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Intro: "The GOP wants to erase George W. Bush's ruinous presidency from the nation's memory, but the Dems shouldn't let it happen. Michael Tomasky on the gift that keeps on giving."

Former President Bush hugs President Obama at his inauguration. (photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom)
Former President Bush hugs President Obama at his inauguration. (photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom))

George W. Bush, Barack Obama's Best Friend

By Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

03 April 12


The GOP wants to erase George W. Bush's ruinous presidency from the nation's memory, but the Dems shouldn't let it happen. Michael Tomasky on the gift that keeps on giving.

o George W. Bush, reports Politico, is laying low these days, avoiding the spotlight that shone briefly on his father and his brother Jeb recently as they endorsed Mitt Romney's candidacy. This whole subject of the post-Bush GOP and its relationship to No. 43 is pretty fascinating. Like a crazy, drunk uncle shooting an epileptic dog because he has fleas, the current GOP shuns him for all the wrong reasons. Since the GOP will presumably spend the next few months trying to pretend the man never existed, Democrats ought to remind people that he did. In fact, the Democratic Party should spend the next 20 years talking about Bush, turning him into the new Jimmy Carter and making the memory of those eight squalid years quadrennially fresh to everyone with living memory of them for as long as is humanly possible.

Bush, Politico notes, "is in a self-imposed political exile." Perhaps predictably, Ari Fleischer pops up to note that that's a lowdown dirty shame because Bush "kept us safe" through a perilous time and oversaw a booming economy in between two recessions. These claims aren't even worth spitting out one's cornflakes over, let alone rebutting. But merely as a point of information, people should know that the economy didn't exactly boom from 2002 to 2008, except of course for the 1 percent of the population the policies were designed to aid. Bush's job-growth record was the worst of any president going back to the Depression. The table you can see here goes back to Truman. Obviously, Roosevelt grew jobs at a fairly significant rate, since unemployment under him went from 24 percent to essentially zero during the height of the war. So you have to go back, I'd suppose, to Herbert Hoover to find someone who did worse than Bush's .01 percent growth in jobs per year.

Yes, Obama's jobs record is worse - for now. But at least in Obama's case you have a guy who really did come into office at the start of a major recession, the worst in 80 years. Since the recession eased and ended, nearly 3.3 million jobs have been added - meaning that if he has a second term, he will in all likelihood leave Dubya eating some of that famous Texas dust. In any case, Americans still pin the shattered economy on Bush. A poll released only last week from CNN showed 56 percent blame Bush, while just 29 percent finger Obama.

The fact that we're still clawing our way out of the darkness that Bush set upon us is the reason he is still relevant. Recently, Romney made him even more so, by insisting to an audience that it was Bush and Hank Paulson who actually saved the country from a depression. Beyond that, Romney's campaign staff and advisers are so full of Bush people - on political strategy, the economy, foreign policy, and other areas - that one former Bush speechwriter (who is not on the Romney bus) has called it "a restoration of the Bush establishment."

And yet, even as Romney makes those moves, which only about 2 percent of the population will know about, the party will obviously try to distance itself from Bush publicly. What in the world are they going to do with him at the convention? Ex-presidents are supposed to get nice speaking gigs. Will Bush? To say what? That we must let the free market work, the way it worked on his watch in September 2008? That we must be vigilant against the terrorists, the way he was while Osama bin Laden was living a few heaves of a baseball away from a Pakistani officer-training facility? That we must protect the homeland, as he did in New Orleans? It's hard to imagine what kind of speech he could deliver. It wouldn't be shocking if Bush is reduced (if he would accept) to some ceremonial function, some transparent and treacly soft-focus attempt to fool Latinos, since Bush was among that small handful of Republicans known not to actively hate brown people.

Democrats really need to keep Bush in the frame here. And Dick Cheney. I know everyone says "but elections are about the future." Well, maybe. But the Bush years were so uniquely bad, so plainly and emphatically horrible on so many fronts for such a vast majority of citizens, that to fail to mention the era would just be missing a free whack. It would be the equivalent of someone trying to slag Halle Berry without mentioning Catwoman. Very often, people - especially Democratic people - overthink politics and worry too much about how people are going to react. But this one is simple. Bush really just stank up the joint for eight years. Mention him, and the pundit class might bray about it, but most people will react by thinking: Yeah, that guy really just stank up the joint for eight years.

I often wonder about what Bush himself thinks. Does he know, deep down, what a failure he was? He must. We all tell ourselves stories that try to put a good face on things. And any president or governor can come up with a list of good deeds accomplished, so maybe he leans on those, waiting patiently for the day when, because people's memories are short and because some rich Texas buddies undoubtedly stand ready to pour millions into a PR-rehabilitation campaign when they sense the time is right, he can reemerge in the public eye, smirk intact, smiting Democrats like in the good old days of 2002. Democrats must make sure that that rehabilitation never, ever happens. your social media marketing partner


