Economics

Just How the Hell Do You Sum Up George W. Bush's Presidency?

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Reason Contributing Editor and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carolyn Lochhead tiptoes through the disaster that was the George W. Bush presidency in a long, comprehensive summary of the past eight years or thereabouts. Snippets:

Historians will suspend immediate judgment. All modern presidents leave office sullied, yet many, like Harry Truman, Bill Clinton and even Jimmy Carter, have had their reputations restored with time. But from the vista of now, the nation's 43rd president risks joining the likes of Franklin Pierce, his own distant relative, as among the nation's worst presidents, harshly judged in their day and never bathed in the warm afterglow of hindsight.

Bush leaves to his successor two unfinished wars, Osama bin Laden living in an unstable Pakistan, a U.S. reputation soiled by Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and torture, a deep recession and what is sure to be the first $1 trillion-plus deficit. In short, a gigantic mess, all the bigger for the peace, prosperity and black ink he inherited….

Bush both grew the government and gave laissez-faire a bad name, overseeing a rash of corporate scandals in 2002 and the housing meltdown. The financial wreckage has many fathers, but Bush, the first MBA president, stands among them, failing to restrain the liquidity bubble as it ballooned and asking for $700 billion to rescue banks as it burst. The GOP is fractured and adrift….

The plan for a swift victory and quick exit [in Iraq] turned into a bungled and bloody occupation that has left roughly 4,800 U.S. troops dead, 33,000 Americans wounded, as well as thousands of contractors and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have lasted longer than World War II and cost 50 percent more than Vietnam: $904 billion since 2001, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. That ultimately could rise above $2 trillion, including decades of care for wounded veterans, estimated as high as $65 billion alone. Bush economic chief Lawrence Lindsay was fired for saying publicly that the Iraq war could cost $200 billion….

Conditions are worse now than when Truman left office, said Sean Theriault, a political scientist at the University of Texas. "The objective standards by which we can evaluate the presidency are just so bad. The economy is truly in tatters, and I don't think any Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, can dispute that. When Bill Clinton left office you could argue that Americans were generally pleased, but people thought he wasn't a beacon of integrity. But we can't have an argument about the success of Bush's economic policies."

The whole story, well worth reading, is online here.

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  1. That is a fucking weird picture.

  2. Sadly, there are things named after Franklin Pierce in New Hampshire.

    (He did manage to die in a drunk-driving accident in a horse and buggy, though, so that’s something.)

  3. Just How the Hell Do You Sum Up George W. Bush’s Presidency?

    In a word: Worst

  4. Democracy got us George W. Bush. Term limits got him out. Irony? You decide.

  5. 25 million people in Iraq free and safe because he didn’t bow to the polls in 2006.

  6. That’s funny, but I don’t think he would win a third term.

  7. Talldave, your ideas on Iraq continue to be hilarious.

  8. You must define free and safe loosely for that to be true. Unless you mean free and safe from Saddam.

  9. In a word: Clusterf*ck

  10. But we can’t have an argument about the success of Bush’s economic policies.

    Sure we can. The economy was great until Dems took control of Congress in 2006, and really fell apart when it was clear Obama would win. And the economy did great under Repub Congresses from 1994-2006.

    It’s a stupid game, yes, but easy to play either way.

    Naturally all we’ll hear is how this proves free market economics doesn’t work.

  11. Conditions are worse now than when Truman left office

    And Truman was followed by Eisenhower.
    Now it’s like LBJ followed by FDR.

  12. Of course you Cosmotarains hate Bush’s Freedom Agenda.

    TallDave, you rock!

  13. That’s funny, but I don’t think he would win a third term.

    Tricky, you feelin’ lucky?

  14. You must define free and safe loosely for that to be true.

    The violent death rate in 2008 was 21/100K, and 14/100K after Maliki finished wipiing the floor with the Sadrist goons. That’s safer than Jamaica, South Africa, Venezuela or Brazil, to name a few places generally not considered that bad off.

    As for free, they are far freer than any other Arab country, arguably excepting Lebanon.

  15. talldave lol all of those great things that gwb did will be fixed by obama before the end of this year. then you can cry about big gvrnmt all you like.

  16. Well, if you don’t vote for him one can take some small comfort in that.

  17. Germans over here hate Bush. Of course, there are reasons enough for that. But they belive Obama is the savior. How could he? He’s just another politican. Bush was maybe a moron, but u know what? At least the world had something to laugh … The president of the world’s superpower behaving like a child. Isn’t that funny at all? F*ck all politicans!

  18. I’d like to make a prediction. Bush, tired of laying low to avoid a public that despises him, will, in 2011, take his catlike reflexes and superb physical conditioning to a new level, as he and Jackie Chan pair up for a new martial arts buddy pic. Naturally, Bush will do all of his own stunts. The villain’s principal henchman will be a guy who throws deadly shoes.

  19. TallDave is right. Iraq is a paradise, and those of you who don’t agree have BDS.

  20. I quote the philosopher, Homer:

    He sucked. I mean really sucked. He was the suckiest suck that ever sucked.

  21. I can only point out the facts so many times. Read for yourselves.

    http://www.brookings.edu/saban/~/media/Files/Centers/Saban/Iraq%20Index/index.pdf

    GDP has tripled, basic services have doubled, cell phones have gone from being essentially banned to 14 million in a country of 25M, there are hundreds of free radio, newspapers, TV stations… I could go on.

    For years the argument I heard here was “Yeah but it’s violent.” Well, not it’s not violent either. Shrug. I’m sure there’s a new argument now.

  22. Bragging that Iraq is the freest Arab country is sort of like bragging about having a really good case of herpes simplex 2.

  23. Warren | January 9, 2009, 4:52pm | #

    Just How the Hell Do You Sum Up George W. Bush’s Presidency?

    In a word: Worst

    “Worst” implies worst ever, Warren. We haven’t yet given Saint Obama his chance at the title. Oh, Bush is just the beginning of worst. Remember when we called Carter “the worst”? Nixon? LBJ?
    Hold on, people. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

  24. Iraq the world’s new vacation hot spot!

    LOL.

    It’s current status is really irrelevent. It wasn’t our problem to begin with.

  25. If Iraq is so great, where’s Iraqi Disney? Huh?

  26. Just How the Hell Do You Sum Up George W. Bush’s Presidency?

    Worst president in my lifetime. I go back to Eisenhower.

