Look Back in Anger

by JimLarkinsGhost on October 25, 2010

George W. Bush wrote a book.  And to his credit, he seems to get why that, in itself, is funny:  “I have written a book. This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn’t think I could read, much less write.”

But as he promotes his book, his look back at  his Presidency is extremely irritating.  For example, he wants people to view his legacy thus:  “In terms of accomplishments, my biggest accomplishment is that I kept the country safe amid a real danger.”  The President who allowed the nation to suffer its worst terrorist attack in history says he’s the guy who kept us safe.

 The guy whose Presidency witnessed an attack on the Pentagon and thousands of American civilians dying in New York, and a guy whose profound mismanagement of a war founded on lies killed thousands more American service personnel “kept us safe.”  All kidding aside, that’s like Herbert Hoover taking credit for keeping us safe from Wall Street crashes. 

But perhaps the most telling comment he made was that his biggest failure in office was in not privatizing Social Security.  Of course Bush is not going to go through a laundry list of his failures, and he is going to try to claim victories where none really existed.  But this is still incredibly aggravating and insulting to read. 

This comment is insane for a whole variety of reasons.  First, anyone who sees what the “free market” has done to the jobs, homes, savings, and retirement funds of average Americans over the past couple of years and still thinks Social Security should be privatized is either spectacularly uninformed, greedy in the extreme, or both.

But the larger point is, of course – his greatest failure?  Not the complete failure to find WMD in Iraq?  Not the total mismanagement of the war itself?  Not No Child Left Behind?  Not the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina? Not the authorization of torture?  TORTURE?  Not the recession?  Not the failure to regulate the financial industry?  Not the massive deficits?  Not breaking the FISA law and violating the Fourth Amendment through illegal wiretapping?  Not alienating our allies?  The list could go on.

Again, he is clearly not going to see such things this way.  He will likely claim to his dying day that his administration did nothing wrong with regard to torture and wiretapping, that No Child Left Behind was a smashing success, etc., etc.  All politicians, obviously, try to portray their tenures in the best possible light, even lying in the effort to do so.   But it is still an absurdity to read that Bush thinks his greatest failure was that he didn’t put more people’s economic security in jeopardy by privatizing social security.

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