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From the other side, an interesting read.

February 11, 2009

Published in the NYT in 2006. For those not aware, the NYT is purportedly a ‘left wing’ mouthpiece that has never had issues reporting ‘facts’ that aren’t, as facts. That’s my take on what I’ve read and heard, as I’ve never been an avid reader of the paper simply because I know the ‘sports’ news it prints is generally made up of 2% fact, and 98% opinion.

Bogus Bush Bashing

Published: March 20, 2006
Mr. Bush, of course, bears primary responsibility for the state of his presidency. But there’s more going on here than his personal inadequacy; we’re looking at the failure of a movement as well as a man. As evidence, consider the fact that most of the conservatives now rushing to distance themselves from Mr. Bush still can’t bring themselves to criticize his actual policies. Instead, they accuse him of policy sins — in particular, of being a big spender on domestic programs — that he has not, in fact, committed.”The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is ‘incompetent,’ and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: ‘idiot’ and ‘liar.’ ” So says the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, whose most recent poll found that only 33 percent of the public approves of the job President Bush is doing.

Before I get to the bogus issue of domestic spending, let’s look at the policies the new wave of conservative Bush bashers refuses to criticize.

Mr. Bush’s new conservative critics don’t say much about the issue that most disturbs the public, the quagmire in Iraq. That’s not surprising. Commentators who acted as cheerleaders in the run-up to war, and in many cases questioned the patriotism of those of us who were skeptical, can’t criticize the decision to start this war without facing up to their own complicity in that decision.

Nor, after years of insisting that things were going well in Iraq and denouncing anyone who said otherwise, is it easy for them to criticize Mr. Bush’s almost surreal bungling of the war. (William Kristol of The Weekly Standard is the exception; he says that we never made a “serious effort” in Iraq, which will come as news to the soldiers.)

Meanwhile, the continuing allegiance of conservatives to tax cuts as the universal policy elixir prevents them from saying anything about the real sources of the federal budget deficit, in particular Mr. Bush’s unprecedented decision to cut taxes in the middle of a war. (My colleague Bob Herbert points out that the Iraq hawks chose to fight a war with other people’s children. They chose to fight it with other people’s money, too.)

They can’t even criticize Mr. Bush for the systematic dishonesty of his budgets. For one thing, that dishonesty has been apparent for five years. More than that, some prominent conservative commentators actually celebrated the administration’s dishonesty. In 2001 blogger Andrew Sullivan, writing in The New Republic, conceded that Mr. Bush wasn’t truthful about his economic policies. But Mr. Sullivan approved of the deception: “Bush has to obfuscate his real goals of reducing spending with the smokescreen of ‘compassionate conservatism.’ ” As Berkeley’s Brad DeLong puts it on his blog, conservatives knew that Mr. Bush was lying about the budget, but they thought they were in on the con.

So what’s left? Well, it’s safe for conservatives to criticize Mr. Bush for presiding over runaway growth in domestic spending, because that implies that he betrayed his conservative supporters. There’s only one problem with this criticism: it’s not true.

It’s true that federal spending as a percentage of G.D.P. rose between 2001 and 2005. But the great bulk of this increase was accounted for by increased spending on defense and homeland security, including the costs of the Iraq war, and by rising health care costs.

Conservatives aren’t criticizing Mr. Bush for his defense spending. Since the Medicare drug program didn’t start until 2006, the Bush administration can’t be blamed for the rise in health care costs before then. Whatever other fiscal excesses took place weren’t large enough to play more than a marginal role in spending growth.

So where does the notion of Bush the big spender come from? In a direct sense it comes largely from Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation, who issued a report last fall alleging that government spending was out of control. Mr. Riedl is very good at his job; his report shifts artfully back and forth among various measures of spending (nominal, real, total, domestic, discretionary, domestic discretionary), managing to convey the false impression that soaring spending on domestic social programs is a major cause of the federal budget deficit without literally lying.

But the reason conservatives fall for the Heritage spin is that it suits their purposes. They need to repudiate George W. Bush, but they can’t admit that when Mr. Bush made his key mistakes — starting an unnecessary war, and using dishonest numbers to justify tax cuts — they were cheering him on.

45 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhayader permalink
    February 11, 2009 1:00 pm

    Interesting article. As far as I can tell, Krugman is saying that while Bush was in fact expanding government and its expenditures, Republicans could not criticize the sources of that expansion without exposing themselves to charges of hypocrisy. He increased spending, but it was on the war and on tax cuts, which is what his fellow Republicans were looking for.

    Since I am not a Republican (nor am I a Democrat, to be sure), I can say without fear of reprisal that Bush increased government spending. He did it on the war, on tax cuts, on domestic spying under the guise of anti-terrorism, and on proliferating our absurd war on drugs. He increased the size and power of the federal government, something no true “small-c” conservative should be in favor of.