    I just wanted to answer the quwestion as soon as I saw it. I’ll read the article and other comments now.

  27. Terrorist chest jab.

  28. TallDave | January 9, 2009, 5:09pm | #
    I can only point out the facts so many times

    < 3 TallDave. Especially when he draws the facts backwards.

  29. Bush would’ve definitely ranked in the bottom quarter or worse before the financial crisis, but he may have moved himself down a good clip. We’ll have to see how all of this government meddling pans out, to the extent that we’ll be able to separate his from Obama’s/Congress’.

    I think one thing to think about is that even if Iraq turns out okay and even if the economy completely recovers, these things may happen despite Bush, not thanks to him. I’m pretty sure that both of these crises could’ve been handled much, much more adroitly, regardless of ones politics.

  30. It’s funny, for a free and safe place, I sure heard a lot of machine gun fire downtown in Ramadi last year. And explosions. We didn’t care, because it wasn’t aimed at us. Just Iraqis killing Iraqis, happens all the time.

    Talldave, I am curious as to what you would consider a “violent” environment if Iraq doesn’t qualify. Also: can I have two of whatever you are smoking? It sounds amazing.

  31. Osama bin Laden living in an unstable Pakistan

    George W. Bush was an awful President, but as for Osama Bin Laden being alive, you don’t know for a fact that this is really true, nor do I, and I’m not sure there’s a person in America who does.

  32. My favorite thing about Bush:

    During one of those look-how-stupid-people-on-the-street-are-when-we-ask-them-simple-questions things in England the question was “who is the prime minister?”.

    The twelvish-looking boy answers in a really silly accent “George Booooosh?”

  33. Huh.

    All this time, I’ve been using the words “free” and “safe” wrong.

    You can tell it’s free and safe, because 1/3 of the population are refugees.

    But think about this: the Bushite buttkisser comes on here to defend him, and what does he come up with?

    “Oh, yeah? Well, what about the Iraq War? And the economy effing ROCKED between 2001 and 2006!”

  34. They stole America and crushed the empty husk.

  35. I think its still too early to rate Bush’s foreign policy legacy. Assuming Obama doesn’t screw the pooch in Iraq and does a decent job winning the war in Afghanistan, I actually think Bush will come out OK on that front.

    Domestically? Pretty close to a total fucking disaster. Even his accomplishments (mainly, that tax cut and vetoing the 53% tax on cigars) won’t last, and all we’ll be left with is the dreck.

  36. He’s not the worst.

    He’s still above Buchanan, both Johnsons, Grant, and Wilson IMHO. Well, maybe tied with Wilson.

    Come to think of it, Wilson and Dubya have a lot of similarities!

  37. You know, if I were Bush, I’d try to get into the House of Lords. It’s an appointed gig now, right?

  38. Ha, and I thought there would be a better counter-argument than ad hominems.

    Well, the facts are what they are.

  39. TallDave just argued that Bush was a good president because the economy grew while the housing bubble inflated, then argued that the Democratic Congress was bad becasue the bubble popped.

    That’s pretty awesome right there.

  40. Having done as promised,

    Talldave, your ideas on Iraq the Bush presidency continue to be hilarious delusional.

    Fixed that for ya, MM.

  41. Yes, before we say “worst”, let’s see if Bush turns out to have failed to avert a civil war. In the U.S., that is.

  42. BDB,

    Johnson pushed through the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act.

    What is the Bush equivalent?

  43. If by “worst” you mean the best president I’ve ever voted for, then YES!!!

  44. One quibble, the U.S. government hasn’t been in the black since midway through Eisenhower’s term.

    The U.S. government does an Enron style accounting fraud where money loaned by the social security system is counted as income, which allowed Bill Clinton to pretend that he was operating the government in the black.

  45. joe–

    Not rounding up Arabs after 9/11, maybe? He could have done that, easily. There are certain people in his party who even pushed for it, and he essentially told them to fuck off.

    He deserves credit for that.

  46. tarran,

    The U.S. government does an Enron style accounting fraud where money loaned by the social security system is counted as income But the same amount of money is then counted as debt, when it isn’t actually debt, so the same amount of phoney value is on both sides of the ledger.

    The US paid down a third of a trillion dollars in debt at the end of Bill Clinton’s term. I call that “in the black.”

  47. You can’t really blame Bush for the current financial crisis. If failing to reign in the credit bubbles is enough to get blamed, then blame Clinton as well.

    Now, in 10 years or so when the comeuppance for bailout-mania arrives, we can blame him for that.

    And everybody says the current president is either “worst” or “best”. There’s an awful lot of formidable competition in US history for the worst, so let’s withhold judgement on that one.

    Finally, how does Franklin Pierce get so much grief from this writer? The only thing I know about him was that he sent Commodore Peary to Japan to open up their market. Shouldn’t open borders free trade libertarians give him some respect for that alone?

  48. Johnson pushed through the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act.

    And did loads of shitty stuff (Nam, war on poverty) while being a complete fucktard and I still rate him, hands down, better less fucked than Bush the retarded son.

  49. BDB,

    You’re right, Bush’s response to 9/11 was much more restrained than I expected, and he did work hard to keep Americans from taking out their anger on Arab-Americans.

    When 9/11 happened, I thought tense of thousands of random Afghans were going to be buried in rubble within a week. He didn’t do that.

  50. What is the Bush equivalent?

    Uhh…AFRICOM?

    I would say that standing-up the Buchananites (and *ahem* Paulites) on immigration was a plus. And CAFTA (was that him? I think so).

  51. BTW am I the only one who thinks Al Gore would have invaded Iraq, too?

    When was still an active politician, he was quite the hawk and there’s even a YouTube video of him from 1992 talking about how Bush Sr. was too soft on Saddam and ignored his “terrorist ties”.

  52. Here’s the Gore video for anyone who is interested. He sounds extremely hawkish.

  53. BDB – FWIW, when I was 17 and thinking about joining the military, I had a lot of friends tell me that they were going to wait to see who won the election because Bush was going to send us to Iraq.

    I think Gore might have done something, but it would have involved the United Nations and other countries more.

  54. Real historians know enough to not even think about judging a presidency till at least 10 years out at the very earliest. 20 years is better, 30 approaches a reasonable hindsight, 50 disolves contemporary biases. This violates Blog-Rules, of course, wherein individuals and events are weighed by the minute, if not by the second. Blog-Rules bring forth the ephemeral. It’s the task of historians to interpret events as they happened, not how they were spinned at the time by partisans and blog-trolls.