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-1 # Activista 2012-04-03 11:56
Obama completed Bush NEOCON agenda - Bush destroyed Iraq. Obama Libya - now on Syria, Iran.
Obama military budget is greater than Bush. Yesterday - rarely - I was listening to NPR Syria Free Army propaganda and realized - NEOCONS won in destroying USA, controlling UN. Obama for sure will be re-elected.
"talking about Bush, turning him into the new Jimmy Carter" - Carter was the last ethical and pragmatic president -
search Obama - Reagan - Obama is fixated with emulating Reagan ..
+11 # JCM 2012-04-03 19:09
Obama destroyed Libya?
+5 # Activista 2012-04-04 00:03
Thank you Sarkosy, Cameron, Killary, Obama - destroyed Libya - arms looted by rebels are being spread allover the middle east (Syria) and Africa. Libya was very stable until the NATO went in with the aid of Obama drones to destroy Libya/kill Qaddafi - was helping millions of Africans to build Africa into a one united continent free from US/European NEOCONS domination
+7 # truthbug 2012-04-05 07:06
We shouldn't forget, also, that Qaddafi was accepting other currency than the dollar for oil, which enraged the Financial Sector in this country. Saddam did the same before he was attacked, and now Iran is accepting gold for oil.
+2 # rsokol 2012-04-06 10:04
Intuitively I agree with most of what you write. The Middle East events and the story behind it is messy and complicated at best. Here's how I see it: America is a Grizzly on a chain that runs through its nose, and that mighty beast is being led by Netanyahu,; the goal of him and his buddies in the movement is to fragment and re-tribalize the Middle East to restore their ancient mythical kingdom.
+124 # NanFan 2012-04-03 11:59
AWOL again...scared sycophant without one fiber of sense or compassion for anyone...crimin al of the worse kind.

The Dems should be slamming him right and left without relief till election day.

It's so easy! Do it! Never let people forget the hubris and lies of this man and his administration. Not EVER!

+20 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-04-03 13:03
I think we are not seeing much of Bush II because of his deteriorating mental condition. It was obvious in his last year of office that there was some sign of dementia. But as for the Democrats trashing Bush, won't happen since their man, Obama has topped the bush in trashing our Constitution and continuing all of the bush's bad policies. When will we ever learn? There is no lesser evil. Our nation has suffered a coup at the time that Kennedy was murdered by that group of guys on the grassy hill. We don't have to worry that they will do in Obama because he serves the owners of this nation. And you think it is a democracy? Get a clue. Look around. And watch out that Homeland Security (Gestapo) don't grab you for a little indefinite detention--hope it is not accompanied by some enhanced interrogation.. Sig Heil!
+4 # NanFan 2012-04-05 10:29
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
I think we are not seeing much of Bush II because of his deteriorating mental condition. It was obvious in his last year of office that there was some sign of dementia.

Dementia? Hell he's hiding out because everywhere in the world he tries to go, they push him back. Or he decides not to go out of plain and simple fear about the backlash from what he's created throughout the world.
+82 # ER444 2012-04-03 14:15
No no no !!! Slamming Bush is too easy. What is really important is to CONNECT Bush with the PRESENT Republican farce. The Right wing masses have learned nothing from the history of the years between 1996 and today. What the Democrats are miserably failing to do is make the message clear that Republicans ie. Bush stand for a system that makes the rich richer in the hope it will trickle down... it doesn't work. Clinton and the Democrats are for supporting a system that works from the bottom up WITH government support.. which has proven to work. The election in November is all about a choice. Will we finally wake up and make the right choice? The Democrats need to get on their asses in gear and sell the message. Until now they are doing a LOUSY job !!! Get the message accross... PLEASE!!!
+22 # tclose 2012-04-04 09:06
Excellent point. To only diss Bush II doesn't get the point across - to link him to Romney and his worldview (or lack thereof) is a much more powerful message.
+5 # tclose 2012-04-04 09:56
Parenthetically , it would be interesting sometime for someone to compare the succession of Dems to that of Repubs over the recent past: FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, Obama -vs- Eisenhower (alright, he was OK), Nixon/Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Quite a contrast.
+4 # truthbug 2012-04-05 07:23
Such naivete. The dualism you preach is precisely the reason why both parties have become so corrupt as to give no hope for reform. As Bill Moyers says, "The system isn't broke. It's fixed." So keep on with the empty rant, while the rich and powerful prosper even more, at society's expense.
+2 # AMLLLLL 2012-04-05 07:36
Tomasky is right; BUSH/CHENEY BUSH/CHENEY should be mentioned over and over, along with those who voted for his policies then.

The GOP also were able to make 'reconcilliatio n' into a dirty word (even though that's how the Bush Tax cuts got passed) and we'll need it to get anything done in the Legislature.
+13 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-04-04 07:53
Not just the Dems, but folks from any or no political party, with even a bit of common sense and political moxie, should be slamming this fully scripted puppet whore 'W', who forced us into being so enslaved, broken, all rights stripped away under the guise of protection from terrorism, and, in the end, totally.....

+4 # truthbug 2012-04-05 07:17
You're right, but there are unwritten rules on how much, or in what area, one party can criticize another. You see, they work the system in which they both benefit. The system is based on basic, natural dualism, in this case the Individual/Soci al duality. Thus, in the most important matters - those upon which our entire political structure is based, such as finance, military, and corporations - criticism is stifled. It is these political areas on which both parties prosper, hand in hand with the rich and powerful. You can call all of this corruption. It leaves only minor areas on which to criticize Bush, since his offenses have been primarily in these very important areas. Another way of saying it is that Obama will never treat Bush as the criminal he is, simply because Obama does the same thing. Isn't this obvious?
+89 # Klanders 2012-04-03 12:06
Keeping "W" visible and up front is; indeed, a good thing. The GOP suffers from selective memory. Jumping back to the Glories of Ronald Reagan and GeorgeHW administrations convivially skipping over the Clinton Years when the budget actually yielded a surplus! Convenient selective memory indeed.
+5 # forparity 2012-04-03 18:28
It really wasn't the budget that yielded a surplus - it was the tax revenue being pulled in from the exceptional greed and fraud of the Enron bubble.

