13

Why Trump?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We’ve got to enforce our border, go to enforce our laws.  But there are people willing to do jobs Americans aren’t willing to do. Lots of Americans don’t want to pick cotton in 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s table, and are willing to do that.

We ought to be able to say thank you, and to welcome them. Have a plan in place that enables workers to do work Americans won’t do.

When there’s a populist sentiment it makes it harder to get that kind of issue resolved.”

George W. Bush, Speech in Dubai, February 8, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

George W. Bush in a speech in Dubai last week unintentionally helped explain why Donald Trump is President.  My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson gives us the details:

While in Dubai, Bush criticized the Trump Administration’s lack of progress on immigration reform. Then he weirdly noted, “Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that.”

Where to start when Republican elites confirm their own stereotypes?

First, Republicans should agree with Churchill’s dictum about the inadvisability of criticizing one’s government while in a foreign country: “When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.” Bush repeatedly followed that guidance when he insisted that he would not attack Barack Obama—even at home. But not now.

Second, Bush is far more critical of Trump’s efforts to reach a compromise on DACA and border security than he was of Barack Obama’s illegal and politically expedient 2012 pre-reelection executive order nullifying immigration law and enforcement. Whether he intended it or not, Bush’s “woke” emergence as a megaphone after eight years of hibernation, confirms the impression that Republican elites were always much closer in spirit to their Democratic counterparts than they were to their own so-called grassroots conservative base. Translated, they mildly were displeased with the Obama agenda, but loathe Trump’s.

Third, how incoherent were Bush’s cotton-picking riffs! (He may not have realized it, but Bush put a 21st-century spin on 19th-century plantation owners’ pleas that they needed imported chattel African labor because American workers were neither acclimatized to heat nor inexpensive enough to pick cotton in scorching Southern temperatures). Bush substantiated the stereotype of crass corporate concern (note the inadvertent contempt in “willing to do that”) that trumps both the law and the idea of promoting the wages of U.S. entry-level workers—as well as general popular cluelessness about illegal immigration in general.

To wit, cotton picking (which I used to do as a child in the 1960s on my father’s small 40-acre cotton allotment) has been widely mechanized for over 50 years. And agriculture now only accounts for about 10-20 percent of illegal alien labor.

Mechanization has revolutionized farming, even in crops once deemed impossible to automate such as nuts, olives, raisins, and delicate Napa Valley wine grapes. New computerized and laser-calibrated breakthroughs will likely mean that even soft fruit and vegetables will soon be mechanically picked, matching ongoing labor reduction in weeding and irrigation.

More importantly, it was not just the Trump tax and deregulatory reforms that have fueled economic growth and prompted workers’ wages to rise, but also the substantial drop in illegal immigration. In the new psychological climate that’s followed, employers are beginning to believe it is no longer worth the risk to hire illegal aliens, as they scour the economy to find citizen workers (in the inner city, the red state postindustrial swath, and the barrio) and pay them more to reenter the workforce.

When the country has a 63 percent labor participation rate, there are more able-bodied workers than we assume, even as unemployment measured by traditional rubrics is about to fall below 4 percent.

The old Republican idea that illegal immigration is a good thing because noble foreign nationals work hard and cheaply for businesses in a way unemployed Americans “will not do” is not a sustainable factual, ethical, or political position. About half of illegal immigrant households use some sort of government assistance, for example.

Mechanization, automation, and higher wages for labor are the future of the American workforce. If we learned anything from the 2016 election it is that we should reject the calcified idea of corporate importation of inexpensive laborers from impoverished countries, profiting from their peak productive years, and then as they age, tire, and become ill, passing them on to the social welfare industry to rely on taxpayer-subsidized health, legal, and education services—even as firms seek out yet a new, young, and recyclable cohort from Mexico and Latin America.

Go here to read the rest.  There are few policies that are more class driven in the US than immigration.  Liberal elites want future voters.  Republican elites, I cannot call them conservative, want cheap labor.  All of these elites know that, in all likelihood, they and their offspring will not be directly affected by the criminal gangs that are always active among illegal aliens, that they will not have to wait for treatment in emergency rooms swamped with nonpaying illegal aliens, that they will not see their kids’ schools go downhill trying to educate the children of illegal aliens, that they will not lose their jobs as cheap illegal aliens are used in preference to higher paid Americans.  In short, elites get what they want and the tab is paid for by the middle class and poor Americans.  If Americans dare speak out about this they are condemned as racists and Nazis.  It is not a wonder that Trump got elected, the wonder is that it did not happen long ago.

