So the other day I was thinking about who would win the US 2004 presidential election. Previously, when it seemed absolutely absurd (he was neck-and-neck with Kucinich), I predicted Howard Dean would be the next president. (Now it doesn’t seem so absurd!) Now I’m going to go farther and predict it won’t even be close.

Why? It’s not because I like Dean. (I don’t — as Dave Winer points out he’s a bland politician with no innovative policy proposals and bland conservative positions on the issues. Well, except for campaign finance reform.) It’s partly because I like Joe Trippi. (He, not Dean, is the one to be watching and voting for — if anyone can beat Bush it’s him.) But mostly it’s because Bush has no redeeming qualities.

I was trying to imagine the campaign a few months out: Bush v. Dean. Dean can easily go on the offensive, attacking Bush’s failures and promoting his own successes. But what can Bush do? What has Bush done? Hey, what has Bush done? I honestly can’t think of anything.

So here’s the challenge: name one good thing Bush has done for the average American.


  1. Bush has to have actually worked for the thing. It can’t be something he was forced to do, or was done by one of his administrative departments (like the EPA), or that he didn’t really work to support (like just signing a bill).

  2. It has to be good for the average American or some group of average Americans, the plain old middle-class guy who’s in the majority on issue polls, is out of a job or isn’t making much money, and just wants to get along. It can’t be a minor gift to a group of special interest voters, or something like that.

  3. It has to benefit him directly, not as a side-effect (so no trickle-down economics stuff).

I tried to think of things with no success.

Health Care: The new prescription drug benefit is a giveaway to the drug companies, only helps a seniors, and won’t take effect for a decade.

Education: Bush’s plan would make all schools just as bad as the ones in Texas, and even then he underfunded it.

Defense: Dropped the ball on Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, and Osama and instead went after Iraq, a country that previously posed no threat, making it a haven for terrorists.

Environment: Loosened environmental regulations on everything from poison in drinking water to pollution in air.

Tax Cuts: I have to give Bush this one, but since I came up with it, you can’t win by pointing it out. However, I should note that John Kerry has promised only to raise taxes on people making over $200,000.

I’ve tried asking a few people I know in real life with no success, but I really do want to know, so I’m holding a contest. I’ll publish every winning answer here along with the first person to suggest it. If I receive any, I’ll donate to the Bush campaign an amount proportional to the significance of the achievement. (So $2000 if he eliminates homelessness, poverty, and provides single-payer health care but only $3 if he trips and accidentally signs a law making my car safer.)

Submit your entry now! Send an email or post a comment.

(Update 2004-04-02: I’ve removed a rule I now realize to be unfair: “The majority of it has to be designed to benefit him, he can’t just get benefits because he’s on the tail end of the curve (so no tax cuts where the bottom 80% get under 10% of the money).” I also modified the second rule to allow measures that benefit groups of average Americans. (An environmental measure that saves hundreds of average lives would qualify, as would something that helped only average Americans over 65.))

posted December 28, 2003 01:22 PM (Politics) (58 comments) #


ACS Radio Interview
Fixing Public Transportation
Saddam’s Simple Life
Software that Sucks
Nothing So Strange
Contest: What has Bush done for you?
Plea for Help
Is it moral to plead the Fifth?
Unspeakable Things
Apple’s Secret Strategy: TV for Everyone
Counterpoint: Downloading Isn’t Stealing


This is the first time I’ve enabled comments on my site; let’s see how it goes.

posted by Aaron Swartz at December 28, 2003 02:34 PM #

He did sign one law that has had a dramatic impact on my life - the law that put the National Do Not Call list into effect. Other than that, I can’t think of anything. (Of course, the law wasn’t his idea, he just didn’t veto it.)

posted by Darrin at December 28, 2003 03:12 PM #

I’m a middle class guy, so I’ll give it a shot:

- He signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill and reduced the amount of soft-money influence. Now, everyone plays by a more level playing field by increasing the influence of hard money ($2000 per person per candidate or something like that). I’d argue that this increases the political influence of the average citizen.

- A good number of middle class folks with 401(k) or 403(b) accounts will benefit from the elimination of the dividend tax. This will effectively grant them an increase in their rate of return, which will help out in the long run as investments compound (DRIPs and such).

I think that the examples above fit 1 and 2 above. 3 is a bit harder to say, as it assumes that we know and can agree on the intent of the lawmakers. That is to say, in the cutting of the dividend taxation, can we say that the tax cuts are to benefit the middle class, and the rich are on the tail end? Or vice versa? Given that condition 3 is independent of whether the “average” American benefits, this will be a tossup in all cases, pro and anti-Bush.

If I win, please don’t donate the money to Bush, though.

posted by Chris Karr at December 28, 2003 04:10 PM #

Hardly a Bush supporter myself, maybe the problem with your question is that its rooted in two fundamental political fallacies: (1) There is no “average American” and (2) that the American people actually care about issues.