And, as soon as it collapsed in March, 2000 - all that was toast.

Convenient lack of understanding basic history and economics, I'd venture to suggest.
+9 # tclose 2012-04-04 09:53
This is just not true - Enron paid paltry federal income taxes during the years from 1998 to 2001 due to such strategies as off-shore tax shelters and accounting gimmicks. In fact, Enron did not pay ANY income tax for 4 of the 5 years from 1996 to 2000.

To claim that this somehow impacted the federal deficit is laughable at best.
-3 # forparity 2012-04-04 14:14
I mentioned "Enron" in association with the bubble, simply for impact - most are aware of Enron's rise to power during this period of time.

Then, you completely lost me. Fed tax revs soared during the late 90's, and not just for the feds, but for states as well. True, a goodly portion of this was corporate income tax collected - but that does not imply that one company, Enron, was paying their share. In fact, many of the big names of the bubble, never made a dime in profits - never paid taxes - but the CEO's were - the EE's were - the investors were - they were paying a heck of a lot of tax.

Look at how CEO pay did during the bubble:

Fed corp tax receipts -(in 1,000's, i.e, 207,289 is $207.3 billion):

2000 - 207,289
2001 - 151,075 - Bush seated (following crash).
2002 - 148,044
2003 - 131,778 - Bush tax cuts are in place.
2004 - 189,371 Re
2005 - 278,282 cov
2006 - 353,915 er
2007 - 370,243 y

Corp tax revs soared 155% in 4 years following the Bush tax cuts. Interesting, you think?

Now - by far (75-80%, the reason we went from small nice surpluses in 2000/2001 to massive deficits in 2003-04 was because of the economic fallout from the collapse of the bubble.

Dean Baker agrees.
+2 # Activista 2012-04-04 19:20
US military spending:
2000 311.7
2001 $307.8
2002 328.7
2003 404.91
2004 455.91
2005 495.31,2
2006 535.91,2
2007 527.41,2
2008 494.41,2
Obama: United States spend $654 billion on its military in FY 09.
this is ISSUE - Clinton raised military budget before leaving office -
Total military - Spending $1.030–$1.415 trillion (2012) - Obama - it is military supid
+1 # forparity 2012-04-04 21:27
The difference in the projected surpluses to realized deficits from 2001 to 2003 (3yrs) was $1.3 Trillion.

I see you accounted for slightly less than $100 billion in military spending. One might note that there were a lot of costs associated with 9/11, right off the bat.

Once again, "by far," to quote the progressive economist, Dean Baker, the main cause of the disappearance of the surpluses and the shift to major deficits was the fallout from the collapse of the bubble economy, in March, 2000.

That which Bush inherited.

The conversation is not about defending Bush, nor blaming Clinton - folks, it about common sense in how the darn system of economics works.
+3 # kyzipster 2012-04-04 16:11
You're accusing someone else of not understanding basic history while denying it yourself. In my opinion, you're both right. Clinton was criticized for his successful efforts to balance the budget until he actually accomplished it, he put us on a path to be debt free by 2008.

Yes, the deflation of the bubble and ultimately the real estate bubble that peaked in the Bush years would have set this goal back but we'd be in a helluva lot better shape had the Bush Administration continued down this road as was recommended instead of adding trillions to the debt in what may have been the most irresponsible era of governing in our history.
0 # forparity 2012-04-04 19:49
Ky - the collapse of the bubble was the primary cause of the disappearance of the Clinton era budget surpluses and the immediate vaporizing of the projected surpluses.

Every economist in the land understands that.

True - one can start blaming the Bush admin for not getting the economy under control, and for war spending, and for their stimulus -- and for not putting an immediate end to the housing bubble that he inherited from Clinton/Cuomo which is the root cause of the current crisis.

Still - Clinton did not put us on a path to be debt free. The bubble gave - then in March 2000, it took it all back away again.

Do some simple math, for 2000 - 2003, OK? In 2003, the budget deficit stood at $378 billion. The surpluses had long disappeared. The total cost of the Iraq war was $54 billion, and the cost of Bush's stimulus to that date - paled in comparison to the cost of Obama's stimulus, etc.

You must be living on another planet to state this: "Clinton was criticized for his successful efforts to balance the budget."


You know, I'm not really interested in trying to blame him for the bubble - or it's crash, either - it just happened. Now -the housing bubble, is an entirely different animal. It's mostly his - but Bush added a bit more to it as well.
+2 # kyzipster 2012-04-05 04:23
I didn't accuse you of blaming Clinton for the bubble, I'm accusing you of denying that his administration made a calculated and successful effort to balance the budget by cutting spending and raising revenue. The set back of the bubble does not change this fact. Yes, there was criticism, many believed it was a risky thing to do and naturally Republicans resisted in much the same way they're fighting the Obama Administration today on any effort at fiscal responsibility. They're still trying to sell us on trickle down economics despite the obvious failure of this ideology.

Yes, some of the environment that allowed the housing bubble was set up in the Clinton years, to the extent that conservative policies were embraced, deregulating banking practices and Wall St.

