They Needed Extra Space for the Popup Books
#throwbackthursday, in which users are encouraged to do a little time warp and bring attention to people, fashions and events from a bygone era. Since right wingers keep colliding with irony and bathos, it should come as no surprise to anyone that one of the biggest news items of today happens to be George W. Bush opening the doors of his presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Texas.
Therefore in the spirit of #throwbackthursday, let's do a little time warp of our own and pretend we're in the salad days of Pottersville, the good old days when George W. Bush pretended he was president of the United States, back when the political blogosphere was still relevant.
Forever insecure, Bush (hereafter referred to as the hillbilly Savonarola) is making his main talking point history reassessing his so-called presidency. In typical Republican fashion, he waved off opinion polls when it was convenient for him to do so while nonetheless grabbing with all 20 fingers and toes his 2% "mandate" after he'd "defeated" John Kerry in 2004. Bush famously said time and again that a president cannot lead the nation according to opinion polls.
But over half the nation still thinks his alleged presidency was a failure. 53% currently have a low opinion of him and his "legacy". When he finally slithered out of the West Wing over four years ago, nearly 70% of us rightly thought he was a failure. You could do demographics until you're Democrat blue in the face and you cannot tell me 70% of us were liberals and progressives either then or now. History tends to be forgiving even of tyrants (witness Stalin's comeback in Russia) but the posterity stumbled after by Bush seems more reluctant than usual in according the same level of grace to a man who was the most hated "president" in American history.
And if you're George W. Bush, it only stands to reason you could run roughshod over the nation and the Muslim world, lower taxes and declare two wars without Congress's blessing (never done before Bush), create a bloated bureaucracy called the Department of Homeland Security that has hardly caught any terrorists, create the worst depression seen since the 1930's and make us the most hated empire since the Romans 1500 years ago and still be quite comfortable with that legacy. Then again, such comfort is effortless provided you're a sociopath at the genetic level.
I will go to my grave believing in my heart of hearts that to date Barack Obama is the very worst president in American history but George W. Bush was indisputably the stupidest (if you still insist on calling him a president). Thanks to his inimical initiatives that resulted in a nascent fascist police state in which dissent was brutally suppressed and torture made de riguer and almost fashionable among the not so smart set, Barack Obama smoothly entered the White House when four years ago no one outside of Illinois had ever heard of him. He found himself at the helm of an executive branch with unprecedented power and it went without saying he would never abjure even an iota of it.
This is why the Dept. of Homeland Security is still very much in place. This is why the USA PATRIOT Act is still on the books. This is why Bush's ruinous tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 were continued until recently. This is why the NSA is still spying on us, why we're still using torture and extraordinary rendition, why Guantanamo Bay is still open, why Wall Street essentially owns our entire government. A nascent drone strike program that violates virtually every international law there is.
Hope and change? Yeah, that one gets funnier every time I hear it.
For you perspicacious individuals who are watching this administration with open eyes sans rose-colored glasses, it'll be obvious the ruinous Obama administration got many of its cues from the previous one. In fact, the only significant difference between Bush and Obama is that Obama actually got elected and re-elected.
Therefore, we'll be forced to watch Bush bask in the glory of short-term relevance and his new presidential library that cost so much on account of all the space that was needed for all the popup books, a library that was built to honor the legacy of a man who eschewed reading at any level and had executive summaries read to him because he was so incurious. You mention Bush's name and "books" in the same sentence, those of us who have long memories will think of him gripping "My Pet Goat" for seven minutes after Andy Card told him about the second tower getting hit. We'll think of Bush in another classroom, so incurious and bored that he held another children's book upside down.
It's impossible to believe that a man blessed with nothing more than a powerful family name, a larynx and a brain stem could've achieved the highest level of power and privilege the planet has ever seen since the Roman emperors and the Aga Khan but this is, unfortunately, a part of our history. It was the one big final push this nation needed to finally make Idiocracy a reality, in which people of mostly average intelligence looked like geniuses next to Bush, when all of us gave birth to a political blogosphere that could never seem to keep up with the Bush administration's countless evils that went largely unreported or whitewashed or spun by the completely worthless mainstream media.
Nearly 4500 American lives were lost in Iraq alone, not including the contractors who were also killed, not including those killed in Afghanistan, those contractors. And, of course, there are the uncounted indigenous civilian deaths, maimings and the countless millions of displacements, those whom Bush had once infamously melted down to a comma on Iraq's glorious road to democracy.
Bush turned Iraq into a badly built Potemkin Village, rushing democracy into what was still very much a war zone, a democracy that from the start was so dysfunctional the Iraqi legislative body couldn't even decide on a new flag. It was an obviously needless war waged for no other reason than oil, democracy being cynically used as a rotting fig leaf to excuse the commandeering of the once-nationalized oil and gas fields. And even those pretensions were largely dropped in the case of Afghanistan in which our puppet Karzai's late brother was the biggest drug trafficker in the country and we refused to burn the poppy fields producing the opium and heroin that the Taliban would then use to finance their operations.
Everywhere we set our large footprint during the imperial Bush years, we made enemies. Jobs started getting outsourced overseas, the middle class began shrinking, the once sizable surplus left behind by Clinton immediately grew into a deficit that never stopped growing. And Wall Street just got richer and richer while social services and necessary grant programs got gutted year after year.
Perhaps if Bush had lost, I mean really lost, to Al Gore, perhaps Obama would've had more incentive to shape the government in a more progressive vein. 9/11 may not have happened. The USA PATRIOT Act never would've been drafted. The Department of Homeland Security never would've been created. And there would've been no fascist infrastructure and its seductive power to work its dark magic over Obama.
It can be said that George W. Bush was the most transformative "president" since Truman, perhaps ever. Truman, along with Congress, created through the National Security Act of 1947 and its revision in 1949 the Department of the Air Force, the Central Intelligence Agency and all sorts of prohibitions on the power of that CIA and other entities.
Bush countered with a Department of Homeland Security that has caught virtually no terrorists, a completely unnecessary Director of National Intelligence, a military tribunal system that has prosecuted and convicted virtually no actual terrorists and a USA PATRIOT Act that has targeted 300,000,000 Americans as potential terrorists.
It's impossible to imagine a worse president than Barack Obama except if one were to think of Mitt Romney and the circus clowns who stumbled behind him on last year's campaign trail. But Obama was merely enabled by the criminally stupid and cruel scion of the Bush family, a man who literally stole the Oval Office then did it again.
The Bush presidential library will forever be to many a monument to cruelty, greed and stupidity and because so many of us voted for this wet-brained rube time and again, we also own that building at Southern Methodist University, a shameful and ugly heirloom that, if the universe harbors any pretense to cosmic justice, will immediately flatten at the earliest available opportunity with an impeccably-placed meteor, hopefully while Bush and his senior co-president Dick Cheney is still in it.