The Paradox of a President
He bombed a nation without the approval of the United Nations. He was known as a womanizer. He was charged with the reckless handing of the military. He was supposed to have used drugs when he was young. His handling of domestic terror issues was controversial at best. He handled welfare quite surprisingly.
At first glance, Bill Clinton and George Walker Bush are a lot alike. Bill bombed Yugoslavia, and George bombed Iraq. Most people should be familiar with Clinton and his episodes with an intern. However, in his college days, Bush was known to his friends as an alcoholic womanizer. Clinton admitted to using drugs in his younger years, while Bush was reported to have used cocaine and alcohol. Clinton's handling of the Waco standoff aggravated domestic terrorists. Bush's handling of 9-11 aggravated foreign terrorists.
I will not attack each person's character, but rather, I will discuss their political actions.
While aggravating terrorists is a given result of handling a terrorist situation, both of the above were ignored for improving counter terrorist measures. Clinton did nothing to quell the threat of militia groups, and Oklahoma City was the result. Bush used 9-11 as an excuse to go on a defense spending spree.
Bush gave about $390 billion dollars of the defense budget to the Pentagon and conventional weapons while giving the CIA only $1 billion. What? Does Mr. Bush think that the weapons will guide themselves to the terrorists without any adequate intelligence?
Right now, it seems American intelligence is a mess. George Tenet and Bush are confronted with botched intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence is what allows better counter-terrorist actions. What good will an unstoppable conventional arsenal do if terrorists can work around it? We Americans learned that so painfully on 9-11. All our M1A1 Abrams tanks, F-16 planes, and Nimitz class aircraft carriers could not stop a few nutcases with box-cutters. We have the force, but we need intelligence to find out where to deploy it.
Republicans call the Democrats soft on defense, and the Democrats called the Republican defense budget bloated. This argument can be dispelled rather with a simple argument. Clinton had a Cold War era budget in conventional weapons, and during the 2000 elections, Gore called for a bigger defense budget than Bush.
However, Clinton was not entirely blameless with the military. He bombed Yugoslavia, though there was no threat they posed to us. He committed good deal of 'peacekeepers' to the region for an undefined length of time. Also, since the Cold War was over, Clinton fired a good deal of intelligence experts from the CIA and FBI. However, because of operations after the embassy attacks in Africa, important information on the Al-Qaeda networks was gathered.
There is a flip side to Clinton's military policy, though. Some important conventional items, such as the Predator Drone, were developed by his conventional weapons budget. The Predator Drone was important for recon and scouting in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush just gets the credit for deploying the conventional military, which Clinton helped build.
However, there was the idea of that the CIA and FBI knew about the attacks in advance, but could not or would not prevent them. This was due to bureaucratic inefficiency, but none of the higher-ups would have any of it. The two agencies did not share information with each other, for they competed rather than cooperated.
In response to this, the Department of Homeland Security was established. Now, Republicans like Bush are normally 'against Big Government.' Instead of two competing branches, there is now three competing branches. Why make the government even bigger, and create more bureaucratic inefficiency, despite the blatant violation of party principles?
The answer is relatively simple. Most modern politicians don't care about party principles, but rising to power and gaining more votes. The Department of Homeland Security is a perfect example of cosmetic 'changes' that do nothing but give the appearance something is being done. It is the ultimate example of pork-barrel politics.
Politicians cater to special interests to gain votes, then screw those groups over when they least expect it, for the politicians no longer have a use for them. Republicans do it. Democrats do it. Third parties do it. Idiocy chooses no favorite party.
Now, enough on Bush and warfare. Let's move on to Clinton and welfare.
Democrats are normally charged as being 'pro-Big Government,' which includes most non-military civil spending programs. Welfare is a perfect example of this. The pro-welfare state Democrats give money to the poor, and the poor are supposed to use that money to improve their lives.
Sounds like the Democrats are helping the poor or giving free money to lazy people, depending on how you look at it. However, the reality is different. Before Clinton, there was fourteen million people on welfare. Clinton cut welfare down to a mere four million people. Ten million people were cut from welfare. To apply for welfare now, a member of the family must have a job of some sort. That was one of Clinton's laws.
Now, it gets even better. Bush seems to be rather fond of welfare, since it's another way to get votes. Of course, there is another type of welfare, which is a lot more different than the 'money for lazy people' welfare.
It's called corporate welfare. Basically, the government gives money to corporations that don't need it. It would be one thing if the government chartered a corporation, but this is 'free money' for the corporate bosses.
Normally, this money does not go to failing corporations, but to whoever donates the most to the politician's campaign. This is the kind of thing you'd expect of those 'free money giving Democrats,' and it is true to a certain extent. Democrats give corporate welfare, just like any other politicians.
However, it seems to go with the Republicans a bit better. As expected, the money given is to companies that pay the most to their campaigns. Also, whatever company has its friends in office is privy to lucrative deals that should be open to non-donor corporations as well.
For example, after Operation Iraqi Freedom was over, the Halliburton corporation was given the contracts to get all that Iraqi oil. The former CEO of Halliburton was Dick Cheney, the Vice President. When asked about it, the response was a publicly closed bid around the December before Operation Iraqi Freedom started.
This gives Halliburton an edge over their competitors, and since the bid was publicly closed, there's no telling how many other 'competitors' were allowed in. By controlling who gets the deals, there's more incentive for a corporation to become one of the politicians' donors.
Traditionally, a Republican platform was deregulation of the economy. It held the economy and state should be separate like church and state. However, corporate welfare and such closed bids move away from this.
However, blame does not rest on a single party. It rests on both idiotic parties, and those same idiotic parties are too busy blaming the other side with warped statistics and 'facts' to actually do anything. Whether your 'facts' are from Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh, it's still warped statistics and a continued propagation of a mindless blame game that can take the nation down with it. So, find the middle road, and take that. Bipartisan government beats the philosophical and political gutters of the far right and far left.