Republicans campaigned and won in 2000 on giving the Clinton surplus back to the taxpayers, when the bubble burst, they changed their tune and justified their trillions in tax cuts as a stimulus to the economy. They proceeded to launch two wars without taxation to pay for them and Medicare Part D, unfunded, and government growth in Homeland Security in reaction to 9-11, unfunded. The Bush years ended with no job growth and the nation facing trillions in debt. Do you also blame Obama for the $14 trillion in debt because of a stimulus bill that totaled less than $1 trillion? A bill that was only necessary because we were facing the worst recession since the Depression.
-1 # forparity 2012-04-05 09:47
ky -I didn't say you accused me of blaming Clinton . . etc. I did poke at the comment you made - how Clinton was criticized for "his efforts to balance the budget." I'd imagine that the Krugman's were out there telling him to spend spend spend, just as they always do.

It was a marriage deal between the R's & Clinton which significantly slowed spending.

However, I'd argue that it only created a pent-up want to refund the programs later. as Gore had run on spending more on beefing the military back up.

As Bush came in, not only were the surpluses turning to deficits because of the crash, Bush found the military had been stripped bare during the late 90's (by both parties). Clinton used up all the cruise missiles in the mny military ops - etc. Bush instantly increased funding for Vets, military, Medicaid, Medicare, eduction, etc.

Need to reform programs - can't just cut spending. bubble would have been the same, had Bush been in same period.

Housing bubble - some of the environment??

No - all of it was "created" by Clinton and Cuomo.

Fannie Mae & Countrywide entered into strategic marketing alliance in 1999 - by 2000, CW was the largest lender to poor minorities.

Read carefully:

+1 # kyzipster 2012-04-05 14:41
Please, you're doing nothing here but defending Bush and every conservative policy that created this mess. Hate to tell you, but the facts will not flatter Bush and the end of the Reagan Era as you do, the history has already been written. Sure, Clinton shares some of the blame but he also balanced the budget which you deny. The bubble does not dispute this fact. It's also a Fox News absurdity to blame the housing crisis on low income home buyers. Sure, easy to get mortgages played a role but it was only one piece of a very complicated puzzle. HUD did not force Bank of America and so many other organizations to be run by a bunch of lunatics but Congress and our government paved the way for it.
-21 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-04 10:38
Woah!!! Injust three plus years, Emeror Obama has let the debt crisis increase over $5.5 trillion dollars and climbing by the second. Obama is a disaster , but you folks are so intent on attacking Republicans that you can not see the fiscal, political, and human damage Obama is doing to America. If Obama is re-elected to the WH, he will destroy the US and then take over as supreme ruler because he will eliminate Congress as they already are irrelevant. Harry Reid refuses to take a vote in the Senate. Therefore, anything the House of Reps comes up with is dead on arrival. Obama has also Eric Holder and the DoJ ignoring Obama's treachery to the American people. Folks you MUST wake up to the reality and NOT let Obama have another term in the WH. Get your heads into the sunshine and look at the reality!!!
+2 # noitall 2012-04-04 14:18
Robt Eagle, I bet you can fly in that panland that you live. Your world view is certainly different then the reality where the rest of us live. But this is America and you, the GOP, Obama, everyone, can screw it up as much as they want (as if there were to be no future generations). Maybe you know something the rest of us don', thats not it.
+2 # Anarchist 23 2012-04-06 11:21
It's all bull. there is no real difference between ObombO and 'Gott Mitt Uns' Romney. Both parties pimp for the 1% and the hell with the rest. The stink of steaming brown Fascism is so overwhelming that no one should be surprised when the first 'deliveries' of 'former' citizens are made to the gulag that stands empty but waiting in the dusty hinterlands of TX and other states.
+68 # humanmancalvin 2012-04-03 12:21
Some political GOP genius has to be credited with creating the mantra "don't play the blame game." What a wonderful & sleazy way out of shoveling any blame whatsoever on Dubya. This total incompetent is what the Republicans have to offer for 2012 but with a different name, Romney. There is in my mind absolutely & singularly just one choice for president if this country has any chance of restoring sanity. Obama/Biden 2012...go gettum boys.
+91 # Wilka 2012-04-03 12:26
The GOP suffers from far more than just selective memory. They have allergic reactions to facts, a phobia about statistics, and a dyslexic-styled disability for graphs and charts (perhaps because they are based on facts and statistics?) However, they excel at propaganda-styl e rhetoric; It is, perhaps the one thing they do well. Oh, and sheep-herding. They're functional with the Sheeple-People.
+26 # Virginia 2012-04-03 12:29
OMG - does somebody still think that Bush cares about what people think?! This is all about money and power. Whether it is Bush, Obama, Clinton or Romney. The President is a puppet with a lot of corruption and greed getting them into office.

Look at the scale of the debt that has been generated over the last 20 years... Especially since 2000. Look at the wealth in Congress. Look at the figures of the lobbyist's bribes. Nothing has stopped since Obama was inaugurated. Congress threw us a bone last month and said they would stop insider trading... They didn't say they wouldn't tell anybody about their inside information though.

This isn't partisan - it spreads across both parties like peanut butter.
+30 # noitall 2012-04-03 13:09
You've got that right Ginny, the people that GWB cares about (or even thinks about) love him and are forever in his debt and he will reap those oats for the rest of his life (as well as his kid's lives). They'll never realize and are sheltered from the fact that those fortunes caused many broken hearts, lives, and futures for millions of people world-wide. Now there's a legacy.
+20 # skylark 2012-04-03 13:22
you are so right! Corruption is the dirty word media fears to tread on!
+28 # universlman 2012-04-03 14:55
Quoting Virginia:
what people think?! This is all about money and power.

