Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Four Fails: Prologue

As the countdown to the end of the Dubya Debacle (as I understatedly describe it) reaches the single digits, a lot of people have been looking back in nostalgia at the salad days when we had budget surpluses, presidential sex scandals, and a military with a little too much time on its hands. There is a three week waiting list of Bushies wanting Op-Ed space in the Washington Post to explain that a) the past eight years were an unbridled success b) the screw-ups aren't nearly as bad as everybody is making them out to be and that a few are actually blessings in heavy disguise, and c) The Decider was really responsible for everything and deserves all the blame credit.

Even Dubya himself has gotten into the act. The White House Department of Potemkin Publishing has issued a straight faced list of his "accomplishments" titled "100 Things Americans May Not Know About The Bush Administration Record". Once the disbelief wears off and they check that the url is really not a proxy for The Onion or The Colbert Report, bloggers have started a parlor game of hunting for the most disingenuously ironic item. My personal choice is on Page 38:
Increased import safety for American consumers. Instituted an Import Safety Action Plan to better protect American consumers and took strong enforcement action against manufacturers of tainted imports. Established unprecedented import safety coordination with China by stationing FDA inspectors in China and signed agreements that enhanced the safety of products traded between our nations to protect consumers and the environment.
I'm sure the owners of all the melamine poisoned pets and the parents that had to pry the lead-laced toys from their crying kids hands are grateful. Most of his crowing sounds like a guy that has just driven his car off the cliff and brags about the great mileage he is getting on the way down.

But rather than obsess over the minutiae, I have decided to focus on the big picture and sweep all the scandals, fiascos, and failures into four broad categories. This was meant to be one very long let-it-vent rant, but the task proved to be too big for one entry, even by my long-winded standards. So instead, over the next week I will attempt to convey in four blogposts what will keep future historians busy for decades: just how epic a failure the Bush Administration has been.

Please indulge my departure from my usual even-handed neutral tone for a few days as I let you know how I really feel. And if it proves too much for you, I promise as a reward one of my trademarked two-column pop culture comparisons on Friday that will please both the sci-fi geek and the prurient-minded among my readers (which pretty much covers about everybody). Until then, let's take a walk down Repressed Memory Lane and revisit the low points of the twenty-first century so far.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Which of Dubya's many failures has been his most spectacular?

Epic Fail #1: Mission FUBARed
Epic Fail #2: Culture of Torture
Epic Fail #3: Compassionate Conservatism Was Neither
Epic Fail #4: Our MBA President Bankrupts Us All


Mooselet said...

In a word - Iraq.

The premise was a lie, and they knew it. The loss of life has been staggering. I know Saddam was a "bad man", but has anyone looked at Mugabe over in Zimbabwe? It was not the US's problem to solve, unless we commit to removing all the "bad men" from all countries unilaterally.

I really must find some time to read this self-serving document.

Anonymous said...

I would push it back and say both Sept. 11 and the handling of its aftermath, which includes Iraq. (Not that I believe Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks, but there's no way the Iraq adventure could have been pushed through without 9/11 as context.)

One of the things that utterly boggles my mind is the latest Bush apologist line being bandied about, which is "He kept us safe." The logic is that because we haven't been attacked since 9/11, this is a big achievement, as if 9/11 was somehow an inexplicable event, not his fault but really Clinton's, etc. Whatever. Nine months in power and multiple "Bin Laden determined to strike inside the US" memos sort of put him firmly on the hook, as far as I'm concerned.

To be intellectually honest, I can't say that I necessarily believe that the 9/11 attacks wouldn't have happened under President Gore; I think there was a good deal of bipartisan denial on the issue. But I don't think that Gore would have used them to build public support to invade Iraq, with the subsequent negative consquences for the military, the Afghan war (which would have happened one way or another), US worldwide prestige, and all the fucking dead people from said Iraq war.

Of all the many reasons to wish that the 9/11 attacks had never happened, one not too far down the list is the fact that without them, Dubya would have been an Electoral College fluke one-termer of no great historic impact, upon whom we'd probably be looking back with nostalgia for his comical antics.

yellojkt said...

Jon Swift hilariously skewers the Since 9/11 Meme.

I'm giving Dubya a pass on actual culpability on the attacks but he clearly could have done more to prevent them. His karmic role should have been as a palate cleansing caretaker president, but events pushed him into the history books. He had an enormous opportunity and squandered it epically. Without 9/11 he couldn't have screwed things up to one tenth the degree that he has.