The G.W. Bush Presidency

Written by  //  November 22, 2010  //  Government & Governance, Politics, Public Policy, U.S.  //  No comments

See also G.W. Bush on Wednesday-Night.com

The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush’s Memoir
(HuffPost) … when we think of George W. Bush, we think mostly of what a horrible mess he made of the economy. But his even more tragic legacy is the loss of our moral authority, and the transformation of the United States of America from global champion of human rights into an outlaw nation.
15 November
The Truth Blurs for Bush and Schröder
(Spiegel) George W. Bush has written his selective memoirs, in which he accuses Gerhard Schröder of breaking a promise. In truth, Bush strung along the then-German chancellor with unfounded promises, even as his administration was already preparing for the disastrous Iraq war.
12 November
George Bush Book ‘Decision Points’ Lifted Passages From Advisers’ Books
(HuffPost) When Crown Publishing inked a deal with George W. Bush for his memoirs, the publisher knew it wasn’t getting Faulkner. But the book, at least, promises “gripping, never-before-heard detail” about the former president’s key decisions, offering to bring readers “aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq,” and other undisclosed and weighty locations.
Crown also got a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections. He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time. Far from shedding light on how the president approached the crucial “decision points” of his presidency, the clip jobs illuminate something shallower and less surprising about Bush’s character: He’s too lazy to write his own memoir.
8 November 2010
Delusion Points
Don’t fall for the nostalgia — George W. Bush’s foreign policy really was that bad.
(Foreign Policy) … In anticipation of tomorrow’s release of Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, this line of thinking is reinforcing one of the Beltway press corps’ favorite rituals: the “was he really that bad?” nostalgia for a president that the same reporters and analysts were happily pummeling only two years ago.
Don’t believe a word of it. George W. Bush’s presidency really was that bad — and the fact that Obama has largely followed the same course is less a measure of Bush’s wisdom than a reminder of the depth of the hole he dug his country into, as well as the institutionalized groupthink that dominates the U.S. foreign-policy establishment.
11 August 2009
Bush legacy remains to be written
1 November

This illustration was on the cover of this week’s SPIEGEL. It is a remake of a SPIEGEL cover from 2002 showing President George W. Bush’s cabinet on its way to war. The US Embassy in Berlin ordered 33 copies of the original illustration in poster form for the White House. There has been no word yet as to whether orders have been placed for the new version. The title reads “The Bush Warriors: End of the Show.” More

See also George Bush Report Card

 “His presidency has been remarkably successful,” one historian declared, “in its pursuit of disastrous policies.” “I think the Bush administration has been quite successful in achieving its political objectives,” another commented, “which makes it a disaster for us.”  Historians vs. George W. Bush

It’s not over yet, but the assessments are coming in – and we doubt that the tone will change much between now and January 20, 2009.

E-Mail Reveals Rove’s Key Role in ’06 Dismissals
Documents, released by the House Judiciary Committee after a protracted fight over access to White House records and testimony, offer a detailed portrait of a nearly two-year effort, from early 2005 to 2007, by senior White House officials, including Mr. Rove, to dismiss some prosecutors for what appear to be political reasons.
3 April
Poll: Bush And Cheney Still Unpopular
(Talking Points Memo) A new Gallup poll tests how former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney have fared in public opinion since they left office. The answer: Badly.
Bush’s favorable rating is only 35%, with 63% unfavorable. Cheney is at 30% favorable to 62% unfavorable.
Bush’s popularity had been inching up a bit over the course of the 2008 campaign and as he was on the way out — up to a high of 40% favorable and 59% unfavorable in early January — but his numbers now are back near the all-time low of 32% favorable and 66% unfavorable from April 2008.
5 December 2008
Bush the Infallible
(Eugene Robinson in Truthdig) Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can’t.
When ABC’s Charles Gibson, interviewing Bush at Camp David, asked the president what one “do-over” he’d like to have, this was Bush’s reply:
“I don’t know—the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn’t just people in my administration; a lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence. And, you know, that’s not a do-over, but I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.” Sadly, there’s more
29 November
Conrad Black: A ‘rather successful’ president with some serious achievements under his belt
I believe that something important and useful will come from the Iraqi operation, and that George W. Bush will ultimately be seen as a rather successful president. For the benefit of skeptics, I might add that this thesis — expanded into its current form at the request of my editor — has been my publicly stated view since well before there was any thought of asking this president to redress, in my own case, the failings of the American justice system.
26 November
Bush’s Last Days: The Lamest Duck
(TIME) … His position on immigration was admirable and courageous; he was right about the Dubai Ports deal and about free trade in general. He spoke well, in the abstract, about the importance of freedom. He is an impeccable classicist when it comes to baseball. And that just about does it for me. I’d add the bracing moment of Bush with the bullhorn in the ruins of the World Trade Center, but that was neutered in my memory by his ridiculous, preening appearance in a flight suit on the deck of the aircraft carrier beneath the “Mission Accomplished” sign. The flight-suit image is one of the two defining moments of the Bush failure. The other is the photo of Bush staring out the window of Air Force One, helplessly viewing the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. This is a presidency that has wobbled between those two poles — overweening arrogance and paralytic incompetence.
20 November
But Words Will Never Hurt Me
The president, friends say, is handling the attacks on him with characteristic equanimity.
(Newsweek) Yet those who know the president well say he has withstood the attacks with characteristic equanimity. Bush has never been one to torture himself with doubt or punish himself with what-ifs. Even in the darkest moments of his presidency—the bloodiest months of insurgency after the invasion of Iraq; the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina—there were no hushed stories of a distraught president talking to the portraits in the West Wing. The opinion of the American people matters to him, and close friends and aides say he is not deaf to the fact that he has become an object of ridicule. But they say he also remains unshakably convinced history will see his decisions, on Iraq especially, as the right ones. The same air of self-confident resolve—reassuring to some, maddening to others—that allowed Bush to claim, during the 2004 campaign, that he could not name a single mistake he had made as president, now girds him in his final, difficult and somewhat lonely months in the White House.
26 October
The Failed Presidency of George W. Bush: A Dismal Legacy. –[PART II]
Rodrigue Tremblay
Economically, the Bush-Cheney administration is leaving behind a big financial and economic mess. In fact, this is an administration that has brought misery upon America by its misguided economic policies that have built a mountain of shaky debt and rendered dysfunctional large segments of the American banking industry and large sectors of the U.S. economy, through inappropriate deregulation to enrich greedy special interest characters, wheeler-dealers, corporate con men, professional short-sellers and other scam artists and swindlers. In so doing, it has empowered rich parasitic speculators and turned the financial sector into a giant casino, thus risking the health of the entire economy.
Indeed, and to complete the picture, the Bush-Cheney administration has emptied the public treasury, debased the U.S. currency and fueled deflation, inflation and, in the end, produced stagflation and what can turn out to be a very serious recession.
This is understandable. Over the last eight years, the Bush-Cheney administration has adopted a laissez-faire policy based on a let-them-eat-cake ideology. It has pushed for economic deregulation throughout the government, beginning with the de-fanging of the Securities and Exchange Commission. It has pursued an aggressive policy of deregulation of the large global investment banks, which were basically left to self-regulate themselves and allowed to build up the largest mountain of flimsy backed debt instruments and risky financial derivative products ever seen in history. It did the same thing for other regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, worker safety and transportation agencies.
It is thus no accident that the Bush-Cheney administration has presided over one of the worst financial collapses and credit crises in U.S. history, by packing regulatory agencies with cronies whose mission it was to let rapacious speculators and market manipulators go wild. The result has been the creation of a casino-like speculative economy that is now crashing down before our very eyes. More
24 October
Henry Rollins: Citizen W. What will George W. Bush’s life be like after he leaves office?

