An Open Letter From Roger Smith: Goodbye And Good Riddance: Dear Friends: After all my pre-election bombardments, I have spared you
any post-election bragging in the form of "analysis." (Oh, don't worry,
something of that sort is in the works.) But I urge all of my friends of
similar views re George W. Bush to spend a few more weeks contemplating
just how vast a landscape of wreckage Mr. Bush has left behind before we turn our thoughts to just how a President Obama can somehow clean up the
Toward this end, I am indebted to a good friend
(a man of normally quite sober demeanor who would, I am sure, prefer to remain
anonymous) for alerting me to an article that appeared on the website of
The American Prospect, written by one of their regulars, Paul
Waldman. The piece's combination of a fine anger with a solid sense of the
facts makes me inclined to read Mr. Waldman's book, Being Right is Not
Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success--despite its
rather turgid title.
Back during Goerge W.'s first administration, I used
to get people asking me WHY I had such an unreasoning, almost unbalanced hatred
of George W. Bush. I of course thought it both reasoned and balanced, but
I allowed that little Georgie had, in abundance, personal qualities that
literally drove me over the edge. But along about the time of Katrina even
my few remaining "righty" friends stopped asking. (Well, one such friend
still asks, but then he finds the editorial page of The Wall Street
Journal the fount of wisdom and Rush Limbaugh a boon
Is the piece below over the top? I don't think
so--I just find it admirably exhaustive in its catalog of the high (and low)
crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration. What frightens me is
that the American populace has NOT in fact turned against these policies and
beliefs--just their wildly incompetent practice. Had the Iraq War
gone reasonably well (unlikely under the best of management practices, but
possible) and had the results of their economic stewardship been less
readily and horribly apparent, we could easily have seen a victory by a
Republican who, unlike McCain, might have run on a promise to continue these
Life--and certainly politics--rarely offers clarity.
However, George Bush has provided it in abundance. The years 2001-8 will
be seen by historians--even ones writing in the very near future--as almost a
laboratory test case of what happens when the Federal government of the United
States was run by people who could not have done worse had that been
their purpose. And maybe it was.
Bush's belief that he will, like Harry Truman, be
vindicated by history is just another pathetic fallacy of Mr. Bush.
Indeed, perhaps our pathetic fallacy is attributing human emotions to
George W. Bush. As Kurosawa titled one of his greatest--but least
known--movies, "The Bad Sleep Well."
Dealing with the aftermath of this massive tidal wave of
physical, social and fiscal destruction will take years--maybe decades--just to
get us back to where we were in 2000, before the aptly-named Mayberry
Machiavellis were let loose.
I for one am not prepared to sweep these events under some
enormous rug. I think a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (like
post-Apartheid South Africa's) is needed to make sure that most
Americans will understand the sheer magnitude of the folly brought
about by those of us who elected this man--not once, but
twice. Seeing a few of the worst evildoers off to the hoosegow
(while emotionally satisfying) will not be enough. But more realistically,
I suspect our team will have to settle for watching these miscreants eagerly
accept the blanket pardons that will soon be emanating from the Oval
Roger Smith's analysis of the state-by-state racial breakdown of the 2008 presidential race is forthcoming on our Writing on the Wall page.