Will history say that he was worst President in American history? It really doesn't matter. He was the worst American President in our lifetime. What could possibly be worse, for us?
I say this with all compassion and sympathy to our outgoing President: Good riddance. George Bush once said that if he hadn’t been elected President, he wanted to be Commissioner of Baseball. That makes the elections of 2000 and 2004 the two best things to happen to Major League Baseball since Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees.George Bush leaves office as living proof that a desire to be President must be matched with a desire to do something as President. Mr. Bush wanted to be on vacation. When all of the most significant crises of his two administrations happened, he was on vacation: the blunt memo warning that bin Laden wanted to attack America in America was received by him in Texas; the decision to invade Iraq was finalized at a meeting with the Brits in Crawford; Katrina came ashore during August, while George was in Crawford; and the beginning of the economic meltdown was not noted during his annual August clearing of brush in Crawford. Bush gave so much attention to clearing brush (16 months out of his 96 months as President) that after leaving the White House, he chose to move to Houston, not Crawford. I guess he was looking for a change of scenery. And isn’t it interesting that few have bothered to take note of his endless vacations of late. It’s as if we now all feel safer when he’s out of town.As a parting gift George signed a rescue bill providing a $35 billion loan for American auto makers. The loan offer was loaded with requirements, including a ban on executive pay raises, and was dragged out over months by George’s dithering over the method of payment. But this was the same President who signed with amazing alacrity a $750 billion rescue bill for Wall Street banks with almost no restrictions. The result, the Associated Press reported, was that “the banks that are receiving government bailouts paid their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year. The average amount paid to each of the banks’ top executives was $2.6 million…Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs) took home nearly $54 million last year”. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s panic over the financial melt down reminds me of a circus clown attempting to put out a blaze with a bucket of confetti. He can’t be accused of fanning the flames only because his efforts are not that coordinated. But as a fire fighter it can only be said that “Pauly did a heck of a job’.So what will history say about George W. Bush? It can’t be much more insulting than the present has been. The current Iraq Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, called George “…a very stupid man.” Chinese President Jiang Zemin called George “Logically unsound, confused and unprincipled, unwise to the extreme”. Al Franken described him as the guy “…who could not find oil in Texas.” Paul Begala compared Bush to McDonald’s; “…prepackaged, filled with empty calories and controlled by corporate interests.” Jay Leno described him as more handsome than Dan Quayle “…but was not as smart.” And surrealistic English comedian Alexai Sayle sought to explain to his audiences why Americans had elected Bush: “Americans have different ways of saying things. They say ‘elevator’, we say lift. They say ‘President’, we say “stupid psychopathic git.”What is truly amazing is that after bungling (by leaving unfinished) a vital war in Afghanistan, and bungling (by starting) an unnecessary war in Iraq, and bungling the rescue of New Orleans, George will probably be best remembered for his bungling of the American economy. Who’d a thunk it? He did this by a blind adherence to the so called “Trickle-down theory of Economics”, which John Galbraith explained as “…if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” Can you imagine how fat the horse has to be before the birds are well fed? What am I saying? Of course you can imagine it, being yourself a sparrow which has been force fed a diet of horse paddies for the last eight years. And why was George so attached to this particular economic theory? Because “Lassie Fair” economics is just another name for “Don’t bother me, I’m on vacation.”But perhaps the most coherent description of America in the wake of the George W. Bush era is found in the old joke about the young boy who asks his father to describe politics. The father says, “I'm the breadwinner of the family, so let's call me Capitalism. Your Mom, she's the administrator of the money, so we'll call her the Government. We're here to take care of your needs so we'll call you the People. The nanny, we'll consider her the Working Class. We’ll call your baby brother the Future. Now, think about that and see if it all makes sense to you." That night the boy wakes up to hear his baby brother crying with a dirty diaper. He tries to tell his mother but she is asleep, smells of alcohol and won’t wake up. He tries to tell the nanny but her door is locked and the boy hears his father’s voice from inside her room. At the breakfast table the next morning the boy proudly tells his father, “I understand politics now. Capitalism is screwing the Working Class, the Government is asleep, the People are being ignored, and the Future is in deep s--t."Bon voyage, George. Enjoy your retirement. Let’s see if you can tell the difference between it and your eight year vacation.
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