None of us are born truly clean slates (at least be affiliation) — we’re all some how tied to a religious, ethnic, social, or cultural heritage that’s inevitably represented in Washington by some lobbying organization. You’re “average American” undoubtedly has more than a few organizations seemingly lobbying on his behalf — think unions, churches, civic organizations, local legislators, chamber of commerce, and local (and sometimes big) businesses. What makes government difficult is trying to work through the problems that emerge when two very different interests emerge from the same person, such as the Unionized factory worker who wants higher wages but also doesn’t like to give the federal government a cut of his paycheck or single mother that needs health insurance but would never vote for a president that’d support abortion. Perhaps its easier to think that there is an “average American,” but all too often the easiest methods lead to the weakest solutions.

That being said, the second problem with your question is the most detrimental of the two. The fact of the matter is that the American people just don’t care about issues. Blame it on the media, failing communities, or just about anything you want but if you think the American people are going to base their votes in 2004 on anything other than how they “feel” their doing economically you’re going to be disappointed. Rational/Economic voting is the rule and time seems to be working in Bush’s favor… the economy is picking up speed and will most likely be hitting it’s upward stride when American’s have to cast their vote next November. Now, we know this isn’t because of anything Bush has really done (fiscal policy see is dead as doornail and any of the faint steps Bush made towards it was largely just for show), but to most voters that simply doesn’t matter… If Bush can show that most have jobs, a couple bucks in their pockets, and relative economic security the Democrat’s (especially when one considers the miserable state the party is in at the moment) will have a very difficult time reclaiming the presidency, Dean or not.

We need to work to make issues and ideas matter in future elections… but I fear we’re a little too late for 2004.

posted by T. Neil Sroka at December 28, 2003 04:13 PM #

Child Tax credit. I just received a few hundred bucks because of it.

I am fairly conservative (not republican). I don’t care for Bushy though. But he did get me a bit of cash in that regard, although I do realize that I’m the one that paid the money in anyhow.

On the other side of the coin, name the last President that did something that meets your criteria, and what he did. I have a feeling that you’ll be going back many years.

posted by Eric Vitiello at December 28, 2003 04:54 PM #

Chris, I hear Bush fought against the campaign finance reform bill and I think the dividend tax falls under 3. But if you have evidence, I’d love to be proved wrong.

Eric, just picking the last president, I think that he created the longest peacetime economic expansion, 22M new jobs, highest homeownership, connected schools to the Internet, lowered crime, lowered poverty, raised income, balanced the budget, lowered government spending, etc.

I hear even Reagan did something beneficial, but don’t quote me on that.

posted by Aaron Swartz at December 28, 2003 05:07 PM #

I was thinking about this last August, and then as now I can come up with exactly one good thing Bush has done:

Thanks to his blundering incompetence, many people (myself included) are paying far more attention to politics than we used to. Bush’s otherwise disastrous presidency just may be the single strongest argument for people to actually wake up and pay attention to what’s going on in the world around them and to try to do something about it by getting involved than any ad campaign, voter registration drive, or anything else in years. More and more people want Bush out of the White House, and are realizing that for that to happen, they actually have to participate in this democracy of ours.

And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I thank President Bush.

But that’s it.

posted by Michael Hanscom at December 28, 2003 05:16 PM #

You’re right about exactly one thing, Aaron: the next election is not likely to be close. If it is, I suspect that will be due to the reported increased polarization of the American electorate rather than any particular stand on most issues. I don’t think that there are very many people out there foolish enough to project West Wing onto real life, but I suppose anything is possible.

You asked for specifics, so I’ll give you two: Tax cuts and the war.

  1. I and most people I know received a $600 check after Bush’s first tax cut, and most later with the child tax credit. That was real money, in my hands, that I could spend on whatever I wished. Like most middle- and lower- income people, it went toward necessities, not luxuries. I think that it is quite easy for a single man or a person without kids to underestimate the kind of impact even a “small” check like that can have on the bottom line. Whether other people got more or less doesn’t matter so much to me or most people I know. I got plenty.

  2. It all comes down to the war, and any analysis that doesn’t take that into account seems like it is taking place in some sort of alternate universe in which 9/11 never happened and petty bickering is still the norm. Bush’s biggest campaign question is likely to be this one: Will you be safer with President Bush or President Dean?

I didn’t vote for Bush the first time, and I work in an office with a few others than didn’t vote for him, either. And yet right now, in my unofficial polling, he’s getting all of our votes. And it is mainly because of this: None of us believe that we would be safer today if President Gore had been in office.

That’s the kind of issue that hits below the brain, grabbing people emotionally, and stands up to serious debate at the brain level as well.

posted by Phillip Winn at December 28, 2003 05:16 PM #

Bush was against BCRA (McCain-Feingold), but he did sign it, expecting the Supreme Court to strike it down. The Supreme Court did not strike it down, contrary to his expectations, but he did sign the bill and was necessary for the legislation to pass, so I would say that it counts. It wasn’t passed with the two-thirds overriding majority, that’s for sure.

With respect to the tax cuts, the wealthy did get more money back. However, they do pay more in as a percentage of their income. (This single point about whether they should get more back since they are paying more in can and has been argued to death.) However, I as a middle class American citizen (and any others like me who are not relying on the disaster called Social Security) will benefit greatly over the long term if the dividend cut remains. (Compound growth and all that.) I don’t expect my being an investor (with a 403(b) as a retirement vehicle) is all that atypical of the “average American”.

posted by Chris Karr at December 28, 2003 06:04 PM #

If doing things for the average American was dispositive over foreign policy, then Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) would not have destructed over Vietnam.

