21 January 2006

Bush is #1!

Sen. Hillary Clinton...charged that the Bush administration "will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country."

She's wrong. As a serious student of politics and history in high school and college and a close observer as a journalist for more than a half-century, these presidents were the five "worst"...

USA Today editorial

Mr. Hamilton: What I'm suggesting is that this place is the crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of Western Europe.
Major Gowen: No. No. I won't have that. There's a place in Eastbourne.

— from
Fawlty Towers

And just what does USA Today list as reasons the Bush League shouldn't be considered the worst, or even one of the five worst?
His tragic "pre-emptive" war against Iraq may well go down as the biggest foreign policy blunder ever, especially if he "stays the course" and the unconscionable cost in lives and dollars goes on.

But domestically, except for the foul-up of the follow-up to Hurricane Katrina, Bush has done reasonably well. His leadership helped rally the country after 9/11. The economy is not great, but OK. In the areas of health care and education, he gets pretty good grades.
"...helped rally the country"? He could have used the emotion and sense of shared fortune among Americans to help create a better America. Instead, his "with us or against us" rhetoric and actions have polarized the US and alienated the world. His economic policies have further divided the haves from the have-nots. The major health care initiative he has inflicted on the US is the new Medicare, which has been a disaster for everyone but Big Pharma, and the real disaster hasn't hit yet, but will when people start falling through the "doughnut hole".

Economically, things are far from OK. The staggering deficits resulting from idiotic tax cuts, coupled with the inability of the White House and Congress to control spending—not to mention the war ("Don't mention the war!"), which might wind up costing $2 trillion—guarantee overly high tax burdens in the future.

But what about education? Bush's signature program, "No Child Left Behind", is a perfect example of an unfunded mandate:
THE federal No Child Left Behind law of 2002 may go down in history as the most unpopular piece of education legislation ever created. It has been criticized for setting impossibly high standards—that every child in America must be proficient in reading and math by 2014—while providing meager financing, as President Bush has budgeted billions less than what the law allows.
And let's not forget his ignoring warnings that al-Qaeda was intending to strike the US, alienation of America's oldest ally, opposition to any independent inquiry into 9/11, opposition to popular elections in Iraq, refusing to speak with those who disagree with him, appointing unqualified cronies to high office, refusal to be honest about his National Guard "service" or history of drug use, denying turkey dinner to troops in Iraq who don't support him politically, claiming "Mission Accomplished" when clearly it hadn't been—and then lying about who was responsible for that, illegally wiretapping when he could easily have gotten warrants, admitting that he violated the law but that it didn't matter because laws "curtsy to great kings"...I could go on and on, but it's not really necessary.

Worst. President. Ever.

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