(h/t Paul Constant)
… Mostly, I presume, because the old battleaxe doesn’t want to give “the smart Bush” the chance to show up Mommy’s Favorite Little Man as the brain-damaged runt he was, and is.
If you want an excellent antidote to the current shiny-object “reexamination” of the Dubya Legacy — perhaps there are young people or coma victims on your social networks who don’t remember the years 2000-2008 with any clarity? — Jon Chait at NYMag has a meaty compendium:
Yes, George W. Bush Was a Terrible President, and No, He Wasn’t Smart
More than three years still remained in George W. Bush’s presidency when it had already collapsed by the end of 2005. The Bush revisionism industry has thus enjoyed an unusually long period of time in which to plan out its action and predict their man’s comeback as a misunderstood, unduly maligned and — dare they say it? — successful president. The opening of the Bush museum today has opened up a flood of pent-up Bush revisionism…
When Bush first appeared on the political scene, and especially during the apparently successful first couple of years of his presidency, his defenders swatted away questions about his mental acuity by pointing to his success. If he’s so dumb, how has he achieved so much? Well, he didn’t. He oversaw a disastrous administration for precisely the reason his critics always grasped: Bush was an intellectual simpleton, a man who made up his mind in absence of the facts, who swatted away inconvenient realities as annoyances…
If you want to look kindly on Bush’s presidency, you can fairly say that, while he deserves significant blame for ignoring warnings of an Al Qaeda strike and the housing bubble, the disasters of his tenure were not entirely his fault. But what did he do? His economic policies exacerbated income inequality without producing prosperity. His massive increase of the structural budget deficit, which ballooned to over a trillion dollars before President Obama took office, left the United States less fiscally equipped to respond to the economic crisis he also left his predecessor. He initiated a costly war on the basis of both mistaken and deliberately cooked intelligence, and failed to plan for the postwar period. His policies not only ignored the crises of climate change and a costly and cruel health insurance system, but made both much harder to solve.
The failures of Bush’s governing method — the staffing of hacks and cronies, the disdain for evidence — was perfectly reflected in the outcomes. The Bush presidency was a full disaster at home and abroad, and whatever small accomplishments that can be salvaged barely rate any mention in comparison with the failures. The general reckoning of Bush is not too harsh. It is too kind.
Particulary recommended is the ten-minute video clip of an interview on Irish tv, which encapsulates every verbal tic, facial twitch, and tattered cliche that enraged us all for so many years.