Oh, and on a personal note, when I was a teenager and in my early twenties I often did agricultural labor during the Summer, no matter how hot and humid it got, Central Illinois often gets very hot and humid indeed in the Summer, and I was glad to have the job.  Bush insulted the American worker with either lies or sheer ignorance.

 

 

21

Trump Lied

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”

Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

 

 

 

One of the more pernicious accusations in political life today is the claim that Bush lied the country into war against Iraq by falsely claiming the necessity of stopping Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs.  Leaving aside that the country went to war for various reasons, detailed here, there is no evidence that Bush lied about the WMD programs of Iraq, but was rather relying on the best intelligence available.  Donald Trump recently took up this mantra of the left:

 

Then Trump went on to say something even more unusual in a Republican primary. He suggested that the former GOP president, George W. Bush, directly lied to the American public in order to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

“I will tell you. They lied. And they said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction,” Trump said.

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15

Miss me Yet?

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Moe Lane reminds us of the Bush years:

 

In no particular order:

It’s been a bad six years, folks. Particularly the first two: they set the tone for the next four, and likely six. Just the way it is. Continue Reading

7

What Would Bush Have Done?

As I watched the situation in Egypt descend into chaos and violence, I started to think about how Bush would have handled these situations. Bush’s foreign policy was predicated upon a belief that America had a duty to spread democracy. I wonder if Bush would have been more quick than the Obama administration to side with the protesters. Although I appreciate that the US has a very delicate situation here, I wonder if now we’ve acted too late and not presented the positive pro-democracy face we could have to the people of the Middle East.

I also wonder if we need to reevaluate our appraisal of Bush. After all, Bush was mocked for believing that bringing democracy to Iraq would help spark the fire of democracy in the Middle East. While I still think the Iraq war did not meet the requirements of a just war, it is hard today to say that Bush was completely wrong. We’ve already seen Iran’s people rise up (though they failed) and today we see the people of Yemen, Egypt, and Jordan protesting. I don’t know if they’ll be successful, and I don’t know how much our presence in Iraq has helped or hurt democracy in the Middle East.

But it does seem clear that the Middle East is seeking more and more to be democratic and that the United States may need to rethink its strategy and partners not only to improve its image in the area, but more importantly help the Arab people secure a free and democratic government.

46

U.S. Involvement in The Great Game Realpolitiks in Gaza

With the news of Israel’s blockade of Gaza still hot all around the world because of the Israeli attack on the activist boats- I think it is important to look back and assess how we have got to this point of chaos, confusion and rage.

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3

Previewing President Obamas State of the Union Address

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 1-27-2010 at 4:20pm CST]

Victimhood personified by a modern liberal of the Democratic Party.  Where is Harry “the BUCK stops here” Truman?

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14

Daniel Larison, Talking Sense

I’ve written about this before, but it’s nice to see Daniel Larison making the point with characteristic clarity in an interview with The Economist:

Iraq was also the policy that turned the public so sharply against President Bush prior to the 2006 mid-term elections, and those elections were and were correctly seen as a rejection of the war and Mr Bush’s handling of it. The war was the main issue of those elections, and the GOP lost control of Congress because it had identified itself completely with the war and its members in Congress continued to be its most vocal defenders. By national-security conservatives, I mean those members of the conservative movement who have a primary and overriding focus on foreign policy and national-security questions, and who typically take extremely hawkish positions. They were the leading advocates and cheerleaders for the invasion. Most movement conservatives supported the policy, but it was the national-security conservatives who drove the party into the ditch while the others went along for the ride.

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23

Obamaville Shanty Towns: Tent Cities Sprouting Up Across America

As the recession continue to take its toll on our fellow Americans, rendering more and more of them homeless, tent cities have begun sprouting up across this great country.  It would not be fair to blame President Obama for the predicament that our nation is in, but President Obama has done nothing to help the situation.

President Obama’s ‘stimulus package’ only rewarded government contractors with more spending.  It is also correct to point out that former President George W. Bush’s ‘stimulus package’ did nothing more than President Obama’s spending bill.

Small businesses and the private sector in general got almost zero benefit for either porkulus spending bills.  Though this recession is typical of a business cycle, there are some things that can be done to alleviate the stress the economy is undergoing and maybe expedite the expiration of the current recession.  President Obama has done neither.

So it is fitting and fair to label the tent cities that are sprouting across America as Obamavilles.

