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More scholars and others call Bush worst president ever; New book shows how Bush & Co. have broken rules all their lives

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In a relatively recent column in The Washington Post, Columbia University presidential scholar and historian Eric Foner called Bush the worst president in U.S. history. Foner even said Bush was worse than Nixon and comparable to James Polk, who led the U.S. into the unprovoked invasion of Mexico by lying about an "alleged Mexican incursion into the United States."

"Nixon considered himself above the law," Dr. Foner wrote. But "Bush has taken this disdain for law even further. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law."

Others have come out saying Bush is the worst president ever. Even someone as mainstream as developer Donald Trump recently said Bush was probably the worst president ever. Even mainstream Republicans like Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel recently said that Bush is "not accountable" and "you might see calls for his impeachment."

Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof of the University of California recently said that this was the "worst government the United States has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies, not only in foreign policy and economics, but also in social and environmental policy.... Future generations and even people in ten years are going to face massive public deficits and huge government debt."

Historians Sean Wilentz and Robert S. McElvaine lend more evidence of historians' and others' concerns about Bush.

Unfortunately, we cannot impeach presidents for being irresponsible and raising deficits to give boatloads of money to his wealthy campaign contributors and supporting unwise actions. But we can impeach presidents for breaking the law. By this count, Bush deserves to be impeached. His "disdain for law" detailed by Foner and many others runs much longer than the superficial reasons on which the former Republican-controlled Congress impeached Bill Clinton.

But, let's be honest. We aren't likely to succeed in impeaching Bush through Congress, whose Democratic leaders have already said impeachment is off the table. We can try to push through petitions and join in impeachment efforts, such as Vote to Impeach and the Impeach Bush Coalition. By doing so - even in a doomed effort - we raise more public awareness about Bush's deceit.

But the way we have to impeach Bush is in the court of public opinion. We have to do it in the history books.

Many books have documented what accomplished liars and con men George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and other officials around them are. Some have focused on the political dirty tricks, broken laws, and deceit executed by one of those officials.

But none have put it all together, traced the lifelong deceit of these people, and updated the present scandals in one heavily-documented book - until now.

So here comes my book, on which I've spent a good part of the last few years polishing. Backed up by hundreds of footnotes mostly from mainstream sources, Born to Cheat: How Bush, Cheney, Rove & Co. Broke the Rules - From the Sandlot to the White House, shows how Bush & Co.'s cheating started when they were young and continued to their power grab of the White House and lust for an empire. I include a list of resources for people who want to do something about this administration to have somewhere to turn.

Here's one review from Sara S. DeHart, associate professor emeritus with the University of Minnesota: "Americans rarely have the opportunity to trace the roots of malfeasance exhibited by the Bush-Cheney administration in one volume. Jackson Thoreau has documented the trail of wrongful conduct and the smears and tricks these men used on the road to the White House.... If these men and their organization are ever brought to justice, it will happen because a small and careful cadre of journalists kept score. Born to Cheat is a scorecard that Americans dare not ignore."

To get more info on the book and how to read it, click here. Dr. Foner's column is here.

As I said before, this 256-pp. book is part of my contribution to the cause of impeaching Bush through the court of public opinion. I didn't write it to make a few more bucks - believe me, there are easier ways to make money than writing something like this. I wrote it because it was a story that had to be told. I wrote it because I could put it together and show how the deceit of these players started young and continued throughout their sorry lives. I wrote it as a warning, so that maybe we won't let this happen again. I wrote it for my kids and their kids, so they'd know that quite a few of us didn't sit around while Bush & Co. was leading this country and the world into hell.

We tried. We tried to do something.

Some people call me a cynic and worse, but I'm actually an idealist at heart. As I said in my dedication of the book to my kids, "Don't ever stop searching for the truth and standing up for what you believe, even in the face of so-called leaders who lie, steal, and cheat. May you try, like many of my generation did, to forge a better world. May you do a better job than we did."

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Jackson Thoreau is the pen name of a Washington, D.C.-area journalist/writer. Books include Not Our President: The Movement for Democracy and Against GOP Fascism [updated in 2022], The King of the Internet [2019], and Born to (more...)

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