  2. Ozzie permalink
    February 11, 2009 1:27 pm

    The reason I enjoy reading your website is b/c of your insight into the game & you also give us food for thought on your World views. I realize many in here will BASH you for your views. I enjoy hearing all perspectives.

    One of my College Professors always told us ‘Take off your ROSE color glasses’ meaning open ourselves to all perspectives. Although, I do not often agree on your political views I respect the fact that you post them on here. Bush’s legacy will be that of FAILURE individuals can try to play REVISIONIST HISTORY but the FACTS will remain he FAILED US. Prior to Bush leaving Office C. Rice, D. Cheney, B Bush etc… were SPINNING his LEGACY. Ironic like A-FRAUD discounting 3 yrs (Texas) out of his playing career—Plugging for the HoF. So I guess Bush wants us to discount his 8 yrs & HOLD HIS LEGACY as a GREAT PRESIDENT

    Again I believe you do an awesome job in providing all fans an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics.

    Best of luck in your near future with the REHAB Process & hooking up with a team


    Jacksonville, FL

  3. February 11, 2009 1:30 pm

    NYT dishonesty doesn’t limit itself to left wing causes. Google Judith Miller. Part of being a well read intelligent human being is reading opinions that differ from your own and doing your own fact checking. Reading the paper (or the web) everyday and be able to discern news from propaganda is what smart people do. Krugman has won a nobel prize in economics. And he is dead right in this article. The Bush bashing he is saying is bogus is the spending attacks by the Republican propaganda machine. Did you read the whole article Curt before you posted it?

    Yes I did, and that’s why I posted it. Anyone claiming ‘their side’ does it right, and the other wrong, is full of crap. Both sides, and all of us in many cases, are as guilty of the things we yell and scream about, as are the people that write those things. I posted it to make some trolls here who are dying to post the “you suck there are other more relevant opinions” blather, understand I have no issues reading and hearing from any side in an argument and hearing input that is relevant and truthful. The hard part is find the truth, anywhere.

  4. February 11, 2009 1:40 pm


    Sorry, for me the article comes from the same side of the political spectrum. The New York Times is, for good or bad, the paper of record for the entire nation. I am not sure I could disagree more strongly with something than this. It might be for you, and that’s fine, but not even close for me Its stories set the agenda for all other news organizations–they either set out to do their own version or simply reprint the Times. It is still the only outlet committed to in-depth coverage of news outside our borders. The story you post is by Paul Krugman, a devout critic of the Bush administration and someone who generated heat with Obama followers for not being uncritical of the current president’s policy prescriptions. Oh yeah, he is also a professor of economics at Princeton and won the most recent Nobel Prize for economics.

    The Times is not infallible–see the Jayson Blair plagiarism and Judith Miller reprinting Bush propaganda as news scandals. However, the Times is certainly the most authoritative and important daily paper in America. Oh, their sports coverage does suck–most NY’ers read the tabloids for sports, but all the best sports coverage is on the ‘Net now anyway. One interesting point, the New York Times Corp. was once one of your employers. They own a 17% share of the Red Sox!

    Even though I am a fervent left-winger, I appreciate your honesty and candor. As a Sox fan I would also like to thank you for 2004 and 2007.

  5. Rhayader permalink
    February 11, 2009 1:45 pm

    @Jon Raymond: The article is a little more subtle than that though. Krugman is not saying that Bush limited spending or refused to inflate the size and power of the federal government. To be sure, he just threw more gas on the fire through military spending, tax cuts, efforts stemming from the PATRIOT act, and heightening the war on drugs.

    What Krugman is saying is that Bush’s fellow Republicans have tried to obscure the sources of the increased spending, since they were all in favor of those sources. If he had spent money on increasing welfare, they would easily be able to point their fingers. But the fact that he was spending it on war and tax cuts made it more difficult, and dishonesty crept in.

    So, for someone with no interest in either of the political parties, it’s easy to say that Bush did increase spending, and it was done at the cost of our liberty. Obama seems to be doing the same thing, for what it’s worth.

  6. David permalink
    February 11, 2009 1:50 pm

    Do you even read this stuff? I didn’t post the title, that was the written title of the article, and I have to ask yet again, why would you even come to this site?

    I just love this, the first article bashing Obama, you title “I thought they were supposed to love the US”. The article bashing Bush you post, and title “bogus bush bashing”… (nice illiteration by the way). Nice way to Frame the articles, stop with your partisan garbage.

    Nice to see you post a Bush Bashing article.. it is about time. Not so nice the way to preface the article, slanting your biased point of view. WHy not give the reader a chance to read the article before spinning it for them.