(Note: In case the above YouTube video is taken down by the Blueshirts, you can see the entire story and video here.)

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33

Overreacting, The Left Needs To Wake Up To Reality

GOP overreaction to Obama speechLiberals and Democrats have accused many Americans of overreacting to the speech that President Obama will be delivering to school children today (at 11:00 am Central Daylight Time).

On the surface this would seem a fair evaluation but if you dig a little deeper, those on the Left may well be making another crucial misdiagnosis of the source and cause of this reaction.

First lets examine the prism that those on the Left have viewed this reaction.

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12

Bush, Orthodoxy, & Damon Linker

From the always insightful and provocative Daniel Larison:

As I noted long ago, and as Ross has suggested again this week, it makes no sense to blame Christian orthodoxy or traditional Christianity for the religiously-tinged ideology of the Bush administration and the resulting failures of this ideology’s optimistic and hubristic approach to the world. It is no accident that the most strident and early critics of the Bush administration hailed from traditionalist Catholic and Orthodox circles that make Linker’s bete noire of First Things look like the relatively liberal, ecumenist forum that it is. Mr. Bush espoused a horrifyingly heterodox religious vision, one far more akin to the messianic Americanism that forms part of what Bacevich has called national security ideology than it is to anything that could fairly be called orthodoxy.

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35

George Weigel on Narratives & 'Bush Derangement Syndrome'

In an essay entitled A Campaign of Narratives in the March issue of First Things (currently behind a firewall for non-subscribers), George Weigel writes:

Yet it is also true that the 2008 campaign, which actually began in the late fall of 2006, was a disturbing one—not because it coincided with what is usually described in the hyperbole of our day as “the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression” but because of how it revealed some serious flaws in our political culture. Prominent among those flaws is our seeming inability to discuss, publicly, the transformation of American liberalism into an amalgam of lifestyle libertinism, moral relativism, and soft multilateralism, all flavored by the identity politics of race and gender. Why can’t we talk sensibly about these things? For the past eight years, no small part of the reason why had to do with what my friend Charles Krauthammer, in a nod to his former incarnation as a psychiatrist, famously dubbed “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

Raising this point is not a matter of electoral sour grapes. Given an unpopular war that had been misreported from the beginning, plus President Bush’s unwillingness to use the presidential bully pulpit to help the American people comprehend the stakes in Iraq, plus conservative aggravation over a spendthrift Republican Congress and administration, plus that administration’s failure to enforce discipline on its putative congressional allies, plus public exhaustion with a familiar cast of characters after seven years in office, plus an economic meltdown—well, given all that, it seems unlikely that any Republican candidate could have beaten any Democrat in 2008. Indeed, the surprise at the presidential level may have been that Obama didn’t enjoy a success of the magnitude of Eisenhower’s in 1952, Johnson’s in 1964, Nixon’s in 1972, or Reagan’s in 1984.

Still, I would argue that the basic dynamics of the 2008 campaign, evident in the passions that drove Obama supporters to seize control of the Democratic party and then of the presidency, were not set in motion by the failures and missed opportunities of the previous seven years but by Bush Derangement Syndrome, which emerged as a powerful force in American public life on December 12, 2000: the day American liberalism’s preferred instrument of social and political change, the Supreme Court, determined that George W. Bush (the candidate with fewer popular votes nationally) had, in fact, won Florida and with it a narrow majority in the Electoral College. Here was the cup dashed from the lips—and by a court assumed to be primed to deliver the expected and desired liberal result yet again. Here was the beginning of a new, millennial politics of emotivism (displayed in an astonishing degree of publicly manifested loathing for a sitting president) and hysteria (fed by the new demands of a 24/7 news cycle).

[Emphasis Mine]

I think this analysis gets things exactly backwards.

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24

Bush: Nixon or Truman?

One hears rather often that George W. Bush has ended his presidency with record low approval ratings. Some articles I’ve read have said (apparently incorrectly) that they are the lowest ever.

pres_approval_history

The above was sent to me yesterday, and it provides an interesting comparison. Two presidents left office with approvals as low as Bush’s: Truman, who faced a struggling post-war economy and a increasingly difficult situation in the Korean War; and Nixon, who was in the middle of being impeached when he resigned.

History has been far kinder to Truman, overall, than Nixon. Indeed, I suspect that few people know that Truman ended his presidency as unpopular as Nixon and Bush. Certainly, I hadn’t realized it. It remains to be seen whether, in 50 years time, Bush will be seen as more like the former or the latter.