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Dumping Dubya: Why The Regressive Right Desperately Wants To Erase The Bush Presidency

By       Message David Michael Green     Permalink
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Hey, wasn't that George W. Bush presidency really fantastic?

You do still remember it, don't you?

Wasn't it great? Don't you have lots of warm and fuzzy memories of it? Isn't it a shame that he couldn't have a third term?

Okay, so maybe you don't see it that way. Maybe the last eight years weren't such a party for you. But remember the regressive right? Remember how much they loved the guy? Remember how they adored Ol' Georgie, especially back in 2001, 2002, 2003? Remember how they gloated and stuck it all in our faces? Remember how much they loved not only Bush's politics, but his in-your-face, my-way-or-the-highway, love-it-or-leave-it, macho cowboy routine delivery?

I don't know about you, but I recall all of that really, really well, thank you very much. Painfully well, one might say.

Which makes it all the more puzzling that the troglodytes of the right seem to have disappeared their former grand hero almost completely these days. Isn't that odd? They never talk about him anymore, as if he had never even existed. They seem quite desperately to want to vanish him entirely, like the body of some beaten-to-death prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

Hmmm. Wonder why? Wonder what gives?

I'll go out on a limb here and speculate that it might have something to do with the fact that the Bush presidency was a spectacular failure. You know, a total train wreck. A complete co*k-up. A gigantic exercise in FUBAR so bad that nobody wants to be associated with it, anymore than with syphilis or projectile vomit.
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But that's kinda weird given the former adoration directed toward the Caligula Kid. Isn't that kind of intellectually dishonest? Can it be that the right in America is actually disingenuous? I mean, everyone knows they are destructive, selfish, hypocritical, racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, imperialistic, nasty, brutish and short. But who would have thought they were dishonest too? This is almost more than I can bear!

If you pin a regressive to the wall and torture them (a practice which I recommend as often beneficial for both parties involved), they will do two things to try to stop you from beating them up about Lil' Bush.

First, they'll attempt to deflect your attention away from the whole painful affair by talking about a certain Ronald Reagan fellow, patron saint of lost causes. That's an interesting move, given that Junior Bush was more Reaganistic than was Reagan himself. And, especially, given that Reagan was last in the White House an entire generation ago, making him about as relevant to many Americans today as Millard Fillmore.

It's also more than a bit weird because, of course, Saint Reagan bears little resemblance to Ron Reagan, the dude who actually was president. (Indeed, Ron Reagan the person -- a guy so out of it during his presidency that he actually introduced himself to his own cabinet members and his own children in White House receiving lines, and used 3 x 5 cue cards even to read his small talk lines with people ("Pretty humid today, huh?" "How 'bout those Yankees?") -- actually bore little resemblance to the presidency he played in the movies, but that's another story entirely.) Saint Reagan solved all our economic problems. Ron Reagan, on the other hand, gave us the worst recession since the Great Depression (until little Bush would trump him), and tripled the national debt (until little Bush trumped him again). Saint Reagan was a great champion of American values. Ron Reagan shredded the Constitution in the Iran-Contra Affair. Saint Reagan was tough on the Soviets and ended the Cold War. Ron Reagan nearly agreed to eliminate all American nukes in a pow-wow with Gorby, tucked tail and ran from Lebanon, and was so powerful that he succeeded in rolling back the Soviets from every square single inch of the Carribean island of Grenada, current population 90,343. And so on...

So playing the Reagan card is the first game used to avoid the horrid little reality of Bushism. But if that particular line of diversionary legerdemain fails miserably, the next thing you're likely to hear is that conservatives have abandoned George W. Bush because he wasn't really a conservative.
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This is my favorite. Oh yes, indeed.

Do they mean by that that Bush was too nice in his foreign policy, concerning himself too frequently with world opinion rather than American self-interest?

Do they mean that he failed to invade other countries -- like, say, Afghanistan or Iraq -- when he should have?

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David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. His website is (more...)

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