The title alone in today's liberal NY Times
says it all: What I Will Miss About President Bush
, by Robert Draper, Ari Fleischer, Curtis Sittenfeld, Jacob Weiberg, Scott McClellan and Paul Burka.
Written by allegedly intelligent men, some of them professional writers (Draper, you may recall, is Bush's official biographer) and two former press secretaries (McClellan and Fleischer), this Koolaid orgy largely strains with the might of Hercules to find something, anything, good to say about the one presidency that has been linked to the Titanic more often than any other.
For instance, here are the closing words of Draper's own "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essay:
His sense of loyalty blinded him to the shortcomings of several senior aides — among them Scott McClellan, who rewarded Mr. Bush’s generosity with a lacerating tell-all book. He kept the press away from his two daughters, when their charm could have been deployed to buoy up his sagging numbers.
When the vault of the 43rd presidency is sealed, it will include, among many things, evidence of President Bush’s virtue.
So, what started as a public fellating of George W. Bush ended up as a swipe at McClellan, who also contributed to the op-ed. It's also difficult to tell what "Bush's virtue" is aside from his megalomaniacal messianic righteousness that led him to attack Iraq and to try to transform the Middle East.
Haven't started your dry heaves, yet? Then check out this testimonial by Ari "We'd All Better Watch What We Day" Fleischer:
We haven’t been attacked since 9/11, Libya no longer has nuclear weapons, Syria was stopped from acquiring them, Saddam Hussein is gone, and Iraq is on its way to being a nation that fights terrorism — all on President Bush’s watch. His job approval may now be low, but he should leave office with his head held high. I hope his successors recognize the strength that moral clarity can provide.
Note how Fleischer slyly conflates 9/11 with Saddam Hussein, a tinpot dictator who was on his last legs and likely would've been toppled by the Shi'ites within a year of the invasion and had nothing at all to do with 9/11, nor had nuclear weapons or any WMD's whatsoever. So, in other words, Bush should hold his head high for blowing a trillion dollars on an illegal war that's resulted in the slaughter of over a million Iraqis (a million and one, if you include the execution of said tinpot dictator that justifies the whole thing) and 4189 American troops
and because al Qaeda has chosen not to attack us here at home since 9/11 (which also happened on Bush's watch).
Curtis Sittenfeld couldn't find anything to miss about Bush and chose, instead, to focus exclusively on Laura Bush, she of the "one bombing a day" infamy.
Jacob Weisberg thought that Bush's Norm Crosby-esque malapropisms make him lovable, even though they betrayed time and again his sociopathic insouciance toward the plight of the people under his care. "In the face of defeat, Mr. Bush remains unbowed by grammar. You’ve got to admire that, kind of," he concludes. Oh yes, there's a lot to admire about a verbal stumblebum who has an army of flaks who tightly script virtually his every word and still can't seem to get it right.
Then Scott "Tell All" McClellan outdoes Robert Draper, Ari Fleischer and everyone else by starting out with,
What I will miss most about George W. Bush as president is his sincere concern for promoting human dignity.
Which has been vividly displayed in his ramping up of extraordinary rendition, approving torture for often innocent detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo and his shocking indifference to the citizens of New Orleans before, during and after Katrina. McClellan wraps up by writing,
President Bush bears responsibility for the consequences of the war he chose to wage in Iraq. But alongside his profound flaws and the mistakes he made, I can also see and respect his inner decency. Let’s hope the next president will share his passion for human dignity — and also find ways to express it with greater wisdom and judgment.
Because the guy McClellan's voting for, Barack Obama, still hasn't proved that his humanity and "inner decency" can keep pace with the guy who still refuses to believe that he made any mistakes over the last eight years and continues to blame Congress for his nonexistent failures.
Paul Burka, senior editor of the Texas Monthly
, cannot find anything about "President" Bush to miss as much as Governor Bush. This is Burka's contribution in its entirety:
I feel nostalgic about the person I knew as Gov. George W. Bush. I miss that guy. He was the best politician I ever saw. He really was “a uniter, not a divider.” He refused to kowtow to the far right. He worked with Democrats to strengthen public education, while Republicans were pushing vouchers. He had four vacancies on the Texas Supreme Court and he filled them all with centrist judges. The extreme right wing of the Republican Party was his enemy, not his ally. His administration was untainted by scandal. Karl Rove remained an outside consultant rather than a gubernatorial staffer.
But when he reached the White House, Governor Bush vanished, to be replaced by President George W. Bush — a person I didn’t recognize. He was never to return.
You know what I'll miss about Bush? The way he made the stupidest, cruelest, evilest and most immoral of us look pretty fucking decent by comparison.