Bush Administration triumphs
February 19, 2005 4:29 PM   Subscribe

What accomplishments have been achieved by the current Bush administration?

My political persuasion is to the left of Dennis Kucinich (swoon) and I am soon to be expected to spend quality time with my boss who is to the right of John Birch. I'm looking for sincere, non snarky/trollish replies from fans of the prez about positive things you think he'll be remembered for up to now.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies to Law & Government (25 answers total)
I think a problem will be agreeing to the accomplishments.

Those to the right will believe Bush has made America Safer, that he is no-nonsence, a leader, a pious leader. No Child Left Behind. Dept. Homeland Security, Tax Cuts

It gets murky when you try and interpret it though. I belive each of these things have caused harm, but others believe they are beneficial.

It may be better to try and avoid political topics with the boss. Stick to professional topics.
posted by edgeways at 4:36 PM on February 19, 2005

It is too early to tell how things will play out in the long run, but if the extremely fragile democracies hold in Afghanistan and Iraq, that will certainly be what he is most remembered for.
posted by extrabox at 4:47 PM on February 19, 2005

Do you know that he will be discussing politics with you? Rude of him to be discussing politics at work, especially with employees that he supervises. I am a liberal (though not as far left as you). I think you should be careful in your conversations with him. If you offer fulsome praise of the Bush Admin. it may encourage him to press you for more self-disclosure. Plus, what happens if/when he finds out that you are liberal?

Have you considered replies to the effect of, "Yes, he certainly believes in that policy" or "It seems like he feels strongly about it". Such replies would allow you to remain true to your own politics while being polite to your boss.
posted by mlis at 4:47 PM on February 19, 2005

I'd better clarify: I'm not expecting to engage in long political discourses with the man; however, we're going to be riding in a small jet plane for about 8-9 hours over two days. He is a very political gentleman (infamously so in Oregon) and these discussions come up. I'm not looking to debate him or be a toady, this question is as much my admission that I can't see the forest for the shrubs as anything else.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 4:53 PM on February 19, 2005

I would read The Case for George W. Bush
i.e., what if he's right?
from the August 2004 Esquire. Good luck I don't envy you.
posted by mlis at 5:10 PM on February 19, 2005

I think George Bush is a shoe-in for the "worst president since Harding" award, so I don't qualify as a fan, but I can suggest a few things:

* The do-not-call registry (FCC/FTC, to be technical) has improved the lives of millions of people.

* The Medicare drug prescription program, though horribly botched in the implementation/details, did recognize that soaring drug costs are real problem for seniors.

* The attack on Afganistan (with a government wholly entwined with Al Queda) was clearly justified and extremely well done, initially.

After that, quite frankly, I draw a blank. I really suggest that you work on listening skills in any political conversations you have with your boss. There are a lot of ways to say "I'd rather not say anything" without saying that. For example, if asked "Do you agree?" or "What do you think?", you can say "I haven't thought about that a great deal [who has?], but .... [ask probing question to try to understand the logic of your boss, or specific cases that support his argument, or whatever].

Alternatively, think about work-related things that you'd like to know more about - what your boss knows of the history of the company, what changes he has seen since he started working there, what senior managers he thinks are really good at their job, etc. Or local restaurants he likes, or whatever. There isn't anything wrong with saying "I'm not really that political a person [who is, except a full-time politician?], so I guess I don't really know. But I'd like to get your thoughts on ... "

In short, I think you're a lot better off if you change the subject. While it's possible for two people with opposing political beliefs to have a constructive discussion, I'd give long odds that this is not such a case.
posted by WestCoaster at 5:23 PM on February 19, 2005

I'm not a fan of Bush by any stretch, But I think the administration's insistence that any talks with North Korea be multilateral was a good decision: the unilateral talks had become a cycle of threat-appeasement money-docile behavior for a few months-threat-etc. Bringing in the other regional players is the only way to stabilize the situation (if it goes pearshaped Japan and SK are first for the chop after all, not us), and I'm glad we've taken a hardline there.

So there's that. But that's about it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:26 PM on February 19, 2005

The Administration's accomplishments have been significant. Iraq and Afghanistan have both been military and strateigic successes, as has ignoring Yasser Arafat to the day of his death. In addition, the Bush Administration gave the UN the deference it deserves (i.e. none), and that dubious organization has, with the Oil-For-Food disgrace, been cut down to size; it will likely now be reformed or disbanded and replaced.

As for the economy, probably in part due to the Bush tax cuts, it is growing at a healthy pace.

There are other "successes," but those are more political and subjective in nature.

But most of this is beside the point. I would just listen to Boss and, if necessary, make light of the fact you don't agree on things politically. Kissing up to him will be obvious and win no points.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:56 PM on February 19, 2005

(Oh, additional successes: at least beginning the process of reforming the intelligence agencies so that they actually can spy properly.)
posted by ParisParamus at 5:57 PM on February 19, 2005

People at the far ends of the political spectrum are used to just about everyone disagreeing with them. Most often, these people just like to have a good argument. Since extremists often belive that they have a uniquely truthful insight into how the world works, they are very eager to explain their particular perspective. The best way to keep them happy is to provide conversational "hooks" that allow them to express their personal views. This will enable you to learn a great deal about their political views without compromising your own ethics.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:06 PM on February 19, 2005

I think edgeways has it--Bush has definitely accomplished some things. In my mind these things have done harm to the country. Conservatives would disagree.
posted by grouse at 6:13 PM on February 19, 2005

Also, the Patriot Act extended investigative capabilities previously limited to organized crime and other crimes to terrorism.

