George W. Bush's Legacy of Failure

The president's defenders are puffing his record in a positive light - but reality keeps getting in the way

With only days left until his term expires, it appears that the Bush legacy project,
an attempt by the usual corps of serial sycophants to rehabilitate the
lame-duck generalissimo's image, is falling upon the deaf ears and
self-gouged eyes of an American public sickened by the last eight years.

the Bush cabal just couldn't clear out of town without trying to
complete one last propaganda project for the Gipper, or the Decider, if
you will. Karl Rove, the genius who predicted a permanent Republican
majority right before destroying a temporary one, and Karen Hughes, who
likes to create mutual understanding in the Middle East by explaining that God appears in the US constitution,
have been unleashing a wave of their finest shock and awe talking
points. To listen to them is to hear how black is white, up is down and
Bush has been more Churchill than Ceausescu.

Condi Rice, the
very Siren Song of Security who thought a 2001 presidential daily
briefing entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" meant the
al-Qaida leader was thinking of investing in beachfront property in the
greater Fort Lauderdale metro area, has also added her prescient voice
to the chorus.

Our fearless chief diplomat's latest missive, reminding us that
"the war on terror has failed to eliminate al-Qaida and its leader
Osama bin Laden, but the US-led coalition and Iraq are close to
defeating the group's Iraq branch", would be pretty cool if it weren't
for the tiny hiccup that there was no "Iraq branch" of al-Qaida until
she and her superiors chose to idiotically invade that country, and
then do everything just short of providing al-Qaida in Iraq with an
infusion of venture capital.

But the biggest problem for
defenders of Bush's vast array of "accomplishments" is not even the
cast of nincompoops trying to portray him as the "misunderestimated"
heir to President Harry Truman. Their biggest obstacle appears to be
reality itself. The American people have a way of getting it right, if
not always immediately, and Bush's handlers haven't quite been able to
force us all into the Matrix. Yet.

Right on time, CNN has come out with a poll that proves we know more than Mr Permanent Majority after all.

asked whether Bush was "tough enough for the job", 49% of Americans
responded yes, and 51% said no (even though he cleared brush in a very
forceful manner! And wore a really tight flight suit! And said "Bring
'em on!"). That, by the way, is the best he performed on any question.

the president a person you admire? Seventeen percent yes, 72% no, but
perhaps Bush legacy project peddlers can win over that 1% still
thinking about it. Does Bush inspire confidence? Twenty percent said
yes, and 80% said no. Did he manage the government effectively? Only
25% think he did, while 75% said not so much. Finally, did Bush bring
the kind of change the country needed? A whopping 13% answered in the

This is the way the rest of the poll goes.
Whether it is about "getting things done" or "uniting the country" -
two of Bush's campaign pledges - he is lucky to approach a 33% positive
score. Saying these numbers ain't pretty is in the same range of
euphemistic happy-talk as claiming the economy has hit a rough patch or
the Cubs haven't won a World Series recently.

So when their two-page document of talking points
comes your way reminding you that "Bush kept us safe after 9/11"
(except for the anthrax attack, the shoe-bomber plot foiled by alert
airline passengers and the more than 4,000 American kids unnecessarily
killed in Iraq) and "Bush lifted the economy with tax cuts after 2001"
(try Googling in succession: "sub-prime mortgages", "Bernie Madoff" and
"Enron" for Bushenomics in action), much like CNN poll respondents, you
can take the antidote by just refusing to close your eyes, stick your
fingers in your ears and scream "nah, nah, nah, nah nah" until no
longer cognisant.

As for history exonerating Bush 43 (as Laura Bush claims will soon occur),
Herbert Hoover somehow doesn't elicit evocations of ecstasy 80 years
later, and LBJ is still remembered more for a very bad war than his
landmark legislative accomplishments. Now try combining starting a
stupid war with overseeing an economic meltdown.

See where this is going, Laura?

Just two months ago, I met with Julie Blust, communications director for the National Bush Legacy Bus Tour sponsored by Americans United for Change.
Upon it's arrival in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, she took me aboard
this 45-foot long, 28-ton monument to Dubya's impact on the country and
planet, from Katrina to corrupt no-bid contractors, economic
destruction to "enhanced interrogation techniques".

seeing the real record, as it appeared in video, picture and chart form
on the walls of the Bush bus, it would be impossible to draw any other
conclusion than that this man was a one-man wrecking crew (well, two
and a half if you include Cheney). And that he'll saunter up alongside
James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Warren Harding as the very
definition of Oval Office calamity.

There is really only one
arguable legacy of Bush's White House tenure that is a step forward for
the US and all mankind. It's called President Obama.

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