In five days time, we will all wake up in a world where George W. Bush is no longer president.
The wreckage from these past eight years is quite staggering. The Center for Public Integrity lists 128 failures of the Bush administration and offers a handy online tool that lets you sort, rank and suggest additional failures. It’s a game the whole family can play.
Some of my personal favorites (and by “favorite” read “soul-crushingly sad”):
- The United States has seen no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2000, and is on track for a 16 percent increase through 2030.
- The Bush administration has shown nothing but disdain for science, leaving positions like the director of the FDA and the surgeon general unfilled for months. Reports of political interference with science were rife, for example a National Cancer Institute report that was edited to (erroneously) link breast cancer to abortion.
- White House officials routinely used unofficial email accounts that were not archived automatically in accordance with the Presidential Records Act. Thousands of email messages were “lost.”
- That whole “false premise for going to war” thing.
- And don’t even get started on the economy!
With all that water under the bridge (and over the levies), Bush delivered his last speech as president yesterday.
8:00 – Smirking, winking, ugh.
8:03 – Three minutes in and he’s wrapping himself in the sadness and bravery of 9-11. “Most Americans were able to return to live much as it was. I never did.” I’m sure that’s true, and I am unendingly grateful that there has not been another terrorist attack. But just as my cold heart is about to give him just a tiniest bit of credit, he leaps into Iraq and the “War on Terror” and I want to bang my head against the coffee table.
8:08 — “You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I’ve had to make but I hope you’ll agree that I made the tough decisions.” ‘Cuz he’s the decider.
8:10 — “I’ve often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two of them there can be no compromise.” So if you’re good, you’re good. If you’re evil, you’re evil. Where exactly that leaves the U.S. policy on waterboarding and torture, Bush does not take the time to elaborate on this occasion.
8:14 — I’ll say this for our 43th president: he’s brief. G.W. — over and out!