Sunday, June 11, 2006

The legacy of George W. Bush

Most American Presidents are identified with landmark events that occurred or policies that were adopted during their administrations. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt is historically linked to the New Deal and World War II, Harry S. Truman to the Marshall Plan and the start of the cold war, and Lyndon Johnson to the war on poverty, civil rights, and Vietnam.

George W. Bush will be remembered for sheer incompetency in office. It is inconceivable, for instance, that he cut taxes (benefiting only the very wealthy) while Federal expenditures are soaring because of an unnecessary war. Generations to come will be burdened by the need to pay the costs.

I believe that Bush's Presidency has been the worst of this or any other era. My argument is not based on ideological differences (which I do have with Mr. Bush), but primarily on the issue of competent performance. Who would have expected this from the first White House occupant to boast a Harvard MBA degree in management?

When you consider that Bill Clinton was impeached simply for lying under oath about an adultrous episode (and what man would not have lied about such matters?), it would be far more reasonable that Bush be impeached for seriously damaging both the state of the union and America's world reputation.

He is responsible for wasting an inherited budget surplus, creating the nation's record debt, loading the leadership of regulatory agencies with political hacks, hurting working-class interests, disregarding environmental concerns, showing a contempt for intellect, foolishly trying to impose democracy on medieval societies, alienating foreign allies, and--worst of all--going unnecessarily into war in Iraq after manipulating CIA intelligence. Meanwhile, ironically, he was largely re-elected for alleged leadership in the war on terrorism.

The fact is that the invasion of Iraq has critically set us back in the fight against terrorism. The invasion of Afghanistan, however, was fully justified. That country's Taliban regime had provided a home for the Al-Qaeda terrorists that attacked the U.S. on 9/11. Unfortunately, after having been soundly defeated, the Taliban is now regaining strength and is once more a serious threat.

The Taliban has been able to come back because U.S. forces have been distracted from Afghanistan by the unnecessary invasion of Iraq, where our presence there has created new centers of terrorism and brought sheer chaos to the local society. The reasons for the Iraq invasion--the allegations that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction presented an imminent threat and that there was an Iraqi link to Al Qaeda and 9/11--have proven to be false.

In the face of the crisis facing the nation, Bush and his Congressional supporters seem more concerned with such marginal issues as a ban on gay marriage and flag-burning than with far more formidable social and economic problems.

Where is Al Gore--or even John Kerry--when we need them? As David Remnick, editor-in-chief of The New Yorker, recently wrote: "... it is close to inconceivable that the country and the world would not be in far better shape had Gore been allowed to assume the office that a plurality of voters wished him to have. One could imagine him as an intelligent and decent President, capable of making serious decisions and explaining them in the language of a confident adult. Imagining that alternative history is hard to bear..."


Blogger Chancy said...

Mort, You are so right and I applaud your cogent writing on the Bush administrations's gross incompetence and abject failure.

"You stated that our government (GOP controlled) is focusing on non issues while important matters go begging.

In the face of the crisis facing the nation, Bush and his Congressional supporters seem more concerned with such marginal issues as a ban on gay marriage and flag-burning than with far more formidable social and economic problems."

You must remember the genius at work in the bowels of the Bush administration. They don't give a flip about the subject of gay marriage, flag burning or immigration. These are merely clever smoke screens to distract the voters and serve to turn out their base in November.

It is ALL about politics and winning. They have no interest in decent governing.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous joared said...

Thank you for articulating so well much of what I believe. I can state unequivocably that this Administration is the worst in my lifetime. History will likely support the view you have expressed here in terms of comparing them to all of those who have governed our country since it's inception.

Your quote of Remnick of The New Yorker: " is close to inconceivable that the country and the world would not be in far better shape had ..." I would add, any number of individuals, including Gore, been in the office of the Presidency.

I feel great concern as to what kind of country, what kind of world my children and grandchildren will inherit. I refuse to fade quietly into the background in the years I have left, and hope many others feel the same, making efforts to bring about the changes our country needs if our freedoms and privacy are to continue to flourish.

