Sunday, January 18, 2009

Goodbye to worst president ever

Patrick Corrigan
January 15, 2009
January 15, 2009

Farewell to George W. Bush, the worst American president ever and one of the worst "friends" to Canada ever to reside in the White House.

Tonight at 8 p.m., Bush will deliver a televised speech to Americans in which he will defend what he calls "a good, strong record" of accomplishments during his eight years in power.

The speech will be his last bid to put a positive "spin" on his legacy before flying home next Tuesday to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, right after Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president.

But many Americans, Canadians and others around the globe have already made up their minds.

For them, it's good riddance to George Bush.

That's because Bush was an unmitigated disaster, failing on the big issues of his presidency, from the invasion of Iraq to global warming, Hurricane Katrina and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Of course, Bush is quite used to such criticism.

Back in 2001, in the first months of his presidency, then prime minister Jean Chrétien labelled Bush "a cowboy." One of his aides later called him "a moron," a comment for which she was fired.

They were both right, although Bush may have been more an incompetent than a moron.

For much of the last two weeks, Bush has been granting legacy-focused interviews, insisting his presidency was a huge success.

Strangely, he boasts of his record.

If you doubt that, just check out the official White House website (www.whitehouse.gov).

There's a whole section on "The Bush Record," with lengthy documents titled "Highlights of Accomplishments and Results of George W. Bush," and "100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record."

Among the "achievements" cited are stacking courts with conservative judges, cutting off U.S. tax funds to foreign non-governmental agencies that promote abortion, and pushing for more offshore oil exploration.

Nowhere will you find any mention of not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the pretext on which Bush ordered the invasion of the country and which has resulted in more than 4,000 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths.

To be fair, Bush said this week the failure to find such weapons was "a significant disappointment." But he didn't say he made a mistake in starting the Iraqi war.

Indeed, Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are the main reason his reputation is in tatters.

It was his decision ultimately to launch the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to allow the lax conditions in the military that led to atrocities such as Abu Ghraib and the shipping of suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Also, Bush takes no responsibility for the economy, for the fact that the number of Americans without any health insurance rose by nearly 10 million to some 47 million, and for wreaking havoc on America's reputation abroad, a claim he vehemently challenged in his final press conference earlier this week.

"I disagree with this assessment that, you know, that people view America in a dim light," he argued.

All this is why 98 per cent of a group of 109 historians polled last year by George Mason University rated Bush a failed president, with 61 per cent considering him one of the worst in American history.

For Canada, Bush ended his eight years in the Oval Office as ignorant and indifferent about this country as when he first took power.

Despite all the talk about how Canada is one of America's best friends, Bush largely ignored us.

And when he wasn't ignoring us, he was hurting us.

Part of that was to be expected. Bush had nothing in common with Chrétien, who rejected his request for Canada to join the war on Iraq (Bush cancelled a long-scheduled visit to Ottawa because of Chrétien's decision), and not much more with Paul Martin. Stephen Harper tried to cozy up to Bush, but by the time he came to power in 2006 Bush was already starting to enter his lame-duck phase.

During his tenure, Bush clamped down on our border in the name of national security, let U.S. immigration agents hassle Canadian citizens, and did nothing to ease the continuing fight with Washington over key trade issues such as cattle, wheat and softwood lumber.

Indeed, Bush leaves Washington the way he came – with a little bit more knowledge about Canada, but almost no more interest.

After such a failed presidency, Bush's departure is welcome.

So, goodbye George. Hope you enjoy the ranch.

No comments:

The Best Online Last Will And Testament Website

PartingWishes.com - Write a will, power of attorney or living will (Click here)
No lawyer required.  Just answer the simple questions to create your legal documents online.
Make updates at any time free of charge.  Lawyer approved, at one-tenth the cost.
Also offers FREE services to create your funeral wishes, last messages and online memorials.

amazon deals 2

Live Face On Web

CNN.com - Most Popular

Oddee -

CNN.com Recently Published/Updated