Saturday, January 24, 2009


As hard as it is for me to freely admit it, President George W. Bush left office a failure. I wanted him to succeed just as I want President Obama to succeed - for the good of the country. Ultimately there is only one measure of a presidency's success or failure: did he leave the country in better shape than when he took over. By any objective measure the answer is no. Hell no.

I do think however, the deck was as stacked against Bush as it is for Obama today. The major media was suspicious of him from day one and any good will he enjoyed from the aftermath of 911 dissolved when he stood aboard that aircraft carrier in front of that mission accomplished sign.

The media actively campaigned against Bush in 2004 just as they actively campaigned (sickeningly so) for Obama in 2008. The bottom fell out when the media did a full court press on the Bush Administration in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was mostly bullshit, of course, but the visuals were so appalling it made for a perfect outrage they would gladly hurl against the President.

The hard core liberals had been suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) since the Supreme Court put a halt to the Florida fiasco in Bush v Gore. The major media, as mentioned, were completely against him after Katrina and he lost the GOP faithful with his ill considered comprehensive immigration reform.

The GOP had been beside themselves with Bush for a whole host of reasons not the least of which was McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. We all remember Harriet Miers... There was Medicaid Part D as well as a vetoless first term when the GOP controlled Congress went on a drunken pork barrel spending binge. Sure we loved the tax cuts and that famous Bush resolve in the War on Terror(ists). Still, more than once he he poked his finger in eye of those who stood by him and defended his foray into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein.

In the end the economy tanked in large part due to his inaction on the looming collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the whole "creative" mortgage backed securities charade. It's impossible to say right now if the emergency bailout of Wall Street and the big banks prevented a world wide financial system meltdown - we may never know. It seems unlikely that this "rescue plan" was a one time event. Are we now expecting the goverment to make everybody whole again? It's just such a bad precedent.

Obviously not every aspect of this presidency was a loss. No point in going into that now, I have written in praise of and in defense of President Bush many times on this blog. History may see things differently than we see things in the here and the now. There is a huge silver lining for President George W. Bush. Iraq. Yes, Iraq, the very thing that defined his presidency could be the the very thing that rescues it for posterity...

Twenty or thirty years from now if - and that's a big if - a free and democratic Iraq plays a role in transforming Mesopotamia and the rest of Arabia into functioning, modern, thriving and freer nations then the world will look back on the man who put these things into motion quite differently than we do today.

Godspeed President Bush.