December 30, 2007

Petraeus as Man of the Year? Think Again.

bushtumb.jpgAMERICAN THINKER'S Christopher Chantrill slaps the forehead and makes the case in Man of the Year: President Bush

To quote, Time editors choose:
the man, woman, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."

The answer is pretty obvious. It is President George W. Bush. He is not just Man of the Year. He is Man of the Decade. Whether it was the contested election of 2000, the response to 9/11, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the "mess in Iraq," and the surge, the guy in the middle was President Bush. Whether it's the success of the 2003 tax cuts, the mess of No Child Left Behind, or the gigantic expansion of Medicare, the go-to guy is President Bush.

That liberals don't like him is obvious. Bush, Chantrill argues, operates "in the world of grown-ups as opposed to the adolescent world of taxpayer-funded liberal sinecures." But Chantrill also scorns the clusters of conservatives that seem to have found the time and leisure to dislike Bush in their lust to disembowel themselves in next year's election:
"Conservatives are disappointed in President Bush. He hasn't advanced our program of reform as far as we would have liked, and we grumble that Ronald Reagan would have done better. We probably underestimate the achievements of Bush and overestimate the legacy of Reagan."
I join with Chantrill in this estimate and have some hope that conservatives are done with their pouting in time to reverse some of the serious losses that their attitude brought them in 2006. It's disconcerting to see them continue to ride off into the sunset in their 1960 Blue Huffmobile with the Goldwater hood ornament.

I find myself in disagreement with Chantrill's assessment of the main threat to the President's legacy:

"Yet all of his achievements and mistakes thus far may count for nothing. This holiday season the ship of state is tossing in a perilous mortgage meltdown. Will President Bush manage to navigate the economy through the narrow channel between the Scylla of credit collapse and the Charybdis of ruinous inflation?"
I don't find myself nearly as concerned about the economic doom scenario attached to the housing implosion. A movement that makes housing more affordable, that attaches some rational measure of perceived value to a major asset does not strike me as a bad thing. I remember the last spate of "ruinous inflation" in the 1980s. I can't see that sort of rise rising up out of cheaper housing, nor can I see mortgage rates moving north of 10%, much less north of 15%. And even if the 1980s inflation were to appear again like some hulking Frankenstein at the wedding feast, it takes years to grow that sort of monster.

To my mind, the nuclear fireball in the middle of the American city that has the heat of the heart of the sun is still the largest threat to "the Bush legacy." And if that happens, your inability to get a jumbo mortgage will be the least of your problems.... and the world's. If that happens, the only damage to the Bush legacy will not be that he did too much, but that he did far, far too little.

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Posted by Vanderleun at December 30, 2007 10:14 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"To my mind, the nuclear fireball in the middle of the American city that has the heat of the heart of the sun is still the largest threat to "the Bush legacy." And if that happens, your inability to get a jumbo mortgage will be the least of your problems.... and the world's. If that happens, the only damage to the Bush legacy will not be that he did too much, but that he did far, far too little."

Pakistan is in in play. Place your bets.

Posted by: gabrielpicasso at December 31, 2007 7:38 AM

Hard to argue with this conclusion in any rational assessment of Bush's presidency. His failures are legion -- mostly in his dismal communication skills, fondness for big-government solutions, and cluelessness on immigration. But all presidents have far more failures than successes -- increasingly so as we become an ungovernable country in our narcissistic denial of the implications of our ongoing war with radical Islam.

Bush's stubbornness and persistence in carrying the fight to the enemy -- in the face of the irrational seething hatred of his political enemies and the wispy worthlessness of his castrati "friends" -- has kept the jihadists too occupied to foment the nuclear doomsday, or other equally horrendous scenarios from becoming a grim reality.

Radical Islam will never stop seeking our destruction until they are utterly crushed. Hopefully enough of us are awake enough too look up from our X-Boxes and elect someone equally determined to see this through.

Posted by: Dr Bob at December 31, 2007 7:56 AM

The biggest problem I see, in my limited ability, with regard to mortgages, is for the 'flippers', those who buy a house, have it appreciate, and then flip to a more expensive house. If you bought a house to live in and do not move, even if the value of the house drops, the taxes should drop (get a reassessment) and if you could afford that house, then you can afford to stay until the value climbs again. If you bought too close to your wages you may be in trouble. As I have seen, all investments rise and fall, but through those cycles a house provides shelter and is better for most than paying rent - over the long run, which isn't five years.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at January 1, 2008 12:37 PM

The impact of even a major dip in housing prices should indeed be limited. The real economic harm is potentially in the farther reaching consequences of the bursting of the "debt com" bubble -- Reduction in the credibility of debt ratings, suspicion of structured debt, and increased risk aversion combining to increase the cost of raising capital. Fed interest rate cuts can counter that to some extent, but continued budget deficits make it more difficult.

I'm not forecasting doom. Just saying that home prices are perhaps the least important part of the "crisis".

Posted by: Umbriel at January 3, 2008 11:43 AM
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