NOW THAT HE’S GONE, I suppose we can begin reflecting on the eight years during which George W. Bush was our President … of the United States … of America. It really happened, right? All of those images flash by at warp speed. Mission Accomplished. Clearing brush down on the ranch in Crawford, Texas. As I review these things I can’t help but ask myself a very simple question: WHY?
Why did the compassionate conservative immediately get the poor into a vice grip from which they cannot escape until well into the Obama administration? Why did Bush listen to certifiable nut cases such as Paul Wolfowitz and Ron Perlman? Why did people in the Bush administration believe that if you have a football game but tell the referees to stay home, everyone will still play nice because it is in their best interest to do so (see Gordon Gecko and Adam Smith)? Why did our beloved Senator Ted Kennedy allow himself to be bamboozled into co-sponsoring what is now fondly known as “No Child Left a Dime”? Why did Bush do nothing in regard to the Middle East until his final week in office? Why did the American People elect him to a second term after knowing full well what they had got from the first?
SOMEHOW I DOUBT there will be a Bush version of “Nixon Frost” so I’m not optimistic I will ever have an answer to these among my many questions. The people who voted for Bush the second time probably aren’t talkin’. I know I wouldn’t. So I don’t think I’ll be eliciting any explanations from certain people most responsible for the mess we’re in – the people who voted for GWB in 2004 and the people who didn’t vote at all.
What liberal isn’t happy about the ascendency of the first real minority (other than Irish Catholics) into the American monarchy. We rejoice in the take-over of Congress (we can expect results from the Franken-Coleman race in Minnesota no later than next summer) by politicians who are more progressive than, well, the people who were in charge before. We breathe a collective sigh of relief as we contemplate the retirement of the handful of liberal voices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Just in time politics. A bit too close for comfort.
It’s easy to be happy that a smart, even-headed, even-handed guy like Mr. Obama has finally managed to become “the leader of the free world.” But what a mess he has to clean up. After so much promise and the enormous good will following September 11, so crudely squandered on a simplistic right wing agenda. The good news is people beyond our shores can’t possibly hate us more than they do now.
I won’t get my answer. But at least, now, I no longer need or want to ask the question.