Bush’s apologia offers little new

If you have been keeping up with the news lately, then no doubt you have noticed George W. Bush has come out of his self-imposed exile to promote his new memoir. While I understand the ex-President’s publisher has to make money off its investment, this self-serving apologia provides nothing more than an excuse for supporters of the ex-President to reaffirm their support and to blast his successor.  In terms of substance or historic insight, the book is pretty thin gruel.

In his promotional interviews, Bush claims the low point of his presidency was not when his administration used cherry-picked evidence to convince the Congress to invade Iraq, or when he deliberately gutted constitutionally-protected liberties of American citizens.  According to the new Mr. Bush, the nadir of his tenure in office was when a rapper accused him of being a racist on national television during a benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Bush can perhaps now sleep well at night, serene in the knowledge that the rapper, who has a history of uttering statements that make himself look like an idiot, now says he regrets making that particular comment about the former president.

One of his prouder moments as recounted in his memoir seems to have been when he personally approved the use of torture to elicit information from captured terrorists, notwithstanding the actions authorized clearly violated U.S. laws, simply because his advisors told him not to fret about it because they had decided what they were doing was “lawful.”

Many Republicans and conservative talk-show pundits are swooning over Bush’s re-emergence into public life; but it is difficult to grasp why any of them would have nostalgic feelings toward man who largely is responsible for his party’s electoral defeats in 2006 and 2008. What’s more, Bush’s demonstrated contempt for free markets, individual liberty, and the Constitution are counter to what the Republican Party supposedly believes in.

His brand of “compassionate” conservatism gave us an expensive and expansive new entitlement program in Medicare Part D; numerous bloated federal budgets (after inheriting a balanced budget); regulations that expanded at a rate greater than any president in the last 35 years; and TARP – a massive federal government bailout he claimed was necessary to “save the free market system.”

Republicans may miss Bush simply because the current occupant of the White House is a Democrat who defeated a Republican. However, it was Bush’s incompetence and arrogance that helped paved the way for someone like Barack Obama to succeed him.

George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan; and despite his self-serving attempt to sugar coat his tenure in office, it remains a bitter fruit for America.

56 comments Add your comment

VietVet

November 12th, 2010
7:11 am

Barr’s dead on. From any perspective, right, left, libertarian or humanitarian, W was a disaster. He inherited a country on top economically and militarily. He left it a ruin. Looks like by the time we crawl out of this mess the world will be dominated by the Chinese and Indians.

[...] Bush’s apologia offers little new | The Barr Code. [...]

UnHappy American

November 12th, 2010
7:37 am

Are you kidding me? Is this realy coming from Barr? What have you done? Have you ever had to defend a nation? Have you ever had to lose sleep at night because your decision was going to kil innocent lives in order to keep more innocent lives safe? I think not! And furthermore, anyone who thinks the current spinless prick thats in office is better than “W” should leave America and go to India where Obama thinks all American Jobs should go. Give me a break Barr. When you become something more than an opinionated scribbler, then you can write about the past accomplishments of a Former President. Until then….get a life!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bob Barr, Jason Pye. Jason Pye said: RT @bobbarr: Barr Code: Bush’s apologia offers little new http://bit.ly/dqEDOt [...]

Interested Observer

November 12th, 2010
7:55 am

Bob Barr is right on. Further, it is good to see a very conservative writer willing to address grievous errors made by the leader of his own party. W was indeed a disaster, not just for the United States, but for the Republican Party, but way too many people judge their politicians solely on whether they’re Republicans or Democrats.

I don’t dislike Bush because he’s a Republican, but because he led us into an illegal and immoral war and presided over the repudiation of large parts of our Constitution. As one who leans Democratic, I also fault most Democratic congressmen for happily going along with him. And while I’m not very happy with our current president, I am proud that he was among those who opposed war with Iraq. Now if he’d just live up to his promises to get us out of Iraq and to close our torture center in Cuba…

Jeff from Newnan

November 12th, 2010
7:57 am

What I will admire from W is that he restored honor and integrity to the Constitutionally defined identity known as the Presidency. The President is not above us, made to rule over us nor command us. He does not bow to any world leaders He, as an individual, is one of us and has been been authorized for a brief period of history to lead this nation safely through history, and then leave. Obama doesn’t understand this concept and for that reason, he got what he deserved on Nov 22.

AmVet

November 12th, 2010
7:59 am

Simply stated, W was the Worst American President in modern history.

It is not even remotely close.

By any measure.

