Sunday, March 16, 2003

Will Bush's damage to America be long term?

Matthew doesn't seem to think that Bush has caused or will cause America serious, long-term damage on the world stage.
As I see it, I'm going to do my part to make sure that a Democrat gets elected in 2004, and once we're rid of Bush we'll be rid of most of our inability to get along with out own allies. The problem really is Bush. He should be ashamed of himself, but it also means that he's not going to do any real long term damage. Once we toss Saddam out the people of Iraq will at least be mildly pleased with us (the twelve years of sanctions are going to take a while to get over), and once we toss Bush out the good people of Europe will see that we're nice kids after all. Long term problems solved.
I disagree. First of all it seems naive to equate the Iraqi people's relief with the removal of Saddam with some kind of forgiveness of America. It is possible to hate both your oppresors and your nominal "liberators", especially if those liberators proceed to ignore your future plight. Bush will have two years to fuck up any victory he may get on the battlefield and he is more than capable of doing it in that short a period of time. Repairing the damage with the rest of the world will depend on a lot of factors, the first of which is getting Bush out of the White House by at least 2004 and replacing him with leadership that will soundly repudiate his policies. The first step is doable, sort of. Bush is beatable, but I'm not sure any of the current crop running against him has what it takes to do it. Dean is the only who I think is psychologically prepared to do it, but he doesn't yet have the support of the party (the foot soldier's maybe, but the leadership may need a lot of arm twisting to get them to accept him). But, even if a Democrat were to defeat Bush in 2004, he might not necessarily reverse or repair many of the Bush initiatives that have damaged America on the world state. You see, Democrats have an annoying habit of not attacking their Republican predecessors once they get into power. Indeed, they seem to go out of their way to find ways to save their butts. I've commented in the past that the Republicans' greatest fault is that they keep falling into the very holes they dig for others. But the Democrats' greatest fault is they keep throwing the Republicans the rope they need in order to get out. Bush has not yet caused permanent damage to America, but he is very close. Very very close. Indeed, he has done so much in just two short years that I wouldn't put it past him to cause decades worth of damage in the remaining two years left to him.


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