Third Party & Independents Archives

The Dichotomy of a Presidency

George W. Bush’s speech last night was a perfect microcosm of his presidency. He laid out an ambitious and praiseworthy foreign policy based on principles of democracy and freedom. Conversely, he expounded on a domestic agenda that sells out small government ideals in favor of increasing the size of the federal government- all without specifying how we will pay for these give-aways.

Bush's views on the link between expanding freedom/democracy and combating global terrorism are mostly correct. It is essential that we spread freedom and democracy, and the following passage from his speech is especially on target:

Others understand the historic importance of our work. The terrorists know. They know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate. They know that men and women with hope, and purpose, and dignity do not strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent.

This must indeed be our guiding policy if we hope to reduce the incidents of terrorism in the world. The reason terrorist propaganda is so successful is because most potential terrorists live under repressive, dead-end regimes- in such places hate and radical ideology will always find a fertile breading ground. Bush understand this and I believe it is the guiding principle underlying his foreign policy, including the liberation of Iraq.

Conversely, the domestic policy portion of Bush’s speech underscores the complete fiscal irresponsibility of his administration. He wants to make the tax cuts permanent, which is fine, but instead of proposing spending cuts to pay for them, he is proposing even more spending. It is amazing that his entire speech did not lay out one significant spending cut to any federal program at any level. Seriously, take a look for yourself.

Bush says of John Kerry:

His policies of tax and spend -- of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity -- are the policies of the past.

But Bush’s "compassionate conservativism" is nothing more than an adoption of the liberal world-view on economic issues, just with a tax cut twist. Bush is a “less tax and more spend” politician. He says that we have a supposed “moral responsibility” to every single senior to give them Medicare, no matter how costly, no matter how they came to lack medical care. He says that we must give more training to every worker that wants it, without showing what programs he will cut to make this possible. Where will the money come from to cover these new proposals, pay for Medicare, sustain the tax cuts and eliminate the deficit (to say nothing of actually paying down the national debt)? President Bush does not even attempt to provide an answer.

Domestic issues are just as vital as foreign policy and Bush has gone back on his 2000 promise that he would work toward a smaller government that would give responsibility back to the people. The president looks like he is probably going to win this election- and I will not be upset because I think he is a better choice than John Kerry. But he has shown no willingness to tackle the serious flaws in his domestic agenda and will not garner my vote this time around.

Posted by Misha Tseytlin at September 4, 2004 12:51 AM