    I did ask why you never posted a Bush Bashing Article, and gee whiz… Her we finally get one.. Little too late if you ask me, and nice way to bash the article because you LOVE BUSH.

    Now why do you love Bush so much?????

    1. He was against Stem Cell Research, All that church and state garbage… Got to love the born agains. Trying to tell everyone how to live their lives. Aside from Baseball the one thing I commend you on is your Non Stop Support of ALS, but BUSH was against the very thing that could have helped ALS. Hypocrisy at its finest.

    2. Bush led us into this war, I do not remember you volunteering to fight??? Will you tell your son to go fight when he becomes 18???? I am not being rude or joking, because I find it the utmost hypocrisy to support a war and expect others to fight in your place(a big part of them POOR). I also did not see Bush volunteer his two daughters to fight in the war. Very troubling that all these people support the war and have no intention of fighting or sending their relatives to fight. It is a disgrace that so many elected officials voted for the war, but they would never want to see their own children fight.

    I could go on and on… but I digress. It seems the only reason you supported Bush is because he was a born again, and had those great Values (religious, holier then thou ones). He was against abortion, stem cell and supported that wonderful religious right stance. I guess that is why you supported him, because frankly he is one of the worst presidents in our History, Point blank.

  7. NHBill permalink
    February 11, 2009 2:27 pm

    Now that you’ve discovered Krugman (his recent Rolling Stone “Letter to Obama” is required reading), you might want to give Friedman and Dowd a look. I don’t think your ready for Frank Rich.

  8. David permalink
    February 11, 2009 2:36 pm

    Ok, I am Man enough ti admit I made a mistake. I do apologize that I messed up and did not read carefully enough. You did fail to counter any of my further points though?? Are you man enough to admit your mistakes, like helping president Bush???

    I don’t believe voting for President Bush was a mistake, for the simple fact that as in the past when I voted for President Clinton, I was voting as much, if not more, for the team than any one person. I was sure that President Bush’s team was going to be the right one to do what needed to be done. Rice, Powell, Cheney, all of them. They didn’t get done what needed to be done, but I still believe this country would be in a far worse place had Senator Kerry won the bid.

  9. Rhayader permalink
    February 11, 2009 2:41 pm

    Woah, having a rough day David? Why come read Curt’s blog if all you want to hear from him is an apology for his personal beliefs? I’m sure challenging his manhood is really getting you somewhere too. I’m not trying to be a jackass to you, but let’s stay calm and have a civilized discussion here.

    As an aside, how do people have avatar icons for their comments? Is there somewhere I can sign up for an account?

  10. David permalink
    February 11, 2009 3:08 pm

    You are allowed your opinion, But the opinion polls and sentiment of the majority disagrees. Bush and his team failed and we have the polls to back it up, and to think Kerry would have done worse is almost laughable in my eyes, but to each their own. Just curious what horrible things Kerry would have done, that say Bush did not??? Only because you brought up Kerry, just curious how he would have made it worse???

    Curt, if you did your job like Bush did his…. You would never have made it to the Bigs. Bush failed in almost every job he ever had….and it should have come to no surprise that he would fail as President. People have to look an trends and realize patterns… If it quacks like a duck and looks like one…. It surely is A Duck (or Mr. Bush)

    Also, You mentioned Powell, interesting how he came out and supported Obama…. interesting, at least to me. At least he had the common sense to ditch the sinking ship and get out of the administration before it totally collapsed.

    I honestly, do not know how anyone could say that the 8 years of Bush were anything short of failure. People trying to sugar coat his few and far between successes…. make me laugh… They basically say 2 things, 1. he brought a ton of aid to Africa 2. We were not attacked since 911.

    To the first, I say that is awesome.. the second is laughable because nobody can prove it true/false. No way to prove he actually prevented a real new attack. They attacked us in 1993 under Clinton and did not come back again until 2001. I could just as easily claim Clinton kept us safe. True or false, we will never know.

