The Legacy of George W. Bush

So, here we are, on the eve of one of the most historic days in American history.  For the first time ever in the short life of our country, someone other than a white man will be sworn in as President.  For many, myself included, this day couldn’t come quick enough, as we are finally ready to jettison the final remaining bits of the last administration; one that features a President with another historic first: the lowest approval rating of any of his predecessors. 

At first, I thought about what would possibly be the legacy of ‘W’:  a useless war, a failed economy, a botched response to our nations worst natural disaster, et al.  But, while those things hold true, I think that there’s a side to his legacy that many are missing, myself included who, until this morning, really didn’t give it much thought.  In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that above all, we should be thanking George W. Bush… for it was him who delivered unto us our next President, Barack Obama.

Go with me on this:  if ‘W’ wasn’t so bad.  If he was just an OK President. If we weren’t in such bad financial shape or mired in a land war that we cannot safely get out of, would the country have rallied around Barack Obama?  Had our response to the attacks of September 11th been reasonable and limited to going after the perpetrators or Bush cut short his vacation and flown right to New Orleans to oversee the recovery personally, would the American public be clamoring for change?

I think that, when it comes down to it, George W. Bush was the catalyst.  He’s the spark that this country needed to move forward.  He gave people the ability to look beyond their petty differences and say to themselves, we need someone smart and capable, regardless of their heritage.  I really think that if George W. Bush had been the slightest bit of a good President, someone else would be standing in front of the Capitol Building being sworn in tomorrow and I’m willing to bet, dollars to doughnuts, that it wouldn’t have been a guy with the middle name of Hussein. 

So from me, and all of the other Barack Obama supporters, thank you George.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

McCain’s economic advisors

I found this interesting blog post about who’s advising John McCain on economic matters. It should come as no surprise that it’s a bunch of fat-cat stiffs.  From the article:

Doug Holtz-Eakin source

Holtz-Eakin is a formerly respected academic and government economist who has been reduced to making distortionaryarguments to paper over the massive deficit black hole McCain’s tax cuts would create.

Arthur Laffer source
Laffer is the originator of the Laffer curve, the fringe view that claims government revenue increases when tax rates are lowered. There is zero empirical evidence this is true at current tax rates. McCain has repeatedly said that he believes this foolishness, but Holtz-Eakin has said (also repeatedly) that McCain does not.

Phil Gramm source
Gramm is a lobbyist who was vice president of one of the investment houses most heavily implicated in the mortage industry scandal. As a senator he pushed for the banking deregulation that contributed to the current crisis. See more here.

Kevin Hassett source
Hassett has been widely ridiculed for writing the book Dow 36000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market in 1999, predicting that the Dow would hit 36,000 within five years, if not sooner.

Donald Luskin source
Luskin has been repeatedly named the Stupidest Man Alive by Brad Delong. See here for an example. I can attest based on my own interaction with him a few years back that in addition to being not the sharpest tack in the box, he is also an extremely unpleasant person.

Nancy Pfotenhauer source
Pfotenhauer is a pure distilled product of Koch Industries, an oil company which funds much of the right wing message machine. See here for details.

Carly Fiorina source
Fiorina was spectacularly fired from her previous job as CEO of HP. According to the Times,

… Republicans say Ms. Fiorina is using the McCain campaign to rebuild her image after her explosive tenure at Hewlett-Packard. They also say it is hard to see why a woman widely criticized for mismanaging one of Silicon Valley’s legendary companies is advising and representing a candidate who acknowledged last year that he did not understand the economy as well as he should.

Regarding Fiorina, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the senior associate dean for executive programs at the Yale School of Management, says “What a blind spot this is in the McCain campaign to have elevated her stature and centrality in this way. You couldn’t pick a worse, non-imprisoned C.E.O. to be your standard-bearer.”

It’s an interesting read.  Seems like we’re on the brink in the country and McCain is putting his faith in the people that helped get us here.

Should I be excited or frightened?

I, like most American’s who are following politics, have been reading anything I can get my hands on regarding John McCain’s pick for VP, Sarah Palin. While I’ve shouted voiced my opinion on the subject to a few friends and co-workers, I decided to keep it away from my blog.  However, after reading my very good friend Jackie Schechner’s almost continuing coverage of the situation, I thought it was time to chime in.


Oh yeah, she's qualified
Oh yeah, she's qualified.

I don’t now if I should be really excited about this pick or really frightened.  On the surface, I want to be excited.  Surely, the choosing of such a clearly unqualified individual will result in the downfall of McCain’s bid for the White House.  Even someone who is in favor of the Republican party and nearly blinded by the light of faith can add up the facts and see her shortcomings.  This, for all intents and purposes, should be an early Christmas gift for the Democrats.  Not only has McCain willfully removed the ‘inexperience’ sword from his armory, but he hastily chose a running mate without knowing the full baggage that comes with her. 


It seems so obvious to me; there’s nothing that even needs to be made up in this situation. She bases her political agenda on family values, teaching abstinence and pro-life, then reveals she has a pregnant teenage daughter.  Oh, she’s keeping the baby, so that speaks to the pro-life commitment and I keep hearing her repeat that Bristol is going to marry the father (interestingly enough, she never says when), but how about you get your own house in order before you tell me how to run mine?  Why is no one screaming that this is a failure of her way of thinking by saying that teaching abstinence didn’t work?  You can bet dollars-to-donuts that had this been Obama’s daughter they would have bought billboards saying that Dems ‘condoms-for-students’ programs are a sham.  You know who could have realllly used a condom?

With all that, why would I be frightened?  Four words: George Bush’s Second Term.  I no longer will put anything past the stupidity of this country.  No longer will I give the average American the benefit of the doubt.  My faith has been shaken and nothing short of a landslide Obama victory will restore it.  There’s an entire swath of folks in this country that will do whatever it is other’s tell them to do.  Sheeple, I believe is the term.  And unfortunately, the Republican’s no how to work the shit out of the sheeple.  

I should be happy about this.  I should be thinking that this is sewn up.  However, what I am thinking is that this woman could very well be in the White House, one precious heartbeat away from sitting behind the desk.

God help us all.