Today is the last day of the Bush Administration. Two cheers! Still, as our man sets about the business of screwing up whatever he has possibly still left unscrewed in these last twenty-four hours, I can’t help but suspect that we will come to miss the man, this poor, hapless imbecile.
For the last twenty-eight years– virtually all of my adult life–the country has been ruled by a conservative ideology. Reagan said it himself: “Government is not the answer to our problems; government is the problem.” Bill Clinton, beset by a Republican revolution in the Congress, had to go along: “The era of big government is over.”
And so for twenty-eight years, the Republicans, sometimes aided by Democrats, have set about dismantling the government, replacing experts with hacks, scientists with creationists, administrators with political cronies. Wasn’t it the famous “Brownie” of the New Orleans disaster, whose previous qualification was directing the “Wild Thoroughbred Horse Association.”? Oh, and being a Republican fundraiser.
The Republicans were lucky in having a genial, television-friendly Ronald Reagan for eight years to make it seem like they weren’t slowly wrecking the government. Still, the record deficits (records then, anyhow) ought to have given people a clue. But the luck ran out with George Bush, who managed, in his twinkling time as President, to make a disaster out of virtually everything.
There is not a single thing one can think of that is not worse than it was in 2000. And not just like, a little bit worse, but, say, oh, a hundred times worse. This is not some crazy accident, a bit of bad luck for George W. Bush. It is the direct result of a quarter century of giving the Republicans everything they could ever have possibly asked for.
A better spinmeister– Reagan, say– might have somehow managed to make Americans blindly find someone other than the Republicans to blame. Not so with George Bush. The man had the Midas Touch in reverse: everything he touched turned to crap. And finally, at last, even people who’d gone along with the whole Republican tidal wave of lies began to notice that the entire country is broken.
Nothing made a case for the Democrats like George W. Bush. Every time he opened his imbecilic, simian mouth, he drove home the point once again that the nation was being run by an orangutan. It was all summed up by a fine bumper sticker: SOMEWHERE IN TEXAS, A VILLAGE IS MISSING ITS IDIOT.
Now that he’s gone–is he really gone?– the business of repairing the country will go on, and on, probably for years. We will have to face serious choices and sacrifices, and some of these problems will probably not be solved in my lifetime; a quarter century of wrecking the government and handing everything over to Jesus will probably take more than a quarter century to fix.
My guess is that we will miss having George Bush to kick around, that soon enough people will look at the disaster we are in and begin to blame Barack Obama for it. Without George Bush we will lose a daily reminder of what happens when the country we love attacks other nations without just cause; when we trample upon the Constitution; when we turn to torture; when we make whipping boys and girls out of gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens; when we spend and spend without ever raising taxes to pay for it all.
In short; we will miss having a leader quite so stupid.
Oh well. There’s always Sarah Palin.