After waiting nearly seven years to write the obituary of the Bush Administration, the time has finally come, and I am at a loss for words. How can a thousand words adequately describe the arrogance, the incompetence, the crimes and misdemeanors of George W. Bush and his accomplices?
Some writers seem to have overcome this challenge and managed to distill the Bush legacy into its essence:
· “George Bush entered the White House as a proponent of a more humble foreign policy and a believer that government should get out of the way at home. He leaves as someone with a trillion-dollar war aimed at making people who’ve hated each other for a thousand years become Rotary Club freedom-lovers, and his own country close to bankruptcy after government did get out of the way.”-- Timothy Egan, The New York Times, 10/1/08
· “Bush has torn down the integrity and honor of the office of the presidency; installed in our federal courts partisan, activist judges hostile to individual liberties and freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution; incited political, religious, and partisan divisions; and allowed terrorism to thrive and proliferate while he myopically focused on an Iraq War legacy that is wrapped entirely in his self-glorification.” -- Richard A. Stitt, BuzzFlash.com, 12/5/08
· “[Bush] is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool’s gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.”-- Bob Herbert, The New York Times, 1/2/09
· “Eight years of bodies, dead, broken, mutilated, abused; eight years of ruined lives down countless drains; eight years of massive destruction to places from Baghdad to New Orleans where nothing of significance was ever rebuilt: all this was brought to us by a President, now leaving office without apology...”--Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, 1/5/0905
In typical Bush fashion, Mr. Bush spent the last few months of his presidency telling interviewers that he wasn’t really concerned about his legacy--while at the same time his disciples were launching “The Legacy Project” (an all-out campaign to make Bush’s presidency look like anything other than the shameful disaster that it was). They must have drawn inspiration from the earlier success of turning Ronald Reagan into Saint Ronald among conservatives--even though his presidency was actually the PG-rated prelude to the excesses of George W. Bush’s administration.
· “[Bush] did what Reagan just said he was going to: He cut taxes for the wealthy, handed over the keys to the economy to corporate interests and deregulated everything in sight. His most glaring and destructive imitation of the mythical Reagan was his catastrophic decision to invade Iraq. [Bush] really believed his own Churchillian rhetoric. He decided the fight against Islamist terrorism was an epochal showdown of good vs. evil--and unlike Reagan, he proceeded to act militarily on this grandiose belief.”-- Gary Kamiya, The Republican shipwreck, Salon.com, 10/28/08
The Bush Legacy Project has released a 52-page booklet highlighting the many accomplishments of the Bush Years (scattered between wide margins, big headings and lots of pictures), and Bush Cabinet members have received a two-page guide of positive talking points for discussing the Bush Presidency.
For instance: Did you know that none of America’s problems was George W. Bush’s fault? He just happened to be President when they occurred, and he handled them the best he could (and a darn fine job he did too--even if he had to say so himself). Bush disciples appear to believe that history will exonerate their fearless leader. It won’t--unless we allow them to rewrite it.
A poll of professional historians conducted by the History News Network found that 61 percent rated George W. Bush as the worst president in American history, and more than 98 percent viewed his presidency as a failure (New York Times, 11/1/08).
· Historians will recall that in each of the major disasters on Bush’s watch, there were ample warnings — from the intelligence briefing that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike a month before the lethal blow, to the projections that Hurricane Katrina could drown a major American city, to the expressed fears that letting Wall Street regulate itself could be catastrophic.”-- Timothy Egan, The New York Times, 10/1/08
But despite the many trials and tribulations that Mr. Bush had to deal with, he never lost his sense of humor. When asked about his plans for the last weeks of his Presidency, Bush said: