He entered office in a storm of controversy, taking the White House thanks to the Supreme Court’s willingness to stop counting votes. He inherited one of the largest budget surpluses of any President in history and somehow managed to squander it away. He and his administration ignored the danger signs Bin Laden and Al qaeda were sending for almost a year, until it was far too late.
From that fateful day in Sepetember of 2001, the Bush Administration took only a single seed, terror, and used it to twist and pervert much of what has made this country great. It suddenly became “dangerous” to criticize the government, be it on public streets, in blogs or in the media. As false intelligence was laid at the feet of the UN and the American people by people like Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, Bush and his administration seized the moment. They launched a war based solely on what they, in their own minds, willed into existence. Five years later over 4,500 brave men and women have paid the ultimate price as the result.
Back at home, the man from Texas used fear of the war, in combination with cowardly and like-minded individuals to plant more seeds of doubt. Those seeds grew and choked an American patriot named John Kerry to help Bush win re-election in 2004. But Bush’s new found “political capitol” quickly turned rancid in scandal after scandal – Hurricane Katrina, Valarie Plame, Harriet Miers, Abu Ghraib, the Dubai Ports deal, no-bid contracts, the War on Science, Pat Tillman & Jessica Lynch, rendition, waterboarding, wiretapping, Walter Reed, the US Attorney scandal, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, unprecedented secrecy, “free speech” zones, $12 billion lost in Iraq, Bin Laden never captured or killed and many, many more.
Bush continually traded his folksy southern charm for intelligence. He had difficulty stringing together coherent sentences, relied on a “turd blossom” to continually confirm his world view and once proudly insisted that he didn’t bother to “read newspapers”. He surrounded himself with lackeys and yes-men who never questioned his judgment or response to any crisis. The media, which had rolled-over for him during the Iraq war, suddenly seized every opportunity to make up for their previous failures and began to grow a pair. As his approval ratings plummeted to depths not seen since Nixon, Bush went about his business, people lost their privacy, their jobs, their homes and their rights.
Defiant to the end, Bush set out to enact laws in his final days in office designed to make Obama’s job difficult and perpetuate his policy long after he leaves. In his final press conference Bush even stubbornly insisted that the federal response to the Katrina disaster wasn’t as bad as everyone thought. This despite the fact that even to this day, New Orleans struggles to survive and will never return to the thriving city it once was.
As he leaves office this Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 and the nation’s attitude towards him begins to be blurred by the soft focus of the past, never forget what he has done. Someone once said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I can say unequivocally, I have no interest what-so-ever in repeating the last eight years. Thankfully, the seeds Bush planted so many years ago have finally begun to wither and die and we as a nation are far better for it. To George W. Bush I respectfully say goodbye, farewell and amen.
UPDATE: Leave it to Keith Olbermann to sum up the timeline of the worst President of the United States like no one else can. Bush’s 8 years in 8 minutes is positively damning in so many ways it’s hard to describe. If you voted for Bush, or are among the 23% of American’s who still support what he did in office, swallow your prideful arrogance and go watch it. You need to get a clue.