Dumping Dubya: Why The Regressive Right Desperately Wants To Erase The Bush Presidency

Hey, wasn't that George
W. Bush presidency really fantastic?

You do still remember
it, don't you?

Wasn't it great?
Don't you have lots of warm and fuzzy memories of it? Isn't
it a shame that he couldn't have a third term?

Hey, wasn't that George
W. Bush presidency really fantastic?

You do still remember
it, don't you?

Wasn't it great?
Don't you have lots of warm and fuzzy memories of it? Isn't
it a shame that he couldn't have a third term?

Okay, so maybe you don't
see it that way. Maybe the last eight years weren't such a party
for you. But remember the regressive right? Remember how
much they loved the guy? Remember how they adored Ol' Georgie,
especially back in 2001, 2002, 2003? Remember how they gloated
and stuck it all in our faces? Remember how much they loved not
only Bush's politics, but his in-your-face, my-way-or-the-highway,
love-it-or-leave-it, macho cowboy routine delivery?

I don't know about
you, but I recall all of that really, really well, thank you very much.
Painfully well, one might say.

Which makes it all the
more puzzling that the troglodytes of the right seem to have disappeared
their former grand hero almost completely these days. Isn't
that odd? They never talk about him anymore, as if he had never
even existed. They seem quite desperately to want to vanish him
entirely, like the body of some beaten-to-death prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

Hmmm. Wonder why?
Wonder what gives?

I'll go out on a limb
here and speculate that it might have something to do with the fact
that the Bush presidency was a spectacular failure. You know,
a total train wreck. A complete cock-up. A gigantic exercise
in FUBAR so bad that nobody wants to be associated with it, anymore
than with syphilis or projectile vomit.

But that's kinda weird
given the former adoration directed toward the Caligula Kid. Isn't
that kind of intellectually dishonest? Can it be that the right
in America is actually disingenuous? I mean, everyone knows they
are destructive, selfish, hypocritical, racist, sexist, xenophobic,
homophobic, imperialistic, nasty, brutish and short. But who would
have thought they were dishonest too? This is almost more than
I can bear!

If you pin a regressive
to the wall and torture them (a practice which I recommend as often
beneficial for both parties involved), they will do two things to try
to stop you from beating them up about Lil' Bush.

First, they'll attempt
to deflect your attention away from the whole painful affair by talking
about a certain Ronald Reagan fellow, patron saint of lost causes.
That's an interesting move, given that Junior Bush was more Reaganistic
than was Reagan himself. And, especially, given that Reagan was
last in the White House an entire generation ago, making him about as
relevant to many Americans today as Millard Fillmore.

It's also more than
a bit weird because, of course, Saint Reagan bears little resemblance
to Ron Reagan, the dude who actually was president. (Indeed, Ron
Reagan the person - a guy so out of it during his presidency that
he actually introduced himself to his own cabinet members and his own
children in White House receiving lines, and used 3 x 5 cue cards even
to read his small talk lines with people ("Pretty humid today, huh?"
"How 'bout those Yankees?") - actually bore little resemblance
to the presidency he played in the movies, but that's another story
entirely.) Saint Reagan solved all our economic problems.
Ron Reagan, on the other hand, gave us the worst recession since the
Great Depression (until little Bush would trump him), and tripled the
national debt (until little Bush trumped him again). Saint Reagan
was a great champion of American values. Ron Reagan shredded the
Constitution in the Iran-Contra Affair. Saint Reagan was tough
on the Soviets and ended the Cold War. Ron Reagan nearly agreed
to eliminate all American nukes in a pow-wow with Gorby, tucked tail
and ran from Lebanon, and was so powerful that he succeeded in rolling
back the Soviets from every square single inch of the Carribean island
of Grenada, current population 90,343. And so on...

So playing the Reagan
card is the first game used to avoid the horrid little reality of Bushism.
But if that particular line of diversionary legerdemain fails miserably,
the next thing you're likely to hear is that conservatives have abandoned
George W. Bush because he wasn't really a conservative.

This is my favorite.
Oh yes, indeed.

Do they mean by that
that Bush was too nice in his foreign policy, concerning himself too
frequently with world opinion rather than American self-interest?

Do they mean that he
failed to invade other countries - like, say, Afghanistan or Iraq
- when he should have?

Are they upset that he
was too squeamish to deploy American military forces in endless wars
based on lies?

Or are they angry that
the administration didn't privatize everything in sight, including
the country's armed forces?

Do they mean that he
was too nice to the mealy-mouthed diplo-nothing-burgers at the UN, rather
than sending a thug over there to jam policy down their throats?

Do they mean that he
wasn't unilateral enough, always worrying about what Europeans and
other pansy countries were concerned about?

Is their problem with
him that he coddled the Russians and refused to shred the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty?

Or that he was far too
deferential to bearded, Birkenstock-wearing, Al Gore-adoring dittoheads,
and wouldn't unsign the Kyoto Accord?

Or that he failed to
undermine the International Criminal Court at every possible opportunity?