  55. You’re right, Bush’s response to 9/11 was much more restrained than I expected,…

    Only if you count invading a completely different country under false pretext restrained.

    …and he did work hard to keep Americans from taking out their anger on Arab-Americans.

    He also didn’t rape any girl scouts while in office. If your best accomplishment is not violating the human rights of a million people or so, that says a whole lot, doesn’t it.

  56. I’ve said here a number of times that I’m not sure we wouldn’t have invaded two countries under a Gore administration. Maybe Iran instead of Iraq, just to mix it up a little, but I suspect the usual Democratic need to look “tough”. Pointless to speculate, of course.

  57. Pierce is the trendy shit-talk object for presidential historians lately, because you don’t know anything about him. Using him as a negative example is a rhetorical credential-flash.

    He, like Bush, didn’t do anything unprecedented or even atypical. But there’s no social value in calling either of them “nothing special,” so no one does.

    They will, someday.

  58. Yeah, torture sure isn’t atypical at all.

  59. Using him as a negative example is a rhetorical credential-flash.

    Ha! Kind of like when people hate on merlot after watching Sideways.

  60. Um, Pierce did do something. He signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and ribbed off the scab of the slavery in the territories issue which precipitated the Civil War.

    That’s why people hate Pierce.

  61. The worst president (with the possible exception of Bush the retarded son) is James Buchanan. I won’t even deign to debate that.

  62. The Wikipedia compilation of scholarly presidential rankings has Pierce pretty low actually, but the subsequent president Buchanan is even lower. Of course in the surveys they quote, the worst ranking Wilson gets is 11th, the worst FDR gets is 3rd best (?!) and the worst ranking LBJ gets is 17th best, still in the top half; while Calvin Coolidge is ranked in the bottom quartile in most of them. So I think they’re full of it.

  63. Best president we ever had. Or at least since the previous one, who was also the best president we ever had. Now this new guy…he’s gonna be the best president we ever had. I’m an optimus, er, I mean realistic.

  64. BDB, the Missouri Compromise was ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS in the Dred Scott decision. Blaming Pierce for the regime of popular sovereignty that was instituted in Kansas and Nebraska is silly, almost as silly as blaming Bush for the current financial crisis when 99% of politicians at the federal level had no problems at all with the mortgage industry until a few months ago.

  65. ed sez “Worst” implies worst ever, Warren.

    I’ve often said “the republic has survived worse” about recent political leaders.

    Now I’m not so sure.

  66. That’s safer than Jamaica, South Africa, Venezuela or Brazil, to name a few places generally not considered that bad off.

    Violence in Jamaica, Venezuala and Brazil is strongly associated with the narcotics industry, and if you aren’t growing, trafficking, distributing or trying to interfere with any of the three, you’re not likely to be involved. Violence in South Africa is poverty-related crime. Violence in Iraq, by contrast, has been largely sectarian. Would you rather live in a society where a dozen narcothugs showed up dead in alleys every day, or one where a dozen people were blown up every day because they espoused mainstream religous beliefs?

  67. Dred Scott came after Kansas-Nebraska, cunnivore.

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a really, really, really fucking stupid thing for Pierce to sign but he was a “doughface” (a northerner who sucked up to slave owners), just like Buchanan.

  68. Would you rather live in a society where a dozen narcothugs showed up dead in alleys every day, or one where a dozen people were blown up every day because they espoused mainstream religous beliefs?

    Heh. I’m not sure why I would care which irrational ideology, prohibition or radical Islam, was getting people killed.

  69. juris imprudent,
    Where is your doubt? That W was the worst political leader, or that the republic will survive?

    ed,
    I claim no prescience. Things can always get worse.

  70. 25 million people in Iraq free and safe because he didn’t bow to the polls in 2006.

    Even assuming that’s true, the point is nobody elected him to look after the interests of Iraq. The president’s job is looking after the interests of the United States. In that respect, he failed miserably.

  71. Iraq will be his legacy, though.

    FDR wasn’t elected to save Britain and France, either, but people generally don’t remember him for making the economy even worse and trying to stack the Supreme Court.

  72. We didn’t go to war to save Britain or France in 1941. We went to war because Germany declared war on us after their ally committed a sneak attack.

  73. FDR wasn’t elected to save Britain and France

    Which election? 1932? ’36? ’40? ’44?

  74. Pierce was on the wrong side of the great moral issue of slavery – otherwise, he would rank as a great President. Obama is on the wrong side of the great moral issue of abortion – unless and until he changes course (no sign of this so far, but I believe in Hope and Change), then there’s no way Obama can be an improvement on Bush.

    Not that Bush was all that great on abortion. His anti-abortion efforts were mostly flaccid rhetoric – he didn’t seem to give it a high priority, and he never used the bully pulpit of the Presidency to point out, again and again, the immorality of abortion and the *Roe* decision. If his Supreme Court justices vote anti-Roe, that will be something, but remember that his first impulse was to put Harriet Miers on the Court, and Miers seemed *very* wobbly.

    I’m sure you won’t want me to ride my hobby-horse like this, but Bush is disappointing on so many levels – economically, in foreign policy, and morally – that it’s hard to summon up much nostalgia for him on any level.

    Unlike Pierce, Bush made at least a few rhetorical nods in the direction of the right answer in the great moral issue of the day, but he gave the impression of not caring much. At least Pierce cared about slavery. He cared about defending it.

  75. Great legacy, Talldave. We’ve replaced dictatorial strongman rule with strongman rule with a very thin veneer of democracy. Oh, and tribalism. Who could forget the tribalism. Sure, that’s worth bankrupting America for.

    I do find it hilarious that guys like you who pretend to be paining in your heart of heart for the dear little Iraqis are always so insult their religion, be ignorant of their culture and handwave away their sufferings if it doesn’t suit your political worldview. Tens of thousands of deaths by Saddam? Tragic! Tens of thousdands of deaths by anarchy? Meaningless.

  76. I predict “Bush nostalgia”.

  77. Wow, I really massacred the language in that last post. I wrote one thing, did some editing to change the content a bit, and in the process apparently forgot several crucial words and conjugations. I really don’t know how that happens. My apologies to any and all who tried to read it.

  78. Just How the Hell Do You Sum Up George W. Bush’s Presidency?

    “In the news today:

    Charged with multiple counts of Treason for repeatedly violating the Presidential oath to ‘…Protect & Defend the Constitution of the United States.’, George Bush was tried and found guilty on all counts by a duly selected Jury of his Peers last week.

    As with all current convictions for Treason, the sentence of “Hanged by the Neck until Dead” was carried out today on the scafolding erected at the base of the Reflecting Pool.”

  79. BTW am I the only one who thinks Al Gore would have invaded Iraq, too?
    No you’re not.
    We’ll never know but everything indicates he would have.

  80. “25 million people free in Iraq”

    “No controlling authority”

    “I am not a crook”

    “One’s a born liar, the other is convicted”

    Which one of the above does not belong?

  81. “We’ll never know but everything indicates he would have.”

    Yeah, I think the only thing you could argue is whether he would have done it more competently or not. But he didn’t go peacenik until he had no political future left. There’s a reason Nader got 3% of the vote.

  82. Don’t forget “I did not have sex with that woman”, libertymike.

  83. Right on, TallDave. Nearly 4000 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead, tens of thousands of wounded US troops, and $2 trillion later, Iraq has the same number of WMDs and is slightly safer than Jamaica (?!). Thank God we didn’t listen to the cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

  84. cunnivore-

    Even worse-did you scroll furhter down and read the survey where the historians were classified as either liberal or conservative?

    Both conservatives and liberals ranked Dishonest Abe, The Great Dictator, number 1. IMO, I can’t see how a libertarian could rate Lincoln’s presidency any better than, say, 40th. I think I am on solid ground in proclaiming that if an anarcho-free enterprise-individualist ranked Lincoln any higher than 40th, he would have to be batshit in LurkerBoldian proportions.

  85. libertymike,

    Are you now, or have you ever been, Rick Barton?

  86. BDB-

    That statement fits with three of the statements I posted. A little old school sports knowledge in play-one of the statements actually refers to the fellow who made one of the other statements, only the reference is to another vice.

  87. Shadow of the Past-

    No. I have never, ever posted as anybody but me. I have never, ever spoofed or trolled.

    However, I have said some inflammatory things and I have engaged in mischief.

  88. Bin Laden is dead, dead, not living, liquidated, vaporized, greased, dusted, knocked off…DEAD.
    What is so hard to grasp about that?

  89. The US paid down a third of a trillion dollars in debt at the end of Bill Clinton’s term.

    Not according to this table sowing debt from 1950 to 1999.

    It shows the debt increasing every single year.

    I agree that under Clinton we saw the closest thing to fiscal responsibility from anyone in years, but tarran’s correct. It was mostly sleight of hand accounting.

    As i’ve tried to say in the past, joe, this is not a simple kneejerk ‘pox on both..”. I happen to believe that Clinton was a generally successful president and that Bush has at almost every turn come up short.

  90. And this table shows debt from 2000 to 2008.

    Wouldn’t a paydown of “third of a trillion dollars in debt” show up as a reduction somewhere?

  91. What is so hard to grasp about that?

    Uhh,…because there’s…like…zero evidence.

  92. Osama bin Laden has not put out a new video in 3 or so years and doesn’t even bother to comment on the major issues of the day, such as the goings-on in Gaza right now, yet the fact that he is still “alive” is considered a failure of the Bush Administration? Elvis and John Lennon are as alive as Bin Laden is.

  93. B and Terry-

    OBL is dead? Prove it.

  94. I agree that it is highly likely that OBL is dead. He was a very sick man already and it is unlikely that he has gotten the best threatment in wazirastan (or wherever).

    But likelihood is not the same thing as established fact.

  95. Actually rather tha “highly likely” I should maybe say “quite likely”.

  96. Regardless, Ayman Al-Zawahiri is still alive, and he is generally believed to be the Dick Cheney to bin Laden’s George W.

  97. I think Bush will be remembered as the president who put fail in the word fail.

  98. Mad Max | January 9, 2009, 6:09pm | #
    Pierce was on the wrong side of the great moral issue of slavery – otherwise, he would rank as a great President.

    No, Pierce was pretty mediocre from top to bottom. His greatest achievement was the creation of the Republican party in opposition to his policies. His second greatest was being the only elected president to be denied renomination by his own party.

    Either he or Buchanan’s at the bottom, not just for failure to deal with a crisis but actually exacerbating it.

  99. hmm…Mmhmhmmm…hehehhum..hahHAHAHA..HAHAHAHAHAHham
    Ahem…OMGLMFAO!!! STFUYSF!!! LOLS…

    Sorry… been drinkin… but I think that about sums it up without crying about it.

  100. yet the fact that he is still “alive” is considered a failure of the Bush Administration?

    The fact that he died without a single molecule of American made ammunition/shrapnel lodged in his body is damn well a failure. I don’t think it is just for him to die of kidney disease as a free man 5-7 years after 9/11.

    That’s assuming he is dead, which is not necessarily true.

  101. Syd, what about opening trade relations with Japan? I don’t mean to shill for Franklin Pierce, but let’s not be overly harsh with him!

  102. hmm…Mmhmhmmm…hehehhum..hahHAHAHA..HAHAHAHAHAHham
    Ahem…OMGLMFAO!!! STFUYSF!!! LOLS…

    Sorry… been drinkin… but I think that about sums it up without crying about it.

    Pretty much what strangel said! only not the crying bit, damn dude man up.

    We need to have a libertarian intervention for talldave. He’s pretty critical of a lot of government behavior, but he slurps on the federal cock when it comes to foreign interventionism.

  103. His strategery to grow the government was misunderestimated.

  104. The fact that he died without a single molecule of American made ammunition/shrapnel lodged in his body is damn well a failure.

    There was a National Lampoon (IIRC) joke about how the CIA really killed Francisco Franco – with a slow acting poison that took 35 years.

    However, I have said some inflammatory things…

    Libertymike, master of the understatement.

  105. I don’t get Tall Dave’s argument in the least. Even if what he says is true about Iraq, so what?

    Put it another way, suppose Obama decides to clean up Sudan, and after eight years, its GDP grows by a million percent, there is a vibrant and active press, 75 percent of its students are going to college, and on his death bed Fidel Castro proclaims
    Sudan’s health care system the best in the world. Even if all that occurred, what would it matter to Obama’s presidential ranking if the American economy was tanking and our boys were dying daily in Sudan? Not a wit.

    There is only one objective way to judge the Bush presidency. I know exactly how much was in my wallet two weeks to the day Bill Clinton left office, and I will just reach in my wallet right now, and take a peak . . .

    Aw, shit, can any one lend me twenty until next Thursday? I’m good for it . .

  106. I don’t know how succesful Iraq can be as I don’t see many of the Iraqi refugees, the majority of which went to Syria and Jordan, in a kind of rush to return.

  107. For the first time in my fifty-odd years of life I was ashamed to be an American in March of 2003 when Bush The Lesser started a war with Iraq. For that one, simple fact I will hate that SOB for the rest of my life.

    I look forward to his War Crimes Trial.

    … Hobbit

  108. Alan, so you have nothing on January 9th, 2009. How much did you have in your wallet on January 9th, 2001?

  109. In a word: Worst

    What about Wilson?

    Wilson created the Federal Reserve. If it wasn’t created we wouldn’t have the economic crisis.

    He also entered WWI. If the US didn’t participate Iraq might not have been ever created.

    There is no doubt Wilson deserves more blame for both the financial crisis and the Iraq war than Bush. Wilson made them possible.

  110. two hundred forty six dollars and two primo joints hidden beneath my social security card.

  111. bearded hobbit man, do you have like an 8-track hooked to your computer nto rip old tapes? just curious about that. wood be so groovy to rip 8tracks and shit.

  112. Alan, that’s why I loved the ’90s.

  113. everybody knows 2008 was better than the ’70s by far

  114. nobody u no and a big fan of joe p boyle and mng and jennifer asked:

    .. negatory .. I’m slowly but surely burning my vinyl LPs to digital..

    .. someday vinyl and tube amps will re-establish their superior position!!

    .. Hobbit

  115. talldave you are like what is so wrong about the libertarian scene man. you are so focused on not and not on what and shit doode.

    so what if bush did not open detainment camps for americans like fdr. fdr was the shit and it was needed. bush is shit and it was not needed. good thing the cali congress chick stopped him from doing it too man.

    he did not open the borders for like freedom for mexicans and shit either. happy about that man?

    what about that enron shit that went down, huh? that was like totally wrong and cheney should hang for it if i was for killing doodes for shit.

    he did not even help with global warming or the homeless. does he have an organic car like obama? i don’t think so man.

    you are just such a tool for the establishment man.

  116. i bet u r a deodorant wearing cosmotarian hobbit…

  117. I bet “nobody u no” is an objective supporter of saddam hussein..

    why dont we start a war with iran and syria for a real jobs programe?

  118. meta, can’t you spell program tool?

  119. and hang harry reed and pulosi! hang em! for being progressive traitors and disloyal!

    not like those ?ber-loyal Palintr?ppen SIV and TallDave.

  120. you must join the Palintr?ppen or be an anti-american progressive cosmotarian who doesnt like malkin…

  121. only if they try some sort of fascist shit non obama.

  122. why shouldnt we round up them anti-american foreigners?

    HEIL PALIN!

  123. everybody who doesnt drink the obamamessiah kool-aid knows ACORN, the homosexuals, atheists, and bill klinton stole the election…

  124. why are you so afraid of the gays? hiding something man? gay people are cool. so are athiests when they are not like so totally angry at shit.

    what is wrong with ACORN? they just try to get people to vote and realllly uncool people try to poison their voting stuff with like bad applications. it is not like ACORN made up the apps by themself and shit, doode.

    just chill man, we need more peace.

  125. Meta-nobody u no quoth
    i bet u r a deodorant wearing cosmotarian hobbit…

    .. bet you lose .

    .. Hobbit

  126. deoderant is bad for mother earch. it is like stepping on kittens.

  127. i like stepping on kittens. only cosmotarians think animals have more rights than frozen embryos!

  128. metatool you need some love or something.

  129. who doesnt like malkin

    I remember years ago my daily fishwrap carried her syndicated column and she was at the time complaining that Sarah Jessica Parker was back at work a few months after giving birth to a child and she even managed to slim back down to her cute little figure (whatever you say about her face, that body is TIGHT).

    Malkin was incensed by this fact. Bitching something about real mothers need to take their time to be real mothers.

    You know who was the real loser in that deal. Malkin’s husband.

    Bet he was thinking, ‘the baby is cute, the baby is adorable. It also sleeps half the day. Now get your fat ass on the stair master bitch, or I’m out of here.’

  130. All this talk about bin Laden, and whether he’s dead or not, has me thinking: Who cares?

    A bin Laden capture or proof of his death would be a political victory for Bush (or Obama) but not much else.

    I think he is neutralized and has been for a long time. So let’s stop making him out to be a super-villain with magical powers. He doesn’t wield any real power and he doesn’t scare me a whit.

  131. Bush’s legacy to the people of Earth is immaterial. He will be dead at some point.
    So the question is moot.

  132. The question of Bush’s legacy has me thinking about a report that came out involving a talk between Obama and Bush. After the election, Bush and Obama spoke and Bush told Obama, regarding the presidency, “You’re about to embark on an awesome journey.”
    If that’s all Bush was looking for, couldn’t he just have gone on a fuckin’ roller coaster?
    Or maybe whitewater rafting?

  133. Opposite is the case: Presidency so disturbing that all persuasions are rebuilding their very foundations. Nobody has anything to say anymore.

  134. Taking a cue from Douglas Adams and “Mostly Harmless”, I present a two word description of the Bush years:

    “Endless Jackassery”

    Actually, that applies to just about everything in the world since Ogg banged two rocks together and that precocious scamp Ogg Junior invented fire, but this time it’s in boldface because the Bush-assery was simply off the hook.

  135. as he and Jackie Chan pair up for a new martial arts buddy pic. Naturally, Bush will do all of his own stunts. The villain’s principal henchman will be a guy who throws deadly shoes.

    I would totally go see that.

  136. There was a National Lampoon (IIRC) joke about how the CIA really killed Francisco Franco – with a slow acting poison that took 35 years.

    BP – It wasn’t National Lampoon, it was Doonesbury!

  137. After the election, Bush and Obama spoke and Bush told Obama, regarding the presidency, “You’re about to embark on an awesome journey.”

    Excellent!

  138. Bush is a yen shee baby.

  139. Mr. Preston,

    I believe that Bush said, upon him hanging up with Obama, “San Dimas High School Football Rules!”.