It may be less about money than you think. Does Cheney care much about money now he is living with someone else's heart beating inside him for a few more years at the most? I doubt it. He dodged the draft, and now he is facing a more certain peril than going to war.

In their quieter moments, Bush and Cheney must know that they blew it for themselves AND the country. This is why they are trying to figure out how to salvage their reputations. It may be a long shot, but this is all they have left on their plates.

Whatever you think about Obama's blunders, he has no serious "charges of corruption and greed" to face compared to those two. And he, like the Clintons will probably always be welcome across the world to speak, rather than being confined within our borders and unable to travel openly even to Canada. There is a huge difference between Dems and GOPs.
-14 # forparity 2012-04-03 18:29
"Nothing has stopped since Obama was inaugurated."

Indeed - all that which you mentioned - has only gotten worse - including secrecy and divisiveness.
+3 # reiverpacific 2012-04-04 16:43
Quoting forparity:
"Nothing has stopped since Obama was inaugurated."

Indeed - all that which you mentioned - has only gotten worse - including secrecy and divisiveness.

Selective memory-syndrome at work again.
Who caused the "divisiveness"? Not the Ob' who we all know and fault as being too willing to try and work with the determinedly entrenched, mindless and -yes face it full front RACIST- party of "No"! That's where the divisiveness comes from in these "Fragmented States".
The secrecy I grant you but as a hangover from the Dimwits Bush-Cheney "National (in) security state, only worsened by the continuing over funding of the military death-and-surve illance apparatus.
+86 # Raging Granny 2012-04-03 12:47
Remember Bush speaking at a dinner saying, "People say I don't represent the Have-nots; that I represent the Haves. Well, I don't represent the Haves. I represent the Have-mores!!" He didn't fail. He did exactly what he was put into office to do. Make billions for the Have-mores so they could have more!
+59 # cadan 2012-04-03 12:47
I think Michael's piece is good, and he's right, for pragmatic reasons the Democrats should never ever ever let Bush be forgotten.

But there's more than that---for the sake of his victims (of which there are millions in the Middle East and tens of thousands among our soldiers) we should never ever forget him.

So i would say the Democrats have a duty not to let us forget Bush.

Please, oh please Democrats --- can you please work in the word "Bush" in every other sentence you say?
+81 # Wyntergreen 2012-04-03 12:57
When you come right down to it, Bush broke the world. People should never forget and Indeed should be constantly reminded of the fact. Do Americans REALLY want to go back to his people and policies?
+39 # noitall 2012-04-03 13:05
I'd like to go back to his people and, with their policies, have them thrown into jail.
+18 # Erdajean 2012-04-03 15:10
The worst thing is, we never LEFT his people and his policies. We certainly intended to -- but....
Our tragedy is that Democrats seem to be incapable of outrage. We just watch what is happening, like deer in the headlights, go tut-tut to one another, and then something worse comes along and gets our feeble attention. Had we all been such wusses in 1776, there would BE no America! Doesn't the fact that two of history's worst war criminals are living like kings on retirement paid by the U.S. taxpayers give us ANY sense of injustice? Or that our current leader has yet to take any meaningful stand against what they did? And that Fox News still gleefully beguiles and enthralls half our population with lies,leading to votes and more of the same?
-8 # forparity 2012-04-03 18:32
Tis true - he should have put an end to Clinton/Cuomo's HUD regulated housing bubble on day one - and he did not.
+28 # indian weaver 2012-04-03 13:08
This article is really enjoyable entertainment - what I'd write if I had the platform. I recall dubya saying in a TV interview (and not published very widely for obvious reasons) that any retired president " .. can make a million bucks on every speaking engagement". I couldn't believe any sitting president would actually make such a vapid assertion - I was stunned, yet I'd forgotten what a dolt this lying killer is. Yes, in internal exile is where he'll hide - a secure water source and armed compound protects him for now - much like Gaddafi and his other buddies. Meanwhile he is hoping that Malaysia, Switzerland, Scotland or the other countries, those ready to indict this War Criminal if he steps foot in their country, don't come for him and remand him to their country and put him where he belongs, behind bars waiting for conviction for his crimes against humanity. And we cannot forgive obama and Nancy Pelosi for letting him off the hook either - just as cowardly in many ways. Obama turns out no better than dumdum dubya in most respects, including still torturing and murdering innocent people worldwide. Did you see the news article just published about Poland coming clean with their torture prison set up by Dubya and his CIA? How many more amerikan black holes like that one are hiding worldwide - 1 more is 1 too many, and we know of several already. Such is the defeat of amerika by bin Laden using 2 of our own passenger airplanes. It was that cheap and easy to kill democracy.
0 # tclose 2012-04-09 09:00
"Such is the defeat of amerika by bin Laden using 2 of our own passenger airplanes. It was that cheap and easy to kill democracy."
Good observation.
+33 # reiverpacific 2012-04-03 13:15
Dimwits Bush is probably lying low for many reasons. Like he and his string-puller Cheney are now recognized my more and more countries (and even Americans) as not only war criminals but cynical manipulation and neglect/dismant ling of the US socio-economic structure for (in the Smirking Chimps own again, cynical words) the "Haves and Have-Mores" - "My Base".
That plus, he really has nothing to contribute to anything; just pops up at the occasional PGA tournament or Baseball game. Hell, all he had to say when he was dragged kicking and screaming to Haiti by Bill Clinton was "just give us money"!
He exemplifies the 180° opposite of an ex-president that good will ambassador pro-temp Jimmy Carter became. He should be put in Abu Grahib or Gitmo, which his non-administrat ion so carefully and mercilessly filled with abused and non-represented inmates, with his honchos and handlers rooted out of any active work in government.
They've already done enough damage to the country and the world which Obama has inherited in a large pile of reeking garbage on behalf of their corporate mentors.
+41 # henry bruce 2012-04-03 13:42
Does anyone believe that "puppet Bush" really was in charge. I don't think that he was intelligent enough. Old Texas saying: "He couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heel".
+32 # pernsey 2012-04-03 14:34
Quoting henry bruce:
Does anyone believe that "puppet Bush" really was in charge. I don't think that he was intelligent enough. Old Texas saying: "He couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heel".