Browncoat

November 12th, 2010
8:04 am

Unhappy American, your comment exemplifies what is wrong with many internet comments. Not once in your angry statement do you respond to the substance of Mr. Barr’s Blog. Instead, you attack Mr. Barr. Why?

Is it your point that because none of us has been Presisent we cant criticize a President? That make no sense. I agree that there may be things that the President knows that we don’t, so there may be reasons for making the decision that we don’t know about (I thought that was the case with invading Iraq, but in fact the President and others were just mistaken). Using your logic Unhappy, I hope you aren’t criticizing Obama.

BobinBuford

November 12th, 2010
8:18 am

Jeff:

“Restored honor and integrity”??? Where were you from 2001 – 2008? Did you not read what Mr. Barr wrote about torture and taking us to war in Iraq?? How about when he left Afghanistan to start the war in Iraq, meaning the job in Afghanistan was not finished?? This left the door open to the Taliban to return, which is the situation we have now in this country?

And remember Bin Laden?? He’s still around, thanks to the incompetence of W and the rest.

What Mr. Barr failed to add was that we now have $500 million spent for those wars that Mr Bush and his cronies paid for as supplemental items, meaning they were not added to the budget deficit. Money that was spent in Iraq that could have been spent in this country to help the American people.

He kept us safe? Remember 9/11? That took place on HIS watch, not Clinton’s. He had the August 2001 memo about Bin Laden wanting to use planes to attack America, which he conveniently managed to ignore.

nelson

November 12th, 2010
8:34 am

Afghanistan has gone from an avowed enemy of the U.S. and a brutal dictatorship to an Arab Democracy at the heart of the middle east to a friend of the U.S.
George W. Bush kept spending down.
George W. Bush was the architect of peace in Iraq.
George W. Bush made the military a lean, mean, fighting machine.
George W. Bush carried on the policies of Ronald Raegan in keeping small government
George W. Bush spent Christmas with the troops in Iraq.
George W. Bush took charge with Katrina.
George W. Bush will campagin for Jeb Bush for president.

Trapped in a Red state

November 12th, 2010
8:48 am

Bob
I can’t believe a Republican just said what you said. You are “dead on”. Please educate the others in your party. Thanks

Borat

November 12th, 2010
9:05 am

I like W the man, but have to agree with much of Bob’s perspective regarding W the president. By the way Bob, when are you going to write your memoires about the Clinton impeachment you spearheaded? That was a fantastic pinnacle of your public life in office. Then you can go on a apolgy tour too.

everyday American

November 12th, 2010
9:19 am

Bush inherited 9/11.. he wasn’t in office 8 months when that happened.. if almost 2 years in office and the current administration can keep using that, it has to be able to go both ways.. i guess to some, the war in Iraq was a bad thing. what i hear from people that used to be there, it was a great thing.. and on the torture thing, has anyone seen the video of the Americans being beheaded? just wondering? i know, i know, 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but, sticking someones head under water isn’t beheading them either, is it?

everyday American

November 12th, 2010
9:24 am

that Christmas comment brings up a good point..i’m betting Barack Hussein Obama casually disappears again this year at the end of December and won’t talk to the media again for 8-9 days during this time..you have to admit, it does make you wonder what and how he’s celebrating, or what he’s not celebrating….

and i thought he’d closed Gitmo, didn’t he promise to do that with his first stroke of the pen when he got into office? i know he wouldn’t lie to us.

jconservative

November 12th, 2010
9:27 am

I agree with the comments on Bush.

I disaagree with the one sentence on Reagan; Reagan was just another liberal wrapped in conservative clothing.

Real American

November 12th, 2010
10:10 am

everyday American” Let see under George Bush. 4,000 Amricans troops dead, 5,000 Americans dead in Ny, gas $5 gallon, 5 million jobs lost between 2005-2007, there nothing you and your kind can say about President Obama.

Real American

November 12th, 2010
10:15 am

There will be no attacks on America, people around the world respect this President.
No one respected the cow boy this is why we were at the mercy of countries and their oil. People around the world expected conservatives white Americans to hate Obama, your history gives you away every time. We are in the 21st century the days of John Wayne are gone.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 12th, 2010
10:21 am

I plan to buy the book, just to hear his perspective. Broadly I believe the biggest decision – to create a vibrant Arab democracy in the heart of the Middle East – was a visionary, if expensive solution to a long-term problem that threatens the US. Might work.

Similarly the second biggest decision – the tax cuts – showed in insight into economics no longer present in the oval office. I credit him for that.

