Hard choices make for bad votes
Posted by aogFriday, 09 February 2007 at 12:33 TrackBack Ping URL

Here’s a poser for you all —

Thinking ahead to November, 2008, and taking this hypothetically, if you could vote for a third term for President Bush, or some other candidate, who would you vote for? Do any of the current plausible candidates seem superior to our current President?

I have to say that, given the current crop, I would very likely go with a third term Bush. As in 2004, there are many many things I don’t like about him, but I have a hard time finding things on which the alternatives aren’t worse.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Friday, 09 February 2007 at 14:17

Moi aussi.

cjm Friday, 09 February 2007 at 14:59

ideally i would vote for bush not to have run in 2004.

after that, i would go with giuliani since he is a proven executive and seems to have a fighting instinct so lacking in other republicans (especially in gwb and his ilk).

you astound me by saying bush is the best option on any issue. is he the best option on illegal immigration ? what would a worse position look like ? how about the way iran and syria are being handled ? what would a worse position look like there, than what bush is (not) doing ? government spending, you like what bush has done there ? i agree there are people like kerry or hillary who would be even more disasterous for the nation, but we are talking about republican candidates here, and i don’t think anyone short of a lincoln chaffee (who bush supported over real republicans) would be worse. just my opinion.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 February 2007 at 15:14

Giuliania might be OK, but I can’t help judging a man’s sense of morals on his personal behavior.

As for Bush and various issues, it’s not enough to say “Bush bad!”, you need to point out a specific candidate who’s better.

Immigration: The better choice on that? McCain? It’s hard to see a North Easterner like Giuliani being any harsher on the subject.

Iran and Syria: Possibly Giuliana might be more vigorous. I doubt any other candidate would do more than Bush, despite their rhetoric (remember Clinton vs. China before the election?).

Spending: I don’t see anyone proposing real fiscal discipline and this is one place that OJ has been insightful. Bush, through his efforts on the Ownership Society, has laid the foundations of what I now consider the best achievable option in holding down long term spending. I think he gave away far too much to do it, but I don’t see any of the other candidates even making the attempt.

But let me ask you — Bush or McCain?

cjm Friday, 09 February 2007 at 16:41

giuliani is a staunch law and order guy; maybe i am wrong, but i think he would be much tougher on immigration than bush. and again on spending, i think giuliani would be much more disciplined.

mc cain in a heartbeat (and i am no mc cain fan). that dog is crazy which is what keeps other crazies at bay.

your response has caused me to think a bit harder, and i agree there is a real dearth of tough minded candidates. most likely it will take a WWII type threat to clear out all the weakness in our country.

can you refresh my memory on what exactly judd means by bush has created an ownership society ? because i can’t think of one signifigant domestic program he has implemented (and don’t try and tell me “no child left behind” has changed anything). bush has been neuterd well and truly, the pathetic bastard.

David Cohen Friday, 09 February 2007 at 16:53

CJM convinces me to go with Bush for a third term. On immigration, I agree with him. On Iran and Syria, I don’t know what CJM expects Bush to have done. “Spending” is a nice way to avoid any issues. I have no problem with the current “balance.” Total government spending is probably about $100 billion in the red, which frankly is a little too close to balanced for my taste. The new spending programs are fine with me, as I think we’re getting value for money. There are lots of ways the government spends money that I wish it wouldn’t (farm subsidies, for example), but I don’t see any potential nominee who’s going to push to get rid of that spending.

cjm Friday, 09 February 2007 at 18:23

i know lawyers aren’t known for original thinking but if you tried, you just might find, a few ways to deal with syria and iran. since your post isn’t serious, i won’t bother enumerating the different ways that easily come to mind.

oh, and your second sentence is ambiguous; kind of sloppy if you ask me.

Michael Herdegen Friday, 09 February 2007 at 18:42

I like Bush, and out of all of the post-WWII Presidents, he’s the one who most resembles me.

However, I despair over his inability (or unwillingness) to explain to the public what he’s doing, and why. He’s unnecessarily unpopular.

If Bush could run again, I’d vote for him again, although largely just to poke a stick into the MAL’s eye.

But in reality, I’m voting for Hillary.

David Cohen Friday, 09 February 2007 at 19:04

CJM: I doubt you were actually confused, but it’s Bush I agree with on immigration. Also, my post is totally serious and I don’t see why you would doubt that.

