Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Goodbye Indeed

Got this from Wayne. It's a bit long, but as we all approach Thanksgiving, and count our blessings, here's one I'm very thankful for - the end of the Bush presidency.


Goodbye and Good Riddance

Tuesday 11 November 2008

by Paul Waldman, The American Prospect

After eight years of President Bush, we almost don't know how to
function without him - almost. But before we move on, we should pause to
remember just what we're leaving behind.

Just over two years into George W. Bush's presidency, The American
Prospect featured Bush on its cover under the headline, "The Most
Dangerous President Ever." At the time, some probably thought it a bit
over the top. But nearly six years later, it's worth taking a moment to
reflect on the multifaceted burden that will soon be lifted from our
collective shoulders.

Since last week, I have stopped short and shaken my head in amazement
every time I have heard the words "President-elect Obama." But it is
equally extraordinary to consider that in just a few weeks, George W.
Bush will no longer be our president. Let me repeat that: In just a few
weeks, George W. Bush will no longer be our president. So though our
long national ordeal isn't quite over, it's never too early to say

Goodbye, we can say at last, to the most powerful man in the world being
such a ridiculous buffoon, incapable of stringing together two coherent
sentences. Goodbye to cringing with dread every time our president steps
onto the world stage, sure he'll say or do something to embarrass us
all. Goodbye to being represented by a man who embodies everything our
enemies want the people of the world to believe about America - that we
are ignorant, cruel, and only care about foreign countries when we
decide to stomp on them. Goodbye to his giggle, and his shoulder shake,
and his nicknames. Goodbye to a president who talks to us like we're a
nation of fourth-graders.

And goodbye, of course, to Dick Cheney. Goodbye to the man whose naked
contempt for democracy contorted his face to a permanent sneer, who
spent his days in his undisclosed location with his man-sized safe. And
while we're at it, goodbye to Cheney's consigliore David Addington, as
malevolent a force as has ever left his trail of slime across our
federal institutions.

Goodbye, indeed, to the entire band of liars and crooks and thieves who
have so sullied the federal government that belongs to us all. We can
even say goodbye to those who have already gone, to Rummy and Scooter,
to Fredo and Rove, tornados of misery left in their wake.

Goodbye to the rotating cast of butchers manning the White House's legal
abattoir, where the Constitution has been sliced and bled and gutted
since September 11. Goodbye to the "unitary executive" theory and its
claims that the president can do whatever he wants - even snatch an
American citizen off the street and lock him up for life without charge,
without legal representation, and without trial. Goodbye to the
promiscuous use of "signing statements" (1,100 at last count) to declare
that the law is whatever the president says it is, and that he'll
enforce only those laws he likes. Goodbye to an executive branch that
treats lawfully issued subpoenas like suggestions that can be ignored.
Goodbye to thinking of John Ashcroft as the liberal attorney general.
Goodbye to the culture of incompetence, where rebuilding a country we
destroyed could be turned over to a bunch of clueless 20-somethings with
no qualifications save an internship at the Heritage Foundation and an
opposition to abortion. Goodbye to the "Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva
job" philosophy, where vital agencies are turned over to incompetent
boobs to rot and decay. Goodbye to handing out the Medal of Freedom as
an award for engineering one of the greatest screw-ups of our time.
Goodbye to an administration that welcomed gluttonous war profiteering,
that was only too happy to outsource every government function it could
to well-connected contractors who would do a worse job for more money.

Goodbye to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. Goodbye to the lust for
sending off other people's sons and daughters to fight and kill and die
just to show your daddy you're a real man. Goodbye to playing dress-up
in flight suits, goodbye to strutting and posing and desperate sexual
insecurity as a driver of American foreign policy. Goodbye to the
neocons, so sinister and deluded they beg us all to become fevered
conspiracy theorists. Goodbye to Guantanamo and its kangaroo courts.
Goodbye to the use of torture as official U.S. government policy, and
goodbye to the immoral ghouls who think you can rename it "enhanced
interrogation techniques" and render it any less monstrous.

Goodbye to the accusation that if you disagree with what the president
wants to do, you don't "support the troops."

Goodbye to stocking government agencies with people who are opposed to
the very missions those agencies are charged with carrying out. Goodbye
to putting industry lobbyists in charge of the agencies that are
supposed to regulate those very industries. Goodbye to madly giving away
public lands to private interests. Goodbye to a Food and Drug
Administration that acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the
pharmaceutical industry, except when it acts like a wholly owned
subsidiary of the fundamentalist puritans who believe that sex is dirty
and birth control will turn girls into sluts. Goodbye to the "global gag
rule," which prohibits any entity receiving American funds from even
telling women where they can get an abortion if they need it.

Goodbye to vetoing health insurance for poor children but rushing back
to Washington to sign a bill to keep alive a woman whose cerebral cortex
had liquefied. Goodbye to the ban on federal funding of embryonic
stem-cell research.

Goodbye to the philosophy that says that if we give tax cuts to the rich
and keep the government from any oversight of the economy, prosperity
will eventually trickle down. Goodbye to the thirst for privatizing
Social Security and to the belief that the success of a social
safety-net program is what makes it a threat and should mark it for
destruction. Goodbye to the war on unions and to a National Labor
Relations Board devoted to crushing them. Goodbye to the principle of
loyalty above all else, that nominates Harriet Miers to the Supreme
Court and puts Alberto Gonzales in charge of the Justice Department. And
goodbye to that Justice Department, the one where U.S. attorneys keep
their jobs only if they are willing to undertake bogus investigations of
Democrats timed to hit the papers just before Election Day. Goodbye to a
Justice Department where graduates of Pat Robertson's law school roam
the halls by the dozens, where "justice" is a joke.

Goodbye to James Dobson and a host of radical clerics picking up the
phone and hearing someone in the White House on the other end. Goodbye
to the most consequential decisions being made on the basis of one man's
"gut," a gut that proved so wrong so often. Goodbye to the contempt for
evidence, to the scorn for intellect and book learnin', to the
relentless war on science itself as a means of understanding the world.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye to it all.

Though President Obama will be spending most of his time cleaning up the
mess George Bush made, we probably won't have Dubya to kick around
anymore. It's hard to imagine Bush undertaking some grand philanthropic
effort on the scale of the Clinton Global Initiative, or hopping around
to international trouble spots like Jimmy Carter. Republicans won't be
asking him to speak on their behalf, and publishers are reportedly
uninterested in the prospect of a Bush memoir. His reign of destruction
complete, Bush will return to Texas and fill his days with the mundane
activities of a retiree - puttering around the yard, reading some
magazines, maybe enjoying that new Xbox Jenna gave him for Christmas
("I'm the Decider, and I decide to spend this afternoon playing Call of
Duty 4").

This presidency is finally over. We can say goodbye to an administration
whose misdeeds have piled so high that the size of the mountain no
longer shocks us. In our lifetimes, we will see administrations of
varying degrees of competence and integrity, some we'll agree with and
some we won't. But we will probably never see another quite like the one
now finally reaching its end, so mind-boggling a parade of incompetence
and malice, dishonesty, and immorality. So at last - at long, long last
- we can say goodbye.

And good riddance.