Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ten Things Bush Got Right...No seriously...

This week I thought that I’d really challenge myself. In just over nine days we will have a new President of the United States of America, and hopefully our long national nightmare will be over. Inevitably, when one person leaves office there will be numerous discussions about what his or her legacy will be. So I started to think about Gee Dub and his legacy, and in between my bouts of uncontrollable laughter and blind rage I started thinking to myself, “I wonder how far I can stick a Q-tip in my ear before I do permanent damage?” Then I thought, “Is there anything that this guy (and his administration) got right?” I mean, since the Evil Empire stole the election nearly nine years ago the nation has been suffering through a long list of embarrassing and downright horrible decisions that have affected the world adversely on an unprecedented scale. Taking account of all of the mistakes and negative outcomes that the administration has been a part of would be a monumental task, so I thought doing the inverse would be easier. I thought that I’d try to drop the negativity for a week and find ten things that the Bush administration did right. Little did I know how hard that would actually be. Just to let you in a little bit on my struggle, I started research for this article over a month ago. Do a web search for anything relating to Bush, and all you will find in the first 20 pages is a laundry list of failures, missed opportunities, and public outrage. However, after much effort on my part I was able to find ten things that were at least marginally positive that happened during the reign of the silliest and most inarticulate president of modern times…but that was only half of the battle. Now I had to write this article in a positive light. This second constraint was the one I found most difficult. I mean it’s just too easy to bag on GW. Even the BBC can’t keep from doing it. Seriously, I bet if you stand close enough to him you can hear the ocean.

Anyway, here is what I was able to come up with after all of my effort, self-censorship and tongue-biting – The Top Ten (read: the only ten) Things That the Bush Administration Got Right:

1. An Integrated White House. For all of his backwards hillbilly ideals and attitudes, President Bush will go down in history as the first president to ever hire someone hat isn’t Whitey to any of the top four positions of the executive branch. He appointed the first non-white attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, as well as both the first (Colin Powell) and second (Condoleezza Rice) non-white secretaries of state. Whew! One down, nine to go.

2. Pro-Environment?!? Believe it or not, (even though he has opened vast tracts of land to mining, logging and drilling, eased many environmental requirements and restrictions on corporations involved in those operations, refused to impose restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and engaged the nation in war for foreign oil) President Bush has protected 195,280 square miles of land and ocean by declaring them National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries. More than any other president in history.

3. Tax credit. The guy gave me $1500 that I didn’t have before, so that’s something. Right? Yeah, I know it’s stretching it, but this is harder than it looks.

4. Ban on racial profiling. Again, seemingly going against his public perception of being a good ole’ boy GW declared the first national ban on racial profiling. Then he promptly created the Department of Homeland Security and ordered them to round up every Muslim air passenger and send them to Gitmo. O.K. What are we on? Four? Jesus, I don’t know if I’m going to make it.

5. African AIDS Relief. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President Bush created, and the leadership he provided are actually unprecedented in presidential politics. His support for funding, aid, and education in Africa and other parts of the developing world have made a positive impact on the HIV / AIDS struggle.

6. Public Political Interest. This administration’s ineptitude and overtly neoconservative push has served to engage many people that were previously either disenfranchised or apathetic about getting involved in politics or even expressing their right to vote. More people voted in the last election than ever before. More people are getting educated about their voting choices, and we will soon have the first black President of the United States as a direct result of this.

7. More on the Environment. During the Bush years, ethanol and wind energy production has quadrupled, and the nation’s solar energy capacity and biodiesel production has more than doubled. They ponied up about $18 billion (a pittance compared to the $120 billion per month that we dump on the war) to research alternative energy technologies and promote the hydrogen economy. We’re nearly there. My powers of self-restraint are fading…

8. Health Care. The number of uninsured children under the age of 18 actually declined by about a million during the Bush administration. The creation of new health savings accounts is a great step towards independence for individuals from asshole insurance companies.

9. Lowered Crime Rates. The crime rate has dropped by nearly 10% since 2000 to the lowest it has been in over thirty years. Also, repeated drug use by teens has dropped by about 25%. I’m not sure that Bush had anything to do with this directly, but I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel here, people.

10. He gave me eight years of shameless complaining and laughter. During his administration we didn’t have to look too far to find someone to point fingers at when the shit hit the fan, did we? For most of the last decade I’ve felt like an extra wandering around on the set of Idiocracy. In hindsight, this should have been #1.

And there we have it. The ten-ish things that the Bush administration did right (with minimal negative comments from Daniel P.). It’s pretty sad that it was such a difficult task. George Walker Bush, 43rdUnited States, undoubtedly remains the most incompetent and mentally-challenged president we have ever had to endure as a nation…twice. The actions of the Bush administration have brought us international embarrassment that will likely take many years to undo. What will history see as his legacy? Will he even be remembered in 50 years? Only time will tell. Let’s just hope history doesn’t repeat itself…at least not while I’m still alive anyway.

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