  140. Two words: Katrina and Capitulation

    A natural disaster was turned into a government failure and it became the tipping point of public opinion. That was a major problem for everyone with high expectations of government.

    The problem for me is that he capitulated to everything after that (excluding the prescription drug benefit and steel tariffs) and that just made him very weak and ineffective.

    But, I don’t think he can go down as one of the worst because the other 42 presidents didn’t have to deal with the shit he had to deal with. First was Florida: virtually no mandate to govern. Next 9-11: pretty tough to prevent all the big brother types in the administration from increasing/abusing powers in the name of safety. A Gore administration would have been expected to do the same thing, especially with a Republican Congress aiding and abetting. Maybe not war with Iraq, but it was Clinton afterall who promoted regime change in Iraq. Next was a small recession from the boom and bust of the late 90s and Enron/Worldcom. Then the absolute fuck up in the CIA and faulty WMD intel. Then some hardups in military intel decide to “torture” (humiliate) some Iraqi POWs. Meanwhile, the economy is just fine at this point. The GSEs are continuing to buy up and promote low-income bad-credit mortgages, because everyone deserves a couple guest rooms and a swimming pool, no matter how many times they fail to pay something back.

    But then a frickin hurricane nails a below-sea-level city that should have called New Poorleans, and everyone, every one, freaks out because a republican is in the white house, and a bunch of people who probably didn’t vote for him were let down by the local officials they did vote for.

    Then there’s the credit crunch and global financial meltdown, which can hardly be blamed on him. The bailouts piss me off, but then again, going off the gold standard pissed me off, so which is worse?

    Bush was popular from 9-12-01 until about 9-15-01, give or take a few hours.

    Of course anyone with a heartbeat is going to blame him for a lot of stuff, but how can you objectively make a case that Gore or Kerry would have done a lot better?

  141. OBL is more valuable to us if he is still alive, which I doubt. He’s poison to his movement, nobody can get near him without being exposed. That’s why the terrorists have been pretty much shut down everywhere. Calling this a Bush failure is nothing but partisan hackery.

  142. I mean, OBLs friends can’t even pull off a simple kidnapping in the phillipines these days.

  143. Katrina?

    Yea, that is another negative for the Bush administration. Using federal resources on a State issue.

  144. “During one of those look-how-stupid-people-on-the-street-are-when-we-ask-them-simple-questions things in England the question was “who is the prime minister?”.

    The twelvish-looking boy answers in a really silly accent “George Booooosh?””

    Are we to assume you think that answer was a wrong one?

  145. Of course anyone with a heartbeat is going to blame him for a lot of stuff, but how can you objectively make a case that Gore or Kerry would have done a lot better?

    A baked potato, without the sour cream and chives, would have done no worse. I am amazed that anybody, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Socialist* could describe the Bush presidency as anything other than a complete failure from start to finish.

    * I guess Halliburton, Blackwater and other corporations who got no bid, no oversight contracts were happy with it.

  146. I would agree a baked potato would have done no worse because a baked potato would have done nothing (except perhaps be eaten or rot) but another politician might have done worse. I do not know if Obama will be worse but he might be. I am no Bush fan by the way, I am just saying it is not wise to dare the fates.

  147. All I can say is I think Bill Clinton getting a third and fourth term* would have been better than this. And we do know how he governed.

    *With a Republican Congress

  148. Isaac B.,

    The charts you link to include the accounting gimmick that counts Social Security surplus money as debt, even though it’s a “debt” that the government owes to itself. Absent that gimmick, the national debt dropped by a third of a trillion dollars during the surplus years at the end of the 1990s.

  149. We don’t have to speculate on whether Al Gore would have invaded Iraq; he can’t out very strongly against the invasion before it happened.

    There’s quite a bit of room between “peacenik” and “Dick Cheney.”

  150. joe | January 10, 2009, 2:00pm | #
    We don’t have to speculate on whether Al Gore would have invaded Iraq; he can’t out very strongly against the invasion before it happened.

    Yes, of course he did. His political future was over and he could ingratiate himself to the left wing of the Democratic Party by opposing a (then) popular war.

    Did you watch that video from 1992? He was uber-hawkish when he still held political office. He thought George Sr. was too soft. He sounded more like Dick Cheney than Howard Dean then.

  151. Remember the foreign policy “debate” in 2000 with Dubya, too? It was a love fest. They agreed on every military action taken by the U.S. since Vietnam!

  152. BDB,

    His political future was over and he could ingratiate himself to the left wing of the Democratic Party…

    Um…do you see a problem with that statement?

    His political career was over, so now he could ingratiate himself with a political faction?

    He was a hawk, no question. There’s no doubt he would have invaded Afghanistan. He probably would have carried out one or more “Operation Desert Foxes” against Iraq.

    But, once again, there’s a lot of room between “hippie pacifist” and Dick Cheney. There were myriad reasons not to invade Iraq, even from a hawkish point of view. In addition to liberal and anti-interventionist ideas, it was a just plain idiotic thing to do even from a realist perspective, and even from a conservative-hawkish perspective to do so while we were busy fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

  153. “His political career was over, so now he could ingratiate himself with a political faction?”

    Yes, so he could collect speaking fees from groups like MoveOn etc. There are other reasons to suck up to a political faction than public office.

  154. If Osama bin Laden is alive, it means he has access to an underground network capable of getting the equipment, and specialists with the medical expertise to use it, necessary to keep someone with kidney failure alive, to the mountainous hinterlands of northwest Pakistan.

    If his network is capable of that, what does it mean for their chem-bio aspirations?

  155. And wasn’t “regime change” also a stated goal of the Clinton-Gore administration?

  156. BDB,

    We’re talking about Al Gore, the man who won the popular vote in 2000. MoveOn dot org? You think he needed to suck up to MoveOn dot org to get speaking fees?

  157. “If Osama bin Laden is alive, it means he has access to an underground network capable of getting the equipment, and specialists with the medical expertise to use it, necessary to keep someone with kidney failure alive, to the mountainous hinterlands of northwest Pakistan.”

    Or it means he isn’t in the mountains at all.

    Notice how every major Al Qaeda guy we’ve captured (KSM, for example) is hiding in urban areas? Yeah. I think the cave stuff is propaganda for his videos more than reality.

  158. And wasn’t “regime change” also a stated goal of the Clinton-Gore administration??

    Yes, and to that end, they sponsored all sorts of covert actions intended to destablize the regime, kept the blockade in place, defended the Kurds, and launched several bombing missions.

