Bedtime for Bonzo

I thought that I would start my postings in the New Year by not dwelling on the international and domestic negatives (the invasion of Gaza, the war in Iraq, the looming economic meltdown etal) and instead, concentrate on something positive.

And, amidst all the problems, something positive is occurring. George W Bush has reached the end of his Presidency. After eight years – it’s finally over. There will be no more, George W making inane comments and decisions, no more scenes of Vice President Dick Cheney (the man behind the throne) or Condi Rice talking about protecting US interests overseas (or shooting their friends on hunting expeditions).

I am no fan of the US Presidential or electoral system. I don’t see real differences between the vast bulk of Democrats and the vast bulk of Republicans. However, there have been Presidents who have, for various and different reasons, stamped their mark on the office of President, on US society and on the internationally arena – Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D Roosevelt, John F Kennedy and even Harry Truman (the Fair Deal) and Lyndon Baines Johnson (who despite his support of the Vietnam War was also in favour of improving and extending the programmes of the New Deal and the Fair Deal, to millions of Americans, creating the ‘Great Society’).

George W Bush has unfortunately made his mark on the US and the international scene as well. Under his Presidency, the US has become a far more insular and dangerous place. A place where constitutional rights are being eroded piece by piece, where human rights are not respected and a place where the dark desires of a group of people are inflicted upon everyone else, openly and brazenly.

Well, what’s the difference one could ask between George W and others who have recently been President such as, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (snr) and ‘slick willy’ Clinton? Simply, because Dubya demonstrated that he processed no skills in any area of his presidency. He is a jack of no trades and a master of none. All the others showed a skill in terms of their presidencies, from the shrewd (but paranoid) toughness of Nixon, the negotiation skills of Carter, the folksy communication of Reagan to George H Bush, who developed an understanding of the international situation through his years as CIA director and later as Reagan’s Vice President.

George W Bush processed none of these talents. After his first election victory, he proceeded to make the world safe for democracy, by making it unsafe for democracy. He stole an election in 2000, led the US and its allies to invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of lies, stood by while the citizens of New Orleans drowned. Enacted tax cuts for the rich while penalising the poor.

However, one of the few good things that he did was to reveal in a crass and open way the real agenda of those who led him, in a manner that the skills of the men who had occupied the Oval office prior to his presidency would never had allowed.

When I was a teenager, I remember the mirth (and terror) that the Reagan presidency caused. Reagan was a man who slept through briefings, appeared to be increasingly out of touch with global realities, but, yet, had his finger on the ‘big red button’. In eight years, Bush did the impossible for me, he made Reagan look good.

A lot can be said and has been about Dubya, and doubtless much will be said in the future. From my perspective, his Presidency was truly one that showed that you could be both bad and inept. He is a worthy recipient of the title of the Worst US President in history.

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