash cost the taxpayers $150 billion. And you equate it with the Whitewater witchhunt? Go and bother someone else. Oh, and try not to post such nonsense.

  • HaroldHill

    You are a government patriot! You are not a patriot of the Republic! You are a useful idiot for the establishment!

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    “Sometimes you say things that are so ridiculous, even for you, that I can’t ignore them.”

    You’ve never ignored me, but other than your usual little boy insults (that which you can’t function without) you do ignore my points.You really didn’t address anything I said to you, and believe me, if everyone here would give you the cold shoulder you deserve for your ignorance, I would ignore you too.

    Anyway….as for your ignoring my points….for example:

    “Perhaps you’ve seen von Mises mentioned? Or maybe his protoge Murray Rothbard, a founder and academic VP of the von Mises Institute. Here’s a link to an HE obit for Rothbard”

    What I asked you to do was the simple task of proving your “much beloved by HE” claim. You failed…..again.
    What you did was to give me “one” source, which I had no doubt existed, but this “one” source does not justify “much beloved”, for if your claim was not “much exaggerated” there would be many, many more sources all over this site. There aren’t though, are there?
    Of course not, and you knew it when you were prattling.

    “HE certainly seemed to recognize the Institute.”

    And so do you. Is it “much beloved” by you as well?

    “The fact is, I really don’t see von Mises or Rothbard mentioned anywhere BUT on HE.”

    Perhaps you should get out more.

    “Also, the S&L crash cost the taxpayers $150 billion.”

    I know how much it cost, but since when does a democRAT care about costs to the taxpayer?

    “And you equate it with the Whitewater witchhunt?”

    No, I never “equated” this with Whitewater. I merely pointed out that Whitewater was “part” of the S&L crisis. A part which you ignored because it involved your “much beloved” Billy boy, and his witch….I mean, wife.
    You also ignored the fact that Reagan’s investigation into the crisis was stonewalled by four democRATS, and one republicRAT; otherwise, it never would have cost $150 billion.

    Go and bother someone else? When you stop being a bother to the adults here, I’ll give you a break…….maybe.

    Oh, and try to address my points…..just once.

  • Ed_USA

    http://www.humanevents.com/sea…That search will give you three pages of links to HE articles that invoke von Mises. Four years, you say? You’re even more dense than I thought.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHU55LIB6QO324GEUGJRO3LOOU Bernardine Dohrn

    I expect nothing less and sadly nothing more from you than this.

    face it you made a poor comparison and you think deflection will make it less noticeable.

    Laughs? yeah you’re riot if you had a point to begin with.

    The only thing i’ve learned from you is you’re irrelevant and unworthy of additional response.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    Which pages? There are 20 different columns listed there, but anyway…..
    Three pages still do not equate “much beloved”, and I don’t frequent those pages to begin with, however; if your “much beloved” claim held true, we would see evidence of it on more than “three” measly pages, in fact………one would expect Human Events to be riddled with references, but it’s not.

    So, as I said, you have failed to justify your claim, you have failed to sufficiently address my point, but you have not failed to insult…………the only thing you can really do.

  • Ed_USA

    “Three pages still do not equate…”That’s three pages of links to HE articles referencing von Mises, about 50 articles in total. Looks like von Mises gets mentioned a lot, and you don’t read so well.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    No, I don’t seem to be able to read 50 articles in just a couple hours. I doubt that you can either.And many of those are from the same contributors.Ya know stupid? The mere “referencing” of von Mise still does not equate “much beloved”. Your penchant for over exaggeration is well known here as well. So is your pathetic dependence on childish insults.;-D

  • Ed_USA

    You had 4 years, but why not get started now and stop pestering me with your petulant nonsense?

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    I don’t care if I had 50 years, those commentators don’t write in my area of interest……and there are nearly, if not a hundred or more, commentators here with thousands of columns.

    I know you didn’t read all of them either. You just put von Mise in search, and came up with this list thinking that proved your claim, but you have no idea what most of them say regarding him. Many more columns have referred to Obama, but we know that it doesn’t equate “much beloved”, now does it?

    As I said, you’ve failed to prove your claim, but have only taken the short, lazy, disingenuous road in a desperate attempt to prove me wrong (so important to you), which you have also failed to do so many times.

    Petulant nonsense? Where do you get these phrases from…….your super hero comic books?
    How about “abysmal dolt”? I saw that one in Superman once……or maybe Batman, I dunno…..

    I’m not on some fictional power trip like you are.


  • Ed_USA

    Actually I have a good idea what they say. Maybe you should take a poll on HE about people’s feelings regarding Austrian school economics in general and von Mises in particular. I assure you that you’ll find them much beloved.

  • Ed_USA

    Check Stossel in particular. He can hardly write an article w/o bringing up von Mises.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    Well, Stossel seems to be the only “consistent” one, but there are many ways in which von Mise may be brought up w/o indicating “beloved”.

    On one thread there is just one quote…..””Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.”

    I see no problem with this, and I see no evidence of “much beloved”.

    On another….”Inflation is never neutral.” No problem here either, and still no evidence of “much beloved”.

    One thread in particular, by Ron Robinson, doesn’t even quote von Mise……but merely mentions the fact that Grove City College houses some of his papers for research purposes. This surly cannot be construed as “much beloved”, and it raises the question……..how many other columns like this one are there, ed?

    And on yet another…..”Thus traditionalists like William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk could coexist with atheists like Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. They respected each other’s views even if they disagreed with their foundation.”

    von Mise an atheist? Seems he’d be more so “much beloved” by you. Anyway…….

    The word “beloved” means “dearly loved”, so I really don’t think that, by definition alone, von Mise could be considered as “much beloved”, nor would any other reasonable person. “Much respected” perhaps, and this would be considered very fair on the part of the contributors of a predominately Christian believing web site. More than could be expected from you concerning Christians of any expertise

    However; quoting von Mise in 50 columns over a period of 8 years averages about 6 columns per year at one quote average per column (6 quotes per year), so I believe that I have more than well established your “much beloved” claim to be the over-exaggeration that I said it was.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    In my last post, I believe I’ve shown that you don’t have a good idea of anything written here, but perhaps I should take a poll on how many really care.