Thursday, 19 April 2007

Apparantly Bush is starting to focus more on foreign policy...

I wasn't aware he ever had stopped putting a great deal of focus on foreign policy, but apparantly USA Today thought so. Much of George W. Bush's presidency — from the very beginning — has been dominated by foreign politics. He won the 2004 election on foreign, not domestic, policy. His one 'great' mark, a not-so-great change in the Social Security system, went badly enough, as did his abomination of an education plan, No Child Left Behind.

Even if one includes Iraq, his stronger political front — in his eyes and in the eyes of his supporters (some not so much — is that abroad. The 'war on terror' is the primary reason for this, and much of the so-called war's focus has not been that of homeland security. Thus, the 'war on terror' arguably is, and has been made out to be, a foreign policy operation. Bush courts neoconservatives (neocon hawks) for his policy abroad; social conservatives (Christian right) for his policy at home.

Since the new Democrat-led Congress took power, he has also been locking horns with the legislature over his bottomless war in Iraq. So far Bush keeps coming up on top.

Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the American Gulf Coast and the amazingly poor response from the government is another example of how domestic services have taken a turn for the worse under this president. An incompetent political appointee — and I don't mean Bush, I mean Brown — does not make a great FEMA head. Nor is a non-independent attorney-general acceptable (just ignore Gonzales, he has lied enough lately and is finally being questioned by a Senate panel), especially considering the prescient on the independence of the Department of Justice. Believe it or not, DoJ has maintained some measure of distance from the White House in the past, allowing it to do its job without petty political pressures.

Another aspect of his political identity is the moral, religious part. From pushing from stem cell bans, to fighting against abortion, to other moves nudging church closer to state, this president has plenty of street cred (per se) from the religious right.

Here is one good thing about Bush: he is showing some toughness on Darfur, threatening more UN sanctions. Unsurprisingly he is not looking at the real problem: other countries, especially China, including America, are only propping up the genocide-instigating regime in Sudan. He also needs to stand behind the United Nations if he wants anything to be done on the humanitarian side of things.

Oh, and if I were to give Bush a political grade — from both my standpoint and the popular standpoint — it'd be a 1.5/10 or 2/10. He got some positive limelight from his speech following the Virginia Tech shootings, though not in my eyes. While he has a 32% or so approval rating, remember if he were to be put head-to-head with most politicians that percentage would rise, so he still has a bit of popularity. Iraq still going horrible; 'war on terror' still a disgrace; American scientific power is down; government is overpowering of the people and don't give back (positively) in return; transparency is moot and fundamentalist ideology reigns in the Oval Office. But people still like the president more than Congress...

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1 comment:

Ron Davison said...

The headline of your posting scared me. This is the man who uses his state of the union speeches to talk about another country and he's giong to focus MORE on foreign policy? I'm with you - I had no idea that he'd ever had a different priority after 9-11. And this from a guy who had left the country only twice before taking office.