Never underestimate the power of a war. It didn’t work for Bush I. It doesn’t always work to the incumbents advantage. But don’t think it can be ignored entirely.

You’re basically arguing the “greed” side, and forgetting about the “fear” side, of the greed vs. fear schism in politics.

posted by Seth Finkelstein at December 28, 2003 09:24 PM #

What about the tax rebates where the “average American” received $200-400 each? (I must be much less than average as I got about $100)

posted by joe at December 28, 2003 09:35 PM #

Michael Hanscom above has it right- Bush polarized the nation and caused the left to wake up and band together. For this, I suggest that you send 2 cents to the Bush 2004 campaign.

posted by bryguy at December 28, 2003 10:52 PM #

Phallocentric, yes?

posted by jcwinnie at December 29, 2003 07:56 AM #

Here’s what Bush has done for me: He has made me question my desire to be an American. His popularity has made me question the morality of our nations people. He has introduced the concept of war to my 6 year old daughter - yet fortunately for her, the conservative media has filtered out the violence. He has made our nation detested and feared in foreign eyes. I suggest you send him to Iraq, dress him in cowboy attire - with the gun belt and colt 45’s, and send him walking down Main Street.

posted by Mr. P at December 29, 2003 11:43 AM #

Bush colour coded my fear. Before I never knew what terror was, being an average american terror is not an everyday experience in my life unless I watch the news on TV (which I dont). […] Now that I think about it, even that wasnt his idea either.

posted by Westley at December 29, 2003 02:00 PM #

Bush has saved the average american thousands of dollars (for starters) by not invading Iran and Syria.

Sarcasm aside, your rules are stupid for the purposes of predicting a winner. Bush, like all before him, will claim personal credit for anything vaugely good that occurred during his term and attempt to pin responsibility for anything vaugely bad on anyone who opposes him.

FWIW those betting money (IEM, Tradesports) on the outcome seem to think that Bush will win.

posted by Mike Linksvayer at December 29, 2003 02:25 PM #

Mike, the rules are only for the contest. I didn’t mean to suggest that they were dispositive for the outcome of the election.

posted by Aaron Swartz at December 29, 2003 02:50 PM #

Dear Aaron & all the other guys, I must say he didn’t do sth. especially to me, ‘cause I’m in Germany, but I wanted to share with you, that we in “Old Europe” are close with our ears to all the things happening in the states. In the past many things invented or first done in USA came to Europe later, the “world” is not as close to you all than Europe is, I by myself am not a “big fan” of ‘em and I’m interested looking forward to what will happen in the election - god bless you & nice start into 2004 from Germany.

posted by Dave at December 29, 2003 03:13 PM #

Repealed the Ergonomics Standard, really thanked him for that as I was in a factory at the time and working a repetitive stress job. No thanks to him though I am now in college with 4 credit hours in my major left!

posted by Ryan Hobson at December 29, 2003 07:50 PM #

I do agree that the one good thing he’s done is getting so many people interested in the political process. Thanks to the 2000 election fraud, and the whole massively-delayed-decision process, I got into politics when I was only 11 years old. Now, indirectly thanks to Bush, I’m planning to run for president in 2024.

Thanks, Dubya!

posted by Adam Atlas at December 29, 2003 09:47 PM #

Does nobody else remember the checks in the mail? Are those immediately dismissed because other people, richer people, also got checks in the mail? I’m married with three kids, so there aren’t a ton of people who got bigger checks than I did. $600 for the first one, and $1200 for the second.

I’m not sure why nobody here seems to remember or care about them. I asked around my office, and everybody here remembers them. Then again, we’re all married, and most of us have kids. Maybe the money wasn’t as important to single or childless people? I can’t figure it out.

And, of course, there is the war.

posted by Phillip Winn at December 30, 2003 08:16 AM #

Bush has made me safer. Im so tired of people blaming Bush for the decline in the economy, the loss of jobs, this that or the other. The fact is, our economy was in a decline BEFORE Bush became President. Yes thats right, the wonderful Bill Clinton himself, Mr Slick Willy, Mr lets cut our Military down, lets cut our intell rescources. I mean what exactly did the beloved Clintons really give us other then sexual entertainment, HMO’s, long vacations and a house for the Misses on our tax dollars? How many times were we attacked under his watch and he did nothing? After 9/11 everything went way down hill from there. Surelly everyone hasnt forgotten the aftermath of that? He is not to blame for the reprocutions of 9/11. Yet so many people put the blame on him. Bush has alot of stuff to deal with, more so then any other President has had to deal with, and the only thing people can do is bicker and call him a miserable failure. Well my life and the lives of my loved ones are being protected and to me that is NOT a miserable failure. There has not been an attack on us since Sept 11 and knock on wood there wont be ever again. People can debate all day long about the war in Iraq. After seeing what Saddam has done to people in that country, I could really care less if they had WMD. Doesnt everyone deserve the right to live a life without that kind of torture and fear? Not to mention the argument was fine for Clinton, but when Bush made the same arguement he is called a lier. And as far as I can see, although I am in England because this is where we are stationed at the moment, the economy is growing at its fastest pace in years. The tax relief worked and I like many other middle class Americans appreciate the money I got back. So what if I didnt get the largest portion of the pie, I didnt PAY the largest portion to begin with so why should I get it back? As for other countries hating America, since when did we, as Americans, ever care what the French thought of us? I dont care what the French think, I know I am not giving them MY money or will I travel to their country. So why should I care what they think? Since when do we get permission from Europe for the protection of American? The question for 2004 should be, can I be safer with Bush or Dean. Sorry folks the answer is Bush 100%. Dean doesnt have the mentality to be President.

