GWB: Leftish Icon?

If it wasn't for his reactions (Patriot Act, Gitmo, Iraq, Afghanistan) to 9/11, shouldn't GWB be a leftish icon?  (source)


Ironically, the current Congress renewed most of the Patriot Act, Obama will most likely not close Gitmo any time soon, I see no movement out of Iraq, and Obama has doubled down on Afghanistan.    GWB may have been the worst president in recent memory (since at least Nixon) for libertarians, though Obama seems to be on a trajectory to surpass him.


  1. Mark:

    GWB was pretty bad, and his domestic spending increases were far greater then I would like.

    However because of 9/11 and his reaction, I would have to say he was better then Carter too. So Bush Jr was better then Carter and Nixon - that isn't a great record.

  2. Mark:

    I am also really surprised how much presidents in the middle of the 20th century increased our spending

    Eisenhower, would also be a liberal icon. Seems like all the Presidents before Ford were really part of a great spending binge, and Obama is just returning us to those times.

  3. Anon:

    As I've said before, Republicans are not the party of limited government. Don't let that duck-billed platypus of an exception -- Ronald Reagan -- convince you otherwise.

    Instead look to Nixon, Bush, Bush. Big spenders, all on the same order of magnitude of Clinton, Carter, et al.

    Pepsi vs. Coke -- tax and spend Democrats vs. tax and spend Repubs.

  4. Ian Random:

    Actually, he did propose some cuts:

    Bush's Budget Heavy on Military ; Plan Would Shrink or Cut 141 Programs

  5. Dr. T:

    The bar graph is highly misleading. LBJ signed the bills for Medicare and Medicaid in 1967, but his non-defense spending went up only 6.6%. That's because the biggest costs fell on later administrations. The same is true for other presidents who enacted costly programs near the end of their terms (think GW Bush and Medicare drug coverage).

    They need to go back and sort out expensive, long-running programs and link them to the presidents who signed them into law.

  6. Colin:

    I'd like to see a graph like this which only includes non-defense discretionary spending. I think it would be more revealing.

  7. MikeinAppalachia:

    Colin has a good point; also, later admins get hit with ever-increasing entitlements.

  8. Chris:

    I generally do not believe in conspiracy theories, but I have often wondered if the Bush family might be some kind of closet liberal organization. Two times this country has started down a strong fiscal conservative path - the Reagan and Gingrich revolutions - and both times those movements were followed by a Bush that unilaterally reversed course with a call for moderation ("Kinder, Gentler Nation" and "Compassionate Conservatism").

  9. roger the shrubber:

    amen, chris. have wondered that my own self quite a bit. despite what the msm would have us all believe, the bush's - poppy and W - aren't stupid by any means. hell, W got better grades than the idiot flunkout algore, and grades at least as good as brainy gigolo john kerry. they're both probably a degree of magnitude smarter than obama, but - since obama's shy about releasing sensitive national security data like "his grades from school" - we'll never know for sure.

    and yes, they both had an agenda they followed to the letter. an agenda that was obviously more important to them than winning elections or following the path set forth by the visionaries of their party. an agenda dedicated to ignoring the lessons of the fabulously effective political successes that came right before they got elected. they never got around to telling us proles what that agenda might be, but based on their actions and their priorities, it's crystal clear what that agenda WASN'T: conservative.

    utter mediocrities promoted past their level of competence: the bushes prove the peter principle. in 100 years, assuming the USA still exists, schoolkids will have trouble remembering the presidents from this era. "...the disgraced nixon, followed by i forget, then the moron carter, followed by the giant reagan, then the impeached con man and the 2 useless bushes. i always get the order mixed up. then that obama guy, who turned out to be on the iranian payroll."

  10. NormD:

    Rating presidents this way always seems highly oversimplified. Presidents live in political environment.

    Was Bush was worse than Gore or Kerry would have been? That was the real available choice. And given how close the 2000 election was, one can argue that "compassionate conservatism" pushed Bush over the top. The nation was simply not going to vote for an anti-government crusader. Several Republicans ran to the right of Bush in the primaries, but they lost.

    Republicans in congress clearly overspent but I did not get the feeling this was due to Bush pushing them. He should have vetoed more bills, but the claim is made that it is difficult for a President to veto bills passed by a congress controlled by his party. I doubt Obama will veto any bills out of the current congress.

  11. Sam L.:

    If it weren't for BDS, I'm sure the Lefties would like him.