Hit & Run

Buh-Bye

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A few early reviews of our most recent ex-president's eight-year performance:

The Economist sends Bush back to Texas with a boot to the ass:

HE LEAVES the White House as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. At home, his approval rating has been stuck in the 20s for months; abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America's reputation since the second world war. The American economy is in deep recession, brought on by a crisis that forced Mr Bush to preside over huge and unpopular bail-outs.

America is embroiled in two wars, one of which Mr Bush launched against the tide of world opinion. The Bush family name, once among the most illustrious in American political life, is now so tainted that Jeb, George's younger brother, recently decided not to run for the Senate from Florida. A Bush relative describes family gatherings as "funeral wakes".

That's just the beginning. There are another 2,500 words like that.

Over at the Guardian, Reason contributor Jeremy Lott says Bush Derangement Syndrome is the new rational thinking:

By conviction or necessity, we are all Bush haters now. Even those conservatives who defended him while in office will now face a stark choice: repudiate much of Bush's legacy or be rendered ridiculous.

[…]

Bush leaves behind a Republican party that is reduced in numbers and respect and too militaristic for the hawkish American people, an obese government that is substantially larger than the overweight one he inherited, a busted budget and a bleeding economy. History shouldn't forget that, and it isn't going to.

Ouch.

But Bush will always have the Weekly Standard. There, Fred Barnes has penned a laughable early Valentine to the outgoing president, ticking off W's top ten ("at least"!) "achievements," all, according to Barnes, driven by the man's unflinching courage. Included on Barnes' list:

• Unlike most politicians, Bush had the courage to significantly increase the federal government's role in the public schools. Ballsy!

• Bush had the courage to torture people!

• Bush courageously pandered to seniors by signing the prescription drug benefit, the largest new federal entitlement program in 40 years. Hey, it takes guts to tell the most active and politically powerful voting age group that you want to give them free stuff.

• Bush bravely fought to vastly expand his own power and to govern in secrecy. Unheard of! 

• When his disastrous war in Iraq began to implode, Bush fought to save his reputation by calling for more troops and more money. What fortitude!

Is it too late for Bush to give Barnes some sort of medal?