I totally agree with you Henry. Bush was a complete puppet, I think Darth Vader (Cheney) the demon that wouldnt die was more in charge with Rummy, then Bush ever was. Bush was a corporate schill and now they are trying to pretend he didnt exsist. I remember those 8 years of hell, every stinking second of it. Bush ruined this country, and it all hit the fan before Barack Obama became president. Make no mistake Bush ruined this country...the end!!
+24 # redjelly39 2012-04-03 13:45
Bush/Cheney should still be held accountable for the War crimes they committed. Obama took over from a disastrous situation that is still far from being repaired and I agree that we should keep this fresh in the public's mind - but how ? 90% of the media is owned by 6 corporations and they control the TV, Radio & Newspapers and they have a different agenda that doesn't lend itself for the welfare of We the People. They (Banks/Gov't/Me ga-Corps) want us to focus on the lies they spew, the latest electronic gizmo we cant live without and Britney Spears panties.
Obama is not my choice for another term even though I voted for him last time. He has continued many of the destructive policies that Bush started and looks more like a wolf in sheeps clothing everyday. The lesser of 2 evils is still evil.
The bottom line is that if the GOP gets enough rope, they will hang themselves but will take us all down in the process and this IS the precedent that played out during Dumbya's time in office.
+4 # Regina 2012-04-04 14:32
So, rj39, how do you think we'll fare with Pres. Etch-a-sketch? The lesser of two evils is still less evil!!!
+14 # walt 2012-04-03 13:47
It has been very surprising how neither President Obama nor the Democrats have kept alive reminders of the tragedies of the Bush years. The GOP has beaten him up and he says little about his inheritance from W to include two wars, a financial meltdown, prison camps, torture,and more. His biggest mistake was making a deal with Bush.
+11 # Susan W 2012-04-03 13:47
Instead of constantly running against Bush perhaps the Ds could actually run for their own candidate--if he hadn't continued the same, miserable policies. This just demonstrates how corrupt and bereft of ideals this country has become.
+10 # DLT888 2012-04-03 14:20
Democrats? What democrats?
+14 # HerbR 2012-04-03 14:33
It's a good tactical idea, but must be done with some finesse, even thought it's an obvious ploy. Lots of precedent in other campaigns. FDR ran against Hoover at least three times. Too good to let go of.
In some sense one only need to mention the name of the predecessor. McCain ?Never heard of him, right ?
+16 # Gordon K 2012-04-03 15:20
Obama has refused to investigate the evidence that Bush and Cheney implemented policies of torture. It shouldn't be hard to prove, given that both Bush and Cheney confirmed--even bragged--in their memoirs that they approved of water boarding.

So if Obama won't even investigate blatant evidence of torture, does anyone really think that he's concerned with using Bush's truly disastrous presidency for political leverage.

It's "good cop, bad cop," and business as usual.
+5 # panhead49 2012-04-03 16:37
Heck, he's always known what a fop he is, was and will always be - totally explains the coke & booze addictions earlier in his life. But please, Repubs - trot him out. Americans can always use a refresher course (we do have a very short attention span).
+4 # forparity 2012-04-03 17:17
"So you have to go back, I'd suppose, to Herbert Hoover to find someone who did worse than Bush . . ."

Intesting how folks can limit discussions to a period of time, w/no context in relation to the cyclic nature of economies.

For instance, remember how progressive economist, Dean Baker, CEPR, described the train wreck just before Bush became Pres? He was speaking of Clinton's Enron bubble:

"The nation's political leaders chose to ignore the stock market bubble [..] As a result, millions of families have seen their dreams of a secure retirement or their children's college education vanish with the stock market bubble. The level of negligence of the nation's political leaders in ignoring the stock bubble exceeds anything since the days of Herbert Hoover."

FTR - so far, all we've had in this economy is a very weak, and very slow, retracement of what was lost in the crash. And, we haven't even got back to where we were yet. Still fewer people employeed.

Then .. .

" in Obama's case you have a guy who really did come into office at the start of a major recession . ."

Sure, it's a worse recession than Bush inherited; but still, Bush inherited the econ fallout from the crash, which created the recession.

Bush also inherited the housing bubble which Clinton/Cuomo ordered up and fed along w/ their twin financial deregs - all of which led to the final collapse.
0 # lcarrier 2012-04-03 17:23
I think we ought to lay off GWB. The poor sod was in over his head. Unlike Clinton, who screwed us with NAFTA and with "Welfare Reform," Bush did seem dimly to recognize that we needed compassion, whereas Clinton (whom I supported in two elections) made friends with the Bushies after getting out of office and thereby ollected millions of dollars to fund his retirement.