Maybe it's all about
how he negotiated too much with North Korea.

Are they angry that Bushiekins
didn't have the guts to piss all over international law by authorizing
illegal invasions, torture and renditions?

Are they miffed that
he constantly kowtowed to Palestinian terrorists, never taking the side
of Israel in the endless rounds of Middle East peace negotiations he
presided over?

Oh, I know what I was.
They're angry that he didn't slash taxes during his presidency!
That's obviously it.

Or, wait, was it that
he was too pro-choice, both at home and in US family planning policy

Maybe they're fuming
because he didn't put real regressive, pro-government, pro-executive
branch, pro-corporate, 13th-century-social-policy-preferring, justices
on the Supreme Court - people like John Roberts or Sam Alito, for

Could it be that they
really wanted a president who would absolutely thrash the historic barrier
between church and state, and all they got was this lousy Bush-Cheney
2004 tee-shirt instead?

Maybe they're pissed
because Bush refused to spy on Americans. Or that he was so weak-kneed
that he went and got warrants before he did it. Or that he waited
for Congressional approval to do any of this.

Or is it that he refused
in principle to autograph over a thousand signing statements appended
to legislation, which would have effective wiped out the role of Congress
in American government?

Possibly they don't
think he was a real conservative because he refused to jump on Air Force
One and fly across the country in the middle of the night in order to
intervene in one family's legal, medical and ethical nightmare over
whether to unplug Terri Schiavo from life support.

Maybe, as fans of small
government, they're angry that he used FEMA so effectively to save
lives and to save the city of New Orleans, before, during and after
Hurricane Katrina.

Could it be that Bush
was too tough on corporations, refusing to give them tax credits for
exporting American jobs, or blocking any massive giveaways to them under
his prescription drug bill?

Or was it that the Bush
White House was just too much in favor of corporate regulation, across
the board?

Certainly it must have
had a lot to do with how Bush took the lead in fighting for the very
survival of the planet by calling the country into battle against the
peril of global warming, a total fabrication by evildoing scientists.

Are they mad that the
Bush White House flinched at politicizing the institutions of government
- for example, I'll just pick one at random here, the Justice Department
- in order to turn them into agents of the Republican Party?

Or are they angry that
there was hardly any cronyism in the administration, so that party workers
could never get government jobs - say like running the Iraq occupation,
for example - because the president was too scrupulous.

Probably they're just
furious that Bush let accused terrorists and other assorted brown people
run free in America, because he didn't have the guts to defy a bunch
of mamby-pamby lawyers and open up a bottomless-pit of a jail in some
hell-hole somewhere, like say at Guantanamo Bay.

And I know they're
still mad that he didn't have the stones to steal elections when push
came to shove in confronting those tough, take-no-prisoners Democrats.

Are all of these failings
why regressives don't think George W. Bush was one of them as president?
Of course not. In fact, Bush did all of these things. In
fact, he and his fellow-travelers fulfilled every single item on the
regressive wet dream checklist during his presidency.

Except for two.
First, they expanded the size of the national government through reckless
spending. And, second, because they were careful not to take any
popular goodies away so that voters would experience the real pain of
regressive politics, they paid for it all (and the tax cuts, and the
wars) by borrowing. Future generations could pay for it.
Plus interest, of course.

Those are both important
issues to the right, to be sure, but it is absolutely ludicrous to argue
that those two items, stacked up against everything else he gave them
listed above, remotely suggest that Bush was not a conservative.
Utter nonsense.

So what's going on?

The obvious answer is
that Bush was a total disaster as president who was hated by a country
that couldn't wait for the clock to run down on his nightmare.
Who wants to be associated with that?

The less obvious answer
is even more telling, though. It's true the Bush folks were
grossly incompetent, at least at the things they didn't care so much
about. But the deeper and more profound reality is that this was
far less a failure of one fool than it was the acid test for an entire
ideology, which in fact failed the exam miserably.

I know how shocking it
can be that regressives are hypocritical or deceitful. Go figure,
eh? But, truthfully, this is the biggest whopper of them all.
The King Kahuna. The Mother of all Deceits. So big, in fact,
that I'm pretty sure that they even lie to themselves about it at
the same time they're lying to us.

Because if they didn't,
here's what they'd have to admit: We tried their ideology.
Big-time. And it totally sucked.

Unless, of course, you
happen to like war, recession, environmental destruction, constitution
shredding, prejudice, hatred, greed, deceit and failure. Those
things enjoyed rather remarkable success, actually.

Americans can be astonishingly
stupid, and embarrassingly easy marks sometimes. But, even so,
they're usually able to see that these are bad things.

If only there were national
figures within the supposed opposition (that means you, Mr. Happy Face,
in the White House) who were willing to label this disaster for what
it was, perhaps we might have stamped out the scourge of regressivism
for a generation or six by now. But, alas, that would require
a modicum of political courage.

Unfortunately, that's
just about the only thing regressives have.

Even more unfortunately,
it is often enough to carry the day, even when your ideas are so unequivocally

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