Predictable Disaster of George W. Bush
In his trademark goofy way, George W. Bush explained why he supported a bailout of the U.S. financial markets, saying he was “a free-market person, until you're told that if you don't take decisive measures then it's conceivable that our country could go into a depression greater than the Great Depression.”
So, with a smirk on his face, President Bush explained the predicament that the United States and the world face after eight years of his incompetence and mismanagement – teetering on the edge of a catastrophe “greater than the Great Depression.”
Yet what is remarkable about American news coverage of this extraordinary moment – and Bush’s strangely light-hearted comment at the end of the Nov. 15 global economic summit – is how little blame is being laid specifically at Bush’s door.
In a pattern typical of the preceding eight years, major U.S. journalists are focusing on almost everything else – from Sarah Palin’s political future to what President-elect Barack Obama should do after he’s inaugurated in two months – not the lessons that should be learned from Bush’s disastrous presidency.
An example was Tom Brokaw’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, which addressed the financial and energy crises with nary a negative word spoken about Bush.
It was as if everyone else was responsible for the nation’s troubles, from unions and auto executives to Congress and Obama (for not providing immediate answers). Just not the person who is still in charge and who was chiefly responsible for taking the United States from an era of peace, prosperity and budget surpluses to the precipice of endless war, economic devastation and national bankruptcy.
Part of that may be that Brokaw and some of his fellow pundits, such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, were major enablers of Bush’s most harmful decisions. Brokaw and Friedman were among the leading journalists in 2002-03 who didn’t ask tough questions about the Iraq invasion and indeed cheered the war on.
Brokaw, Friedman and company also didn’t recognize the obvious danger to the United States that Bush represented in 2000 when he and his Republican allies ran a down-and-dirty campaign against Al Gore and then blocked the counting of Florida’s votes so Bush could slip into the White House.
The big-name pundits almost all bought into the myth that Bush’s strange ascension to the White House -- as the first popular-vote loser in more than a century -- was a good idea, pushing out Bill Clinton’s crowd and putting “the adults back in charge.”
Beyond the affront that Bush’s “election” represented to American democracy, there also was the troubling fact that Bush had a long history of messing up whatever he touched and then “failing upward,” pulled out of trouble by his father’s rich friends.
However, when this well-born wastrel was elevated to the highest office on earth, there was really no way that daddy or daddy’s friends could either control him or save him from himself. It may be that not even all the central banks in all the world can undo the damage that George W. Bush has done.
That big-name American journalists failed to recognize this danger back in Campaign 2000 represented another example of their professional limitations and moral deficiencies. At the time, it was easier to go with the flow.
But the inadequacies of George W. Bush were well-known during Campaign 2000, although readers often had to search out the facts on the Internet or in a few small-circulation liberal magazines. Bush’s ominous history of business failures -- his reverse Midas touch -- drew far less attention than the bogus stories about “Lyin’ Al” Gore and his “exaggerations.”
Warning the Electorate
At Consortiumnews.com, we were among those small outlets that tried to warn the American electorate about these risks. We also recounted this reality in our book, Neck Deep, an excerpt of which follows: