George W. Bush gave a touching eulogy for his father today, and in its own way it was truly wonderful. His affection for his dad seemed genuine, and who wouldn’t want their son to send them off with such a muscular, yet tender, tribute?
But one line in particular stuck out to me.
“He was a genuinely optimistic man, and that optimism guided his children and made each of us believe that anything was possible.”
Yeah, thanks for that, George Sr.
Never before in my life had I so solemnly wished a man had been a depressed malcontent who’d taught his children that life was an infinite black hole of suffering from which no light nor hope could escape.
Truth is, George H.W. Bush would have been a much better president, with a far more enduring and cherished legacy, if he’d gotten a vasectomy in — oh, I don’t know — 1945 or so.
Whatever you want to say about George H.W. Bush — and the loved ones of AIDS victims, as well as anyone unfairly victimized by racist dogwhistle ads since 1988, deserves their say — George W. Bush was garbage. And the George W. Bush reclamation project simply has to end.
W. was the Urkel president.
He got us into two costly, ruinous wars — at least one of which was wholly unnecessary. And the casus belli for the Iraq war famously turned out to be a nothingburger that was sold to the public with a steady torrent of half-truths and lies. His neglect may have led directly to 9/11. He crashed the economy, leading to the Great Recession.
Not to mention Abu Ghraib, the ballooning deficit, and a litany of other sins.
Then he leaves and for the next 10 years basically shrugs and says (in his signature old money New England/Southern twang), “Did I do that?”
And now too many people want to just give him a lifetime pass: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Yes, he was so, so awful — but charming, and funny!”
Yes, he was more gracious and arguably less frightening than the bubbling, oozing Superfund site who sits in the Oval Office now, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t, in reality, garbage.
If we’ve lowered our standards for what passes as a statesman so far that George W. Bush now qualifies, we truly are a nation in decline.
We needn’t dwell on the past, and maybe we can even forgive. But we shouldn’t forget. Because if we do, the dangerous mudslide from Quayle to W. to Sarah Palin to Donald Effing Trump will just keep collapsing underneath our feet.
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