Michael: If you think there’s a case to be made for Hilary, I’d love to see it. As it is, I don’t see how she is better qualified than any random American.

Michael Herdegen Friday, 09 February 2007 at 21:11
I don’t see how [Hillary] is better qualified than any random American.

Really. Any random American could be elected to the U.S. Senate, and win praise from Senators on both sides of the aisle ?

For that matter, could any random Presidential spouse do so ?

The answer to both, of course, is no, they could not.

cjm Friday, 09 February 2007 at 21:25

dc: i didn’t say i was confused, i said your post was sloppy. and evidently your reading is as well. i will take you at your word that your post is serious and you genuinely can’t conceive of any actions bush could take or taken to deal more effectively with iran and syria. here’s an easy one — mine the borders of iraq with those two countries.

do people actually read posts here ? being elected and being qualified are two different things, and all evidence demonstrates that hillary clinton is almost uniquely unqualified to be in any position of power. buy a poster of her and get it out of your system. maybe read a book about evita peron while your daydreaming about lady macbeth.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 February 2007 at 22:59

Mr. Cohen;

One thing President Bush could have done with regard to Iran and Syria would have been to engage in the kind of aggressive rhetoric former President Reagan used against the USSR. Bush could funded internal opposition and Farsi broadcasts. He could not made a big deal of evidence about Iranian involvement in Iraq and then gotten coy about it when it came time to put the cards on the table. I mean, when people who report to Bush state that they are keeping back the evidence so they don’t upset Ahmadinejad, you’ve got a leadership problem.

Also, you could read Brothers Judd, where OJ frequently posts suggestions in precisely this area.


As someone else so eloquently put it, “McCain has problems with the Bill of Rights”. We are more at risk from rot within than conquest without.

cjm Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 00:52

aog: sometimes you just have to pick your poison and hope for the best (re: mc cain). as i have said, i do not care for him or think him a good choice in absolute terms, only with respect to gwb or hillary. what i pray for is a cromwell like leader to rise up and clean out the stables, at least for a little while. i don’t see it happening short of the loss of a major city due to terrorist attack.

Michael Herdegen Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 04:56

Being electable isn’t a qualifier for being POTUS ?

Who knew.

h-man Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 07:01

I agree with Bush on most “issues”. That is not the same as saying his execution has been good. Guiliani operating with a majority in the House and Senate would have accomplished far more in enacting conservative domestic agenda than has Bush. (despite the fact he’s considered a Liberal). Regarding David Cohen’s statement “Bush I agree with on immigration”. I don’t, however even there his method has been lack of good faith effort to enforce presently existing laws rather than an honest effort to explain the benefits of increased Mexican immigration over and above immigration from other countries such as China, India etc. Has Bush ever called for increased immigration quotas? If he hasn’t then David Cohen is agreeing with lawlessness and nothing else.

We should extricate ourselves from the Iraq Civil War. It is accomplishing nothing in regards to the GWOT, except in the negative sense.

To AOG’s original question. I would vote against Bush and for another Republican. I’m not capable of voting for a Democrat.

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 07:02

Eight years is probably too much for a job as stressful as the US presidency, let alone twelve. Not to mention being in that position for too long leaves you isolated in the bubble and in danger of making serious missteps.

I’d go for Romney out of the announced candidates. He seems to be a genuine conservative with a good record of sorting out messes. It’s a pity he’s a Governor of MA instead of a Sunbelt state since that’s seriously going to hinder his chances.

McCain and Guiliani are old and a bit shaky when it comes to conservative credentials. I doubt they’d be able to keep the party united.

My dream pick would be Jeb Bush though.

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 07:07

As for funding the opposition in Iran, as far as I can tell from my online discussions with Iranians, that would be counter-productive since it allows the entrenched leadership to paint reformers as pawns of a foreign country.

Better to let the country stew in its’ juices until it decides to dump the old ideology.

cjm Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 10:28

mh: didn’t know you were a jimmy carter fan

erp Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 10:51

Ali, I couldn’t agree more. Let Iran stew unless they are a threat to us or our allies. Then we stop them, step back and leave them to their own devices again. I’ve come to that conclusion late, but I think it’s probably what we should have done in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 13:52

As for funding the opposition in Iran, as far as I can tell from my online discussions with Iranians, that would be counter-productive since it allows the entrenched leadership to paint reformers as pawns of a foreign country

I see this claim frequently, and I have to wonder why it is that only the USA seems to suffer from this problem. For instance, the Saudi Entity and its funding of Wahhabism doesn’t seem to have this problem.