I really don't blame Clinton, either--a poor boy who struck it rich and didn't know how to handle it--screwing around with women because he had the power to do it. It's sick, but it's understandable.

Come on, everyone. Let's put the past behind us and get out the vote in November, so we can kick the ass of the elephant and get our country back on track again.
+1 # RMDC 2012-04-04 05:38
Kicking an elephant's ass is a good image. The democrats have the right mascot to do it -- a jackass. But they don't seem to want to give it a try.

Really, the dems and the reps have been bought off by the same elites. Obama has allowed the economy to remain in the hands of Wall Street and he has retained most of the Bush era war criminals in the Pentagon and CIA. Obama is a real son-of-a-Bush. He needs to be sent back to Chicago so he can wither away in infamy, just like GWB is in Dallas.

The US will not get out of its crisis with a democrat president. The republican candidates may be a lot worse than Obama, but Obama is not the candidate for change. Change will come to the US when people break the ranks of the demublican duopoly.

Vote 3rd party. They will not win this time, but building the foundation for a new political party is more important than returning the demublican Obama to the Whore House on Pennsylvania Ave.

Getting the country back on track will not happen with either a republican or a democrat.
+3 # reiverpacific 2012-04-04 17:02
Quoting lcarrier:
I think we ought to lay off GWB. The poor sod was in over his head.

Come on, everyone. Let's put the past behind us and get out the vote in November, so we can kick the ass of the elephant and get our country back on track again.

"In over his head" was right (There is a rumor that Jeb was meant to be the next chosen one of the Bush dynasty) -but it doesn't excuse what he wrought and how he wrought it. We -and much of the planet- are still living with it for Chrissake and will be for a long time. That's like saying "go easy on Hilter 'cause he was a mad, power drunk sociopath" with his vision of the "Thousand year Reich but I don't think that would have saved him at Nuremberg had they got him there.
Dimwits hadn't the consciousness to realize he was out of his box, but there were a cabal of cynical lethal sub-humans workin' his strings.
As Spike Milligan once said (of one of his Majors in WW11)": there's nothing worse than a fuckin' idiot who doesn't realize they are a fuckin' idiot!"
And that applies to many others including the current crowd of Reactionary wannabe-usurper s of Ob's presidency.
+8 # angelfish 2012-04-03 17:27
FORGET??? Who could forget the devastation caused and, the Havoc Wreaked by George W. Bush, aka: the shrub? (Thank you, Mollie Ivins!) His Administration will go down in History as THE primary example of how NOT to behave as POTUS. We HAVE learned that Ignorance is NOT Bliss and it's certainly NOT folly to be wise when electing a C-in C. The ReTHUGs lost their Moral Compass when they ran this poor, IGNORANT Son of a BI*ch and deserve to be eliminated as a Political Party. That said, the Tea Party is not an acceptable replacement. I want to know WHERE has the REAL RePublican Party fled? WHERE are the Sane and Reasonable RePublicans who used to work in tandem with their Democratic Colleagues across the aisle for the good of ALL Americans? Unless and until they find their empty scrotums and return with their Balls back, firmly in place, they will continue to languish and fade as a viable Political voice in America. With God's help, Sanity will return to Washington in November and the Nut-Jobs and Lunatics who have been working over-time to destroy us will be shown the door! Remember, dear Folks, and Vote the bast**ds OUT! The People, UNITED, will NEVER be defeated!
+12 # dick 2012-04-03 17:28
It was Clinton-Rubin-S ummers who repealed Glass-Steagall, setting the stage for Wall St. collapse. Dems are incredibly LUCKY it happened on W's watch. And, he deserved it. One of W's worst legacies is that he legitimized the extreme right, gave them access to center stage. Rove & Cheney were, & remain, worse than Bush. Dems should tie Rove & Cheney to everything they can. Most Americans think less of Cheney & Rove than of Bush.
+7 # Sensible1 2012-04-03 17:39
It has not gone unnoticed that Obama has propped up the Bush administration by endorsing some of his worse acts as president. I would never have thought that Obama would join the good old boy's club, but in a sense he seems to have become sympathetic to Bush, almost like he feels sorry for him and wants to protect his honor, if he has any left. That meeting with he had with Bush at the w3hite house before he was inaugurated struck me as a deal maker, and his refusal to speak badly of him, and to convince others to stand back from investigating him ever since is more and more convincing.
+9 # Sensible1 2012-04-03 17:43
Look at that photo of Bush hugging Obama and put words to it such as "Please man, don't let them hang me, I will never say a bad thing about you if you protect me from the wolves out there who want my butt. Have mercy, from one president to another."
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-04-03 19:48
No I think Bush Boy was warning him, like daddy told him to do.
+5 # pernsey 2012-04-03 18:19
Bush was a complete idiot, dont make Obama the fall guy!
+3 # bakerhunny 2012-04-03 19:00
Once Cheny recovers sufficiently from his "ill-gotten" transplant surgery, expect him to be very vocal in the Presidential election. The timing is amazing!!!
+5 # Rick Levy 2012-04-03 19:24
Demos are not street fighters. Obama has blown so many opportunities to stand tough and go for the rethuglican jugular, neither he or his campaign staff will likely use Bush as a weapon against the GOP.
+1 # chizables 2012-04-03 20:41
Obama is Bush Light.
+3 # grouchy 2012-04-04 01:54
What has been going on since the Shrub left office is the attempt to "spin" a new story on his term and that of the VEEP. This bunch were fantastic spinners. To the max. The Dems didn't come close to their skills--were totally outclassed. They spun the lies to get us into Iraq. A great job. Cheney was truly superspinner almost on a level of Carl Rove. What a team! So it's no surprise that they would take upon themselves the task to spin themselves out of the doo-doo they left covering the path they have walked. I wish them the very worst of luck!
+2 # brianf 2012-04-04 09:02
Unfortunately, Bush is Obama's friend in the worst way. Obama doesn't want to dwell on the past, so he continues to make some of the same terrible decisions Bush made, often pushing those policies even further.

