Legacies and Lies

080128_Pol_BushTN

Yesterday marked the last State of the Union speech in what is certainly the worst presidency of my lifetime and will likely be regarded as being among the worst in American history. Thankfully, Bush will never give a State of the Union address again.

While “live blogging” the speech, Bob Cesca noticed that “he’s jovial tonight. Like a kid on the last day of school. No more shpeeches after tonight! Yay!” No more searching for a new way to say that tired phrase “the state of our union is strong.” No more stumbling over big words. Most commentators described the speech as a feeble attempt on the part of a “lame duck skirting the edges of relevance” to solidify his legacy.

Idaho’s congressional delegation, on the other hand, continue to delude themselves that Bush is the strong leader of their dreams. You have to wonder what speech Crapo and Sali were watching.
Crapo:

“He was not acting like a lame duck president tonight. He laid out a very aggressive agenda, and I think he’s going to make it happen. Each of the things that he identified, like the energy policy, the trade policy, the entitlement reform in terms of fiscal responsibility, the tax policy and so forth … all weave together as a part of a strong economic policy. Regardless of the fact that there is a huge debate on the stimulus package as to whether we should do it and what it should be, the president outlined a number of other areas that are important for us to deal with in terms of our economic strength.”

Sali:

“I think that the president’s speech was one that shows that he’s going to lead clear up until his last day in office. He had a fairly aggressive agenda laid out for us. I think he showed vindication of some of the policies that have passed, particularly in Iraq, with the surge. We never dreamed we’d have some of the successes we’re seeing out of Iraq. And his agenda on the stem cell debate … I think that’s vindication of some of his agenda items of the past, for the future. It seemed to be very, very well-received.”

To realize the degree to which Bush’s Presidency has been a failure, one just needs to listen to his words in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 2000:

“America’s armed forces need better equipment, better training and better pay . . . A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming . . . I don’t have enemies to fight. I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect . . . We’re learning to protect the natural world around us. We will continue this progress, and we will not turn back … to lead this nation to a responsibility era, that president himself must be responsible. So when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to uphold the laws of our land . . . I will not attack a part of this country because I want to lead the whole of it.”

Bush’s belief that future historians will be a better judge of his tenure are a fairy tale, like most of what he says he believes. His administration, characterized by decisions made by a small group of twisted ideologues, has done vast damage to the country and the world in ways that will take decades to repair — if repairs are indeed possible.

You are probably aware of the recent study by The Center of Public Integrity that includes a data base of Bush’s legacy of lies concerning the war in Iraq. If you haven’t visited the site, you should do so because it is possible to search the data base. So, for instance, if you want to read the lies told by Dick Cheney from 2001 to 2007, you enter his name and all 98 lies are there for you to read. This data base will be a wonderful resource for all those future historians!
One final Idaho connection with the SOTU speech from Bob Cesca:

If something awful happens, we’ll have President Dirk Kempthorne. Kempthorne is the Secretary of the Interior and was the cabinet member chosen to stay home tonight. His name is “Dirk Kempthorne” which almost as awesome as his undersecretary “Chest Rockwell.”

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