The Failed Presidency of George W. Bush: A Dismal Legacy [Part I]
By Rodrigue Tremblay
Whoever is elected president in the coming November 4 American election will inherit a most miserable situation on nearly all fronts. This is because George W. Bush has been one of the worst presidents the U.S. has ever had, if not the worst. It is widely recognized that he was a below average politician who led his country on the wrong track, both domestically and internationally. Today, only a meager 9 percent of Americans dare to say that their country is moving in the right direction.
As a matter of fact, a very large majority of Americans— both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and of rural areas, high school graduates and college-educated— all say that the United States has been headed in the wrong direction under George W. Bush’s stewardship. Bush’s approval rating reflects the lack of confidence that Americans have in him and his administration. In fact, George W. Bush has recorded the lowest approval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll. And, around the world, the United States has never had a leader who commands so little respect and confidence. Most people in the U.S. and abroad will find satisfaction in seeing his term come to an end.
This is a terrible indictment of the Bush Administration that has presided over America’s destinies for the last eight years. What is more disconcerting, this all came after George W. Bush won the presidential election in 2000, with fewer popular votes than Democratic candidate Al Gore, after a one-judge-majority decision of the Supreme Court, in effect, gave him the presidency. Therefore, this is an administration that had no widespread democratic mandate to do what it has done. And it has done a lot of things wrong. In fact, many people think this has been a morally bankrupt administration.
On a lighter note – or at least written in a self-mocking vein that leavens the awful lump:
Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott writes in The News Blues:
I
blame Bush. I blame Bush for everything and will continue to blame him (and Vice President Dick Cheney) for everything long after we’re all dead of gas gangrene. The two terms of George W. Bush’s presidency have been not simply a psychological bringdown but a steady beatdown. The malaise that President Jimmy Carter supposedly diagnosed as our national condition in 1979—though Carter never used the actual word—is nothing compared with the slough of despond Cheney seems to have dug with his shovel jaw in service of the National Security State and to the detriment of everything else. Even as the Decider eyes the exits, his administration pulls stunts such as attempting to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act and to lift the ban on offshore drilling, as if to get in one last twist of the knife before Bush waves buh-bye as he boards the helicopter into the azure, unless it’s raining. It will be one of the un-nicer ironies of modern American history that a president who prided himself on his crispy optimism should depart office having dyed the electorate a pervasive shade of blue. Not Democratic blue (though maybe that too), but the blue of futility, frustration, and worry, as reflected in the right-track/wrong-track numbers.

Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror

As we bid farewell to the GWB Administration, let us reflect upon some of his more inspiring moments.
I wonder why people are surprised the world is in the state it now finds itself in…. Enjoy!
‘The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.’
‘If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.’
‘One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is ‘to be prepared’.’
‘I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.’
‘The future will be better tomorrow.’
‘We’re going to have the best educated American people in the world.’
‘I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.’
‘We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe . We are a part of Europe ‘
‘Public speaking is very easy.’
‘A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.’
‘I have opinions of my own — strong opinions — but I don’t always agree with them.’
‘We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.’
‘For NASA, space is still a high priority.’
‘Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.’
‘It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.’

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