The Greatest President Ever

Hey!  What’s up, guys?  Good to see you.

Man, if only sitting in front of a computer burned calories.  You know what I think would work?  Some kind of floor pedaling thing you put under the desk and you can pedal as you work.  Like a miniature recumbent exercise bicycle.  And, uh, it’ll create a nice computer cooling breeze, too.  Patent pending.  The desk friendly spinning cycle.

Sia

Sia is the most awesomest of awesome artists.  She is just … she’s incredible.  I finally bought “Colour the Small One”.  I’ve been listening to “Some People Have Real Problems” for a while and then realized there was a whole ‘nother album.  And it is artistry.  Thing is, her music gets me on different levels.  I had the music on while doing some web work and one moment the lyrics grab me.  And then the next it’s the music.  And then the next it’s the production, the textures, instrumentation, musicianship.  Beautiful.

The Greatest President Ever

You’ve probably seen the polls about Bush’s presidency.  I don’t know how scientific they are but they do generate discussion and provide fodder for the incessant news talk shows.  And bloggers.  Can’t forget bloggers.  Short version: most people think he wasn’t a very good president.  But what got my attention is the 3% who apparently responded that President George W. Bush was the best president in American history.  Oooookay.

So I googled “president bush greatest president in history”.  There’s a satirical site, but there are also editorials that imply that Mr. Bush was a good or great president and will be vindicated in retrospect.  Some blogs use the rhetorical question Fox News-ish approach:  “Our Greatest President?”

I could answer that one for you, but let me just keep going here.  I really want(ed) to know what the reasoning is behind that.

One guy, in May of 2007, lauded the strong economy, despite the 9/11 financial aftershocks, and said that anyone who didn’t have a job didn’t want one.  [taking a deep breath]   Wow.

Another said that it’s the liberal and European elites who are painting a reactionary, bitter picture of Mr. Bush’s presidential legacy.  One, it amazes me when right wing pundits and media giants call other people “elite”.  Two, you have to be willfully ignorant or a [gerund] [expletive] to try to convince people that only out of touch caviar eating, limo chauffeured moguls and foreigners disapprove of the policies of the past eight years.

Any time you hear someone say any of the following or similar key words — “elite”, “liberal elite”, “liberal media”, “elite msm (mainstream media)”, “socialist”, “marxist” — you can pretty much guarantee that the rest of their sentence is logically fallacious.  Um, except for the previous sentence.  It provides them with a logical copout from being rational.

And have you noticed that the people that are labeled elites are the ones who want to strengthen the lower and middle classes?  There is no quicker way to be labeled elite than to be rich or famous and try to affect policies in favor of the middle or lower socio-economic classes.

Why?

But I’m not going to fall for that trap.  Won’t get hung up on that.  Not prudent at this juncture.  So what is it about Mr. Bush that makes people say that he’s a great president?  Want to guess?  I’ll give you a hint.  Two hints.  Nine and eleven.

The fact that America hasn’t been hit by a foreign terror attack since 9/11, that seems to be the justification.  They claim that Pres. Bush has kept us safe for the past seven years.

I think that’s myopic at best.  Here’s my reasoning.

I don’t know if any Administration would have been able to prevent the attacks on 9/11.  I mean, I don’t know if there was enough information at the time that one or two agencies could have put together to have specific information.  Apparently, we’ve known that Bin Laden and others have been itching to attack America for decades so that PDB “Bin Laden Determined to Attack U.S.”‘ wasn’t taken as an imminent threat.  And there had been plenty of discussion about terrorists flying planes into buildings, but before 9/11 that had never been a tactic of Al Qaeda.  Whatever the case:

  1. About 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which is atrocious, and whoever orchestrated that needs to be caught and brought to justice.
  2. To date, the casualty rate for U.S. troops is 4,846.  So we’ve lost more citizens — sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, brothers, sisters —  since 9/11 than on 9/11.  4,213 of them in Iraq.  And I assume that number doesn’t include military contractors/mercenaries.

Also, civilian casualties might not factor into the argument if America is your sole focus, and maybe you can argue with the statistics and surveys, but let’s see.  According to unknownnews.net:

http://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.html

At least 716,760 people have been killed, and
1,397,255 seriously injured in Afghanistan and Iraq
since the U.S. and coalition attacks, based on lowest credible estimates.

Most recent update: December 10, 2008.

This page is updated monthly.

More than 101 times as many people have been killed in these wars and occupations than in all terrorist attacks in the world from 1993-2004.

About 239 times as many people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than in the ghastly attacks of September 11, 2001.

or here’s a Wikipedia entry:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War but their numbers aren’t up to date — August 2007 at the latest, it looks like.  How many of those people do you think were women and children (which is what seems to tug at hearts when the media reports on wars).

Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was not the fault of Mr. Bush’s presidency.   And no one blew up the levees to get rid of black people.  The levees failed because of ubiquitous incompetence and indifference.    The slow, impotent response of the Federal government was largely due to cronyism.  That’s my take, anyway.  Michael Brown, my eye.

Vice President?

Hey.  Wait a minute.  How come no one is mentioning Dick Cheney?  I guess they don’t factor in VPs when they do these “how was the Presidency” surveys.  Definitely would not have helped the numbers.

Economy

I don’t really understand why the bottom of the economy fell out when and how it did.  Except that the bottom was built on a foundation made out of sugar and salt and then it rained.  But I do know that up until the financial crisis and slightly into it, the outgoing Administration was drumming into our heads that the economy and the foundations of  our economy were strong.  There’s no recession, c’mon.  Don’t listen to those eggheads.  Our economy is strong.  Because we’re America, damn it!

From Wonk Room

In 2002, Vice-President Dick Cheney and the Bush administration’s economic team met to discuss a second round of tax cuts, which would follow Bush’s 2001 cuts. At the meeting, “then-Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill pleaded that the government — already running a $158 billion deficit — was careening toward a fiscal crisis.” Allegedly, Cheney replied by saying that “deficits don’t matter.”

Six years later, the Bush administration’s consistent belief that deficits don’t matter has increased the national debt to over $10 trillion. This is the highest dollar amount ever, and pushes the debt to 69% of the gross domestic product, which is the highest percentage since 1955.

debtgnp.gifBush has presided over the largest increase in the debt of any president in history. When he took office, “the national debt stood at $5.727 trillion.” In eight years, there has been an increase of over 70%.

So I’m going to venture a guess that those financial policies contributed to our current situation.  The housing bubble grew and grew and no one listened when people said it was going to burst any day now.   Oy gevalt.

Closing

Well, my attention span just hit the wall.  Holy crap, it’s 3pm already and I’ve done nada.  I need to get away from all things computer for a while.  I’m ODing.

My point is, for those who have skipped to the end here, a majority of people think the Bush presidency has been awful because it has, in fact, been awful.  Not because of some plot by the “liberal MSM” or “elites”.

If you’re a one trick pony, a one issue voter, you can look at the Bush presidency and pick something and say, “I agree with that.  He did a heck of a job.  We’re much better off in regards to that one issue than we were eight years ago.”

But really?

Or maybe when the fires are raging and waters are rising in your city due to infrastructure failure, your high rise is untouched and you think, “My elected officials are awesome.  We haven’t had a single death in our high rise.  Well, if you don’t count the first responders that lived here.  But still.  Hey, if they have to monitor my phone calls and declare the doorman as enemy combatant and take him to a secret prison, that’s fine with me.  Hey, how come the toilets won’t flush.  Ah, safe and secure.”

Hm.  That’s almost a little too close to home to work as a metaphor, huh.

Okay, seriously.  I’m going.  Comments, corrections and thoughts, please?

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