March 10, 2006

Essay Question - How Might History Rate George W. Bush?

My oldest son is a freshman in college where he’s currently taking a course in Government. On a recent exam, he had a take-home essay question which I found particularly provocative:

Q) Two standards in evaluating effectiveness in the presidency are the President’s performance as Commander-In-Chief and his handling of the economy. With the nation dealing with two wars and an economy still in recovery, how might history rate George W. Bush?

Firstly, I wouldn't rate George W. Bush as "... one of the worst presidents...", I would rate him as "…the absolute worst president ever...". No president has ever had such a magnitude of negative impact on not only our country, but the entire planet. I’d like to break up the question into two separate parts… One, his performance as Commander-in-Chief, and two his handling of the economy. So, let's look at the two parts individually:

1. Performance as Commander-in-Chief

George W. Bush has been an utter failure as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America. Having been asleep on the job on September 11, 2001 (there were no fewer than 50 intelligence indications of the impending attack) and then using that terrorist incident as justification for pre-emptive war on sovereign Middle Eastern nations, he has inflamed the entire, world-wide Islamic community. This has not made America safer as he and his Administration suggests. Instead, he has fueled & incited a new generation of America-haters.

In addition to George W. Bush killing literally hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Iraq by attacking & occupying that country and torturing their citizens, he has continually thumbed his nose at the international community in general by withdrawing from every major treaty, dissembling decades of diplomatic strides. The Kyoto Accord, the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile treaty, and the International Criminal Court are just a sampling of the arrogance & hypocrisy he has shown, which continues to agitate the world against us. With an agenda of world domination, clearly articulated in the Project for the New American Century’s mission statement, the Bush Administration continues its imperialism scheme by provoking Iran, Syria, and North Korea into confrontations.

As civil war continues to break out in Iraq, the American community is squarely against the President in every aspect. A multitude of evidence has surfaced since the election of 2004 which clearly shows the President’s incompetence and preponderance for deceit. All this has led to a well-deserved approval rating in the low 30’s, and literally no confidence or respect, both domestically and abroad. Bush squandered support following 9/11, and now has none.

Bush was again asleep on the job in the summer of 2005 as a devastating hurricane demolished the Gulf coast. While tens of thousands of poor (and largely black) people were washed out of their homes, the hypocrisy & deceit of George W. Bush was clearly evident as he continued to stroll through photo-ops & fund-raisers, ignoring the devastation and dying Americans. He denied he was aware of the tragedy, but video evidence surfaced that showed he was clearly made aware of the impending disaster. Once again, he lied, deceived, misled, and cajoled. But, we’ve now grown to expect that.

2. Handling of the Economy

On the economic front there have been very few signs that the country has benefited from the Bush Administration. In the 5+ years since Bush took office, there has been a net loss in jobs created. A devastating recession started in March of 2001, soon after Bush originally assumed the presidency, which took an immense toll on the country. Only after reaching 'rock-bottom' has the economy started to slowly turn around, not because of Bush's economic policies, but because it had no place else to go.

Bush’s answer to virtually all economic woes has been tax cuts which largely benefit the wealthier populace - a holdover from the Reagan Administration’s “Trickle-Down” economic theory. As 45 million Americans suffer without health insurance, as a wedge continues to expand the divide between the upper class and the middle & lower classes, and as the deficit & debt of this country continues to balloon to unprecedented proportions, history will record Bush’s economic policies as disastrous. Instead of lifting Americans out of poverty and getting them to work, he’s increased the number of Americans in poverty and helped export jobs.

Bush’s pro-business / anti-regulatory policies have had a profoundly negative impact on our environment, our civil rights, and labor, while the Military Industrial Complex has flourished. Our dependence on foreign oil has increased exponentially, and his response is to open up the Artic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration. At the same time he relaxed achievable fuel-efficiency standards originally implemented during the Bush I & Clinton presidencies, which would have had a huge impact on consumption.


In the end, if George W. Bush isn’t impeached over one or more of his many scandals, he will finish out his presidency as a lame-duck, excuse of a president... ineffectual, disrespected, and largely hated both domestically & abroad. He (and his truth-challenged neo-conservative henchmen) will attempt to ‘spin’ everything to be positive or Clinton’s fault, forever failing to accept responsibility for their myriad of disasters.

Our descendants will inherit the mess this Administration has left them with burdens they don’t deserve. And level-headed, fiscally-responsible Democrats will take the heat for raising taxes to put the country back on the right track.

Son, I hope this gets you an A+



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