Statement of Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for American’s Future
George W. Bush is likely to be remembered only for his failures – for demonstrating, in no uncertain terms, the failure of modern conservatism. Handed all the reins of power – the White House, Congress, and to a large extent, the Supreme Court – conservative rule proved catastrophic.
George W. Bush embraced the bellicose unilateralism of the neo-conservatives, and undermined U.S. security in the worst foreign policy debacle since Vietnam – the war of choice in Iraq. Bush and Cheney scorned the Constitution to tout the “unitary executive,” and shredded the moral reputation of the US across the world in the torture committed at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the CIA’s secret prisons.
Bush touted the supply doctrine of tax cuts uber alles, and created only greater debt, Gilded Age inequality and slow growth with stagnant wages. He championed the corporate “free trade” doctrines, and left the U.S. the world’s largest debtor, while American manufacturers suffered a decade-long recession. He celebrated deregulation and privatization, and watched as an unregulated banking system blew up the global economy with its speculative follies.
And now, at the end of this era of misrule, the costs are clear.
- An economy in tatters, in the midst of the worst recession and the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
- $3 trillion squandered on the war in Iraq, which is now the second longest in American history (behind Vietnam), leaving more than 4,200 Americans dead, 30,000 wounded, and a military stretched to its limit.
- Abuses of power that make Watergate look like a high school prank, including warrantless wiretapping, the politicization of the Justice Department, retribution against critics, and secret assertions of executive authority.
- Unprecedented scorn for international law and human rights – every day we learn more about the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and the extraordinary rendition of individuals to countries that torture.
- Rejection of science in the name of politics, misleading the public about global warming, endangered species, toxic chemicals, and consumer safety.
- Refusal to protect Americans’ health, welfare, safety and legal rights by defunding or underfunding agencies charged with enforcing rules vital to keeping corporations accountable
- A criminally slow response to Hurricane Katrina, our nation’s worst natural catastrophe in generations.
- Gilded Age inequality, a declining middle class, and rising poverty – even when the economy was growing.
President Bush argues it is premature to judge his presidency. But history provides context, not whitewash. Inescapably, the presidency of George W. Bush – and the conservative policies that he pursued – will be ranked among the most calamitous in American history.
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