A Journal for Western Man




Whom Does President George W. Bush

Most Resemble?

(Hint: It's Not Ronald Reagan)

Martin Kraegel III

Issue LX- May 24, 2006


"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

- Ecclesiastes 1:9

           It all began in that bygone year of 2000. The 1990's passed, much like the 1950's, seemingly prosperous and peaceful. But then there came that fateful election. At the time I heard commentators say that the election was the closest since 1960, and they were correct. There were the allegations of vote fraud, then in close Illinois, now in close Florida. There was the Vice President, Nixon or Gore, who could've won if he hadn't seemed so stiff, gracefully bowing out. And since 2000, it seems that the déjà vu never ends. But 1960 was not merely the election of John Kennedy; it was also in essence, thanks to Lee Harvey Oswald, the election of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson who would be president from 1963 to 1969, very closely resembles our current leader George W. Bush, and not merely because they're two folksy Texas politicos who ended up in the White House.

            Impossible, you say? Look at the record. Johnson, like Bush, began his presidency by signing into law a huge tax cut in 1964. Did judicious budget cutting come after this? Not hardly. To show his resolve and his compassion, Johnson set upon an ill-fated "guns and butter" policy of "welfarism" at home and "warfarism" abroad. The Great Society, the Vietnam War, Medicare, and beyond, Johnson with his party in power in Congress went on a spending binge, courtesy of the taxpayer, not seen since FDR. Bush, with his GOP Congress, has gone on a spending binge not seen since LBJ, also to show both his resolve and his "compassionate conservatism." Now America faces a national debt of around 7-8 trillion dollars, with annual budgets of around 2.5 trillion dollars and annual deficits of half a trillion dollars.

            More horrifying still, Johnson believed he could wage war on an abstraction, communism. Bush also believes in fighting an abstraction (need I tell you which one?). The same results have ensued. Dear reader, you may fill in the blanks for our own time: America and the civilized world face the dire threat of communist world domination. The
communists endanger our existence and way of life. The president is waging a war against the communists in remote Vietnam, so that we don't have to face them at home. In so doing we will benefit the Vietnamese by giving them democracy (hopefully yielding a pro-US government).  What was not recognized then was that in Vietnam, American troops were in the middle of a civil war that was the result of Western imperialist rule. The US government had meddled in Vietnam before putting troops into the country, but Johnson eschewed the wisdom of his predecessors by actually
going for a full-scale invasion. In the end, expensive military hardware proved nothing against skillful guerilla warfare. But the good old "domino theory" lives on, with "Islamofascists" replacing communists. And that's nothing like Iraq? Well, maybe that's unfair. After all, next to Iraq, Vietnam may seem like a bargain when compared to the $2 trillion price tag Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has placed on the Iraq War.

            How did Johnson's term end? With low poll numbers that are starting to resemble Bush's. Public enthusiasm for the Vietnam War dissipated. But notice that the current White House is reacting to these events with plays right out of the Vietnam playbook.  One is "Vietnamization," or turning over military operations to the locals, who then easily
collapsed. Another is taking the war to more nations like Laos and Cambodia or Syria and Iran. And of course there is stepping up the bombing campaign, as detailed in the Dec. 5, 2005 edition, of The New Yorker magazine. As in Vietnam, this tends to kill a lot of civilians and so does not win "hearts and minds." Finally, in the end comes the pullout, with or without people hanging from helicopters. Americans may also get reacquainted with the economy of the 1970's, complete with high oil prices and stagflation (that's recession coupled with inflation). It seems that the loose credit policies of the Fed are going to come a cropper after all these years, with a bubble about to burst in the housing market  (don't forget all those home equity loans and touted low interest rates) and the price of gold on the rise.

            This begs the question: will Hillary Clinton then revive the ghost of Nixon? I can hardly wait.

Martin Kraegel III is a contributor to The Rational Argumentator.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue LX Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.