Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie on Bush as a Big-Government Disaster in the WSJ

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie asks:

Now that George W. Bush has finally left office, here's a challenge to a nation famous for its proud tradition of invention: Can somebody invent a machine capable of fully measuring the disaster that was the Bush presidency?...

In a way that was inconceivable when he took office, Mr. Bush—the advance man for the "ownership society," smaller and more trustworthy government, and a humble foreign policy—increased the size and scope of the federal government to unprecedented levels. At the same time, he constantly flashed signs of secrecy, duplicity, ineffectiveness and outright incompetence.

Read all about it here.

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  • Just Remember||

    Obama will be worse.

    He's been in office less than a week and already we're looking at a $2T deficit, Fairness Doctrine, racial quotas-- oh, and he's going to continue warrantless wiretapping.

    Hope and Change!

  • ||

    So let me get this clear --
    Y is worse than X, so X isn't really bad?

    Good grief, what passes for logic and rhetoric these days.

    No hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  • ||

    LOL, I dont think anything will ever be able to measure the devastation Dictator Bush and his Regime caused this country.

    RT
    www.privacy-tools.net.tc

  • Mr. Pibb||

    Heh. The troll and his initials don't match.

  • sage||

    Y is worse than X, so X isn't really bad?

    Uh, he didn't say X wasn't bad. He only said that Y will be worse. X was bad for sure, but we could see a whole lot worse. Obviously I'm hoping not.

    Oh, and congrats, Nick, on getting in the Journal.

  • ||

    I don't whether Obama is likely to be worse, but the problem--ever-expanding government with ever-decreasing limits--keeps getting worse and worse. If Bush came in with limited government rhetoric and did what he did, how much can we expect restraint from Obama, and, more importantly, a Democratic Congress? Only Nixon could go to China. . . .

  • Xanthippas||

    Well, that'll make some people mad.

    If Bush came in with limited government rhetoric and did what he did, how much can we expect restraint from Obama, and, more importantly, a Democratic Congress?

    Whenever people such as yourself talk about "ever expanding government" you seem to be referencing only an expansion in government services, and completely excluding government intrusion into our lives in the form of violation of our civil liberties. Being honest about this, you should admit that while government under Obama may spend more money and foster more social welfare programs, it is also less likely to spy on you or dictate to you the manner in which you can raise your children.

  • cunnivore||

    it is also less likely to spy on you or dictate to you the manner in which you can raise your children.

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh.

  • ||

    Is Xanthippas a troll or is he just high? Democrats would take our kids and put them into propaganda camps at age zero if given the chance.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    cunnivore | January 24, 2009, 10:25am | #
    it is also less likely to spy on you or dictate to you the manner in which you can raise your children.

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh.



    Me too.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Nick, that was well written and very depressing. I have increasingly come to believe that the Bush Presidency marked the finale of whatever hope there was that maybe we could have a Constitutional Republic in this land we call America.

  • Elemenope||

    Democrats would take our kids and put them into propaganda camps at age zero if given the chance.

    Who's in charge today? Let's be shrill at them!

    [Yay!!!]

  • ev||

    Nick, that was an outstanding article.

    My only consolation for the clusterfuck in which I/we will experience in the next 4/8/*infinity symbol* years is a whole lotta "I told ya so..'s.

    Trailer park life, for real yo.

  • Xanthippas||

    Is Xanthippas a troll or is he just high? Democrats would take our kids and put them into propaganda camps at age zero if given the chance.

    So in accusing me of being a troll, you make a trollishly outlandish comment of your own. Accusing others of what you yourself are guilty of is clever in a sense, but hardly responsive to my question.

  • Xanthippas||

    Incidentally, what is "age zero"? Conception? Even the Khmer Rouge didn't begin re-education so early as that.

  • sage||

    it is also less likely to spy on you or dictate to you the manner in which you can raise your children.

    I would say that both parties of state are extreme nanny-staters, and that they are approximately equal in their zeal to be.

  • Elemenope||

    I would say that both parties of state are extreme nanny-staters, and that they are approximately equal in their zeal to be.

    This. And any vagary that may be apparent is usually due to the temperament of the guy who happens to be on top at the time.

  • ||

    X, age zero would probably be birth, although some Democrats might want to get ahold of kids earlier, if not just to use their cells to cure old people. The Democrats already want universal pre-k. If they get that, how long do you think it will be before they start advocating classes for three year olds?

