April 28, 2005

President Bush, Not a Lawyer

President Bush held his first press conference of his second term tonight to mainly address social security and energy policy, which I posted about earlier today. That being said, here's my immediate reactions-

What I liked

Graduated social security: Bush talked about a means based social security program, which I think is a good partial solution to the solvency problem. I found it really refreshing for the President to back a policy which benefits the poor at the expense of the rich.

Backing off on faith in politics: Faith is a personal matter, what a revolutionary concept for the Republicans. This really caught me off guard. I would venture this is a response to the whole Terri Schiavo backlash (an attempt to distance himself from Congressional Republicans).

North Korea: I liked Bush's apparent endorsement of multilateralism in dealing with North Korea. His support of the six-party talks shows that he at least sometimes can come through on his campaign promise to be more of an internationalist this term.

Red, white and blue suit: Nice touch. Very Patriotism meets GQ

What I didn't like

Discussion of public opinion: One reporter asked Bush what his response was to tepid public support for his social security reform. He replied (I'm paraphrasing) that his job was to do what's best for America regardless of what the public thinks. I feel this is a grave misunderstanding on his part of how to solve future social security insolvency. It's ultimately up to Congress to legislate on social security and congressmen, unlike him, must be very responsive to their constituents to win re-election. Hence, no support from public= no support from Congress.

Personal investment accounts: Bush did very little to support his claim that personal investment accounts will save social security and rebut claims that they will simply grease the pockets of his Wall Street cronies.

Energy plan: I was not happy about his support for nuclear energy and the lack of a discussion on funding for alternative sources of energy.

Torture: Did anyone else find his comment that insurgents in Iraq wanted to return to the time when torture chambers were present? Also, his statement regarding rendition was very troubling. President Bush seems to be under the assumption that a pledge from the Syrias and Pakistans that they won't torture detainees that the US sends them will be carried out by them. Maybe he forgot that it's public knowledge that they have indeed tortured terrorist suspects expatriated to them.

No Child Left Behind: "I don't know about the lawsuit, I'm not a lawyer." This was Bush's response to questioning regarding the Connecticut lawsuit against his signature education reform. His ignorance regarding the unduly costs this law saddles states with was frankly depressing. I'm a firm believer that the Constitution gives states primacy over education. The federally mandated testing is not helping improve education and racking up debt for states already troubled by a sagging national economy.

Well, that's my two cents. I'd be interested to hear what my fellow bloggers thought about this press pow wow.


  1. My favorite comment of the night was when he said whats good enough for the people in congress should be good enough for the workers. It was golden.

    I was not at all comforted when he said that religion was a personal matter. It seemed like a bunch of hogwash to me. It seemed as though he was veiling the fact that american politicians are working in favor of the church by redirecting the question to a point of personal faith. I just dont buy what he said about this.

  2. I mean, what the fuck is this? Is this comforting at all, Adam?

    Q: And I wonder what you think, generally, about the role that faith is playing, how it's being used in our political debates right now.

    "Role of religion in our society? I view religion as a personal matter. I think a person ought to be judged on how he or she lives his life or lives her life.

    And that's how I've tried to live my life: through example.

    Faith plays an important part in my life individually. But I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith."

  3. How does this guy get away with saying like this?

    "I like to say this, if it's good enough for the Congress, it ought to be good enough for the workers to give them that option."

  4. and, I believe his answer to the quesiton about paying attention to public opinion polls was that that would be just like a dog chasing his tail around in circles.

  5. Anonymous11:02 PM

    Bush is a terrorist and fascist. I liked nothing about this conference.

  6. I just want to start off by saying I don't think it's constructive to write off everything Bush says. I dislike the neocons as much as the next liberal. However, the fact remains that he was re-elected by a majority of Americans, and as much as I don't like Bush and think he's a bad president a majority of Americans wanted him for the job.

    I know it was probably hooey, but that fact that Bush declared in public that faith is a private matter on national television is a far cry from "Justice Sunday" and I think it's important that he's at least making an attempt to state that church and state are separate. Also, I think the point Bush was trying to make with the Congress quote is that if Americans didn't support the policies of their Congressmen, they wouldn't have elected them.

    Although he did start his response out about public opinion with a typical folksy Bushism, he did elaborate further on the point (the transcript is probably online somewhere).

  7. "the transcript is probably online somewhere"

    Try looking one post above this one.

    "...the fact remains that he was re-elected by a majority of Americans, and as much as I don't like Bush and think he's a bad president a majority of Americans wanted him for the job."

    Hitler had bosted approval ratings above 90% in 1938. Now that is a mandate. And as a preempt to the obvious conservative response, I am not making a Bush and Hitler comparison. I am simply mocking the argument that popular support necessarily entails that someone's ideas should be regarded as valid.

  8. I was not trying to say that we should do everything Bush says. First, I was trying to elaborate on where I thought Bush was coming from with the public opinion comment. Second, I wanted to make the point that we can't just write off everything he says because there are a lot of Americans who do feel this way, regardless of whether or not I disagree with him.