With all of the rejoicing regarding the imminent departure of George Bush, it is easy to forget there were two, rather than just one, epic failures over the last eight years.
The obvious failure, of course, was the rise and fall of the George W. Bush presidency.
Yes, Bush will soon take leave of Washington D.C., but the damage he inflicted on the United States, and its citizens, will remain for many years, and in some cases can not be undone.
Let’s see now.
We lost the Twin Towers and New Orleans. Invaded the wrong country in the Middle East and ran up 2 trillion in debt paying for it. The housing bubble burst, the financial markets froze, and unemployment sky-rocketed. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay became international symbols of U.S. style democracy.
The other epic failure is more difficult to detect, because it is the shadow of the first.
Who enabled Bush to not only to reach the oval office–under dubious circumstances–but to remain in power despite his abuses, and avoid any accountability?
Our so-called free press (with a powerful assist from Congress).
How could one forget the network’s sudden election night flip-flop on Florida in 2000, the rush to legitimize the shady results with the Supreme Court, and demands for Al Gore to concede “for the good of the country”.
How about the monkey business that took place in Ohio in 2004? Why would terrorists care about the presidential returns in Ohio’s heavily Republican Warren County?
Sure, George W. Bush gravitated to simplistic solutions when it came to foreign policy. He liked explaining complex conflicts, like the instability in the Middle East, in terms of good against evil.
And, of course, after his epic failure on 9/11, President Bush instantly fell in love with the whole neo-conservative view of his vast new presidential powers.
As it turns out, American military might always makes things right. Plus, if the President does it, well prest-o-change-o, it is now perfectly legal.
Lucky for Bush, the television networks had long ago embraced his same simplistic binary model, using it to quickly translate the complexities of the modern world into easy to digest 20 second news bites.
So, when W. showed interest in the presidency, he was the perfect spokesmodel for the network’s brave new world.
Saddam Hussein was somehow behind 9/11, instead of Osama bin Laden, who took credit for the attacks. Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction!!! We must invade Iraq because of 9/11. Bush is the only one who can keep us safe, but only if we give up our civil liberties.
So what, if all of these assertions were obviously false and sometimes absurd. The media was more than willing to play along and prop-up their wartime president.
But all good things must come to an end. Bush is now headed for Texas and the media is working extra hard to rehabilitate its Bush ass-kissing reputation.
Suddenly, David “I like to dance with Karl Rove” Gregory is vowing to hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire, while Joe Johns is threatening to unleash the media’s varsity team to get Obama to stop dodging those hard questions.
Wow, talk about an awkward transition.
So, how did Bush almost destroy American and make a superpower super suck?
First, it was an inside job. Bush had lots of help. We can’t forget everything Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and my personal favourite, Stephen L. Johnson, contributed to the worst presidency ever.
Second, it required lots of help from our lap-dog media.
(Jeez, could this have anything to do with the decline in newspaper circulation and overall lack of enthusiasm for the network news?)