posted by Erica at December 30, 2003 10:52 AM #

Aaron, you claim that Clinton caused the creation of 22 million new jobs and one of the longest peaceful eras in modern history. That’s great except for…

The collapse of the bubble at the end of his term. The redistrubtion of long term government debt into ARMs (thereby limiting the Fed’s ability to raise intereset rates as it will cause a sharp change in the deficit). Rawanda (how many millions died? Bosnia (same question). Shall we continue?

And remember, there is little evidence to show that any particular president will have a dramatic change on economics during his tenure. Often those effects are felt years later.

posted by AC at December 30, 2003 10:59 AM #

Since Bush is a leader of a country, his job is to delegate responsbility, not to do the work himself. So by saying he has to have worked on it himself, means the challenge can’t be fulfilled. Not that I’m a Bush fan, far from.

posted by Randy Charles Morin at December 30, 2003 12:09 PM #

It seems to me that Bush’s major effect on Americans in general has been to revive our traditional old fashioned self perception as the most powerful country in the world. Your question seems to be looking for some tangible answer, but I think it’s a mistake to underestimate how important many Americans hold that feeling (for the record…I’m not one of them). The old fashioned concept of American pride and “patriotism” that thrived during the cold war depends on that self perception, and, however perversely, I think many really miss the cold war days when the USSR gave us a steady flow of excuses to keep trying to prove it. It’s like the big global superbowl game finally ended after 40+ years and then there was a decade with no football. We really like that football feeling. Many of those Americans may not be consciously aware of it, but it seems to me that feeling tends to be present, even strong, in the undercurrent of casual conversation about the wars and our other reactions to 9/11 ever since it happened.

Now we’ve conquered 2 countries and have national leaders around the world frightened of us again. We’re still number one, and we can feel it. And I think that’s the reason Bush will win next year.

But we’ll see.

posted by chris at December 30, 2003 12:26 PM #

Randy, I didn’t mean that George W. Bush had to personally do things. By Bush I mean the Bush Administration.

posted by Aaron Swartz at December 30, 2003 01:31 PM #

Aaron: your challenge reminds me of Daniel Davies’s challenge:

“…can anyone, particularly the rather more Bush-friendly recent arrivals to the board, give me one single example of something with the following three characteristics:

  1. It is a policy initiative of the current Bush administration
  2. It was significant enough in scale that I’d have heard of it (at a pinch, that I should have heard of it)
  3. It wasn’t in some important way completely fucked up during the execution.”

posted by Anonymous at December 30, 2003 01:34 PM #

The question is Will you be safer with President Bush or President Dean?

The honest answer is that Bush is funding and encouraging terrorism everywhere, in true 1984 fashion. His family has strong ties going back to the Nazis and forward to the Bin Ladens. He’s the worst possible President, barring some sort of reincarnation of an American Hitler.

The propaganda, which appears to have brainwashed my fellow citizens is that Bush is strong on security, and that the Democrats are a bunch of whiney feel-good pinko commie softies who would invite Osama to lunch.(Oh, the irony)

It’s frightening to look around my home state of Indiana and see everyone falling for the pablum the media spits out. It’s frustrating to listen to National Propaganda Radio slam Dean so smoothly.

The real fight is one of Propaganda vs Substance. If we can make people think, we’ll all win, otherwise we’re headed towards the same slope the Germans slid down in the 1930’s.


posted by Mike Warot at December 30, 2003 03:39 PM #

I am amazed at people who can listen to Howard Dean in interviews and believe that the enemies of the United States will say something akin to “Oh, look! A new person in the White House! Let’s stop trying to kill them all!” I’ve heard Dean make just that suggestion on NPR, and I don’t believe it. I don’t think they noticed a different between Bush, Clinton, and Bush, and they won’t recognize anything different about whoever ends up in there next.

Unless, of course, that president is foolish enough to abandon the pressure we’re putting on foreign terrorists just as the plan is having some serious good effects. They’d notice that, all right, and consider it open season.

When people (Mike Warot) try to compare anything going on today with 1930s Germany, they have clearly lost hold on reality. I tell myself they’re kidding, but I fear that they’re actually not.

posted by Phillip Winn at December 30, 2003 04:10 PM #

I think that readers need to recognize the criteria set up by Aaron is strongly influenced by his personal ideology, not his desire for truth and understanding.

