Keith Spero: Dems start in a hole | VailDaily.com
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Keith Spero: Dems start in a hole

Keith Spero
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

VAIL, Colorado ” I could not help taking exception to the Nov.17 op-ed piece by Mark Hillman, former Republican majority leader in the Colorado Senate, entitled “OK, its Dems’ Turn.”

I found the piece aggravating not only for what was said, but also for what was left out. Consider the following:

“For the Dems the bad news is they can no longer blame everything on President Bush.”

This statement seems to assume that a President Obama will take over with a clean slate. It loses sight of the fact that the policies of the last eight years have left the country in a very deep hole.

Barack Obama takes over from the bottom of that hole, and some conservatives won’t waste a moment before attacking his every move as he tries to guide the nation out of the hole President Bush has dug for us.

Contrast that with George W. Bush’s presidential start, as head of a country with a balanced budget, a huge surplus and a considerable amount of good will around the world.

“Remember that in 2003 more than 70 percent of the public, 77 percent of the Senate and 68 percent of Congress backed President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.”

I also remember that we were all misled into believing that Iraq either had and/or was on the verge of having biological and nuclear weapons, and we were in great danger from that.

Those who attempted to point out that this may well not be true were squelched. Those who openly disagreed with invading were branded as unpatriotic.

Yes, I believe President Bush when he says that he didn’t know the truth. But it was his business to know.

He was wrong, and we all paid the price for it. Moreover, he started his pre-emptive war with insufficient troops to effectively do the job he should have known would eventually have to be done and refused to listen to those who told him that before the invasion.

In fact, he effectively fired our Army’s top general for daring to point that out after he was asked about this by Congress. In addition he allowed his misguided secretary of defense to demoralize the officer corps of our armed forces, who were taught not to voice disagreement if they valued their careers.

And none of us should forget the terrible pain and strain inflicted on our troops and their families from the multiple tours to combat, forced extended enlistments, and inadequate care for many returning wounded.

“No doubt the sycophantic media will try to help Obama … . Funny, I don’t remember them affording the same support to President Bush.”

Sycophantic means servile. Is the media really servile today? And was it not supportive of President Bush after 9-11? I seem to remember the media was solidly behind the president then and wanted him to succeed.

Many think the media was too supportive in the run-up to the Iraq invasion and failed to adequately do its job.

Thereafter George Bush proceeded, step by step, to squander the good will and moral authority this country had amassed over decades so that people all over the world as well as half our own population and a significant segment of the media held him and his policies in contempt ” and deservedly so. Unfortunately, the reputation of our entire country suffered along with him.

“Which brings us to how conservatives and Republicans should treat President-elect Obama. The hate and scorn heaped on George W. Bush by many who disagree with his politics is disgraceful.”

Mr. Hillman does not thereafter indicate how conservatives and Republicans should treat President-elect Obama other than keeping him and his family in our prayers.

However, if one wishes to discuss hate and scorn, I do recall the unremitting hate and scorn heaped upon Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton by the conservatives throughout every one of the years of the Clinton presidency. I do recall the way the Republican majority in Congress treated their Democratic brethren during the first six years of the Bush presidency. And if you want to hear hate and scorn with regard to President-elect Obama, tune in to Rush Limbaugh.

“President Bush is a fundamentally decent person who has the courage to stand by his convictions and the humility to recognize that his best often won’t be good enough.”

I take President Bush at his word when he says that he believes that his convictions come from God. He is entitled to his religious convictions, but he is not entitled to try to impose them on the rest of us.

As for his political, economic and strategic convictions, I would prefer that they stem from careful, analytical thought, guided by sound advice from a variety of sources and resulting from careful study and consideration.

Instead we get decisions from a “decider” who fires from the hip, who by his own admission leads by gut instinct, and who does not like to have those who disagree with him around him.

After all, he KNOWS that he is right. He never admits he is wrong. I would hardly call this humility. I would call it arrogance.

As a result, we have the policies and decisions with which we have suffered these past eight years. As a result, we have the hole in which we now find ourselves.

And it is from the bottom of this hole that Barrack Obama takes charge.

There have been other terrible presidents in the history of the United States, but few, if any whose mistakes, arrogance and stupidity have had such terrible consequences.

Of George W Bush it can truly be said: “Often wrong but seldom in doubt.” Because of his policies regarding Iraq (including torture and Guantanamo) and those concerning Katrina, wire-tapping, stem-cell research, global warming, foreign relations, the domestic economy and our environment, history will mark George W. Bush as the worst president this country has ever had.

Keith Spero of Edwards is a retired trial lawyer.


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