At the height of the newspaper wars between the Jeffersonian Republicans and the Federalists, the Philadelphia Aurora excoriated Federalist President Washington. It wrote:
“If ever a nation was debased by a man, the American nation has been debased by Washington. If ever a nation has suffered the improper influence of a man, the American nation has suffered from the influence of Washington. If ever a nation was deceived by a man, the American nation has been deceived by Washington.”
That scathing attack appeared Dec. 23, 1796, in the waning days of Washington’s adminstration. When he left office shortly thereafter, the Aurora breathed a metaphorical sigh of relief. It wrote:
“The man who is the source of all the misfortune of our country is this day reduced to a level with his fellow citizens and is no longer possessed of the power to multiply evils on the United States.”
The excoriation was vile — and utterly groundless. But, substitute the name Bush for Washington, and you have terrible truths.
President Bush has been an unmitigated disaster. He has debased the nation. He has squandered the nation’s influence abroad. He has deceived the nation into a 100-year war in Iraq. He is the source of daily outrages. He has no credibility about anything.
Mercifully, his power to multiply evils will end Jan. 20.
Here is a partial list of the “evils” of the calamitous Bush administration:
• He invades Iraq in violation of the Nuremberg principle against aggressive war and the U.N. Charter barring preemptive attacks. The war is unethical and immoral, a pile of excrement on the Bush escutcheon.
• He refuses to admit the real reason for the war is stealing Iraqi oil. He builds superbases with gigantic airplane runways and suburban comforts to ensure endless U.S. occupation.
• He tears up the Constitution with intolerable spying and surveillance while approving unconstitutional military show trials at Guantánamo. He mandates unfair and inadequate defenses for terrorism suspects.
• He gives tax cuts to people making $1 million a year while causing federal budgets to soar to astronomical levels. He deepens inequality by slashing regulations and oversight of business.
• He ruins America’s moral standing worldwide.
• He calls everything “national security,” which is just a cloak for keeping secrets and avoiding embarrassment.
• He demands extension of the unconstitutional Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protects telecom giants from lawsuits for cooperating with spying.
• He uses 9/11 for fearmongering and scare tactics to win support of his reactionary policies.
• He censors, suppresses and falsifies scientific facts that do not match his ideology. He constantly misconstrues the truth and manipulates the facts.
• He issues signing statements to congressional acts declaring the law is as he determines it.
• He churns out executive orders to solidify a monarchial “unitary executive” while declaring executive privilege. His presidency is imperil.
• He orders destruction of CIA tapes of torture at Guantánamo while defending waterboarding, outsourcing and degrading the office of attorney general by political firings.
• He vetoes a children’s health insurance program passed overwhelmingly by the House.
• He batters the environment, encouraging the EPA to flout laws, allowing snowmobiles in the sacred precincts of Yellowstone, seeking to drill in the Arctic wilderness, undermining the Endangered Species Act and allowing mass killing of gray wolves in Yellowstone.
• He maintains a global gag rule against providing counseling for abortions at U.S-funded clinics in developing nations, causing unsafe abortions.
• He insists on abstinence-only sex education, which is as foolish as the legend of King Canute commanding the waves to stand still. His administration is sexually repressed, its FCC fining CBS $550,000 for showing a breast for a nanosecond.
• He wants schools to teach intelligent design along with Darwinism, mixing unscientific religion with science.
• He eschews global warming despite the overwhelming evidence of scientists. He constantly rejects science that does not conform to his retrograde ideology. He suppresses government reports counter to that ideology.
• He is contemptous of international treaties—except when other nations violate them.
• He picks antediluvian judges, packing federal courts to rule long after he leaves office.
• He issues an executive order unilaterally repealing access to presidential papers mandated by the Presidential Records Act of 1978.
Bush, a sub-submediocrity unfit to be president, stains the nation.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.