After having some time to reflect on the RNC convention, the biggest quote to stick with me was Jeb Bush’s “Mr. President stop blaming my brother… A real leader takes responsibility.”
What a flaming piece of dog doo.
Every Presidency has had scores and misses, some more so than others. Jeb Bush obviously doesn’t know much about American history because to my knowledge only two Presidents in my lifetime have ever taken ownership of bad times.
Let’s review some great American Presidential “ownership” moments from my lifetime.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Finding himself in a Vietnam quagmire and a country strongly divided, Lyndon B. Johnson refused to run for re-election. There were several factors — including his Doctors telling him he wouldn’t live through a 2nd term — but the biggest one was that after surging with half a million troops, Vietnam was not winnable. He stops short of actually saying so rather saying that the parties were too divisive.
While Nixon did have a fair amount of positives in his presidency, he broke the law and should have gone to jail. He never took ownership therefore not a great leader, but had he been of age Jeb Bush would have voted for him twice. Don’t feel a need to spend a lot of time on this one.
There isn’t a whole lot to talk about with Gerald Ford. Outside of pardoning Nixon, he wasn’t that controversial. After Ford’s death, most discussion about the pardon viewed it as a necessary evil to get the country moving forward from Watergate. But it also cost him the election. He made a difficult decision and it cost him the election. But he did own it.
However, there was a “worst recession since the Great Depression” also under Ford. It was a combination of prices inflating and very high unemployment. He devised the now laughable “Whip Inflation Now” program, which called for all Americans to curb their spending to prevent prices from going up. Can you imagine how this would play on Fox News? Americans kept buying stuff, wages eventually went up and this why Pete Campbell could afford a house on $50 a week in 1966. He never apologized for essentially doing nothing in the face of a recession.
The malaise speech, probably the most depressing air time every spent by a president, was indeed ownership of the hard times that were the mid 1970’s. With the Energy crises and an inherited recession, Jimmy was in a shit storm waaaaay before a bunch students took the Americans hostage. He took ownership and it cost him the election. But own it, he did.
Ronald Reagan owned up to two things--- Jack and Shit. He never owned up to negotiating with terrorists and never apologized for using the Constitution for toilet paper. He did make a good show of it but there were no firings, in fact, he turned the criminals in to heroes of the right. This is a good, quick video if you want the ABC’s of Iran-Contra. He says it happened under “his watch” but that’s the end of it.
But his major failure, the one with the longest lasting consequences that Reagan never owned up to was his role in spreading misinformation and bigotry in the AIDS crisis. As a result, funding to stop the epidemic didn’t arrive until it way out of control. AIDS is the enduring legacy of the Reagan presidency and not until George W. Bush ended his presidency did a Republican figure ever act on any effort to make up for this.
George H.W. Bush
George Bush’s famous “Read My Lips” Speech, cost him the election. The Democrats were trying to reel in deficit spending and George got forced to raise taxes. It cost him his re-election and showed that things can be a lot more complicated with a Democrat congress.
Yet, he never claimed ownership
I think we all know about this. It doesn’t count as owning up to a fuck up only after a stained dress is revealed. So no Bill never owned it as he should. He did rock the economy though.
George W. Bush
Which brings us to George. So much to apologize for.
Invading the wrong country? Crashing the economy? Watching his people drown in New Orleans? The tax cuts that make up nearly 2 trillion dollars of the deficit?
But George has firmly stated that he wouldn’t have done anything differently. He stands by his actions that were apparently all awesome and history will judge him differently. Four years later, it still appears he was a sucky president.
And that is something to own up to. So Jeb, it looks like Jimmy is the big winner along with Gerald Ford, the ignored Unle of the GOP. Looks like you folks should be nicer to them.