Sunday, July 15, 2007

President Bush, Renaissance Failure

Blogger Matthew Yglesias looks at a Washington Post article, quoting an aide close to Bush as stating, "Nothing matters except the war." And in the big-picture view of history, that's true.

But, as Yglesias notes (with bold added by me)-
"It's also true that for a two term president who enjoyed GOP congressional control for several years, he really does have remarkably few legislative accomplishments. Where other leaders would have seen an opportunity to push a governing agenda, Bush saw an opportunity to evade congressional oversight as he used the executive branch to commit crimes against the constitution, fill many executive agencies with incompetents, and fill others with people who helped his campaigns' financial backers rob the public. Which leads us to what's probably the most important aspect of Bush's non-Iraq legacy, his decision to provide an elegant demonstration of public choice theory and destroy public faith in the possibility of government action by showing exactly how poorly a government can be run.

Beyond that, we have a failed stab at immigration reform, massive tax cuts that saddled the country with big debts but produced a macroeconomic situation worse than that prevailing under his predecessor's policies, an increase in the level of subsidies for fossil fuel producers, an increase in the level of farm subsidies, a Medicare reform structured as a large subsidy to health insurance and pharmaceutical firms, the institutionalized use of torture and arbitrary detention, and a return of illegal domestic surveillance. Also -- No Child Left Behind, and an invasion of Afghanistan whose goals, though eminently justified, have not been achieved."

'Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?'

I would add that he also could've/should've added the following: the immoral and inept non-response to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, both then and now; the squashing of important scientific issues (from climate change denial to stem cell moral pandering to resurrecting creationism); further environmental disgraces; the refusal to heed the advice of anyone who dissents from his closeminded worldview; the massive fearmongering; etc.

I really hope the next President realizes what they're in for. Aside from the difficult predicament of finding an end to the runaway train known as the Iraq War, much of their term will be spent cleaning up the damage George W. Bush and his fellow ideologues have done to the government, and the country.

If they're lucky and smart, they may even have some time left to craft a legacy of their own.

[Not surprisingly, Bush has one of the highest unfavorability ratings of any President ever.]


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