Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Concession, of Sorts

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and again in 2004. I now conclude that my preference for Bush is vindicated by perhaps as few as five things, the first four of which haven't panned out as well as expected:
  • the vigorous military response to 9/11, including the strategically wise if tactically flawed invasion of Iraq
  • the effort to reduce taxes, in the vain hope of choking off non-defense spending -- a hope that he, himself, has helped to shatter
  • the effort to begin privatizing Social Security, which was strategically wise and tactically botched
  • some reduction in the rate of expansion of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The fifth thing is Bush's nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice, because Roberts seems to be dedicated to the primacy of the Constitution, though he says bothersome things about the "respect" owed precedent.

I am hopeful about the choice of Roberts, but I had high hopes about Bush's ability to prosecute the war in Iraq, his resolve to cut spending, his ability to sell some form of Social Security privatization, and his willingness to roll back the regulatory state.

I will therefore reserve judgment about the appointment of Roberts until it is certain that Roberts is dedicated to the Constitution and -- in spite of his declarations to the Senate Judiciary Committee -- can find ways to work around precedents that have undermined the Constitution.

That's all I can find to say in Bush's favor at this stage of his presidency. The man is smarter than his enemies like to portray him, but he is far more "political" and far less principled about the proper role of government than I had expected him to be. He is turning out to be his father's son.