With the recent opening of the Bush "Library," we have, of course, been treated to an orgy of apologetics on behalf of this miserable figure, attempting to talk away the facts of the unmitigated disaster that befell this country when he wormed his way into the White House.
It is a sad fact that, so few years after he thankfully departed Washington, the inevitable Conservative lies have actually blurred the reality of the Bush Presidency in the eyes of many. So, unfortunately, it falls to someone to remind people of a fact that should need no repeating: George W. Bush is by far the worst President in the history of the United States. No other President even comes close to the utter failure on every level that was the Bush Presidency.
Before Bush, two Presidents were often mentioned as leading candidates for the title of Worst President Ever; James Buchanan and Warren G. Harding.
Buchanan was President before Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan's inaction and failure to exert his power as President are cited as important factors in the nation's slide into the Civil War. Harding's disinterest in his job and willingness to let his political cronies do whatever suited their interests resulted in what is often regarded as the most corrupt administration in history, epitomized by the Teapot Dome scandal:
"Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and two other locations in California to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies.
Before the Watergate scandal, Teapot Dome was regarded as the "greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics".
As I will now demonstrate, neither of these lamentable figures even approaches the tragedy that George W. Bush caused. It is pathetic that it is necessary to do this, but here is a brief account of his crimes and failures:
1. The horror story of his elections
In 2000, Bush was defeated in the popular vote, nationally and in Florida too, before five Republican appointed Supreme Court Justices engaged in the greatest act of judicial corruption in the history of our country, rigging the Florida vote to give Bush the victory. In 2004, Bush won Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A statistical study of voting patterns in those elections showed less than one chance in a million that this occurrence could be legitimate. No other President in history was ever elected under such circumstances. The fact that Bush stole the White House should on its own be enough to place him at the dead bottom of all Presidents; what he did with his usurpation of power was far worse.
I mentioned the Teapot Dome scandal above. It has always been regarded as the most blatant example of corruption in our history- in which "no-bid" contracts were given in return for bribes. But at least the no-bid contracts were not given to the Vice President's own company, which made him tens of millions of dollars in increased value of stock options. And at least the Teapot Dome scandal didn't endanger the lives of American troops. And at least it wasn't typical of everything that went on during the Harding administration- Bush ran every aspect of his Presidency to benefit cronies and political allies. Can there be a better example than his devastating FEMA and appointing incompetent associates to run it, with the consequences we all know so well after Hurricane Katrina?
The Bush Administration's utter bungling of the disaster of Katrina, and their ignoring endless warnings before 9-11 of an impending Al Qaida attack, their failure after the Enron disaster to do anything to rein in corporate excesses, which materially contributed to the 2008 economic collapse, are just the tips of a huge iceberg created by an administration that was uninterested in running the country adequately, when it stood in the way of the rich enriching themselves further. No administration ever- not Harding, not Grant, no one- approached the Bush Aministration's wilful incompetence at doing their job.
4. War Criminality
To be blunt, the unprovoked aggression against Iraq was a monmumental war crime, comparable to Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia. And like the situation with Czechoslovakia, it was preceded by a domestic campaign of lies and intimidation designed to frighten everyone into going along with the notion that Iraq was a threat to us. Furthermore, the Bush administration stooped to the lowest of behavior, systematic torture of captured enemies, which alone should have been sufficient for him to be removed from office and incarcerated, thus proving that despite the Constitution, a President can indeed serve three terms: two in the White House and one in prison.
5. Stupidity and Ignorance
Anyone who has ever seen Bush speak on his own must realize that there has never been a President, at least since we have had recordings of them speaking, who approaches the stupidity of Bush. Along with this stupidity, Bush had a seemingly total indifference to the information that would have enabled him to make rational decisions. I suppose the first problem is not Bush's fault- the blame belongs on the Republican apparatus that manipulated this grotesquely unfit man into the White House- but the second is certainly his fault. He kew he was there not to make real decisions, but to enable the transfer of our national wealth into the hands of the rich, and for that, he didn't need anything so unimportant as the facts.
The endless dishonesty of the Bush Administration was so phenomenal, as I am sure you all know, that I will still be here at the end of the Hillary Clinton Presidency if I try to do it justice. I am going to leave you with a link to one great article, detailing the way Republicans did anything they could to crush the many horrid scandals of the Bush Administration, contrasted with their endless screams for "justice" over their manufactured outrage at Obama.
In instance after instance, most famously with his gutting FEMA and using it as a pleasant retirement spot for his political cronies, Bush deliberately undercut the enforcement of laws. His responsibility as President is to see that the laws are faithfully enforced. Far worse was his systematic actions to pack the Justice Department with far right religious fanatics from Regent University and similar phony "educational" institutions that exist for no other purpose than to turn the country into a theocratic dictatorship.
I want to digress for a moment here. It has always been my opinion that one of the great wrong turns in the history of our government was when the Democratic Congress did not impeach and remove Ronald Reagan, not after Iran-Contra, but a year into his Presidency, for appointing people like James Watt at the Interior Department, and Clarence Thomas to head the Civil Rights division at the Justice Department. This constituted an open refusal to carry out his obligations as President, and should have resulted in his immediate removal. As a consequence of Democrats' refusal to face up to this untenable behavior, we have Bush, polluting the Justice Department with fanatical right wing religious nuts, allowing the military (particularly the Air Force) to become dominated by the same sort of people, putting tools of corporations in charge of all regulatory enforcement, and basically abrogating to himself the right to determine what laws the government can just ignore. This deliberate sabotage of Constitutional government is unprecedented in our history, except for Reagan, whose behavior was far exceeded by Bush and Cheney.
And of course, when talking about Bush and Cheney's malfeasance, there is (in the end) no malfeasance greater than their willingness to do the bidding of their buddies who own oil companies, by denying the reality of global warming, thereby squandering eight years during which progress could have been made to head off the extinction of our grandchildren.
Now, Buchanan may very well have precipitated the Civil War through his own incompetence, but no one ever accused him of corruption, or of starting foreign wars of aggression, or of refusing to enforce federal law when it didn't suit his rich backers. Harding may very well have sat on his front porch while his cabinet secretaries enriched themselves through illegal deals, but no one ever accused him either of starting wars of aggression, or of filling the government with religious fanatics; and as inadequate as he may have been, no one ever accused him of being stupid.
The truth is that Bush easily matched Buchanan and Harding in their special areas of malfeasance, and was just as bad in many areas where Buchanan and Harding aren't even in the running. Bush managed to equal or surpass all of our previous Presidents in every single possible measure of failure. He was the worst President in every category by which a President can be judged. It is, in fact, ludicrous, given Bush's record, to even question who the worst President in history was. This man was an unmitigated disaster for our country in every way, and it will be generations before we recover from the curse that his presidency was.
Note: I was going to illustrate this post with some pictures of Bush being worthless, but really, no sense in adding insult to injury. I must say that this piece hardly does justice to the monumental failure of the Bush Administration, but then it would take a very long book to do more than just skim the surface of the damage they did to the country.
I found all of this so painful to remember that it took me over a week to force myself to finish what is above, and although I am acutely aware of its inadequacy in really covering the subject, I just can't take any more. So, I hope you will forgive me for leaving the subject here.