  • GILMORE||

    good piece Nick.

    Here was the first comment in the WSJ Opinion forum =

    "A Paean To George W. Bush

    9/11 brought to the fore a unique leader at a unique time,
    Thrusting a good man, as president, into a craven world
    Of unimaginable world-terrorism with its heinous and horrific acts,
    Instantly growing into the role of Captain with unflinching resolve.
    Never given a chance from the beginning by partisan hatred,
    Nevertheless, he persevered and dutifully led our nation
    With the unshakeable resolve of a titan dedicated and ordained
    To make us safe and secure and to keep us safe and secure.
    Consistently civil and purposeful in every thought and deed,
    Ignoring criticism and ignoble doubt, embracing faith and courage,
    He carried the battle to the godless and evil perpetrators.
    His banner was freedom and spreading of democracy,
    For which he was disgracefully chastised and scorned;
    No matter, his place among the shepherds of goodness and decency
    Will forever shine and ennoble the country of Lincoln and freedom.

    This is my rebuttal to your article. Respectfully, David McKenzie"


    Seriously. We live in a fucked up world

  • ||

    Sage, I don't see Republicans trying to shut down home schools in California, or fighting decent charter schools. Or banning trans fats and foir gras. Or advocating smoking bans. Spying? yep, just as bad or worse, but nanny state? no where even close, except drugs, of course.

  • Tribune Naga Sadow||

    Xanthippas,

    You cur, you! I don't trust the statements of anyone in allegiance with Carthage!

    Delende est Carthago!

  • Naga Sadow||

    Anyways, I agree with Xanthippas. There has been so much hype about illegal surveillance from the Dems that there is a good chance that they the government may back off on the spying.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Whoa! Bad grammar.

  • sage||

    Spying? yep, just as bad or worse, but nanny state? no where even close, except drugs, of course.

    How about adoption rights for gay couples?

    I don't see Republicans...Or banning trans fats and foir gras. Or advocating smoking bans.

    Have you heard of Mike Huckabee? Or no child left behind?

  • sage||

    For that matter Republicans would just love to dictate what we see on TV or hear on the radio.

  • ||

    Infinity symbol ∞
    HTML code is & #8734; Remove space for ∞.

  • Bingo||

    lmao @ GILMORE's quote

  • ||

    Spying? yep, just as bad or worse, but nanny state? no where even close, except drugs, of course.

    How about adoption rights for gay couples?



    I don't see Republicans...Or banning trans fats and foir gras. Or advocating smoking bans.

    Have you heard of Mike Huckabee? Or no child left behind?


    Both major parties want to control our lives. They fear that we will make the wrong decisions if left on our own. They differ in the ways to infringe on freedom, but they agree that it's OK for the government to do it.

    If you haven't figured that out by now, you're at a good place to learn.

  • BDB||

    During the campaign, Huckabee said he would be "happy" to sign a nationwide ban on tobacco if Congress passed it.

  • ||

    I don't see what's wrong with evaluating schools and holding them accountable. The state of Louisiana is taking over eight East Baton Rouge parish schools becuase they have sucked for so long. How can this be bad?

    Huckaby is a Bloomburg Republican with extra god baggage.
    You got me on gay adoption and censoring stuff. I better go hit the net and find some more examples.

  • ||

    Who would you rather have as the final arbitrar of nannyism, Clarence Thomas or Ruth Bader Ginsberg?

  • MAX HATS||


    He's been in office less than a week and already we're looking at a $2T deficit, Fairness Doctrine, racial quotas-- oh, and he's going to continue warrantless wiretapping.



    You're either lying or ignorant.

  • sage||

    I don't see what's wrong with evaluating schools and holding them accountable.

    I do, if it's being done at the federal level, which is what NCLB does. Congress and the President should not be jacking with education at all. They can barely get out of their own way, much less respond to the dynamics of educating 60 million (or whatever) children.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Gilmore, I love the unflinching resolve part.

    I could have won the Iraq war in a month to six weeks at best. I would never have tolerated the meddling bullshit from generals and commanders calling the shots from Florida while the good soldiers and marines sit there watching their target disappear because the have to get permission to engage. WTF kind of war is that?

    Secondly, Iraq is the size of Southern California, why is it that we are still screwing around over there?

