So long, Mr. Bush.
It hasn’t been very fun, or fruitful, but it has been interesting. A sort of cringing, wincing, “aw-crap” kind of interesting that seems to be the motivation behind every Nicolas Cage performance these days.
Like Mr. Bush himself, the Angry Czeck wonders what will be 43’s legacy. There is much on the menu from which we can select. Pick more than one.
Katrina. (“You’re doing a heck’uva job, Brownie.”)
Iraq. (“Mission Accomplished.”)
9-11. (Something about a goat.)
The Axis of Evil. (Formerly the trio of Big John Stud, King Kong Bundy, and The Iron Sheik)
No Child Left Behind. (Which leaves all our kids behind.)
The Economic Meltdown. (Not a depression. Don’t even say it.)
Guantamano Bay. (Due Process? What due process?)
Florida. (“Thanks, Jeb.”)
Harriet Myers. (“She’s nice.”)
Me? I’ll always remember how George got into Office in the first place. It wasn’t for his sibling connections in Florida or loose chads or whatever else Michael Moore digs up. George was elected because of Al Gore.
Deep sighing, condescending, heavily made-up Al Gore who made George – the oddly amalgamated Texan/New Englander – seem like a guy you’d like to have a beer with. We put him into office because he appeared more qualified to tap a keg than Gore, who had the personality of keg.
I remember watching a Gore/Bush debate, confident that my candidate would jog intellectual circles around the curiosity-challenged Republican. Then I watched in horror as Gore — his face orange and bizarre with that weird HD TV makeup — fired low ball after low ball at Bush. Upon each unnecessary salvo, George blinked and stammered in a way that suggested, “You’re just mean!”
(Four years later, John Edwards would employ the same dumb strategy against Cyborg Dick Cheney, who astonishingly emerged from the debate as a likable member of the human race.)
I don’t blame the Supreme Court, Congress, Florida, Ohio, or even Fox News for eight years of Bush. I blame Al Gore.
Two miserable terms later, the international community hates us, we’re slogging through a double-fronted war, and the economy seems to be supported by a wobbly stack of Jenga blocks. That, and the United States soccer team still blows.
Adios, George Bush. I’m afraid that history will not be kind to you. But history should be just as critical to us. We gave you the keys to the Nation knowing what we know of you, and now we’re pissed because the engine is blown and the fenders are dented.
In the end, George owns a dismal legacy that can’t be compared to anyone outside, I don’t know, James Buchanan? Even Richard Nixon had China to fall back on. What victory can Bush claim? (The cursor blinks expectantly as I struggle with an answer.)
Okay, we haven’t absorbed a terrorist attack on our “homeland” since 9/11.
That’s pretty good. I give George that. Now that I’m trudging through airport terminals in my tube socks, the only person who has rammed an airplane into a New York high rise has been Jeff Nelson. Still, that isn’t exactly something you chisel onto a tombstone.
Thing is, the Bush Years didn’t have to be a dick-shrinking imbroglio. Ronald Reagan wasn’t exactly carrying a MENSA card in his wallet either, but he knew enough to hire the nerds who did. We can only hope Barack Obama has the same kind of sagacity.
George, on the other hand, surrounded himself with a shrewd council weighted by pessimism and Cold War ideology. The worldview Cheney and Rumsfield shared was gloomy, paranoid, and borderline apocalyptic, and their hard-assed policies reflected it. They didn’t see America as a shining light to emulate; they saw America as a treasure somebody wants to steal. In their zeal to protect their treasure, they wound up taking it from all of us. George was there for the ride.
Good-bye, George. You have another life waiting for you. Your daughters are growing up and getting married. I’m sure there’s still some brush on your ranch to clean up. You have a library to design, a golf game to improve, and speaking engagements to schedule. It won’t be a bad life at all.
In fact, it should be better for all of us.