However, there is still the effort of strong rhetoric against the mullahocracy, which seems to be sadly lacking. But, as noted earlier in this string, if one were to mark Bush’s greatest failing, it is that he seems incapable of such use of the bully pulpit.

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 15:08

The Saudis are Muslims. Besides the brand of Wahhabism that gets exported isn’t at all in favour of any of the extant ME governments.

cjm Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 16:06

only the U.S. cares about such bleatings, to our detriment. we shouldn’t be funding reformers, we should be arming the many non-persian groups in iran so they can topple the mullahs through force of arms.

getting back on OT not sure why rommney doesn’t move me, maybe i just don’t believe he will be effective. unless the gop gets an appetite for political battle, it won’t matter who they send out to be slaughtered. how can anyone think jeb would be any better than the current disaster in the white house ? fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, fool me three times call me a leftist.

David Cohen Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 16:21

Michael: Being elected to the Senate from New York is not a qualification for being President. “Electability,” generally, is a reason to support someone in your own party, rather than the party that opposes most of the policies you favor. Praise from both parties is just a perk of the Senate, the world’s most exclusive club. John McCain constantly referred to John Kerry as “my friend,” even though Kerry is widely known is a loner with no real friends in the Senate and no achievements to show for his tenure.

As for Hilary, I would support any random American over her because she is personally corrupt, a serial abuser of power, a socialist and incompetent.

Corruption: Leave aside Whitewater, leave aside her brother selling pardons, leave aside her husband selling pardons, and you’re still left with her cattle futures trading. That’s a plainly a bribe as your likely to see this side of used notes being passed in an alley. Hilary also lied in claiming not to know how Rose Law Firm billing records, which had been subpoenaed but not produced, came to be found in the personal residence.

Abuse of power: When the Clintons came into the White House, they decided to replace the travel office staff. The travel office staff, however, was not a usual patronage post but was fired nonetheless. Hilary had the head of the office, Billy Dale, prosecuted on trumped up charges from which he was acquited. Hilary is almost certainly responsible for the White House seeking and receiving 600 FBI files on Republicans. Also, although this is relatively minor and is more properly labeled “scorn for others” than abuse of power, it really annoys me that Hilary didn’t acknnowledge her ghost writer in her autobiography.

Corrupt socialist: Hilary as Senator has not achieved anything of note. The only policy that we know she had a hand in developing remains health care reform. The plan that Hilary came up with was contrary to the advice of her own experts, the product of a terribly run process and so badly designed that it stopped serious talk of health care reform for ten years.

Given all this, I find it especially chilling when she talks about personally taking (as in “I will take”) oil company profits or the income of rich Americans, to use on some pet project.

Michael Herdegen Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 16:53

Sure, Hillary’s not a pleasant person, and she seeks and uses power.

I fail to see how that disqualifies her from being an adequate President. We’ve had worse than her occupying the Oval Office, and we’ve had very moral and upstanding citizens who were poor Presidents.

Being a saint (or a Saint, ha) is great for those around such a person, and maybe for society, but it’s not predictive of being a good POTUS.

Tom C. Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 18:01

Michael- With all due respect, the woman is a power hungry egomaniac who actually feels, I’m speculating here, entitled to the office. Her background as a hard left ideologue should at least give one pause. Instinctually, I do not trust her. Phony and full of herself with almost no real world experience to soften the statist edges. Bureaucrats without an axe to grind do not like her.

Jeff Guinn Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 21:17

I’ll go with h-man.

I’d also like to add that Pres. Bush’s handling of Katrina was incompentent beyond measure. NB: I don’t mean that he could have overcome Lousiana’s long standing corruption and incompentence. Rather, if he (or anyone on his staff) had any notion that the stream of warm humid air was a sure sign of a gift horse staring him in the face, he could have gutted the Democrats on the spot.

But he didn’t, and appointing buffonish place holders to meaningful positions is hardly a recommendation for another term.