In other words, save your breath and work on something that can make a difference than dabble in the silly contest.

Joseph Pietro Riolo <>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this comment in the public domain.

posted by Joseph Pietro Riolo at December 30, 2003 05:40 PM #

Nobody believes that something as simple as an election and a new administration is going to bring instant results. We have funded and promoted terrorism around the world for decades, if not most of the life of this nation. We can complain about the bitter fruit we harvest, or we can change our course, and stop sowing the seeds of of terrorism through out the world, and try to clean up the mess we’ve already made.

Unless we start to pull out of the pathological accelleration of this policy put into motion by the failures of 9/11, and the opprotunist neocons, we’re going to be judged very harshly by history, perhaps as soon as 20 years from now.


posted by Mike Warot at December 30, 2003 09:53 PM #

I was a teacher for about eleven years. I was dubious of the whole No Child Left Behind initiative, and the whole thing is still pretty much an unfunded mandate to the states, but articles in the monthly publications from the American Federation of Teachers (an AFL-CIO affiliate, by the way) have convinced me that perhaps a top-down push towards some type of standardized testing appplied across the board at many age levels is a good thing. At least now, teachers can say “Now I know what you expect of me, and now I can show you that I am indeed doing a good job.” Many devils have arisen out of the details, but this time Bush’s messianic complex to push through his ideas may have paid off.

Of course, this isn’t the thing that we can really see results for for a good decade or two.

posted by Mike Poley at December 31, 2003 09:18 AM #

So when do we get to know when this contest is over and who won? Or is this more of a rhetorical contest?

posted by Chris Karr at December 31, 2003 10:17 AM #

The tax credits are a joke. Well, of course besides that fact that I spent the money. The trick is a needed that money so much. I haven’t had a raise, my local property taxes, state sales tax, fees etc add up to much more than the one time benefit.

What is the cost to the econmy and the national debt of this?

posted by Dave Bauer at December 31, 2003 10:39 AM #

The whole premise of this contest is a joke and a sad reflection of how most people think today. Do you actually think the President is in power do to something special for you? You’re kidding yourselves if you think one man will get the economy going again, create more jobs, end terrorism or bring about world peace. I know when you say the President you are referring to his administration and policies but the fact remains that these problems have been in the past and will remain in the future.

posted by Kevin at January 1, 2004 11:06 AM #

Kevin, I don’t expect the President to solve problems single-handedly but there are many proven things he can do to make a difference in people’s lives (universal health care, safety and environmental regulations, progressive taxation, livable wage laws, campaign finance reform, public transportation, hunger and homelessness elimination, etc.). The President doesn’t have to solve all these problems but he should at least try.

Many of these things aren’t that hard. We know how to solve it, we have the money, we have the technology, it’s just a matter of getting the bill through the mess we call Congress.

posted by Aaron Swartz at January 1, 2004 02:27 PM #

“Many of these things aren’t that hard. We know how to solve it, we have the money, we have the technology, it’s just a matter of getting the bill through the mess we call”

Most of these things are harder than we know. Granting universal health care, for example, means extra costs for certain groups who might otherwise be better off; it means shifting resources that might be better spent elsewhere. The results of changing market forces (to the extent they exist today) are hard tp predict. You can’t point to Canada as an example of socialized medicine because Canadians have the option to travel to the US and get care when thier own system is lacking. That option won’t exist in the US, Changing the market dynmaics of US health care will have unintended consequences that may not be so rosey.

The policies of the Great Society, or the War on (some) Drugs, were perhaps well-intentioned. Many people no doubt believed they knew how to solve problems, but the side-effects created a slew of new troubles without really solving the target issues.

posted by James at January 1, 2004 03:21 PM #

I’m not sure I know what proven things you are talking about, but I believe your last sentence validates my point.

You also say he “doesn’t have to solve all these problems but he should at least try.” Would you really be happy at just an attempt? What good would that do?

posted by Kevin at January 1, 2004 04:05 PM #

Well, let’s see…

  1. Tax refund. Gave me a portion of my hard earned money back. And no, I’m not in the top 1% of America. I give enough money to the government as it is.

  2. Child tax credit. We don’t have kids, but for those who do, this is a great bonus.

  3. Marriage tax credit. It’s increased since Bush.

  4. GDP is up 7%+. Clinton didn’t do that. In fact, the end of his era brought the downfall of our economy. Thank you Billy for handing the next president an economy that was in a downward spiral. What did Billy do for me? Not much that I can remember. Oh, wait, he did try and maintain the economic prosperity and decreased unemployment rates that Bush Sr. put into place. But then he ended up screwing those up in the end.

  5. Got Saddam out of Iraq. The war on terror isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. But GW is the only one who has really taken a crack at it. It’s about time someone held these people accountable. And to be fair, they did a good job at getting him out, but really screwed up the follow up plan - should have done better there GW.

  6. Health care. Yeah, he’s made an impact. Is it perfect? No, but it’s better than it was. Which is more than I can say for his predecessor.

  7. Education. The No Child Left Behind initiative is a real start at improving education in America. I’ve been working on some research dealing with it lately and it’s a far cry better than anything we’ve had before. This may actually work.

