The end of an era

Soon to be ex-President Bush is everywhere these days; I haven’t counted but I’m sure that he has given more exit interviews than he ever did during his 8-year reign of constitutional abuse. What you see is the beginning of a furious rewriting of history happening right in front of your eyes.

“Some days were happy, some not so happy, but all were joyous,” says this incredibly obtuse man. Joyous when 9 insane men destroyed the Twin Towers? Joyous when thousands were stranded in stinking Superdome benches during Katrina? Joyous when coffins of patriots came back from Iraq?

I remember a scene from a movie where a character says “Only people who are not self-aware can be successful.” There is no better  example than Dubya, who blithely rides off to the sunset feeling like he did the best he could, even though when pressed to name a single accomplishment of his 8 years in office, the best he could come up with was that he tried to privatize Social Security. This, after the collapse of the Dow has everyone offering a fervent prayer of thanks that that particularly bone-headed idea didn’t go through.

Even the Smithsonian has got into the act, stating that Bush’s tenure was “…marked by a series of catastrophic events” including “the attacks on September 11, 2001, that led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Uh, no. If a highly reputed institution like the Smithsonian can start getting revisionist and connecting the 9/11 attacks to the invasion of Iraq, you can be sure conservative writers like Karl Rove and Bill Kristol, so kindly given op-ed space by the New York Times, will be busy creating an alternate reality for the history books. After all, as our Commander-in-Chief said last month, “I believe when people objectively analyze this administration, they’ll say, ‘Well, I see now what he was trying to do.’”

To be fair, the crises of the last 8 years were not entirely his fault. Like a puppy, W happily went about peeing on the carpet. As any pet owner can tell you, there is no point tapping its cute little nose with a newspaper long after the deed is done, it has just forgotten and moved on.The thing to do would have been to question the administration’s actions while they were happening. Congress dropped the ball, the Senate dropped the ball and we, the people, dropped the ball when we forgot that we were the masters and our representatives in Washington the puppets and not the other way around.

Suddenly I see a resurgence of political activism. After 8 years of profligacy, the Republicans have rediscovered their dislike of deficits,  and the media have discovered their cojones. The stimulus bill is being picked apart for any hidden earmarks and every political appointment is being hyper-scrutinized. I would be more reassured if the same set of people had wondered a dozen years ago what qualifications a horse breeder had to become head of FEMA or what the limits of executive powers were.( What would you bet that collective amnesia once again descends when a Republican President comes to power?)

For now, I’m just glad the long nightmare of the last few years is over. George Santayana famously said, ” “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. I solemnly vow to never forget.

And taking one last bow, heeeeere’s George:

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