  11. Donna permalink
    February 11, 2009 3:54 pm

    Being here in New York CIty,I read the New York Times a great deal. For those who are not familiar with it,the New York Times has always presented different points of view. For example,take the columnist David Brooks,who writes an opinion piece twice a week in the New York Times(usually Tuesday and Friday). He is very conservative,not Republican but conservative,and as such I sometimes do not agree with him. I do,however,always enjoy reading what he has to say(or hearing him when he is on a PBS news program on Fridays,debating with a Democrat) and for the record,he is published alongside Democratic views. Regardless of whether I agree or not,I always want to read/hear what other people think,have to say,and I think it is important that we all know what is out there,what is being said,whether we agree or not. The exact very same thing can be said with this blog. Regardless of whether we agree with what is posted or not(and for the record most of the time I do agree with Curt,even though I am a Democrat)I value his opinion and always want to read/hear what he has to say. I enjoy having the discussions,debates,regarding the topics that he brings up and do have great interest in reading what others think. I thank those who have posted their opinions and give me the opportunity to read what your thoughts,opinions,are. I do not,however,enjoy the people who trash this blog or trash Curt for posting what he does-if you do not like what he posts or if you cannot say something in a civil manner,then you are the ones who do not belong here,and should stop coming to this blog. Thank you,Curt,for reminding us of something that was written a few years back but remains relevant today. By the way,Curt,I am shocked to read that you voted for Clinton;I think that it is great,as I did love Clinton up until recently(despise his wife totally)but I never would have expected you to vote for him,vote for a Democrat. What was your thinking/reasoning with that? This does just prove the point,however,that I continue to learn,grow,and broaden every day when I come to this site. Thanks again for the posting.

  12. Rhayader permalink
    February 11, 2009 4:21 pm

    Hey Donna, just a few things to keep in mind:

    1) Paragraphs exist for a reason.

    2) All commas are followed by spaces.

    3) All parenthetic statements are lead with and followed by spaces.

    I really had trouble getting through that post. You’re right when you say civil discussion is imperative. So too are the mechanics of the language itself.

    Yeah I know, I’m a jerk grammar Nazi. My bad.

  13. Zadok F. permalink
    February 11, 2009 4:25 pm

    Democrats are equally responsible for the war in Iraq. The new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was so intent on going to war that she didn’t bother to read the classified evidence for it available at the capitol only for Senators’ eyes–not their aides. Senator majority leader, Harry Reed, also pushed for the war as did most other Democrats. Clinton’s appointment–supposedly made after President Obama was left starry-eyed after reading a Lincoln biography detailing seating rivals into high positions–shows he was against the war for political necessity in his home state. His bailout of incompetent bankers with taxpayer money further questions his commitment to the poor who are hurting in America.

    As for the New York Times: it is a conservative newspaper, which I subscribe to (RSS) mostly because of its mammoth resources devoted to many subjects (politics isn’t one of them). I rarely read its Sports, but I’ve recently discovered Doug Glanville’s guest columns. And I find him a fine writer.

  14. David permalink
    February 11, 2009 5:16 pm

    Actually Zadok F, you are correct that the democrats also voted for Bush’s War. This is a fact, and not to be debated. The problem is when the President of the United States Cherry picks evidence to suit his cause, to use evidence from one intelligence group but not one with a dissenting opinion. Congress does not have access to all of the information that the President does, simple as that. Bush had access to all of the information, and cherry picked which intelligence reports to use.

    He also was aided by Powell at the time, Bush used Powell as the man to sell the war. And I am sure Powell regrets being used like this, he mislead Powell and sold him and the American people a false set of goods.

    The argument I have is that Bush Cherry Picked Evidence, and of course when congress is being told by Powell and others that they Have WMD what do you expect them to do??? If the DEMS had voted against the war, they would have been chastised by the neo cons. Lets face it, they were in a losing fight and did not have control of congress. Maybe if they were not mislead, maybe some of them would have voted against the resolution. Should they have demanded to see more intelligence reports, sure.. but someone saw all of them and it was BUSH.

  15. February 11, 2009 5:26 pm

    Rhayader, I understand the article I was just misunderstood about Curt’s intention of posting this article.

  16. February 11, 2009 5:27 pm

    That was terrible grammar by myself. 😉

  17. bill permalink
    February 11, 2009 5:32 pm

    Curt are you kidding when you say this country would be in worse shape if Sen Kerry got in? History will show that Bush will go down as the worst presedent in U.S. history,Mccain would have been worse,the country is lucky he got beaten by Obama

  18. Mike C permalink
    February 11, 2009 5:40 pm

    Curt, I am thankful you welcome all opinions on this site. I would like to say a few things to “David”.

    1- Bush was against fetal stem cell research. Please be accurate with that. Creating a fetus just to harvest stem cells is a huge moral issue.

    2- “all that church and state garbage.” Do you know what that is for? It is a reference, by Thomas Jefferson, concerning the First Admendment that says the government cannot create a State religion and guarantees the freedom of religious exercise. It’s not to keep the church silent on political matters.

    3- Curt only voted for Bush because he was a “born again”. You seem to have an intollerance for religious beliefs and want to sterotype. Sad.

    4- Calling out Curt about serving the country or having his son join the military was a true cheap shot and wrong. If you know Curt’s family’s background you will realize your own ignorance.