Incidentally, I’m an independant - I vote for whoever will do the best job. I think Bush has done a pretty good job with the hand he was dealt. People forget that he inherited a flailing economy, then 911 made it worse. They think Clinton gave us economic boom, yet forget that the laws of economics, policies, and procedures dictate that we won’t know what Clinton did for at least 4 years, more like 6-8 years, after he got into office. Well, we know now - economic bust.

As for Dean, I respect that he speaks his mind. But he also thinks that everyone should be required to join a Union. Well, that’s a sure way to get people who already sit on their buts and take handouts to continue to get worse. Unions promote mimimal effort, not hard work. There’s not a whole lot of return on your investment there. They’re essentially worthless. Ask any honest person who’s ever worked for a unionized company vs. a non-union company doing the same type of work.

We’ve turned from a country of hard working citizens to ones that expect the government to take care of us, be responsible for our health when we smoke and eat too much and become sickly due to our own decisions.

You want to talk about real issues, then I’m interested. But do it in a realistic way with an open mind, not some agenda ridden set of questions. I’d be interested to see an politician who can fit the bill to your questions. It sure would be nice. But then, they couldn’t be a politician to do that.

posted by Todd at January 1, 2004 04:14 PM #

But mostly it’s because Bush has no redeeming qualities.

That sentence alone said all I needed to know about the little “contest.” NO redeeming qualities? Man, you really do need to put down the pipe.

posted by bryan at January 1, 2004 07:33 PM #

5. Got Saddam out of Iraq. The war on terror isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. But GW is the only one who has really taken a crack at it. It’s about time someone held these people accountable. And to be fair, they did a good job at getting him out, but really screwed up the follow up plan - should have done better there GW.

don’t confuse the invade iraq and war-on-terror issues:

  1. the USA deposed saddam (against the will of the UN, and most of the world)
  2. the USA had NO evidence of ties between Saddam and any of WMD, global terrorism, or the tooth fairy

and yet, the public widely believes that this was the good thing.

at the same time, the administration is blocking efforts to dig into the complete intelligence analysis failure that lead directly to september 11th, 2001. why didn’t we have better assets in place? why wasn’t the intelligence heeded? why didn’t, despite all the analysis about planes being credible weapons, anyone acknowledge that fact, and pay more attention to intel thereof?

it floors me that we only focus on the invasion of iraq, as if that made the world a safer place, and totally ignore the facts behind how we got there, how a major terrorist attack occurred under this administrations watch, and the continuing debacle in iraq, from lack of exit strategy, to payoffs to companies of certain vice-presidents.

posted by Bob Kuehne at January 2, 2004 09:43 AM #

Taking Saddam out of power is part of the war on terror. The man was a menace to society. He came into power by calling the entire opposition into a room and one by one, they were sent outside into the court yard and shot. How’s that for terror?

The US desposed Saddam after he had ignored every sanction that the UN put in place in regards to him. It’s not the US’s fault that the UN wouldn’t stand up to him.

And most of the world? France is not most of the world. Oh yeah, there was also Germany. So, like a couple of countries were against it, the rest were riding the fence. Hardly most of the world.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a disaster like 911 to wake the sleeping lion. So, you point on paying attention to the intel is well taken.

Additionally, there’s the issue with how he got there, already discussed above. I think you mean how he stayed there. And that can be credited to any president who didn’t take him out (Carter, Regan, Bush Sr. Clinton). I agree, that too is an issue. But you’re still skirting that Bush took him out. How about a little gratitude for that?

Payoffs to companies of certain vice-presidents? You mean ones Chaney is associated with? Which payoffs are you speaking of? And while you’re at it, how about the 200+ pardons by Clinton his last day in office? Kind of wraps up his presidency correctly.

posted by Todd at January 2, 2004 12:59 PM #

Typical retorical points from the liberial camp:

  1. Bush new about and/or caused 9/11 (blocking intelligence analysis)
  2. The invasion of Iraq was for oil (oil prices down)
  3. Saddam had no connection with global terrorism (checks to Palastine terrorists)
  4. Not enough money for No Child Left Behind (Congress hold the purse strings of the government)
  5. No exit strategy for Iraq (like the 1 year we were going to be in Bosnia: Clinton)
  6. Tax cuts for the rich (all those rich people who make $30,000 per year)
  7. Failing economy (oops!)
  8. He should do more for the homeless (not give the homeless more chance to do more for themself)
  9. Fought against Campaign Finance Reform (that stiffels free speech: Constitution)
  10. He should do more for public transportation (take over state governments)
  11. Isn’t doing enough for universal health care (socialism at it’s best)
  12. Progressive taxation (the federal government needs more money for more social programs to “help”)
  13. Better livable wage laws (the government knows how much each business should pay for the work done by employees—more socialism)

    I’ve had enough of this drive toward European type Democratic Socialism, give me a Representive Republic again. Where personal freedom means more than government programs.

posted by George at January 2, 2004 02:10 PM #

The problem with the “What has Bush done for you” idea is that it isn’t how elections seem to work in the US, at least when there is an incumbent.