Otherwise, on the steel import quotas, on the Kennedy education bill, on the Daschle agriculture bill, on TARP 1 and TARP 2 I generally agree that the Bush administration was democrat-lite. I think it does not rationally follow that it is Bush’s fault that the republicans nominated one who proffered an unconstitutional constraint on free speech. Too bad a real conservative did not run against the community organizer. The suggestion that Bush is to blame for Obama’s election is a post hoc fallacy.

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 12th, 2010
10:23 am

There will be no attacks on America, people around the world respect this President.

What about the mail bombs that were just intercepted on the planes? Looked to me like an attempted attack.

George P Burdell

November 12th, 2010
10:30 am

Where is Bob Barr’s apologia?
Nevermind, I am certain it would be a “self-serving attempt to sugar coat his tenure in office.”

Dave

November 12th, 2010
10:59 am

AmVet – I’m not sure what planet you’re living on thinking that Bush inherited a country that was “on top” militarily, because it most certainly wasn’t. Clinton heavily whittled-down the military during his presidency and Bush had to rebuild it in large part during his.

And by the way, any economic legacy left to Bush was left to him by the REPUBLICAN congress, not his spendthrift, character-deficient predecessor.

real john

November 12th, 2010
11:16 am

Should we expect anything different from the libs.

Water boarding is nothing compared to tortures committed during World War 2 or Vietnam. The bottom line is dispite what the libs believe, their are very EVIL people in this world…you have to fight fire with fire sometimes….

Our enemy combatants do not and should not have the same privileges as a US citizen. If you are committing or are hiding information that is a threat to the US, then, by all means, use whatever means necessary.

Try reasoning with Hitler or Mussolini and let me know how that goes.

Bob,

I hate to be the one who brings this to your attention, but every military intelligence agency who is an American ally all had the same information that Iraq was indeed a major threat. Is Bush supposed to be a CIA spy on the side??? He has to listen to the information given to him. If you want to blame somebody, blame the CIA and British intelligence.

Also, NO ONE can argue that the Iraqi people are much better off with Saddam and his son’s dead. The libs love talking about disadvantaged people, yet never mention, the thousands of Iraqis that were slaughtered by Saddam. If anything, can’t you appreciated the US for liberating these people from a viciious dictator?

real john

November 12th, 2010
11:20 am

Also, to you libs, if this war was about oil, then why didn’t Bush and dthe US go in and take all of the oil wells and say “Hey, these are OURS know.”

hotlanta

November 12th, 2010
11:32 am

Wow Bush also admitted that the bank bailouts was his doing and the Republicans blamed President Obama for that. Are the Repblicans gonna say that W is the reason for the bank bailouts that the public is angry about. Bush took charge with Katrina. Are you crazy!!!!!!!

Cekker

November 12th, 2010
11:33 am

Bob,

Don’t forget that under Bush, after 9/11, there were no terrorist attacks on US soil — no apologies needed there.

Tech Man

November 12th, 2010
12:07 pm

I am not convinced, as others are, that Bush lied to enter Iraq so I don’t hold that against him.

Up until Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Bush spent more domestically than any previous President. The growth of the Federal Government while the Republicans controlled congress, I hold that against him and them.

I also hate the Obama, Pelosi, Reid spending spree as well.

JF McNamara

November 12th, 2010
12:12 pm

Nicely done, Barr. I liked Bush as a person, because he always seemed like he was trying to do the right thing (sans the Iraqi war). Problems is, his decision making was suspect and everything turned out to be a disaster.

Real John, they did take the oil wells. They threw away the established oil contracts with France and Russia and rebid them. It wasn’t really publicized, but you can find plenty of news articles on it. Halliburton got a new contract like two weeks ago.

The information used in Iraq was not credible beforehand. It was only from a foreign source and never confirmed. It was debated before the war began full bore in the U.N. even after Powell made the speech.

I don’t care if the Iraqis are better off or not without Saddam. There are numerous dictators in the world right now whose people are worse off than the Iraqis were.

There’s no excusing Iraq. It was just a terrible mistake. Just admit it to yourself like everyone else has and move on.

Swede Atlanta

November 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

I think W, as a person, had good intentions. I didn’t deride him as some did for being evil, etc. despite my opposition to his policies.

I think W’s biggest mistake was to surround himself with advisers that were wrapped up in the PNAC vision of the future. That led to adventurism in the Middle East that has cost us both in terms of American (and innocent Iraqi) lives and the treasury.

He offered no leadership in the area of fiscal responsibility. He bought into the worn-out mantra that there is no problem in the world that a good ole taxcut, especially for the highest earners, cannot fix.

So while I think he is a man that intended well, his policies will leave a scorched earth legacy.

