25 April 2006

Is The Present Only Prologue for the President? (CS)

It's hard to believe that there are people out there that could still support George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the entire crooked administration after everything that's happened and continues to happen. Just pulling from the latest headlines we can see various Republicans turning on Bush on everything from Rumsfeld and Iraq to even climate change. And yet, there are still those who cling to defending these failures and the boneheads behind them.*

The defense now (given perhaps most popularly by Sean Hannity) is that like Harry S. Truman, though unpopular during his presidency, Bush will be vindicated by history. The comparison between the two is pretty ridiculous in the first place. Reviewing Truman's presidency one sees that his unpopularity was probably largely due to an introverted personality (extra problematic in filling FDR's shoes), MacArthur's botching of the Korean War and Truman's stance on civil rights in his run for re-election. Nothing so drastically misshandled as the policies that Bush is criticized for. Decisions Truman made that were popular at the time are more easily criticized, such as his not interfering enough with the McCarthy witch-hunts and perhaps his use of the atomic bomb (a point that makes such a comparison to Bush quite uncomfortable for physicists worried about the President's itchy trigger finger).

The specific comparison to Truman aside, that "history" will be Bush's saving grace is an idea which, on it's face, doesn't work. It doesn't take a historian to recognize that history itself is amorphous and debated. Sure, the point will be made that certain ideas in history are agreed upon enough that they are hardly debatable if at all. At the risk of giving my own post the Godwin, I'd say that an overwhelming majority of historians agree that Hitler was a terrible madman.

But if the historian is to be the final judge, then why don't we ask historians themselves what they think of the current administration? As it turns out, historians condemn Bush at a rate of at least eight to one. Using the perspective of evaluating the presidential history that has come before and the various mistakes made then versus now, historians have nearly unanimously agreed that Bush has failed in comparison to even the worst of his predecessors in almost every category.

As a historian (ever in training) myself, I also find the idea of Bush being vindicated down the line as absolutely absurd. Here is a man who has been completely ignorant of the history of the regions he has been dealing with (quite ignorant of the history if his own country), a man that does not read the newspaper, much less historical analysis, and I'm supposed to expect him to be redeemed by a process he apparently condemns? He did not realize that Afghanistan has historically been a problem region and now, despite our claims of "victory" Afghanistan still suffers from violence and warlordism and the Taliban still grows. The administration paid little mind to sectarian history in Iraq, figuring we would be welcomed as liberators by all. Now there is talk that Iraq will be (or is currently) in the throes of civil war as the violence there only gets worse.

Perhaps the assumption made by Bush apologists is that there will be as much cover up as possible of Bush's records. Bush has already provided problems for historians by halting the effort to declassify old documents and covering up his family's history as well. Of course, this sort of shady secrecy is nothing out of the ordinary these days. Covering up corruption is something that has continually surrounded this administration.... Of course, they haven't succeeded entirely in that effort. It seems every project the administration has greenlighted in Iraq (and their most favorite company to work on many of these projects which starts with an H and puts money in the VP's pocket) is plagued by terrible corruption and illegal graft. I've mentioned in the past how administration bosom buddy Paul Bremer was in charge of some incredibly questionable bookkeeping for an incredibly important process in Iraq. The White House might even be linked to a ripening election scandal in New Hampshire. It's really no wonder Rep. Murtha says, "Nobody can believe these guys anymore."

But truly, history will be little more than the cherry on top when it comes to judging this president. The truth becomes more apparent every day in the present regarding how much damage he has already caused. The continuing problems of our "Global War on Terror" have already been mentioned above. There is the crime, corruption and leaks that seem to pop up in every aspect connected to Bush and Cheney. I have not even touched on domestic spying, religious issues, education, environmental issues, and economic damage. And of course, the most damning of all in the eyes of many Americans, the evidence continues to pile up showing that we were sold a whole set of lies in order to send the country to war in Iraq. How can history possibly save the Bush administration's image on any, much less all, of these fronts?

All that said, it is baffling that there are some people who still defend Bush Co. There's clearly no common sense involved in such an attitude and even party lines have broken down as far as defense and criticism of the administration goes. The only way one could be standing by Bush at this point is through a "healthy" dose of ignorance and a whole lot of denial.... Which as it turns out is a great formula for getting your own nationally syndicated radio show.

*I refrain from calling the Bush administration "clowns" anymore because it is an insult to clowns, especially guys like The Boomchucka Circus (formerly Circus2Iraq) who are doing incredible work in Israel and Palestine.


Anonymous Ann Claire said...


5/18/2006 10:49 AM  

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