What If This Were Bush?

cross-posted from The Beacon

It goes without saying that if Bush had presided over a phony end to the Iraq war, expanded the Afghanistan war, extended its reach into Pakistan, solidified the state secrets doctrine and claimed in no uncertain terms the right to assassinate American citizens without due process, the left would be up in arms. The partisan hypocrisy concerning war-related issues is clear.

But what about economic and domestic policy? What if the Bush administration had sunk the country another trillion dollars into debt with the explicit promise that his plan was all that could prevent a 9% unemployment rate – only to then stumble for a year with an unemployment rate closer to 10%? What if the Bush administration had imposed a mandate forcing Americans to patronize the health insurance industry? What if the Bush administration had been in place for these two years since the financial collapse, overseeing an obviously sheepish economy whose only signs of recovery are transparently superficial and temporary bumps in consumption and the employment for census workers? And speaking of “transparency,” what if Bush had vowed to have his deliberations with the medical industry out in the open, to put every major bill on the web before it was voted on, and to have the health care debate on C-Span for all the world to see, only to renege totally on these assurances and every other promise of transparency? What if the Bush administration had simultaneously designated carbon to be a “pollutant” while proposing to create a market in the right to pollute, with credits given to big firms to be bought and sold on Wall Street? What if the Bush administration had overseen the BP oil spill, with regulatory agents asleep at the wheel and had decided, unilaterally, to cap the company’s liability? What if the Bush administration had won an election on one major domestic promise – to take the corruption and chaos out of the financial markets and steady the economy back on track – only to preside over an expansion of the power of the very same agencies that led the markets astray, all the while those markets showed little sign of improving? What if the Bush administration had established such a flurry of ad hoc interventions as to frighten investors away from wanting to invest in the private economy?

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