We don’t so much elect presidents so much as we fire them. The election is a popularity contest, and so far Bush seems pretty popular.

Unless people get mad at Bush (and the people who are mad at him now aren’t enough) then it doesn’t matter who the Democrats have running. Voters will play it safe and keep the current president.

The fact that we have troops in combat makes it even less likely that voters would kick Bush out.

Maybe if you started a “What has Bush done to ** you?” conversation…

(In any event, count this as my prediction for the election and let me have it if it doesn’t come true)

posted by David Rouse at January 3, 2004 03:21 PM #

You said: “It has to be good for the average American, the plain old middle-class guy who’s in the majority on issue polls, is out of a job or isn’t making much money, and just wants to get along”

The average American isn’t out of a job. Why not post the graph of family income and percent of taxes they pay? Then post the total tax percent each income group pays.


posted by sbw at January 5, 2004 07:28 AM #

Eric: The Child Tax Credit was Bill Clinton’s doing, not Bush’s. Bush only made it so you get it earlier in the year, rather than as part of a return or relief when you file your taxes. You were getting that CTC before Bush became president (unless you didn’t have kids)…you were just getting it at the end of the year.

It’s a bit of politcal sleight of hand - meant to make Bush look good, but isn’t really anything different than what you had before. I wonder how much it costs the IRS (in tax dollars that you and I pay) to print and send out all those extra checks mid-year?

Not sure what he’s done for me, other than make me very, very, very unhappy with the direction my country is headed.

posted by tek at January 6, 2004 11:17 PM #

I saved 15% on my car insurance with Gieco!

posted by bob at January 11, 2004 01:43 AM #

tax cuts. less income tax is a good thing. our tax system is so hosed up; the more money you make, the higher your tax percentage. nothing like punishing success.

sure some rich people inherited the riches, but a lot of rich people are rich because they worked hard, worked smart, and were successful. I think it is an abomination to take away the fruits of their success.

I saw a Dean ad on tv: the first thing he said he would do was repeal the Bush tax cuts. I say, fuck you Dean! you have just told me you want to steal my money. don’t vote for a thief. He has just said he wants to piss on the American dream.

posted by Kevin Geiss at January 14, 2004 10:49 AM #

me again. I like the tax cuts bush put through, but I won’t be able to vote for bush next time. His justice department has arrested U.S. Citizens on U.S. soil, and held them indefinitely without charging them with a crime. The constitution is more important to me than tax cuts. I just hope Dean doesn’t end up with the Democratic nomination

posted by Kevin Geiss at January 17, 2004 08:47 PM #

Those who love Bu$h don’t realize that the work “American” has become anathema even in centrist countries such as Canada. Safer under Bush? Hardly. The threat of terrorism becomes far greater when a head of state incites hatred in one billion more people by preempting a war based on false pretences.

The only good that I can foresee is a UN with more authority to prevent such atrocities from its own permanent members in the future. See you at the International Criminal Court 2005, Bush.

Yes, Saddam was captured. However, the cost and subsequent fallout may cause a far greater loss of life. Also, I can name a dozen other countries that should have been invaded before Iraq (considering a threat to national security or human rights violations).

I lost a relative in the war and wish to fight in the memory of Blaine Kelln to “fire” Bush. The only problem is that I can’t vote.

You, the American people can change all of this mess and help the world forward to global peace. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!!!!!!

Sleepless in Canada

posted by R. T. Kelln at January 30, 2004 07:05 PM #

What has Bush done to you? He has saved more lives than he has killed according to stastitics. He is a better president than any of the Dmeocratic Canidates. He is making my family richer with tax cuts.

posted by Logan Guthrie at February 23, 2004 09:41 PM #

Youre an idiot. If any of you had morals you would understand what an amazing job Bush has done. He is trying to put a stop to the murder of children, he’s fighting against gay marriage,and he rid a country of their evil leader. Well, in the end your thoughts mean nothing because Bush WILL win again!!Woo hoo

posted by lupe at February 28, 2004 04:46 PM #

Open up your eyes! Try to think with your own head - it’s Bush’s propaganda.

posted by Otov at February 29, 2004 12:47 PM #

Hmmm? What has Bush Done for me?

1.)Lied to American people! telling us that Sadam had weapons of mass destruction,and insinuateing that he has connections to terriost organizations. This caused many Americans to support the war under false pretenses now we have troops getting injured and killed for policing and nation building not fighting terriorism.