Common Man

November 12th, 2010
12:37 pm

Real American

There will be no attacks on America, people around the world respect this President.

- I think the perception that the world respects Obama is the fact that he has no leadership experience and as a limp wristed pacifist, would be an easy pushover. Especially… after his well earned Nobel Peace prize that was donated to him before his taking office.

hotlanta

November 12th, 2010
12:43 pm

You folks kill me. You never broke a promise to anyone or did anyone wrong. Yall have bitter child hoods where you was promised a bike and never gotten it. Get over it. I bet when your job hired you they promised you the world during the intevrview. Like the Republicans gonna do better. I have never seen so many people with a politican since President Obama took office. Now everyone is listening to every verb, noun and proboun that comes outta his mouth whereas when Bush spoke no one paid attention to anything. Stop the madness please.

Patriot

November 12th, 2010
12:45 pm

Bush is a war criminal and he and his entire adminstration MUST be brought up on war crimes charges if we are ever to regain any respect from the rest of the “civilzed” world. That goes as well for the current regime. There are no excuses to cover this man’s criminal behavior. As has been said, there is no flag big enough to cover the crime of an illegal and immoral war.

Bryan

November 12th, 2010
12:46 pm

My favorite comment about Bush’s statement that Kanye West’s remark was the low point of his presidency:

“Come on, Mr. President, think harder.”

55

November 12th, 2010
1:32 pm

Dave at 10:59. you addressed the wrong veteran.

As for your claim about a whittled down military, it is an irrefutable fact that the US spends as much on our war machine as the rest of the planet combined.

And that still isn’t enough?

Pray tell, how much will ever satisfy those who foolishly didn’t listen to the last great Republican president – Dwight D. Eisenhower?

Bush’s Apologia Should Not Be Accepted

November 12th, 2010
2:14 pm

[...] Congressman, and 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for President, Bob Barr isn’t very impressed with George Bush’s new book or the hagiography that the 43rd President has been receiving from conservatives since it was [...]

Say What??

November 12th, 2010
3:46 pm

Bryan @ 12:46 pm – that one made me laugh out loud – quite literally.

I needed the comic relief because everytime I see Duya’s silly face as he repeats his lies and deceptions on his book tour, I get a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. I blame him for the near dysfunctional state of this once great nation.

And for those still in denial about his illegal invasion of Iraq and the subequent slaughter of still untold 100s of thousands of innocent men, women and children, why don’t you use the google and educate yourself on the Project for a New American Century. There’s a pecurliarly familiar chapter on “Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance” – a key strategic document published in 1996 – aimed to understand how to destroy the “will to resist before, during and after battle”. Iraq was simply a proving ground for the bloodlusting, no-bid-contract seeking, military industrial complex craving neo-con zealots who led Bush around by his ear.

[...] Congressman, and 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for President, Bob Barr isn’t very impressed with George Bush’s new book or the hagiography that the 43rd President has been receiving from conservatives since it was [...]

Mr. Spock

November 12th, 2010
4:16 pm

To bad Clinton did not give the order to take out Bin Laden when he had him in our cross hairs and perhaps 9/11 could have been avoided.

SmittyATL

November 13th, 2010
7:12 am

George W. Bush was the worst US president in modern times — except for Barack Obama, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. Dishonorable mention goes to Richard “I’m not a crook” Nixon.

SmittyATL

November 13th, 2010
7:32 am

I agree with Ragnar that Bush’s “biggest decision – to create a vibrant Arab democracy in the heart of the Middle East – was a visionary, if expensive solution to a long-term problem…” Let’s not forget that almost everyone — Democrat and Republican alike — believed that Saddam had WMD’s. However, I have always believed the WMD justification was just a convenient excuse. His real goal was to change the dynamic of the region by establishing a pro-Western democracy in its heart. If it could have worked, it would have been brilliant.

The problem with his vision is the same problem I have with the current left-wing agenda: it’s unrealistic. Iraqis, freed from Saddam’s oppression, didn’t greet their American saviors with bouquets of flowers. Instead, most viewed us as infidel invaders. Rather than setting the stage for a pro-Western democracy, we created a vacuum and a lot of instability, which is probably more dangerous than Saddam was.

