Also in Election 2008
Untangling Obama's Cabinet
Leaked Obama Transcript Explains Rick Warren Decision (with Draft of Warren's Invocation)
John Aravosis, Linda Hirshman
Bush Tries to Whitewash History; Portrays Himself as a Victim
As part of our look at the year -- and Bush presidency -- in review, Alternet is "resurfacing" its best and most popular pieces of 2008.
In a lot of ways, choosing the Bush administration's 10 greatest moments -- disastrous failures, all -- is about as pointless as picking out your 10 least favorite hemorrhoids: There are entirely too many of them, and taken together they all add up to a throbbing mass of pain. But unfortunately, history demands that we at least make the effort so that future generations will understand why we perform voodoo rituals cursing Bush's memory before we go to bed every night.
Narrowing down the Bush administration's various debacles to a mere 10 was no easy feat. In fact, I expect that many people will express dismay that their least favorite moment was left off the list. "How could commuting Scooter Libby's sentence not even make the top 10??!!" I can hear some of you shrieking already. Well, I'll tell you. Essentially, I tried to rate each Bush disaster by two main criteria: its body count and its damage to the country's reputation. So while Bush's awkward groping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be personally humiliating to everyone, it doesn't have the same heft as, say, the Iraq War.
But for those of you who insist on seeing your least favorite moment get its due, here is list of every honorable mention I could come up with: warrantless wiretapping; Valerie Plame; Scooter Libby's sentence commuted; Bush believes Rafael Palmeiro is innocent; soldiers face neglect at Walter Reed; signing statements; the Kyoto treaty ripped up; loyalty oaths; the fake turkey; a staged teleconference with troops, staged FEMA press conference, extraordinary rendition, support for junk science; endorsement of neo-creationist "intelligent design"; inaction against global warming; record oil prices; record budget deficits; record trade deficits; record number of Americans without health insurance; two recessions; no-bid contracts; bin Laden still at large; the Federal Marriage Amendment; stem cell research vetoed; waterboarding ban vetoed; "Last throes"; "Old Europe"; "It's hard work"; "Bring it on"; "Yo, Blair!"; "I'm the decider"; "I'm the commander guy"; "I'm a war president"; "This is the guy who tried to kill my dad"; "So?"; "Let the Eagle Soar"; John Bolton; Kenny Boy; Harriet Miers; John Roberts; Sam Alito; Blair talks Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera; Cheney shoots some guy in the face; the Military Commissions Act; Jose Padilla arrested and held without charge or access to counsel; endless tax cuts for the rich; let's waste a shitload of money by sending people to Mars and let's hire some Heritage Foundation staffers to rebuild Iraq.
And with that, let's go onto our 10 worst moments.
10: Bush Gets Re-elected
In a way, Bush's re-election was even more depressing than the shady shenanigans the GOP used to get him elected in 2000. See, back then Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" who promised to be a "uniter, not a divider" who would run a center-right administration like his father did. By 2004, the myth of Bush the Uniter had been demolished by his exploiting the 9/11 terror attacks for political gain, by dropping poison pills into bills to make Democrats vote against their own proposals, and by supporting needless and divisive initiatives such as a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. On top of this, the Bush re-election crew ran one of the nastiest and most negative campaigns in recent memory. The low point in the whole affair came when administration allies and surrogates took to the airwaves to falsely accuse Democratic candidate John Kerry of lying about his service in Vietnam, even claiming in one instance that he intentionally shot himself to get out of the war.
See more stories tagged with: bush
Brad Reed is a writer living in Boston. His work has previously appeared in the American Prospect Online, and he blogs frequently at Sadly, No!