Magazine article Reason

Four More Years ... but of What?

Magazine article Reason

Four More Years ... but of What?

Article excerpt

If history is any guide--a questionable assumption in a post Cold War, post-9/11, post-Dan Rather world in which many of the old verities seem as unreliable as the dodgy newsman's secret memos--George W. Bush has anywhere from six months to two years before his second term is completely mired in a scandal that will be as unpredictable as it is agenda-crushing. (Really, who could have anticipated the irresistibly tawdry denouement to Bill Clinton's White House years?) No wonder Dubya is talking about using his "political capital" to jump-start a series of legacy projects. The son of a one-term president probably knows better than most that he's living on borrowed time.

I've never been a Bush booster. He spends too much money, plays loose with civil liberties, and, to my mind, failed to articulate a persuasive case for war in Iraq. But so far I've been impressed with the things he's been talking about doing during the next four years, especially tax simplification (always a good idea), immigration liberalization (ditto), and Social Security privatization (though the plan he apparently has endorsed for this is puny and insignificant). It's far from clear that Bush will accomplish much before scandal--or the equally inevitable and debilitating lame duckness of a second termer--kicks in.

In "Four More Years!?!?!" (page 22), we asked a series of pundits and pols to reveal their hopes and fears about the next four years. It says something that most participants--ranging from Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to former reason Editor Virginia Postrel to Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith to ACLU President Nadine Strossen--express ambivalence about Bush's agenda, his ability to get things done, or both. …

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