Therefore, with the options on offer, I would plump for Giuliani.

However, if I was to color outside the lines, I would offer the nomination to David Cohen.

Michael Herdegen Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 05:26

“Power hungry egomaniac” is another way of saying “self-confident person who’s seeking the highest office”. As far as I can tell, that applies to everyone known to be in the hunt.

Tom C. Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 07:38

Michael- That may be although ‘hard left ideologue with minimal real world experience’ doesn’t fit them all. I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to the presidency, I suppose. The example of the first president has always been the ideal in my mind. Circumstances determine the parties nominees to some extent, trying to pick the appropriate candidates for the problems the country faces at the time. Choosing the guy who’s always in the hunt or the best political operator with a sense of entitlement seems to confuse the best interests of the country with the interests of the individual. From a personal level, and as a native of Westchester County, New York, I dislike the woman and feel she would be a disaster for the country and the problems we face. She has done nothing as Senator, by the way, other than keeping he finger in the air from 9/11 till now. As president, I can almost guarantee, that she will hold the interests of a European elite and the United Nations ‘transnationalists’ as superior, less ‘parochial’, than the interests of our country.

Michael Herdegen Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 10:22

I certainly agree that if we had another Washington, Jefferson, or Teddy Roosevelt in the race, then that would be the way to go. From that perspective, of a record of tough organizational challenges overcome, leadership displayed, and exceptional services to the nation rendered, then Giuliani or Romney ought to be the choice, and I’ll be happy if either of those fine people become POTUS. McCain is undisputably personally tough, but his public accomplishments pale before those of the aforementioned.

But I don’t see a well-defined challenge, with a clear and necessary response, facing our nation or society today. The terror problem isn’t as clear-cut as was the Cold War, and we don’t have a Carter - Reagan choice before us.

I’m not at all convinced that McCain, for instance, would do any better with the terror issue than would Hillary.

Tom C. Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 10:32

McCain is a good example of confusing his interests with the interests of the country (McCain-Feingold). At least he’s not an ideological dim-wit.

David Cohen Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 11:08

Michael: I agree that there are exceptional circumstances where we might have to overlook corruption and abuse of power. I don’t see when it would make sense to overlook incompetence. But even there, any argument requires that we would be getting something so valuable that we can’t afford to miss it. What has Hilary ever done, or what could she do, that would be worth overlooking her manifest flaws?

Michael Herdegen Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 11:46

Primarily, she’d be the first female POTUS.

More will have to wait. I hadn’t really intended to participate in a “Hill 4 Prez” thread, because it’s nearly two years to the elections, and I don’t want to seriously start in on the horse-race stuff until much later this year.

Besides, maybe she won’t be the nominee, then it’s all moot.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 12 February 2007 at 08:45

I don’t mean that he could have overcome Lousiana’s long standing corruption and incompentence. Rather, if he (or anyone on his staff) had any notion that the stream of warm humid air was a sure sign of a gift horse staring him in the face, he could have gutted the Democrats on the spot.

What’s the phrase that comes to mind? Ah, yes, “an instinct for the capillary”. The Bush political response to Katrina is of a piece with his track record of avoiding serious political hardball. Does anyone not rememeber how we eagerly awaited the vicious but true attack advertisements against Senator Kerry? For example, just replaying his 1971 Senate testimnoy. But that never happened.

I think this might tie back to Mr. Herdegen’s point, which is that to make that kind of rhetorical stance is to be a bit of a braggart.

pj Tuesday, 13 February 2007 at 11:48

I would vote for Bush, but I do hesitate because the longer he stays, the more his enemies (and ours) are learning how to exploit his favored approach to problem-solving. He needs to change tactics and become a little more unpredictable. Poker-playing is great in limited doses, but it can’t be the only tactic. Sometimes you need to evangelize; sometimes you need to veer from the middle course, in either direction.

That said, Bush’s failures are largely attributable to the weakness of the Beltway population — bureaucrats, Congress, media, even his own Cabinet officers.

Among the candidates, I will not vote for McCain (no narcissists!), but I’m optimistic about Giuliani and Romney.

Tracked from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator: Senate Leaders Continue Squabbling Over Iraq on 09 February 2007 at 22:33

Senate leaders squabbled yesterday over how to consider resolutions opposing President Bush's plan

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