  19. Do Your Research permalink
    February 11, 2009 9:33 pm

    Mike C,

    Just one minor point.

    Fetal stem cells and early-embryonic stem cells are different. Early-embryonic stem cells are totipotent, meaning they can become any kind of cell in the body. Fetal stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can only become certain kinds of cells in the body. Early-embryonic stem cells are not fetuses; rather they are newly fertilized eggs, we’re talking less than 6 days since fertilization. Fetal stem cells are developed embryos that are at least eight weeks old.

    Early-embryonic stem cells are where the future is, not fetal, since early-embryonic stem cells can develop into ANY cell. Stem cell advocates were pushing for early-embryonic stem cell research because there is a massive amount of potential there. Bush vetoed several bills that would have provided federal funds for research on early-embryonic stem cells; there was not anything in the bills nor much support for fetal stem cell research anyway because fetal stem cells are not as promising. The bills were for research on surplus embryos used in in-vitro fertilization that would otherwise be thrown away. No fetuses are being harvested; these embryos are to be used to help mothers who have problems getting pregnant.

    Again, these are the surplus embryos used by fertilization clinics that otherwise would be THROWN AWAY. They’re not creating life, these fertilized eggs are used by fertilization clinics every day to help families who need medical assistance to have a child. Do some research. The bills were called the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 and 2007 respectively.

  20. Steve-O permalink
    February 11, 2009 9:56 pm

    Bush is a lot like Curt. After incredible popularity… they coasted and took advantage of their fame. (Bush after 9-11 and Curt after the wonderful 2004 season). Bush used terror and fear to push through a far-right agenda and a war… and Curt pushed through a bunch of donuts into his pie hole. Both ended up setting back the teams they represented. Both coasted near the end of their contracts knowing people will love them even if they do nothing but spout nonsense.

  21. Donna permalink
    February 11, 2009 10:35 pm

    I just heard what you said on the radio this morning. It was on tape and so I heard you, even though it is 10:30 P.M. Really great as always! Thank you once again for speaking out and for giving your perspective not only on Alex Rodriguez but on what his actions has now created for all of baseball…

  22. Mike from Duxbury permalink
    February 11, 2009 10:41 pm

    Think I know why my economist friends are a little dismissive of Krugman:

    “in particular Mr. Bush’s unprecedented decision to cut taxes in the middle of a war.”

    Last I checked, EGTRRA passed in May of 2001; we all know the date the war started.

  23. Donna permalink
    February 11, 2009 10:56 pm

    I notice that you posted all afternoon, for about three hours, on the blog and I did find your comments very interesting. That said,why spoil it by correcting “writing form and grammar”. For your information,it may have been received 26 or 27 years ago, as I am now 49, but my college degree is a BA in creative writing; I majored in English, specifically creative writing. Believe me, I know all about paragraphs, commas, and everything else that you mentioned. I may have typed incorrectly in my haste (had very serious things on my mind when I wrote) but I believe the content of what I said should be the important thing. Sorry if you had difficulty getting through it, and I do appreciate that you read it, but I think the fact that you felt the need to correct how I spaced it is petty and picky. Unless I ask for a correction on something that I am writing, aside from myself,the only ones who should correct my writing were my teachers when I was in school,the editors when I write now, and obviously,I respect Curt’s opinion, if he has something to say. I will keep what you said in mind the next time that I post. I suggest that you do the same.

  24. Babe Ruth permalink
    February 12, 2009 3:21 am

    The only thing I’ll ever agree with Harry Reid on…

    Bush was the worst president ever.

    It angers me that Bin Laden is still breathing. The Taliban are still in power and that we have to pretty much start over in Afganistan.

    All because of the BS press in this country ON BOTH SIDES that didn’t challenge Bush on Iraq. I also blame you that voted for him in 04. Anyone was better than Bush, including Kerry.

  25. Do Your Research permalink
    February 12, 2009 6:13 am

    For Mike from Duxbury:

    These are the cuts Krugman is referring to in his article.

  26. Andy permalink
    February 12, 2009 7:34 am

    Again I find it interesting that Mr. Schilling took the time to remind us about the NYT and its left-leaning tendencies without mentioning the previous article was written by someone who is on the right.

    Moreover, I also recall the night after the election Mr. Schilling mentioning we need to get behind our President, yet not one month into his Presidency three are articles that defend Bush and attack Obama. A coincidence — I think not.

    As for the Article, isn’t it funny that under Bush, Republicans were the drunken sailors spending money like there is no tomorrw, while now they have suddenly rediscovered their “fiscal conservatism” with a Democratic President. Krugman’s point is that while Bush was fiddling, the Republicans were dancing to the same tune, and ony after he became unpopular did they begin to “criticize”.

