Friday, April 26, 2013

Even Through Rose Colored Glasses, George W. Bush was Terrible

I don't see why we need to say nice things about George W. Bush these days. He presided over a decade of stagnant middle class incomes, the death of 3,000 citizens on US soil, led the United States into two wars which lasted a decade at a combined cost measuring $4 trillion, and left the financial service sector so deregulated that the entire world economy nearly imploded. About the best thing you can say is that in most of these decisions he was within the political Washington's political mainstream at the time. But that's an indictment of Washington, not a sensible rationalization of anything Bush did.

I keep trying to complete the sentence "Bush was the worst President since __________" and finding ways to claim that terrible presidents were better. Richard Nixon flouted the law, but so did Bush (the FISA act pretty clearly states that the entire warrantless wiretapping program is an impeachable offense), and Nixon ceded big chunks of domestic policy to the prevailing center-left mainstream. Warren Harding didn't have much going on, though he at least didn't totally suck on civil rights issues. A number of 19th century Presidents were awful on the issues of slavery, preserving the Union, and Reconstruction (Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Rutherford Hayes), so they might give Bush a run for his money. Lately people have been pouring haterade on John Adams, but pre-industrial America is just such a different place and time that I have a hard time evaluating how much good or bad an administration could do at the time.
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