February 3, 2017

George W. Bush was a policy pioneer

George W. Bush was a policy pioneer

Much-derided, a retrospective assessment of George W. Bush’s Presidency reveals the troublesome Texan to be a pioneer in taking on many of the policy issues we take for given today, argues Robert Seddon.

Oh, how we laughed. For eight long years. Especially once he’d stood on a warship with a ‘mission accomplished’ banner (though possibly the Iraqis didn’t). Certainly, no-one could claim that George W. Bush had consistently perfect foresight. Yet in twenty-twenty hindsight, what are we if not Dubya’s children?

It was the oracular Mister Bush who said that ‘either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists’—and who now doubts that you’re either with us or against us? If there is one thing everyone in print agrees about it is the entrenchment of disagreement everywhere. Like some lost Tom Lehrer lyric, the liberals hate the Trumpists, so do half the conservatives, the Remoaners hate the Brexiteers—and then there are the Scots. The poor Jew in the Northern Irish joke (“But are you a Protestant Jew or a Catholic Jew?”) would nowadays also be expected to declare views on climatology, the Single Market and the metaphysics of gender identity.

It was the Delphic Dubya too who declared war on terrorism; and who is not battling some ‘-ism’ now? Bush was mocked for waging war upon an abstract noun. (How anti-racism campaigners escaped the same lampooning was, in retrospect, never quite explained.) Now all the juiciest targets have something of the textbook about them, from neoliberalism to ageism to patriarchal heteronormativity. Terror, we formerly complained, is not a military target but a state of mind. Now everybody has a phobia to fight in other people’s minds, from Islamophobia to transphobia to Trumphobia.

Bush blazed the trail of porous borders long before Merkel; he pioneered ‘compassionate conservatism’ before May and Cameron got to work on the ‘nasty party’. Before Trump promised to make America great again, Bush was hiring associates from the Project for the New American Century: in its own way quite definitely putting America first.

How we chortled at his folksy, homespun Texan wisdom—when we all had faith in clever pollsters and listened breathlessly to economic forecasts. True genius is proverbially misunderstood in its own age; and that was a different era, when idealists went to Davos to protest against globalisation, promising that ‘another world is possible’ before 2016 made the dream come true. How we miss the days of Bush, now that instead of American hegemony our concern is shaky American commitment to NATO.

The time is clearly ripe for reassessment of the legacy of this titanic figure: the father of modern socio-political thought, Mister George W. Bush.

5.00 avg. rating (93% score) - 1 vote
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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