    What these so-called conservatives don’t understand is summed up by Nicholas Kristoff’s op-ed piece in today’s NY Times where he states that if you create the mess, you should not criticize those who are trying to clean it up. This is especially true if you are standing there doing nothing.

  27. YANKEESAM3 permalink
    February 12, 2009 7:52 am


  28. Rhayader permalink
    February 12, 2009 8:10 am

    Hi Donna,

    Yeah I was being tounge-in-cheek about correcting your grammar; hence the “jerk grammar Nazi” quip at the end of my comment. I wasn’t questioning your level of education or anything, just poking a little fun.

    I’m surprised your skin isn’t a little thicker if you spend any time commenting on the internet. I make fun of people (and others make fun of me) all the time; it’s part of the reason I like to make comments.

    Anyway, sorry if I came off sounding more serious than I was.

  29. Ben permalink
    February 12, 2009 11:00 am

    Curt..I am convinced you know all things baseball. Can you run for commish?

    With that said I like to read the NY Times as well as watch Fox News with the idea that the truth is somewhere in between. I think too many view “the other side” with too much negativity..

    This article you reference is from the Opinion-ED section of the NY Times so I expect the authors opinion.

  30. David permalink
    February 12, 2009 11:35 am

    Dear Mike C,

    thank you for your enlightening response. I was in no way taking a cheap shot at anyone. In fact it is my belief that anyone who supported the war should be willing to fight or send their relatives to fight. Why do I say this??? well because it seems this country has become very good at sending other families children to fight the wars the Politicians start. Bush and Cheney pushed for this “War”, neither of them saw one day in active combat and neither have their children. But they have no problem sending others to fight for them. It is a disgrace, there needs to be more Jim Webbs in the world and less George Bushs. Say one thing and do another, how many deferments did Old Dickey have…. Talk the talk and walk the walk.

    If you support a war or President who supports a war, well maybe you should enlist. It is simple as that.

  31. February 12, 2009 11:48 am

    Mike from Duxbury. Several of the tax breaks you mentioned did not take effect until after the start of the war and others did not take effect until after 9-11. Both events caused a major increase in spending and borrowing.

    Thanks to Bush the national debt went from 5.4 trillion to over 10 trillion. Clinton managed to lower the national debt during his eight years.

  32. tonyg permalink
    February 12, 2009 2:02 pm

    It is too bad for all of us that “right-wingers” break the country up into “sides”. Here is a little secret Curt- here in the Northeast, we generally look at the country as a whole, and not Red vs Blue. The fact that most of us are “liberal” has more to do with the fact that we honestly look at the country as a WHOLE, and make decisions that we feel are best for EVERYONE, rather than whats best for only for us and or our own personal and religious beliefs. Novel idea to some, way or life for others. I am proud to have a man in the Whitehouse that is smarter than I am, and one that will not continue the trend of devastation being wrought at the core of our nation that began in the Reagan era and extended by the Bushes. Remember the old saying “you can’t legislate morality”? We do.

  33. Donna permalink
    February 12, 2009 5:06 pm

    Apology accepted. I had taken what you said seriously. Thank you for sending the apology;it is greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say regarding the topics.

  34. Matt permalink
    February 12, 2009 6:10 pm

    You are breaking people down into sides. You are saying that all people who don’t think exactly like you are bad for the country, which is exactly what liberals accused the Republicans. I mean, seriously, listen to yourself. “make decisions that we feel are best for EVERYONE”. You get to determine and decide what is best for everyone? Gee, that’s not a scary thought at all.
    And not all people who aren’t liberal are “right-wingers”. I just want the government to stay out of my business. The government no longer fears its citizens, and the reason why is people like yourself. You buy into the whole notion of “my guy is good, your guy is bad”. They are all bad, and they manipulate people like you into believing that they really give one speck of a damn about you. You need to wake up and start questioning them all, not just the mascot that you picked. They are all crooks and liars (even the annointed one) that fool the simpleminded into thinking that they have power over us. And you just keep giving them the power to take each and every bit of our free will away.

    Wake up and smell what you are shoveling before it is too late.

  35. Mark permalink
    February 12, 2009 6:31 pm

    I propose that any criticism of elected officials starts with some description of something that the critic has done to make the country or their community a better place and that if you can’t provide same- you keep your piehole shut.

    Old joke was that “everyone wants to go to Heaven, no one wants to die”… same thing in public discource, everyone wants to feel better than the other side, but they don’t actualy contribute to solutions.

    So here are my qualifications- I served my country for 8 years in the military, I’ve voted in every election since I’ve turned 18, last year I was instrumental in raising over 100K meals for the poor in my community.

    I believe that most people want the same things- a fair chance for hard work to pay off- a voice in how things are run – and most of all not to be screwed with.

