The economic policies of the Bush Administration are not unprecedented. Like Ronald Reagan, and John McCain should he succeed him, George W. Bush is dismantling the infrastructure put in place by Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, James Earl Carter, and William Jefferson Clinton.
I expect my government to plan for the future and regulate corporate behavior the way I expect it to secure the borders, protect the air, water, and natural resources, and provide police protection from muggers, rapists, and criminals. However, George Bush, and John McCain, like Herbert Hoover, believe that “Rugged Individualism” means not “one nation under God” but “every man for himself” and that government interference in the economy is “socialism.” Hoover spoke eloquently on the campaign trail in 1928, saying “Our country has become the land of opportunity … not merely because of the wealth of its resources and industry, but because of freedom of initiative and enterprise.”
Unfortunately however, the reality of that Republican Administration fell short of ideal when the excesses of the non-regulated 1920’s created the Great Depression. Hoover, personally unaffected by the Depression, stood rigid and wooden, a slave to his beliefs and misconceptions, unwilling and unable to help his fellow citizens.
Similarly, Bush stood idly by in the face of Hurricane Katrina, impotent, unable to do anything but pat his well-connected friend, the head of FEMA, on the back and say ‘Heck of a job’. And today he does nothing to spur the development of Clean Energy – Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Marine Current, etc., choosing instead to beg the Saudis to produce more oil.
We Americans, in the midst of The Great Depression, knew better than elect a laissez-faire Republican to the White House in 1932. Will we know better today?