    We should have been done with that in three months.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I don't see what's wrong with evaluating schools and holding them accountable. The state of Louisiana is taking over eight East Baton Rouge parish schools becuase they have sucked for so long. How can this be bad?

    Because history has shown that when the state takes over a district or a school that nothing changes.

    People bitch about charter schools, but when a charter school screws up, it closes and the contract is terminated. When that happens the media and the teachers unions cheer and point: See! We told you charters were a bad idea and here is the proof!

    And not a single reporter ever thinks to ask the obvious question: When is the last time a failing public school was closed?

    Nor does the most obvious conclusion escape them: A charter school that screws up is supposed to fail. It is supposed to be closed and have the contract terminated. That's the beauty of charter schools. The good ones work and the bad ones get weeded out.

    That rarely to never happens with any public school.

  • SIV||

    For that matter Republicans would just love to dictate what we see on TV or hear on the radio.

    Fairness doctrine?

    If the Democrats want less control over what goes out on radio and TV why do they have Michael Copps on the FCC?

    The Republicans suck in so many ways but they are definitely better when it comes to letting parents decide how to best raise their own children.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Congress and the President should not be jacking with education at all.

    Part of the Trillion Dollar Obama stimulus is to throw an additional 150 billion (prox) at the Dept of Education to be doled out to local districts.

    I know. It worked so well before, we should triple the budget and roll the dice.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    For that matter Republicans would just love to dictate what we see on TV or hear on the radio.

    It was exactly the Democrats who created the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine and the censors. The fact that Republicans have chimed in doesn't change the fundamentals.

    And, although it's not particularly relevant, the FCC and it's band of merry regulators play much more fast and loose than they did forty years ago.

  • sage||

    If the Democrats want less control over what goes out on radio and TV why do they have Michael Copps on the FCC?

    Whoa, I never said dems want less control over that stuff. I simply said repubs want more control. The two statements are not mutually exclusive.

  • BDB||

    Fairness Doctrine? Did somebody get in a time machine and set it to "1979"?

  • ||

    Xanthippas,

    Sigh. Taking the shackles off of government means that all of our liberties are threatened. I've sat through numerous Congresses and administrations, and the power just seems to be growing and growing. And if you think Obama is going to be a ray of sunshine on civil liberties, you didn't pay much attention to the Clinton administration. Not to mention that all bets are off if we suffer another terrorist attack.

  • SIV||

    BDB,

    Tell that to Nancy Pelosi:

    On June 24, 2008, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who represents most of San Francisco, California) told reporters that her fellow Democratic representatives did not want to forbid reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, adding "the interest in my caucus is the reverse." When asked by John Gizzi of Human Events, "Do you personally support revival of the 'Fairness Doctrine?'", the Speaker replied "Yes."

  • BDB||

    You don't get it.

    Even if it had the votes to pass, it's obsolete. It's a law made for the age of three-channel woodgrain TVs and the Apple II. That's what my "1979" comment was about.

  • BDB||

    I heard they're going to raise the tax on telegraphs, too!

  • MAX HATS||

    SIV - would you like to make a wager on whether the fairness doctrine will return? Because I like making free money.

  • BDB||

    First they came for my nightly news network broadcast, then they came for my CB radio...

  • Some Guy||

    BDB | January 24, 2009, 3:44pm | #

    I heard they're going to raise the tax on telegraphs, too!


    And gaslighting. 'Cause gas is a...erm...greenhouse...erm...gas. It has been proved!
    Deny that, deniers!

  • MNG||

    Yeah SIV, because under the GOP the FCC didn't do anything like raise the fines on stations that say naughty words or anything.

    Yeah.

  • MNG||

    BDB
    You are so guillible. Right after Obama and the Dems pass the Gun Confiscation Act of 2009 the Fairness Act is next, to be followed by the Gay Sex and Marriage Promotion Act of 2010. SIV is just trying to warn you libertarians!

  • ||

    Pro Lib,

    "Not to mention that all bets are off if when we suffer another terrorist attack."

    there...

  • ||

    TWC,

    My town is currently engaged in a massive municipal tax increase. Up 47% from what were already some of the highest levels in the country. Our schools blow. The kids come out functionally retarded. They spend 24,000 USD per shithead, and the teachers make 90k/year. Oh, and the school board just passed a 4.3%/year pay increase for three years compounded. Private schools are 15k. If Obama wants to pour some money into my town, I'll let him - we literally can't afford to turn it down - but only while I'm running for city council to try and get a voucher program on the agenda.