    The problem with both left wing folks is that they can’t ever land on a fixed definition of what’s fair so they keep handicapping the rest of us to level the playing field and the right wing folks are much too concerned with making sure I don’t have sex that they don’t approve of. Neither side is particularly interested in listening to anyone other than themselves.

    Turn off the 24 hour news- get off the couch and do something, anything to help the next guy, learn something new, admit when you’re wrong and when all else fails be kind.

    That being said- I don’t think Mr Bush got most things right and a big part of the problem is the rancor left over from 8 years of my way or the highway politics- but that ship has sailed. What we’re now facing is the prospect that if Mr Obama fails- the country as a whole fails- and that will be cold comfort to republicans and democrats alike

    Time for us to pull on our big boy undies and get real folks

  36. tonyg permalink
    February 12, 2009 9:38 pm

    You couldnt have missed my point more Matt- when I said “decisions that are best for everyone” my point was that those of us who do not choose to legislate morality leave others to live their own lives, and NOT legislate the wishes of the few, but the needs of the many. The government under Reagan/Bush turned into a branch of Christianity, with policy drawn from the “teachings” of the religious right, the exact opposite of the intent of our forefathers. You want less government in your business? Then stay out of mine, and keep the baby jesus out of it too.

  37. Matt permalink
    February 13, 2009 1:49 pm

    I agree that I do not want the government to legislate morality, but I don’t understand how that changed under Bush or Reagan. What specific legislation was passed to do so? Can you name a single law passed under either of those two that enforced the religious right’s hold on the country? Because it seems to me that after the last eight years that nothing has changed in that regard. In fact, I think it has gotten worse.

    Personally, I think this is a myth consistently pushed by the left to enfore their agenda. And they have done a tremendous job of marginalizing the right. The Republicans had their moment in the sun and did absolutely nothing with it except spend themselves right out of power. And when the Democrats ruin it for themselves (which every indication shows that is exactly what they are doing), it’s going to swing back further to the right than it was under Bush. Personally, I was a big Giuliani guy (sorry, Curt), but he wasn’t right enough for the Republicans. And as Democrats screw up and turn people back to the Republicans, there are going to be a ton of far-right candidates being pushed.

    I don’t care what you do… and I don’t want any government agency to tell you what to do, either. Do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt others. I believe in limited government, which I feel got worse under Bush, and from what I am seeing so far it is about to get a lot worse.

  38. tonyg permalink
    February 13, 2009 8:18 pm

    Matt, thanks for continuing the discussion. I think you GREATLY understate the tremendous damage that has been done in nearly 2 decades of jesus-publicans. The previously silent conservative, not highly educated and fiercely opinionated religious right that was awakened by Ronnie, and nurtured by the Republicans to the point of bloat has passed more oppressive, ill-informed, discriminatory legislation in the past 20 years to name. For a few examples, look at stem-cell research, or abortion, or gay marriage, or marijuana legislation in the last 20 years. Across the board the right has pushed its definition or morality for the sake of a “better nation”. Taxes are only money. I can make more money. What I cannot make is more freedom. I, for one, am not comfortable selling my soul to the false god of the right for the sake of a few extra tax coins in my pocket. THATS what I mean about making choices at the ballot that benefit the many, and not just me.

  39. Matt permalink
    February 16, 2009 2:26 am

    Again, you didn’t mention specific legislation. And you don’t mention specific damages. See, it is all perception. We are manipulated into believing that those who don’t share our beliefs are stupid or evil or (God forbid) racist.
    Cases in point:
    Stem cell research wasn’t banned… it just wasn’t federally funded (as a Libertarian, I applaud that. Not on moral grounds, just on wasteful spending grounds).
    Abortion is not illegal. It hasn’t been since Roe v Wade became law.
    Gay marriage isn’t the law of the land… It has been voted on by the people in several states. The people turned it down, not the politicians.
    The support for decriminalizing marijuana went up since Bush took office.

    You say across the board things have gotten worse, but you cannot point to a specific piece of legislation that has somehow stifled our freedoms due to religious intolerence. If there was one, I would be right there with you.
    But you somehow equate taxes with freedoms. As the government grows, it eats up our personal liberties. I don’t want anyone telling me what is right or wrong, because right or wrong is simply perception. I have an obligation to my fellow man to do him no harm, but what I do to myself is my business. You have simply picked a side and are only reinforcing those beliefs by listening to like minded people and attempting to silence those who don’t speak as you see fit. People aren’t enemies, they simply don’t agree with your point of view. And by demonizing one side of the debate, you are re-enforcing and giving power to the other side. And in my eyes, that is wrong as well.