Have I annoyed you all yet?
posted by ParisParamus at 6:26 PM on February 19, 2005

Whether or not you like the fact that there are troops in Iraq, it seems to me that liberals and conservatives are both happy that Saddam Hussein is out of power.
posted by MotorNeuron at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2005

The following Good Things happened during the Bush administration:

- Fall of the Taliban-backed government in Afghanistan
- Campaign finance reform
- National director of intelligence with centralized, consolidated power
- Federalized airport security
- National awareness and contingency planning for biological and chemical weapons attacks, and continuity of government
- Reasonably good diplomatic posture in East Asia, including relationships with China and in leveraging increasing pressure on North Korea

This took a while to write and now I'm feeling kinda dirty.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:22 PM on February 19, 2005

Iraq and Afghanistan have both been military and strateigic successes.

I would say that this is debatable and subjective as well.

I'd also agree with the fall of the Taliban, and federalizing airport security. I'd say the jury's still out on the creation of the National Director of Intelligence position -- after all, this responsibility belonged to the Director of Central Intelligence for years and years, as he was technically in charge of all of the intelligence apparatus, not just the CIA. I would also say that "national awareness and contingency planning for biological and chemical attacks" isn't going well -- the EPA is failing to provide worst-case scenarios to the public.

I'm glad Bush signed campaign finance reform into law, but then I'm perplexed that he so vociferously attacks 527s, which, AFAIK, were created by the law he signed.

And yes, MotorNeuron, I'm happy that Saddam Hussein has been removed from power. However, I still believe that we were lied to as far as a casus belli went, and we badly botched the planning for what would happen next.

The Do-Not-Call registry is great.

Some provisions of the Patriot Act enhance our security. Other portions of it, however, pose a critical danger to civil liberties.
posted by Vidiot at 10:17 PM on February 19, 2005

The Class Action Fairness Act
It's designed to require that most class action lawsuits be brought in Federal court.

But I think it's a bad idea to discuss politics with your boss.
posted by Jim Jones at 10:22 PM on February 19, 2005

This thread has been delightfully snark-free -- kudos.

I agree with what PP listed, and several of the other accomplishments noted here. What is also "conversation-worthy" is the leadership style and abilities of President Bush. Whether you agree with his policies or not, he presents an intriguing example of leadership.
posted by davidmsc at 11:10 PM on February 19, 2005

If he is active in Oregon politics, and he is if he is who I think he may be, get him to talk about his advocacy work. Local politics are always easier to discuss since the results of policies are more apparent. Additionally, people love to talk about themselves.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 12:00 AM on February 20, 2005

Given your respective political positions, political conversation would be a mistake. If you believe that GWB has done something good, you can say so, but if that encourages the boss to press for more, you'll be either biting your tongue, or entering an argument. Arguing with your boss is just about never a good thing to do.

I strongly support the 'change the subject' approach. If the boss has any sensitivity at all, he'll eventually leave the politics out of your conversations. If he doesn't, well . . .
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:29 AM on February 20, 2005

I may have to read up on Harding to see what he could possibly have on #43. That said --

I was really, really impressed with the restraint shown in invading Afghanistan. It was nearly a month from Sep. 11 before we went in. I believe I've read since that this was Colin Powell's doing, and Bush was totally against the delay. Nonetheless, if we're going to count things like campaign finance reform and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, we may as well count this one too.

Anyway, count me as another Don't Go There. Shouldn't "Please, can we not discuss politics?" work?
posted by Aknaton at 7:10 AM on February 20, 2005

Shouldn't "Please, can we not discuss politics?" work?

That's fine for a casual acquaintance, maybe not so good with a boss who wants to discuss politics. If changing the subject doesn't work, I'd wax enthusiastic about the Iraqi elections and try to stay off domestic issues.
posted by languagehat at 8:03 AM on February 20, 2005

I'd also vote for a simple "I'd rather not discuss politics at work" stance. That's worked for me for quite some time, and it's really the truth, regardless of who I'm discussing things with. If someone agrees politically with me, that's fine, but I still don't want to discuss politics at work. It's just bad business.
posted by odinsdream at 11:28 AM on February 20, 2005

bush deliberately and publicly attended a mosque in the days after 9/11 and asked for tolerance and compassion towards muslims in the united states, at the risk of offending some in his political camp. to me, it's his greatest accomplishment.
posted by anildash at 2:11 AM on February 21, 2005

I'm a certified Bush-hater with an open mind, often amusing myself with mental exercises such as "what unknown facts(s) could change my position on the Iraq War from unfavorable to favorable?" or "what unknown fact(s) would make Bush's total dismissal of global warming valid?" etc. It's hard work.

I've also spent some time musing on what Bush has done right. It's not easy but I've come up with a few items that others may have missed (caveat:YMMV)
  • Dispatching James Baker (successfully) to persuade European nations to forgive Iraqi debt
  • Dispatching former Presidents Bush and Clinton to rally for tsunami relief (Dubya's initial response was underwhelming, but I give him credit for greatly increasing the amount of aid and continuing to push the issue long after the American public's pressure relented)
  • The President's New Freedom Initiative for people with disabilities has laudable goals, examples include seeking to remove the stigma of mental illness and providing increased access to treatment, and for another example -- establishing DisabilityInfo.gov as an information portal to government resources for the disabled
  • established USA Freedom Corps, a great idea to integrate government funding with coordinated volunteer activities

posted by edverb at 7:51 AM on February 21, 2005

These were great. Thanks to everyone for being as civil as possible. Hope springs eternal for the green screen.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 6:59 PM on February 21, 2005

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