Thursday, September 15, 2005

End of the Bush Era

E.J. Dionne says Bush is done for.

"The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realize that, the better for them -- and the country.

Recent months, and especially the past two weeks, have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans the truth that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this."
I saw a report yesterday and failed to capture a citation for the blog, but the article reported on the recent violence in Iraq and said that atrocities had been committed. One example provided was that a child was killed and booby trapped so that her parents would also be killed when they discovered her.

One of the many excuses for invading Iraq, was to remove that awful dictator. They implied that life would be better without him. Anyone see an improvement?

I've heard so many reasons why George Dumbya Bush invaded Iraq that I can't recall what the most recent one was. A troll commented on this blog recently that Bush attacked Iraq to keep the terrorists from attacking us here at home. I guess that didn't work out so well for Tony Blair, did it?

If this is the end of the Bush era, it's about damn time.

And so the Bush Era ended definitively on Sept. 2, the day Bush first toured the Gulf Coast States after Hurricane Katrina. There was no magic moment with a bullhorn. The utter failure of federal relief efforts had by then penetrated the country's consciousness. Yesterday's resignation of FEMA Director Michael Brown put an exclamation point on the failure.

The source of Bush's political success was his claim that he could protect Americans. Leadership, strength and security were Bush's calling cards. Over the past two weeks, they were lost in the surging waters of New Orleans.

But the first intimations of the end of the Bush Era came months ago. The president's post-election fixation on privatizing part of Social Security showed how out of touch he was. The more Bush discussed this boutique idea cooked up in conservative think tanks and Wall Street imaginations, the less the public liked it. The situation in Iraq deteriorated. The glorious economy Bush kept touting turned out not to be glorious for many Americans. The Census Bureau's annual economic report, released in the midst of the Gulf disaster, found that an additional 4.1 million Americans had slipped into poverty between 2001 and 2004.

The federal budget, already a mess before Katrina, is now a laughable document. Those who call for yet more tax cuts risk sounding like robots droning automated talking points programmed inside them long ago. Katrina has forced the issue of deep poverty back onto the national agenda after a long absence. Finding a way forward in -- and eventually out of -- Iraq will require creativity from those not implicated in the administration's mistakes. And if ever the phrase "reinventing government" had relevance, it is now that we have observed the performance of a government that allows political hacks to push aside the professionals.

And what of Bush, who has more than three years left in his term? Paradoxically, his best hope lies in recognizing that the Bush Era, as he and we have known it, really is gone. He can decide to help us in the transition to what comes next. Or he can cling stubbornly to his past and thereby doom himself to frustrating irrelevance.

Update: Here's a reference to that report of atrocities in Iraq:

GRAPHIC claims of atrocities in Iraq emerged yesterday, including the booby-trapping of a murdered child's body, as a new wave of violence claimed more than 120 lives.