Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bush Finally Speaks

Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States.

George Bush, Bush Takes Swipe At Obama Policies, Washington Times, 18 June 2009

Finally, Bush has emerged from down the memory hole to defend some of his policies and to indirectly criticize Obama. Unfortunately, it is not the full throated rebuttal of Cheney, but at least its something. This from the Washington Times:

Former President George W. Bush fired a salvo at President Obama on Wednesday, asserting his administration's interrogation policies were within the law, declaring the private sector not government will fix the economy and rejecting the nationalization of health care. . . .

Repeatedly in his hourlong speech and question-and-answer session, Mr. Bush said he would not directly criticize the new president, who has moved to take over financial institutions and several large corporations. Several times, however, he took direct aim at Obama policies as he defended his own during eight years in office.

"Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States," he said to huge cheers.

Mr. Bush weighed in on some of the most pressing issues of the day: the election in Iran, the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, and his administration's interrogation policies of terrorists held there and elsewhere. The former president has not commented on Mr. Obama's decision to ban "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding, which the current president has called "off course" and "based on fear."

. . . On Guantanamo, which while in office Mr. Bush said he wanted to close, the former president was diplomatic.

"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind." . . .

Repeating a mantra from his presidency, he called the current war against terrorism an "ideological conflict," asserting that in the long term, the United States needs to press freedom and democracy in corners across the world.

Mr. Bush did not directly address Mr. Obama's response to the election in Iran, which some critics have called tepid, but he did make clear that the outcome is very much in dispute. For a fifth straight day, as the Obama administration walks a tightrope by issuing little criticism, protesters gathered in Tehran to demand a new election. . . .

Mr. Bush returned again and again to the economy, and sought to defend his own actions after the financial meltdown in the waning days of his second term. Mr. Obama repeatedly has said he inherited that mess.

"I am told, 'If you do not move strongly, Mr. President, you will be a president overseeing a depression that will ultimately be greater than the Great Depression,'" Mr. Bush said. "I firmly believe it was necessary to put money in our banks to make sure our financial system did not collapse. I did not want there to be bread lines, to be a great depression."

He said his administration sought to address the "housing bubble" before the system broke down. "We tried to reform" mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, "but couldn't get it through the vested interests on Capitol Hill."

Still, Mr. Bush was optimistic, pressing, as he did as president, free trade, open markets and the free enterprise system. "We'll come out of this better than before," he said to more applause.

But he was less than convinced about Mr. Obama's move to overhaul the health care system.

"There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care," Mr. Bush said. "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care." . . .

He lamented the politics of personal destruction that he said is rampant in Washington, noting, though, that it has always been thus. Recalling how a treasury secretary and a vice president once fought a duel, he joked: "At least when my vice president shot somebody, it was an accident." . . .

Read the entire article. He should have said much more about the genesis of our finanical meltdown and hammered more on the quote I put at the top of the page. Cheney has been doing all of the heavy lifting on the war on terror issue. It would be nice if Bush could finally become a voice on the economy and where Obama is leading us.


Soccer Dad said...

Wow ex-President Bush is channeling ... Alan Alda:

"Besides, he adds, Presidents don't create jobs, entrepreneurs do. My job as President is to get out of the way and let the market work."

OBloodyHell said...

> It would be nice if Bush could finally become a voice on the economy and where Obama is leading us.

The history of this, though, is that past presidents don't comment on the actions of sitting presidents. Clinton violated this, but I'm not eager to see Bush follow suit.

Let the others do the heavy lifting. They're up to the job.