    None of which constitute a policy of invading, overthrowing, taking over, and permanently occupying the country.

    You’re buying into 2002-vintage neocon thinking – if you don’t like Saddam, it means you have to support OIF. Not true.

  159. Al Gore’s words in 1992, when he was running for vice-president, eleven years before anyone dreamed up the idea of reinvading and occupying Iraq, should be taken as a reliable indication of his position.

    His words on the eve of the invasion itself, when he had no political career, should be taken as purely political.

    And also, too: in that speech, he most certainly did not echo the MoveOn line. He stated that there was a strong case the Saddam had WMDs, for example.

  160. Osama is almost certainly dead, or at least gravely ill. Otherwise, why would his deputy be putting out videos instead of him? How long has it been since he put out a video?

  161. I’m saying his 1992 speech (and the 2000 foreign policy debate) is a more reliable indicator of how he would have governed than what he said in 2002, yes. Why? Because the former tells us how he acts in situations where he has to play politics.

  162. Al Gore saying he is against the war in 2002 is about as worth as much as when Clinton came out for marijuana decrim. in January 2001. It tells us nothing about the policies they pursue.

  163. For God’s sake, he picked Joe Lieberman as his VP, joe!

  164. Actually, I think TallDave is correct that iraq is better off NOW than it was under Saddam.

    The question is, are WE better off as a result.
    Not so clear.

    We’ve blown a lot of cash. The Iraqi government doesn’t really like us that much. We stirred up a lot of shit, and the ME doesn’t seem to be getting any more peaceful. Our military is tied down, Afghanistan is falling apart, and Pakistan is tettering on the brink of an implosion.

    Not all of that is a direct result of the Iraq war, but it didn’t help any of it, for sure.

    Still, lets not begrudge the fact that Iraqi is gradually emerging into something, really, not half bad.

  165. I don’t think the money in your wallet says anything about the current vs. previous president or even the economy in general. I have $828 in my wallet right now. I can’t say exactly what I had on Jan 9, 2001, but it was probably considerably less since I think I made around 42K at the time. I in no way credit Bush for one penny of my increased earnings. And the economy isn’t better, but I am.

    You know how hard it was to get by on 42K per year in 2001? After you pay the rent, insurance, gas, electric, phone, and child support, there’s hardly anything left for booze, cocaine, tobacco, marijuana, skiing, strip clubs, fishing trips, guns, and cunting. But just as I can’t credit George Bush, I don’t blame Bill Clinton for the sad life of squalor I had in 2001.

    Minus the Democrat/Republican war on drugs, I’d probably have an extra 50 grand in my pocket today. I try not to think about it too much, but when I do, I’m blown away by the amount I’ve spent on partying over 20 years of “adult” life. I didn’t want that Mercedes anyway.

    Hey, it’s snowing outside. Gonna go play.

  166. If Osama bin Laden is alive, it means he has access to an underground network

    You forgot his access to the secret underground DHMO distribution network. Why he is keeping that one in his robe still puzzles me.

  167. Still, lets not begrudge the fact that Iraqi is gradually emerging into something, really, not half bad.

    Yeah, with a hundred thousand US troops on the ground the elected democratic government in Iraq still holds power. Whoop de fuckin’ do!

    Talk to me about success six months after our troops get out of there. Ya think it will be before 2012? I don’t.

  168. I never understood why Gore didn’t run again in ’04. He likely would have won.

  169. But who was worse: Bush or Lyndon Johnson?

  170. BDB,

    Without a strong presidential push, there would have been no political pressure to invade Iraq over the past eight years. It’s fine to say that Al Gore would have bent to the political winds, but the political winds were blowing towards an invasion of Iraq until Bush set them off.

    Also, think about how he two parties looked at the threat of terrorism. It was a much bigger deal to Clinton/Gore before 9/11 – they made the Chief of Counterterrorism a cabinet level post, Bush demoted him back to sub-cabinet. Clinton said that the threat of an al Qaeda attack kept him up and night; Bush said that Saddam would have to be confronted during the 2000 campaign.

    There’s a significant partisan split on the issue of the terrorism and national security in general, one that goes beyond hawk/dove divisions. Republicans still look at those issues in terms of competitions between states, while Democrats are much more focused on the issue of stateless terrorists. This is why we had 30,000 troops garrisoned in Kabul while the Talibuddies we hired escorted bin Laden out of Tora Bora. This is why Bush considered the Afghan War over once the Taliban military was routed and Karzai installed in Kabul. This is why they bought into the idea that fundie fanatic bin Laden was somehow tied in with Saddam. This is why they thought that installing a friendly government in Iraq was the solution to al Qaeda-style terrorism. This is why they thought that major military operations in Iraq would be over once the government was toppled and the Iraqi military had surrendered. This, to a large extent, explains why Republicans lean towards main-force military options to fight terrorism, while Democrats lean towards intel/special forces/law enforcement type of work.

    Deciding to invade Iraq as a response to 9/11 is a the most dramatic example of this state-based vision of 21st century security challenges. Nothing Gore did during his stint as VP or since leads me to think that he looks at the issue the way the Republicans do, rather than the way the Democrats do.

  171. For God’s sake, he picked Joe Lieberman as his VP, joe!

    Because terrorism and how to fight it was not a top-tier issue before 9/11, I don’t think the distinction I described above was as apparent when Gore picked Lieberman.

  172. Actually, I think TallDave is correct that iraq is better off NOW than it was under Saddam.

    Look closely at how TallDave set up this comparison: he compares the death rate in Iraq averaged over the entirety of Saddam’s tenure to the death rate there at the end of 2008.

    He doesn’t compare the situation there in 2002 to the situation today.

    Nor does he compare the average death rate between 1979 and 2003 to the average from 2003 to 2009. He cherry-picks.

    Yes, it is far better in Iraq now than it was during the Anfal campaign.

    However, talking about the death rate over the entirety of Saddam’s reign, and ignoring how restricted he was in the last five or so years of of the Saddam era, is like saying that the Germans murdered an average of 1 million people per year in concentration camps between 1939 and 1951. True, but highly misleading.

  173. Can I play the “What if Al Gore was President” game?

    Al Gore would have kept up the Iraqi embargo and no-fly zones. This would have kept US troops in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. There would have been numerous attacks on US soldiers and civilians in both countries. The Saudi Government would have been destabilized to the point of toppling. SA would now be the home seat of the growing Caliphate and oil would be $80 to $100 dollars a barrel.