2.)Bush has hampered War on terrorism by sending most of our troops to Irac for nation building and policing rather than sending most of our troops in search of terrorist. 3.) The Bush Administration failed to keep there promise to the other nations by budgeting 57 million less then what it promised to pay to replensih the Global Enviroment facility. BIG MISTAKE! 4.)Bush refuse to help the states with federal money to balance the state budgets. Most of these states were in finanicail trouble because of Bushes economic policy.So what Bush has inderectly done for me is, raise my property tax,raise retail taxes,force me in a position of either supporting levys for police, fire, schools, and go broke or watch these institutions fall below acceptable levels. 5.)What Bushes also done for me is work hard to deregulate inviromental protections that I support. For example, EPA is considering lifting the levels of mercury that is acceptable for buisness to release in to the air. High levels of mercury can cause brain damage in children. They are also considreing allowing some toxic radioative trash to be dumped with regular garbage. To sum it all up, What Bush has done for me is giving me higher state taxes, a more polluted invirolment, a huge debt to my children in his memory,a poor economy,and a distracted millitary that is busy policing and nation building rather than spending all it resoures fighting terrorism. Thank’s alot Bush any one can see we are better off now then we were four years ago. Right Kerry’s got my vote.

posted by Kim at March 16, 2004 10:56 AM #

I don’t know why everyone thinks Bush has done nothing for US employment. He took many individuals from the PNAC and gave them top leadership positions in his Administration!

And those fearless PNAC members took us to war in Iraq to free Americans from that ‘grave and gathering danger” we were facing from a nation that had no air force, no military radar, no organized army, no WMD and no nuclear capability.

PNAC has given us access to lots of cheap oil, and a global positioning in the Middle East to protect our “vital interests!”

The PNAC is a neoconservative Think-Tank that was formed in 1997. Their agenda prior to 2000 was control of Iraq, war in Iraq, regime change in Iraq and increased military budgets.

In 01-26-1998, the PNAC sent a letter to Clinton strongly pushing war in Iraq. They wanted him to invade Iraq and begin the control of the middle east “to control our vital interests!”

In 05-1998, PNAC sent a letter to Gingrich and Lott again strongly recommending military action against Iraq.

After the 2000 Election, almost all of the Think-Tank Membership moved into the Bush administration in very high level jobs, mostly in the Dept of Defense but also the State Dept and the office of the Vice President!

PNAC member: Dick Cheney, VP of the United States

PNAC member: Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of DEFENSE

PNAC member: Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of DEFENSE. He has been called “the velociraptor” by The Economist!

PNAC member: Dick Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State

PNAC member: Dov Zakheim, Under-Secretary of DEFENSE (Comptroller) & CFO for the Department of Defense

PNAC member: Lewis Libby, Cheney’s Chief of Staff and Assistant to the Vice President for NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS. Also served as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under Bush-41.

PNAC member: Doug Feith, Under Secretary of DEFENSE for Policy,

PNAC member: Richard Perle was the Chairman of the DEFENSE Policy Board.

PNAC member: Peter W. Rodman; Assistant Secretary of DEFENSE.

PNAC member: Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, a National Security Council official; Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan

PNAC member: John Bolton; Under-Secretary of State for nonproliferation.

PNAC member: Elliott Abrams, a senior director for Middle East affairs.

PNAC member: Robert Zoellick, Bush Cabinet Member; US Trade Rep (Rank of Ambassador).

PNAC member: Paula Dobriansky, State Dept. Under-Secretary, Global Affairs

PNAC member: WM Schneider, U.S. Department of DEFENSE. Chairman of the Defense Science Board.

PNAC member: And let’s not forget little JEBBIE BUSH!!


posted by John Kennerly at March 18, 2004 02:23 PM #

It doesn’t really matter. When the voting public is given only two choices during an election, how is that choice? Two men chosen by two elite parties. Two men from wealthy elitist families. Both born with a silver spoon in their mouth. How is that representation. Choose the lessor of the two evils and move along. Now that is democracy. Think about it. When will we have a real red blooded American elected President. I will vote Bush because the Democrats are choosing Socialists to represent their party. They scare me. One day perhaps I will vote Democrat but I see zero talent from them at this point. It is better to have complete idiot in the White House than a Communist. At least he will screw up the country on accident rather than as a plan of action.

posted by Thomas Moody at March 21, 2004 12:45 AM #

Thomas, you have said it.
I grew up in a Socialist-Communist country and I think that anyone willing to vote for the Socialists in the Democratic party these days needs his brain checked. The main problem is that 20% of the voters have brains and morals, the other 80% fall in one of the following categories: Most only have one either brains or morals. And then there are those who have neither brains nor morals… hopefully, their number is small, but it seems to be increasing. I will vote for Bush. I may only be a software engineer, a father of two little girls and maybe I’m not be as brainy as some of you more liberals claim to be, but I believe in integrity, and we don’t need another Clinton moron in office. I’ve also been around and lived in other countries long enough to know that people who want to turn the US into a socialist puppy on UN’s leash are just plain STUPID. Oh, and I live near the canadian border, and I’m glad I’m on the US side of it.
As far as what Bush has done for me: lots, but his child credit tax refund allowed us to spend week as a family at a summer camp on a cheap vacation, something that we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.
What Bush HASN’T done for me was that my kid 3 year old doesn’t come to me while I’m watching news asking me “daddy, what’s oral sex?”.

posted by Paul at March 25, 2004 12:57 PM #

oh, and when I said “PLAIN STUPID”, I didn’t mean that liberals are not educated… I have co-workers that have a ton of knowledge in their heads, just not enough wisdom and common sense to use that knowledge right. Head knowledge doesn’t benefit anyone if they don’t have the moral fortitude and wisdom to choose right from wrong.

posted by Paul at March 25, 2004 01:03 PM #

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