No, he's not as bad as Bush. In most ways he is better, but not that much better. In a few areas he is much better, and in a few areas he is worse. We desperately need someone much better than Obama, but it seems we are stuck with either Obama or someone even worse.
+4 # kyzipster 2012-04-04 09:15
Democrats should not be focused on blaming Bush so much, they should be focused on blaming the failure of the last 30 years of conservatism since Reagan. The brainwashing of America as conservative economic policies have wrecked the country. This isn't dwelling on the past, Republicans in Congress seem determined to stay on this same failed course regardless of the facts.
0 # lilpat126 2012-04-04 09:59
While I agree "shrub" was the worst president ever I don't think we have seen the "real" Obama yet. If he pursued charges against Bush and Cheney it would have side tracked the whole country's focus on recovery. Money would have been spent on all the wrong things just to "get 'em". They aren't going to flee to another country because they don't know what will happen to them if they leave home. Just cool it keep your eye on the ball to get the Republicans our of office. And as the old saying goes, "time wounds all heels." We have no idea what has gone on in the White House. Do we even see Laura Bush? Malia and Sasha have replaced the "Bush Twins". Let's just focus on getting more women into Congress, and more tea baggers out of Congress. Educate our young as to what they should be looking for in a President, and Congress. Importunately there is no "perfect candidate". They all have flaws it's up to us to look objectively at who is running and which one do we really want to lead us. A multibillionair e, or a kid that has already made History.
+3 # pernsey 2012-04-04 13:28
Republicans have done such a splendid job of voting NO to anything Obama proposes, and they trash talk him at every turn (Fox News). Obama has done somethings but has been blocked by republicans from doing more good. Obama has become the republican scape goat dont drink their koolaid!
0 # forparity 2012-04-04 15:42
Noe: the Democrats controlled the house for the first two years of the Obama admin, and the Senate for all three years and 2 months.

The Democrat leadership blocked all efforts to pass annual federal budgets respectively, in both houses - 2 in the House, and 3 in the Senate.

Our national media has done it's best to keep that conversation out of American homes - and the President has said nothing.

Today, there is change in the air:

Harry Reid loses procedural ruling on budget vote

It's about time.
+2 # kyzipster 2012-04-05 09:27
I don't understand why investigating war crimes is part of this discussion.

Focusing solely on the Bush Presidency as the cause of the economic collapse isn't all that helpful. The economy failed because both parties embraced conservative ideology since the Reagan years, this is the discussion we should be having. The Conservative Era of the last 30 years has been a failure, the Bush Presidency was just one of many symptoms and the Obama Presidency is doing far too little to reverse course.

Democrats are in a much better position than Republicans to change and to help reform the economic and tax system back to something that works for labor, corporations and investors. Not just for corporations. Republicans are backed so far into a corner with their extremism that they're incapable of change and they will continue to destroy the country if given the power to do so.
0 # dascher 2012-04-04 10:51
Please help us understand how things are so much better with Obama than with GWB. Obama has completely "surrendered" to the right wing of the GOP; his DoJ supported the authoritarian wing of the Supreme Court in its recent decision that we can all be treated as dangerous criminals at the whim of law enforcement officials; he's continued to follow a militarist foreign policy including antagonizing China by placing a few troops in Australia; he's shown that he is willing to 'negotiate' away rights that working people have struggled (with blood) for over a century to secure; and on and on and on.

He is much more than a disappointment to most who were excited to see him take office. He's delivered nothing to his supporters and given plenty to our enemies.

Unfortunately, nobody else is ready to mount a serious challenge to him. If only he decided that he'd accomplished everything he set out to do and let somebody else who is willing fight for economic, political, and social justice take the office.
+2 # herman_m 2012-04-05 03:00
Mr Tomasky, you write:
"I often wonder about what Bush himself thinks. Does he know, deep down, what a failure he was? He must."

You are mistaken.
The Bush Jr. presidency was a massive success - for himself and his "base", the elite, who profited massively from wars of aggression, the expansion of the national security state and surveillance, from oil prices going up, from tax cuts for the obscenely rich, from allowing the destruction of poor and Democratic neighborhoods in New Orleans (you think that would be allowed in La Jolla?), from the bank bailouts, from the elimination of habeas corpus (further perfected by Obama), from two stolen elections (yes, 2000 and 2004) etc.
Why do people always think what the elite does to the rest is a "failure"? They don't see it as a failure, they see it as a smashing success. They have been so successful in fact that the Republican party has moved so far to the right that they really have run out of issues. GOP insanity is the main source of inspiration for comedy in the United States. "We've won the ideological war," they say.
They have even succeeded in turning Obama into a Republican of sorts.

What *they* see as failures are their failure to completely privatize social security and education, and that sort of stuff. That's what's a failure to them.

Don't call a smashing success at your expense a failure, call it a crime, and fight back, giving stuff the name stuff deserves.

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