Bush’s Broken Record       PDF



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When future historians argue over the legacy of George W. Bush, the question they confront may be just which bracket of presidential failure he belongs in. Nixon and Johnson? Or Herbert Hoover? President Bush earned his place in the pantheon of disgrace even before he presided over an epochal financial crisis. Absent the atrocities of 9/11, he might have been a mediocrity: a big spender too prone to trust his shallow instincts but able to clear the competence threshold and lacking the sophistication to be truly dangerous.

Then came that epic morning, which Bush answered by giving the hijackers far more than they could accomplish with four planes. His grand democratization plan reduced Iraq to rubble, drove Iran to arm, and provided terrorists with the ultimate recruiting tool. America, once renowned for her decency, became the aggressor her foes alleged.

At home, our failed attempt at global liberation has left us less free than ever before. Ancient liberties, cultural imperatives, even basic solvency were subsumed by the war effort. And the conservative movement that gave Bush his margin sanitized his radicalism at the cost of its soul.
All he touched turned to dross. Yet he departs unbowed, still a Churchill in his own mind.

It would be easy to leave him to that delusion and turn a more hopeful page. But Bush wasn’t alone in his failure: a country marched behind him and a movement cheered him on. If the failings of the Bush era are to be corrected—or at least not repeated—we need a clear view of where we’ve been. History will render the final judgment, but herewith a preliminary damage assessment:


He Fought the Wars and the Wars Won
By Gary Brecher
Empty flight suit

Full Faith and Bad Credit
By Patrick J. Deneen
Fiddling while Wall Street burns

A Long Train of Abuses
By Alexander Cockburn
On civil liberties, Bush followed Clinton.

Discounting Family Values
By Allan Carlson
Terror War trumps Culture War.

Conservatives Follow the Leader
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
Anything for the White House