  174. War.
    Over-reach.
    Rights abuse.
    Spending splurge.
    Torture.

  175. “Because terrorism and how to fight it was not a top-tier issue before 9/11”

    But you just said the Clinton/Gore administration was very worried about OBL and terrorism. So wasn’t Gore thinking that when he picked the Liebertool?

  176. BDB,

    But you just said the Clinton/Gore administration was very worried about OBL and terrorism.

    I said they were more worried about it than the Bush administration.

    I think we can pretty confidently say that, in hindsight, terrorism wasn’t a terribly high priority for anyone. It didn’t register at all as an issue in the 2000 elections.

    There was certainly more of a focus on the issue by the Clinton administration than the first eight months of the Bush administration, but it was still a pretty small-potatoes issue. I just brought that up by way of pointing out that stateless terrorism, distinct from foreign policy and security issues involving politics and conflicts between nations, has long gotten more attention from the Democrats than Republicans.

  177. Gee Bush was terrible, but compared to Clinton he shines. Compared to what Obama will deliver (trillion dollar deficits forever) he will be a saint.

    On an intregity basis he was holy, not having to define is or commit impeachable offensives before even entering the WH the author reveals both his lack of a moral compass and a unique set of double standards.

    In four years we will pine for the good old Bush years after witnessing the horror of the Obama politburo.

  178. We cannot evaluate Bush’s presidency based on TallDave’s statement that Iraq is “safe and free”.

    We can only do so by also answering the questions:

    1. Did Iraq’s safety and freedom cost us what we were told in advance it would cost?

    2. Are Iraq’s safety and freedom worth the direct costs borne by the US?

    3. Could the direct costs experienced by the US in making Iraq “safe and free” have done more to enhance US security, prestige and prosperity if they were spent on something else?

    Since the answers to these questions are No, No and No, the Bush presidency is still a failure, if we are to consider ONLY the Iraq adventure when evaluating it.

    Naturally, the Bush administration is associated with lots of other policy disasters, but we can leave those aside for the moment.

    Also, I don’t think we can determine whether or not Iraq is “safe and free” now until they elect a government that we don’t like. Then we’ll see how “safe and free” they are. I suspect that if a pro-Iran party or coalition of parties were to take power in Iraq, we would undermine that government either by direct attack or by encouraging Maliki or some other potential puppet to usurp authority in Iraq. Just like we did when Hamas beat Fatah in elections. Even now you aren’t “free” in Iraq if you want to form a Sunni political party.

  179. My sincere hope is that George Bush lives the rest of his life a pariah, and unable to leave his crappy scrub-brush “ranch.”

    Unable to leave due to the hateful, murderous stares he receives from his countrymen, and the threat of war crimes trials in other nations.

    I also wish genial warts upon him, if he hasn’t got them already.

  180. ‘On an intregity basis he was holy, not having to define is or commit impeachable offensives before even entering the WH the author reveals both his lack of a moral compass and a unique set of double standards.’

    Bush’s curious definition of ‘torture’ and his interpretation of such laws as the Non-Detention Act, made Clinton’s definition of ‘is’ look like integrity itself.

    (Of ocurse, Clinton did worse things than define ‘is,’ but I’m using the example you cited.)

  181. Surpisingly, even to me, I rate Clinton in the upper tier of prsidents in my lifetime. With LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Bush the 1st, and Bush the retarded son for competition, making the top 50%* is not that great of an achievement, but still …

    * Over any 50 year stretch in US history, you’ll probably find more screwed up chief executives than not.

  182. The Bearded Hobbit | January 9, 2009, 10:07pm | #
    For the first time in my fifty-odd years of life I was ashamed to be an American in March of 2003 when Bush The Lesser started a war with Iraq. For that one, simple fact I will hate that SOB for the rest of my life.

    I look forward to his War Crimes Trial.

    … Hobbit

    Well said.

    At least you live in Jemez…beautiful things to look at as you recover.

    ;^)

  183. J sub D, the least worst Presidents since World War II were Eisenhower, Reagan, and Clinton. Why? Because for whatever mistakes all of them made, none of them left the country in a ditch when they left office.

  184. Regarding Iraq,

    I believe Fluffy sums up nicely.

    I believe there is a meaningful reason it is called the “Department of Defense” now, no longer the “Department of War.”

    Iraq was a failure to see the distinction.

  185. ;^)
    I also wish genial warts upon him, if he hasn’t got them already.

    gen?ial: /?d?iny?l, ?d?ini?l/ [jeen-yuhl, jee-nee-uhl]
    -adjective
    1. warmly and pleasantly cheerful; cordial: a genial disposition; a genial host.
    2. favorable for life, growth, or comfort; pleasantly warm; comfortably mild: the genial climate of Hawaii.
    3. characterized by genius.

  186. you are so enthused about bad mouthing bush you have ignored one very important thing. thier have been no sucessfull attacks since 9-11. and it is not because they have not tried. we can onley hope and pray obama can do as well.unlike bush hateing leftists, most conserviives want obama to do well for the sake of our country.

  187. “you are so enthused about bad mouthing bush you have ignored one very important thing. thier have been no sucessfull attacks since 9-11.”

    ANNNNNTHRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAX!

  188. Hey John, it looks like there have been terrorist attacks since 9/11…on your grammar and critical thinking.

  189. thier [sic] have been no sucessfull attacks since 9-11…

    I have a magic rock that keeps away tigers…

  190. FWIW, vociferous critic of the outgoing Administration though I am, talk of “war crimes” trials is dumb-blonde-lefty tripe.

  191. thier have been no sucessfull attacks since 9-11.

    Thier haven’t?

    Of course, terror attacks have shot through the roof over the past seven years, globally. On recent study I saw put the number of terrorist attacks in 2008 at 5X what they were in 2001.

    I remember that one of the favorite Europe-bashing lines in the neocon rags shortly after 9/11 was to look at their supposed “appeasement” of terrorists as selling out the United States. “If we’re being chased by a bear, I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.” Oh, those terrible, terrible Europeans.

    Now, of course, we frequently see the fact that terror attacks have gone through the roof, but mainly been concentrated in other countries, presented as evidence by these same rags as evidence of George Bush’s brilliance.

  192. You’re being too harsh. Bush brought on the demise of free market capitalism in the U.S. and helped elect our first African-American president.

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