I would be remiss if I did not say our country desparately needs more outspoken members of The Fourth Estate, such as yourself, to continually provide truth and facts to me and all other Americans.

Monday, June 12, 2006 1:09:00 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

It makes me quite embarrassed living outside the US when the home government goes from one mistake right into the next. Don't even get me started on the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay who've been held for years with no formal charges made. Doesn't that fly in the face of everything that the US stands for? Maybe our government doesn't stand for justice and freedom anymore. The current president certainly has at best squandered the opportunity to do good.

Monday, June 12, 2006 8:48:00 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

I disagree. Many are comparing him to Truman--whose approval rating was even lower. The press's hatred of Bush is irrational, and I thought the right's hate for Clinton was over the edge, but it doesn't even approach this.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous joared said...

I feel compelled to add another comment.

I believe a strong press is vital to the survival of freedom in our nation.

I am fearful when any American government administration attempts to withhold, distort or prevaricate facts which the people need and are entitled to know. Then, when the press attempts to do its job on our behalf they are maligned by some, misunderstood by others, and some administrations even attempt to intimidate them.

As someone who lived during the Truman years, in my humble opinion low ratings between Truman and Bush are the only thing they have in common and prove nothing -- apples and oranges.

I fail to understand how the press pointing out a President's shortcomings, poor judgement, lack of truthfulness, and the list goes on, can be misconstrued as irrational or hate.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger panu said...

"Where is Al Gore--or even John Kerry--when we need them?"

Where? In the brinks of obscurity, thats where.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 5:08:00 AM  
Blogger Find Truth said...

Dear Sir, You might be right on your profile of Bush.I like reading your articles with no malice.But when I retired in 1999 and listened to both parties,I can't get myself to lean left.I like the Republican view and therefore support Bush's attempt to fight terrorism.I wish the Democrates could come up with a leader who would change my mind.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Oh, my, what can I say? It is such a relief to read my very thoughts...but without the ability to put them into words. I have printed out this post and will keep it with me. I live in a predominantly Republican county and often feel like I am "spitting in the wind" here.
Last year I wrote to President Carter (not because I think he was a great President, but because I think he is a great and insightful man) and told him of my frustration with this administration and asked what I could do. He actually answered my long hand, no less,...and told me to "keep expressing your views".
Thank you for having the courage and the journalistic ability to do just that.

Sunday, July 09, 2006 8:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you again for your thoughtful insights. I am conservative, lean to the 'right'.

I too saw Afganistan as just but saw Iraq as finishing what Daddy started. Saddam was a cruel, sadistic, saber rattler, about a dangerous to the US as my deceased Rottie.

North Korea and Iran are totally different stories.

We went into Iraq, guaranteed to win but totally understaffed to finish the job.
We seem to like to beat up on those we are sure to beat.

However, God Bless the troops and I pray that we complete the mission and not leave the country in a mess.

If I am to vote Democratic, something I am loath to do, they have to get someone 1) not named Clinton and 2) Self assured and competant.

I have not seen any one from any side that I think deserves my vote.

Our politicians are too concerned with their own little fiefdoms and not the Nation or World as a whole.
And voters seem to be not much better.
Mayber the Electoral College should be used as it was intended.
Vote, not for President but for someone known in the community for soundness of thought and mind. Then let this group of individuals debate and decide who best to lead the country through this troubled time and end this cult of personallity.

I swear, last time, Kerry struck me as wishy washy and Edwards had the smile and demeanor of a shady used car salesman.

Our country deserves better and used to have better.

Thanks again for your commentary.


Friday, July 14, 2006 6:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the Bush administration has been a comedy of errors. I voted for him twice. ( Some of my friends call me a slow learner.) I struggled with the vote against Kerry but just could not vote for him.
Where have all the leaders gone? Pablum issues like flag burning, gay marriage, etc. get the attention of our elected representatives, while serious issues are left to smolder. Take your pick, Iraq, Social Security, Medicare, the budget deficit, the trade imblance, global warming, are all difficult problems that require attention.
The sad fact is that the Democrats have no answers either. Where are the leaders?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 8:48:00 PM  

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