Bush is neither out of office, impeached nor imprisoned yet (although he deserves to be all three). And, we need to continue to concentrate on that fact since in the agonizing months remaining, he unfortunately can continue doing incalculable harm to our troops, our treasury, our health, our economy, our Constitution, our other laws and treaties, our morale, our prestige and our reputation.
Now is the time to insure those seeking the job commit on the things necessary to clean up the political toxic waste spewed behind Bush and his co-conspirators in seemingly unending piles of offal. As much as we would prefer to simply put the unpleasantness behind us, we cannot. If we do not dramatically, publically spotlight and undo the damage, if people are not punished for their attempted putsch to topple us into a perpetual dictatorship controlled by a small group of Neocons, then some successor might someday claim under some pretext that it's okay to repeat some or all of what the Bushites practiced. There is always the risk that next time it might not be a barely articulate bumbler attempting it. Using the same techniques, but less clumsily so, someone else could have successfully accomplished the coup d'état which is obviously what the Neocons had in mind.
No, we must ferret out and undo everything, absolutely everything, Bush has done since being illegally placed in power by the five Republicans appointed to the Supreme Court. To begin with, expressly repeal every law sponsored by those in Bush's cabal, officially terminate all his executive orders, and denounce each so-called "signing statement" purporting to amend laws Bush didn't happen to like. To drive the point home, perhaps we should even ask some of the recipients of his "Medal of Freedom" like L. Paul Bremer III, Tommy Franks and George Tenant, three of the idiots responsible for the Iraq occupation fiasco, to return their medals on the grounds they were awarded the "honors" on false pretenses.
There is probably little worthy of reclamation. After all, even the titles of many of Bush's laws are really just deceptions, the exact opposite of what was actually intended by the various Neocon drafters or, more appropriately Neocon obscurers. Egregious examples of the Bush legislative excesses include the so-called Patriot Act, perhaps the most unpatriotic act of all our history. Or, just look at some of the lofty names the Bush folks came up with for their subterfuges like the Healthy Forest Initiative, the Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Clear Skies Initiative. Then, compare how such legislation was used by this Administration once it got it passed. Still, the effort to search for something worth saving must be made. It should be done in an adult matter applying cost/benefit analysis to each and every one which was always missing when the Bush White House was in charge.
In addition to removing the written framework for Bush's excesses, every single person in the Bush Administration implementing them should be removed. Everyone ever recommended for office during Bush's tenure must be required to tender a resignation, starting with those in charge of funds, troops, contracts and regulators. Possible exceptions might be those who were in place already prior to Bush's being crowned king, those who subsequently quit in disgust or disillusionment and those who were fired because of whistle blowing or not being sufficiently loyal to Bush personally. Those removed should never again be allowed in positions of power and trust unless and until they can affirmatively prove they are worthy of it or a reconciliation council is set up similar to the concept used in Mandela's South Africa working its way out of apartheid.
Detractors might argue that mass removal of Republican bureaucrats and functionaries would eliminate a large group from the pool of potential public officials and might diminish the general caliber of replacement future appointees. In normal circumstances that might be true, as turned out to be the case when even the most nominally Baathist Party members were banned in Iraq. However, the arrogantly hapless and often malicious ideologues that tended to flock to the Bush banner from the dark recesses of the Republican Party have proven to be so horrifyingly harmful, it would appear replacements selected at random out of the phone book could hardly be worse. Let's have higher standards for hiring their replacements, although that is a very low bar given all the "Heckofajob Brownies" that were installed. The party affiliation should not be a criteria. In the Justice Department for instance, the hirees should be those with the best grades. For judges nominated, let's start looking at the non partisan American Bar Association recommendations again to see who will be the best judges, not the best zealots.
Moreover, new laws should be put in place to forbid former officials of all sorts from becoming lobbyists for at least six years after they were in office. We don't want Democrats taking advantage that way anymore either.
Maybe every appointee should be required to pass the same test new citizens must pass and must show they can add a column of figures and come up with the same answer twice running. We definitely should indicate that their oath of office in which they swear to defend the Constitution does not mean party or personal loyalty comes first. We also need to affirm that violations of the oath have consequences.
We must investigate every contract entered into by the Bush Administration with private companies, especially the no-bid contracts that were awarded to companies which were campaign contributors of Bush or were companies in which Bush officials held stock. It will be like turning over rocks to reveal the slugs and bugs skittering away from the harsh light of day.
Corruption, bribery, profiteering and gouging should be punished and severely so for both the companies who profited and the individual officers and officials on both sides of the transaction. Failure to perform timely or otherwise should be grounds for seeking damages for breach of contract. Instead of ignoring costly nonperformance, let's require it be done as promised or force disgorgement of the ill gotten lucre.
Lots of regulators should be hired to once again insure the safety of our air, water, food, toys, etc. For each, we should be conservative (small "c") because so much is at risk with each. Greater conservatism (small "c" again) should be practiced once again with our bank deposits and our resources.
What else should be done to prevent a repeat of not only the tragedies of 9/11, Katrina, Iraq, the Bush Recession, global warming, and the dissipation of our military? For one, we need some new laws to insure no more voting fraud by paperless hackable electronic voting machines. We need some better laws on campaign financing to stop buying of elections. We need some new laws to insure government transparency and less secrecy, at least less secrecy designed solely to cover up malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. Maybe we need to go back to the old equal time rules on access to the media in political campaigns. We certainly need to find a way to have less centralization of the news, the airwaves and bandwidth. Maybe we need to think about enacting something like the European Vote of No Confidence to oust dangerous Presidents prior to the end of their term. Maybe we need a "None of the Above" opportunity on voting to allow a different slate of candidates to stand for election. We definitely need better debates. Perhaps let the League of Women Voters run some again and ignore the pressure from the candidates. Definitely let the minority parties participate.