Bush had a pretty good argument in enforcing the UN mandates that Saddam was egregiously flaunting. But he knew that many (both in the US and abroad) objected to using force because of WMD’s, so he threw in the linkage to 9/11 terrorists as icing on the cake. That false linkage was, at best, cherry-picked information; at worst, fabricated.

marko

November 13th, 2010
7:36 am

I think we’re safe assuming old Bob doesn’t miss “W” yet. Bob the way you carry on. You’d think that torturing people and borrowing trillions of dollars to fund hair brained schemes was some kind of big deal or something. Lighten up a little, you don’t hear the boy’s at Halliburton or Blackwater complaining do you? It’s just like you to focus on the negatives. After all Bush did give us loose monetary policies and lax regulations. By golly that’s got to count for something. Sadam is toast, Iraq’s a pro western democracy and gasoline’s 25 cents a gallon. Show a little gratitude will ya. Seems to me old Bob could benefit from a little water boarding. Yep, we water board Barr a couple of times, and we won’t be forced to read this negative crap anymore. Torture the perfect tool for creating pro western democracies and responsible journalist.

carlosgvv

November 13th, 2010
7:46 am

It all comes down to the obvious fact that Bush was incompentent. I would hope America has learned that style over substance can be a disaster when it comes to electing a President, but there is probably no hope this will ever happen.

FinnMcCool

November 13th, 2010
8:17 am

George W. Bush made the military a lean, mean, fighting machine

Umm, no. It was Clinton who made the military lean. Recall all those base closings in the mid to late 90’s?

Unfortunately, making the military lean opened the door for the likes of Haliburton and Blackwater. Just because you remove sanitation or mess hall duties from the military doesn’t mean the military stops going to the bathroom or needing three meals a day.

I remember Hannity interviewing Mario Cuomo shortly after “mission acomplished.” Hannity was grilling Cuomo about how proud he was of the troops and all and Cuomo agreed but threw in this zinger: “And to think he did it with Clinton’s military.” Hannity was speechless. All he could do was shake his head in agreement. Classic.

FinnMcCool

November 13th, 2010
8:19 am

I would hope America has learned…

Watch the Repulicans try to run Sarah Palin for Pres in 2012. They haven’t leaned a damn thing.

SmittyATL

November 13th, 2010
9:19 am

Finn, although there will be some support for Palin, I think the Republicans will find a better candidate (which doesn’t seem too hard to do). A Palin vs. Obama choice would be an absolute nightmare.

ghostwriter

November 13th, 2010
10:05 am

It now appears he lifted text from some of his aids to include in his book. His history shows that he will take shortcuts, with the help of an enabling father and GOP structure, to get what he wants. First it was his Texas Air National Guard duty, then his less stellar record at Harvard, then his 20 year denial with his alcholism, then Arbusto Oil, then Harken Oil, then the Texas Rangers, then the Presidency,

Juan Williams

November 13th, 2010
10:45 am

Note there no mention of former male prostitute Jeff Gannon and the GOP attempt to create a Soviet style state propoganda apparatus in the White House.

Say What??

November 13th, 2010
12:03 pm

puff puff pass Stoner….you’ve had quite enough dude

Lee

November 13th, 2010
2:13 pm

Maybe one of these years, we’ll finally learn why the Bushes (father and son) were so infatuated with overthrowing Saddam. I mean, it only cost the US hundreds of BILLION$ (or a trillion plus, depending on who gives the estimates), thousands dead, many more thousands maimed, and untold obligations for years to maintain some semblance of order.

I do know that in 1999, I paid less than $1 per gallon of gas. A couple of years after “Mission Accomplished”, I was paying nearly $4.50 per gallon.

Now I understand what he meant by that “Mission Accomplished.”

Let’s also not forget about the millions of illegal aliens who flooded our country during the Bush years. Republicans had control of the Executive and both Legislatures during much of his presidency and refused to lift a finger to protect the soveriegnty of the USA.

Is it too much to ask to have our president and congress put AMERICA FIRST?

Jusdaguy

November 13th, 2010
4:18 pm

Bush was a great tool and his idiocy could be seen by all, which is why the “intelligence” was flawed. Every news agency in the world showed his many mishaps on loops nightly. Let’s not forget, Congress was responsible for passing his many, “anti-constitutional” laws. If Americans weren’t so concerned with Red and Blue, Dem or Repub, Lib or Conserv, and focused on the issues and saw each other as human beings, half of our problems would cease to exist. The above are just distractions. We need to educate our masses so that people are prepared to be logical about ideas and able to make decisions based on sense. Common sense is a fading ideology. You cast your vote every time you buy anything, turn on a tv show, log into a website, or judge a public office. Use your sense to make a change and stop expecting miracles from professional liars. You want a change, make it happen!

Baldemar Huerta

November 13th, 2010
8:29 pm

Every man jack of you is a bleeding moron. I am the only one smart enough to decide what is right for each and every one of you. PS, I hate you all.