It is time to concede this simple fact. The Bush Administration has been a successful presidency. I think at this point seven years into his incumbency there can be little doubt.
Granted for the first six years he had a rubber stamp Congress only too eager to hitch their own stunning corruption to his wild brand of success.
The gains he made in destroying the public commonweal from the surplus to public education to Medicare prescription benefits to almost but not quite Social Security were astonishing.
But even since 2006 in the true test of adversity George Bush has been almost singularly successful.
He turned the Department of Justice from an institution internationally admired for its impartial adherence to the rule of law to – excuse me, words fail me here – the closest I can come to it is stalinesque,
Evisceration of Constitutional guarantees of Habeas Corpus? Ditto.
A feeble FEMA? enough said.
A mercenary military? Blackwater - aka Hessians R us.
Not to mention the implicit but oft constitutionally upheld right to privacy. He has been singularly successful there. George Bush turned your telephone into his earphone and your Congress can barely stifle a yawn.
Now that is success.
But it is was ability to make torture the official policy of the United States that has been simply elegant.
I admire the man. Really, I do.
Poll after poll says that George Bush is a President as despised as Richard Nixon was at the nadir of the Watergate scandal. A majority of our fellow citizens say this country is on the wrong track. Measure after measure. Issue after issue.
But does Congress act to compel this man to actually honor his oath to “protect and defend the Constitution”?
Nahhh! To actually believe that stuff is for the simple people like you and me. Not those we elect to office. They know better. I sometimes forget my place in this democratic ecosystem and wonder why.
But surely it is not meant for people like our senators. Mine are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. They like to be called moderates. They must be. They certainly use their Constitutional office to hold a lawless and outright criminal administration to account pretty moderately. I don't expect your's do any better, But I do wish mine would decide to spend more time with their families.
No, our Congress has become bi-partisan. That means giving your telephone company immunity for illegally giving George Bush illegal information he was not legally entitled too is reasonable. Even though they all had a way to do it legally if it was necessary. That was a law called FISA. But you can forget I said it because that will be an obsolete acronym soon enough.
Why is it that “reasonable” with these people always ends up meaning selling out the Constitution?
Ahh but then there is torture.
That is George Bush's crowning glory - so to speak. Since the very founding of our nation torture has been the one area that we have steadily held to be the very the definition of Scum of Humanity. If you do it you are Scum. It really was that simple. For hundreds of years our civilization the one that bore this nation held torture beyond contempt becoming more and more certain in its determination that that was so. Even when that belief was breached it was eventually corrected. Often by hanging.
We hung Nazis to prove we meant it.
In those times the United States – our country- drove the efforts to outlaw torture forever everywhere no matter what. These efforts became the third and fourth Geneva conventions. We created the international institutions that recognized torture as the abomination that it is.
We even explicitly made those conventions our laws.
These days our government still can criticize those governments we don't like that do torture but how George Bush keeps a straight face, I don't know. The man is a genius. And certainly the world only laughs at us.
Somehow George turned it all around. We torture.
You and me and the guy next to you – we all do it. We do it in Guantanamo. We do it in the CIA's black sites. We have Syrians and Egyptians do it for us and wherever else we can KlubMed those we want beaten to within a heartbeat of their lives without the rule of law getting in the way.
Because George Bush made it OK. Need more proof?
The likely next Attorney General will be just like the last Attorney General – Fredo - in being completely happy to let you and your country torture people.
Senate Question: Waterboarding?
Nominee Answer: That's personally abhorrent.
Senate Question: “Is it torture? “
Nominee Answer: Wink Wink...
Senators Diane Feinstein and George Schumer: “Well, that's enough for me.”
And your Congress will happily go along.
Oh sure they will make long faces and talk about the rule of law before they vote to approve his nomination but that is talk for the simple people like you and me.
Chalk another win up for President Bush.