23 March 2009

Responsibility or Retribution?

I was having dinner with a friend when our talk turned to the actions (and inactions) of our recently-departed Prez Dubya.

My observation (the short version) was:
If the Republicans are the party of "reap as ye sow," then how fantastic is it that Dubya -- after presiding over 8 years of obfuscation, inaction, hesitation, sabotage and denial of climate change -- will just retire to his ranch, to watch the world melt down? After all, he was in the right place at the right time -- and squandered MULTIPLE chances to get ahead of the curve (precautionary principle!) on climate change...
Remember that Clinton was impeached because he lied about a blow job extra-curricular sex, and Nixon was vilified because he was over-eager for re-election.

Addendum: My point on Nixon and Clinton is not that they did not commit crimes, but that Bush's actions appear to put him in the same category.

Bottom Line: I hope that Bush has a nice chat with St. Peter over his actions -- and I hope that Peter sends him down to visit with the cousins... I hope that people don't get the idea that bad outcomes are an acceptable legacy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Remember that Clinton was impeached because he lied about a blow job, and Nixon was vilified because he was over-eager for re-election.

President Clinton lied under oath, the part about the blow job is irrelevant except for the fact the it was the dna sample that proved the lie. President Nixon was involved in the cover-up of a crime.
Some may find these offenses to be minor, but I don't, particularly when committed by the nation's chief law enforcement officer(s). But I'll admit that I, like President Obama, operate at the Special Olympics level.

Four Mound Farm said...

We just watched the movie "Zeitgeist" Much of the assertions seem unfounded with no proof other than innuendo and seductive voice over. But it is disturbing nonetheless to think Bush/Cheney could have blown up the WTC just so they could move against Iraq for their Saudi pals. I think Bush is one of those dumb frat boys that uses a mob mentality and relies on yes men for every decision, and had no business ever running for president. He should have stuck with mismanaging corporations. I believe Cheney will face St. Peter's toughest questions, and if there's a hell, he'll be trying to take it over so he can run it himself...

Anonymous said...

"My point on Nixon and Clinton is not that they did not commit crimes, but that Bush's actions appear to put him in the same category."

What actions?

"after presiding over 8 years of obfuscation, inaction, hesitation, sabotage and denial of climate change"
Where does the Asia-Pacific Partnership fit into this?

David Zetland said...

@Anon -- I was thinking of wiretapping, unfounded war in Iraq, suspension of habeas corpus, etc.

wrt climate change, I'd have to say that treaty matters are NOT Bush's fault, BUT I *do* object to the politicization of science (from stem cells to climate) and destruction of the credibility of non-political branches of gov't.

I've no idea what you mean about Asia-Pacific Partnership. Please elaborate...

Anonymous said...

"I've no idea what you mean about Asia-Pacific Partnership. Please elaborate..."

Your statement that President Bush had presided “over 8 years of obfuscation, inaction, hesitation, sabotage and denial of climate change” struck me as demonstrably false because during his administration the U.S. entered into the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. My comment was intended goad you into defending your statement.

From the website http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/ :
The seven partner countries [Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, and the United States] collectively account for more than half of the world's economy, population and energy use, and they produce about 65 percent of the world's coal, 62 percent of the world's cement, 52 percent of world's aluminum, and more than 60 percent of the world's steel.

I don’t think much of Kyoto, in large part because I have read where supporters of that Protocol predict that if successful it would have a very small limiting effect on temperatures. Nevertheless, if Kyoto is the best thing that has happened with respect to climate change, then, in my opinion, the U.S. staying out is the second best. And the Asia-Pacific Partnership is an example of why: it provides a second method to deal with the (perceived) problem, and it includes China and India.

More than once I have heard people make comments about President Bush and climate change that are similar to your comments. And more than once, I have asked about the Asia-Pacific Partnership only to be met with blank stares.

David Zetland said...

@Anon:

1) What has the APP accomplished through coordinated action (i.e., please demonstrate that it is not just a greenwashing organization)

2) Kyoto was flawed, but it *was* an international attempt to coordinate policies that NEED to be coordinated. (I assume you understand the tragedy of the commons and logic of collective action.)

3) Bush's administration prevented and/or slowed policy and science directed at the study, action and reaction to climate change/events. Take, respectively, EPA funding and restrictions on scientific reports, blockade of carbon taxes/CAFE standards/CA emissions laws, and the failure to respond to Katrina. The Administration set a bad tone from the formation of Cheney's task force onwards...

If you are going to claim that the APP means that Bush "did something," then you may claim that his (our) $10billion for AIDS work in Africa was good, EXCEPT that the BAD news (and overwhelming) was that his FAILED abstinence policy wrt how that money was spent...

Anonymous said...

I guess I am naive, but when 7 countries representing more than half the world's economic output agree to work together, I consider that collective action. Understand though, that I assume that the leaders of those countries were sincere when they entered the Partnership (just like I assume those that entered Kyoto were) and that intend to do good, rather than green-washing anything.

I don't claim that any substantive results have accrued from the Partnership. But I do believe that negotiating the framework is a significant accomplishment (just as negotiating Kyoto was.)

Good solutions take time to development and implement. My opinion is that people are rushing to impose purported solutions, some of which are doing more harm than good and I appreciate a more measured approach. Bjorn Lomborg's point of view on global warming makes sense to me.

David Zetland said...

Anon -- no disrespect intended, but you know as well as I that there are plenty of "organizations" (AU and APEC spring to mind) that are all talk and no walk...