Who knows what the next few years hold. Hope resides primarily in the vision and abilities of one Barack Obama.
But, before the revision, the spin and the B.S. starts in full about Bush - because for sure it will come - I wanted on the last day of the Bush presidency to touch on a few things to consider in judging the job "W" did in running this country. Any ONE of the following would be grounds for considering Bush the worst president in U.S. history in my book, and there are PLENTY more examples one could add. But, below are five to ponder. I've listed these catastrophic examples of Bush's poor leadership in particular because I think they have had a direct effect on people in this nation, and certainly others:
1) U.S. attacked. The worst single attack on the American homeland by foreign powers in our nation's history occurred on Bush's watch. Think about this. The worst attack ever. Sure, Republicans say Bush "protected" America for seven years straight, but they always fail to remember that the 9-11 attacks and all the deaths they caused happened on his watch despite clear warnings the president and his team received in advance. Literally historically poor leadership. By the way, the revisionism is already started. The other day in downtown Seattle, I saw a big billboard that said, "President Bush. Thank you for keeping us safe."
2) Economic disaster. As an inevitable result of the "trickle down," rig the system for the rich, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the spectacular de-regulation of financial, energy and industrial sectors...not to mention an anti-union, outsource-friendly and "free trade" policy...this president and his party aided and abetted THE single worst economic crisis in this country's history other than The Great Depression - so far as we know yet. High unemployment rates, skyrocketing costs for education, massive home foreclosures, increasing homelessness, more people without healthcare, record deficits (aren't Republicans supposed to be fiscally conservative?), a historically weak dollar and no hope for improvement. Thanks a-hole.
3) Needless war. Yes, most Americans would agree - and I do too - that we needed to go into Afghanistan to go after Bin Laden and the people who orchestrated the 9-11 attacks. But, that had zero to do with Iraq. Bush and Cheney "worked' the American public, the intelligence agencies and the U.N. to get a war started against Saddam predicated on a combination of "daddy issues" for Bush, trumped up evidence and "money making opportunities" for Cheney and the crowd he runs with. The result? Thousands of U.S. dead and wounded, not to mention a much higher toll for Iraqi's. Lets also not forget the war has squandered our Federal budget on Iraq rather than using it to either going after Al Qaida or spending it on domestic priorities. Our reputation around the world has taken a huge hit. There has been massive grift by U.S. defense contractors. And perhaps the topper...we still haven't killed Bin Laden and shut down his organization, but Bush's decisions have alienated an entire region of the world against us. Want more terrorists? Bush helped create a whole generation of them.
4) Monumental cronyism. This administration appointed buddies and cronies to high positions and the American public paid the price. This is best exhibited in the whole Hurricane Katrina fiasco in which Bush buddy and horse breeding association guy "Brownie" was in charge of...well, fucking up big time the response to the storm and it's aftermath. This ended up costing some people their lives, and others their livelihoods. And, I suspect there are unknowable millions that have gone to waste, fraud and abuse through Bush's appointments as well.
5) Environmental incompetence. What a missed opportunity! At the very moment our country could use a transition to a "green" economy and all the historic economic and health benefits this could have brought to the U.S., Bush and company looked backward and short term instead of forward and long term. And what is the result? A tragic, and perhaps nationally fatal, missed opportunity to transition our economy, preserve the global environment and keep our edge on the rest of the world.
Yes, there are lots of other things beyond these five examples that one could cite as evidence of the total and complete failure of the Bush presidency. Indeed. But I think these handful really tell the story.
To summarize, at a critical moment in our history when we needed exactly the right leader at the right time, we got (and really, also chose and accepted) the exactly wrong guy and the wrong time in Bush. And for this, our nation is paying a heavy, heavy price that it will take decades to reverse. And for that, George W. Bush will go down as the worst president we've ever had.
I believe history will judge Bush harshly too. We can only hope wiser, more competent and leaders with the interests of all Americans prevail over the next 10-15 years.
Tomorrow, it's, "Welcome President Obama!"
But for at least one more day, it's "F-you George Bush!"