  40. Lou Dyer Jones permalink
    February 16, 2009 8:44 am


    Krugman is a Nobel prize winner. What are you besides a has been who can’t even write his own blog?


  41. Lisa K. permalink
    February 16, 2009 8:58 am

    “I have no issues reading and hearing from any side in an argument and hearing input that is relevant and truthful.”

    Which is, of course, why you IMMEDIATELY-and insidiously-dismissed the column as coming from the left wing NYT. While the eidtorial page itself is definitely left wing, it’s very fair to say the reporting is neutral (who do you think broke the Whitewater story?), and the Times has given *more* than enough face time to neoconservative propaganda machine and Palin apologist Bill Kristol (who told us the Iraqis would NEVER descend into sectarian madness, they’re all so secular), conservative pseudointellectual gasbag David Brooks, and torture cheerleaders/apologists John Yoo and John Bolton, to name just a few.

    Grow up, and stop using that tired “media bias” argument. It would also be nice if you could actually write a post yourself explaining your views, instead of falling back on the intellectually lazy postion of reproducing the works of smarter and more articulate people on either side of the aisle. Or, you could just stick to sports, which you actually know something about.

  42. Mick permalink
    February 18, 2009 5:01 pm

    First of all, the NYT is a left-leaning newspaper. It’s ok to say it. Journalists, true journalists, question the status quo. They are muckrakers. They investigate. They champion the lost cause. That’s what they do. Sure, they have a few conservative columnists. FoxNews has a few liberal columnists. It doesn’t make them a “fair and balanced” cable channel any more than Judith Miller makes the NYT “fair and balanced.” We know it is. Liberals should not get defensive that we know the NYT is left-leaning. Conservatives should not get their tie-tacks in a bunch because we know FoxNews is right-leaning. It’s cool. There is a marketplace of ideas that exists in the ether and there is room for all. WE (Americans of whatever political persuasion) should be more eager to question what we read and see and hear and not so quick to start throwing darts and something because, apparently, they may be left or right leaning. Just because the NYT is a liberal newspaper does not necessarily make EVERYTHING it says as biased, and vice versa with FoxNews. Let’s be adults.

    I think what Curt was saying is by reproducing the pieces is that perception changes, regardless of where or who it is coming from. Krauthammer is a tremendous writer and is saying that Obama has nowhere else to go but down. He cannot exceed anyone’s expectations because those expectations are so high. We all just thought he could ride this wave a bit more than he has because of the state of the economy.

    The piece on Bush is quite the opposite: he was a man given low expectations and the perception is he is “the worst President ever” but with all the talk of “lies” and “miscommunication” and such, all of that obfuscates truth. Bush may be remembered for his incompitence, but he may also be remembered for setting up the mechanics of protecting the country from the next 9/11. We don’t know. Bush has been out of office for one month (in spirit probably much longer) and Obama has been in office for one month. I think you need to give both men a break, and give Curt a break for trying to point this out.

    I voted for Bush. I voted for McCain. I am not happy with the direction our country was going, and I am certainly not happy with what I have seen from Congress and the President in the past week regarding the stimulus package. But I support the President and hope he has the mettle to handle the office of the President which I do not believe Bush, or many men for that matter, have. We can all hope for the best.

    Curt, have you received any calls from Reuben Amaro from the Phils? We need you, brother.

  43. Mike B permalink
    February 19, 2009 6:46 pm

    Just to let you know, the NYT isn’t all left leaning. They have an op-ed columnist named William Crystal who is one of our nations leading Neo-cons. He’d probably be right up your ally. Paul Krugman on the other hand is left leaning, but a very respected Nobel Prize winning economist who also rights in the OPINION section. The Opinion section should not be mistaken with the News sections.

    If you’re going to make a claim like “the NYT is purportedly a ‘left wing’ mouthpiece that has never had issues reporting ‘facts’ that aren’t, as facts.” please back it up with some sort of evidence that doesn’t include the sports or opinion pages.

  44. sdl1 permalink
    February 19, 2009 10:20 pm

    The quote from Ari Fleischer “Either you are with us or against us” said it all. Bush succeeded in dividing the country. I have to laugh when I hear them somehow hold Clinton responsible for 9/11. Using the same logic, you can blame Bush 41 for the ’93 WTC attack.

    Bush brought bashing unto himself as far as I am concerned.

  45. Mike permalink
    March 5, 2009 2:20 pm

    bush sucks, and anyone who think he was even a half way decent president is a moron, he is hands down ( and the numbers prove this) the worst president in history period. Lowest president approval rating ever….somethign to be real proud about, they only thing he managed to do was destroy this country, start a bogus war, lie to us repeatedly and line his pockets with helping raise the price of oil.

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