In Erie, Pennsylvania yesterday, former President George W. Bush had a few things to say. After five months of the new President blaming the former President for the country's woes, President Bush finally stood up and diplomatically responded to some of the issues.
While the former President spoke out, he was still very gracious and respectful in his comments. He was asked questions about the current state of the economy and stopped himself from going directly after Obama for his attempted solutions. He said that he had warned of the housing crisis before it became a crisis, which is true. Early in his Presidency and again after his re-election, he tried to get Congress to act on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the Democrats in Congress blocked any solutions from coming. Bush described it as "vested interests" in Congress.
He also said, to rousing cheers from the audience, that it would be the private sector that would improve the economy and not the government. He added that Government doesn't create wealth, but it can create an environment making it easier for the free market and private sector to bring this economy around and said it will be better than it was before.
Regarding health care, he said that he was concerned about nationalizing health care that again, the private sector would be the one to fix the health care system.
You can read this at http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/18/bush-takes-swipes-at-policies-of-obama/. The headline is misleading. While Bush did talk about the current directions he did not go directly after Obama. He displayed class.
We in Michigan are familiar with "make excuse politics". We've been in a one state recession for five years and the rest of the country joined us in the past year. Governor Granholm has consistantly blamed Michigans woes on first former Governor John Engler and then President Bush then both of them. Yesterday, it was announced that Michigan's unemployment rate jumped to 14.1%. Highest in the nation again. I believe this is now 37 consecutive months.
Granholm blamed Engler in the beginning. Engler took over from Governor James Blanchard (D). Unemployment was in double digits at the time. After 12 years, Engler's final term expired. He left the state of Michigan with an unemployment rate of 3.9%. The economy was thriving.
In addition to Engler, Bush took over in 2001 as President. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when the economy dropped like a rock, his policies turned it around and the economy soared from 2002 until 2007. The strongest economy in over 25 years. He lowered taxes and revenues to the government INCREASED to record numbers. But not in Michigan. Granholm's policies, fee increases, tax increases were running Michigan down. While the rest of the country was growing and working, the people of Michigan were hearing "It's Englers' fault", it's "Bush's fault".
When Bush took over, he inherited a recession. You rarely heard the administration say that. He just went to work and implemented policies that would solve the problem. However, now that Obama is in there, he's taken up the mantra of Governor Granholm. "It's Bush's fault". Or "we inherited this mess".
In Bush's speech yesterday, he said he wasn't going to directly go after Obama's policies and he didn't. He showed in his answers much class and dignity, and talked about the issues. Even regarding the question of whether he thinks we're being led to socialism, he was still diplomatic and said "we'll see".
It's been just under 6 months, but I already miss having an adult in the White House. One can only hope that the new President takes advantage of advice from former Presidents. Perhaps he could start with not getting too close to the press. The press is his friend now, but they will turn on him. You have to be careful about stroking the tail of a dog. When he turns, there's teeth in the other end.
Bush didn't do things exactly correct last fall, in my opinion, but he didn't play the blame game. He went after the problem in the short time he had left. I'll criticize what he did from September through January, but I admire him for not shirking his responsibility and for taking on the problem. He handled this speech and question and answer period with much class. Something we're not seeing out of the current White House, nor from the Press for that matter.
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