  • ||

    Bush = Bad
    Obama = Good

    If you reduce shit to the lowest common denominator
    it makes life easy and you don't hafta question your society

    and you can be happy

    When Bush broke international law and bombed the shit out of Iraq that was bad

    when Clinton broke international law and bombed the shit out of Bosnia

    that was good!

    Because interventionism is good if your from the "left" and bad if your from the "right"

    When Obama took office a few days ago and bombed Pakistan

    twice

    in his first day of Office

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/24/pakistan-barack-obama-air-strike

    that was good

    you see?

    Because he's a Democrat

    What people seem to fail to understand is when left wing people kill people that's hunkey dory and when right wing people do it its bad

  • MAX HATS||

    What right wing people fail to understand is that most of the left's problem with Iraq had less to do with legality than its complete pointlessness, its cost and its harm to American interests.

  • MNG||

    Material Monkey person
    You can count me as a liberal who regards Clinton's Bosnian actions as reprehensible. We hit hopsitals, Chinese embassies...I cannot be convinced that Serbia could not have been "subdued" and their victims protected in a much less bloodthirsty manner.

  • We Told You No One Really Took||

    Hey idiots, guess what? We still torture!

    He decreed that interrogators must follow techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual when questioning terrorism suspects, even as he ordered a review that could allow CIA interrogators to use other methods for high-value targets

    Hope and Change!

    Plus, we bombed Pakistan! Illegally!

    I'm sure the Obama war crimes trial will start any day now, unless of course the Rezko bribes get him first.

  • Lefiti||

    Well, at least he's not coming into office beholden to wealthy special interests like those damned corrupt Republicans.

    Finally, a President who's not in the pocket of billionaire corporate fat cats! Yes We Can!

  • ||

    Here's one of my favorites, the legendary Frank Zappa taking it to pro-censorship right-winger Lofton on Crossfire in the '80s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ISil7IHzxc

  • Kalim Kassam||

    Perfect piece for the audience, Nick. The raw numbers of Bush's spending increases cannot be repeated enough, especially not to supposedly free-market "pro-business Republicans." Excellent handling of Iraq for the "War Street Journal" as well.

  • Kalim Kassam||

    @Lefiti, whatever happened to "don't be evil"? Fortunately the candidate of rainbows and lollipops can do no evil either.

    Also, from the article:

    "But Google's employees left little doubt whom they supported. They contributed $782,964 to Obama's campaign and $20,800 to John McCain's, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics"

    Google employees really have no love for John McCain, they gave more to Ron Paul: $56,401!

  • Elemenope||

    whatever happened to "don't be evil"?

    Since when is donating to a campaign and/or lobbying "evil"?

  • Taktix®||

    Since when is donating to a campaign and/or lobbying "evil"?

    When the candidate is moonlighting as the anti-Christ, which is the belief of more than a few people across this fair country...

  • ||

    In retrospect, it should have been obvious to everyone that "compassionate conservative" was code for "social conservatives who spend lots of money".

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    domoarrigato | January 24, 2009, 4:26pm | #
    TWC,

    My town is currently engaged in a massive municipal tax increase. Up 47% from what were already some of the highest levels in the country. Our schools blow. The kids come out functionally retarded. They spend 24,000 USD per shithead, and the teachers make 90k/year.



    You MUST live in New Jersey, man.

    You have my condolences.

    Some folks I know retired from teaching Special Ed in Santa Ana Ca. They receive 100% of their salary in retirement. Moved off to Hawaii, which doesn't tax the retirement of teachers. What a gig! Almost 200k per year in retirement pay, tax free.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Well, not entirely tax free, but you get my point.

  • Kalim Kassam||

    Since when is donating to a campaign and/or lobbying "evil"?
    --

    When the lobbying is for anti-competitive laws that run roughshod over the spirit of free-enterprise that made the internet great like net neutrality; but I suppose that's not the way they see it...

  • ||

    Since when is donating to a campaign and/or lobbying "evil"?

    Ooh, ooh, I know!

    When donating to a Republican or lobbying for a tax cut?

  • Detective Walsh||

    The Wine Commonsewer | January 24, 2009, 2:30pm | #

    Secondly, Iraq is the size of Southern California, why is it that we are still screwing around over there?


    "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

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