A Failed Presidency?

The first nine months of the George W. Bush presidency foretold what was to come.

If you recall, pre-9/11 George was the quintessential deer in the headlights. He had landed the biggest job in the world, and had no idea what he was supposed to do next.

I was reminded of that look on Monday, when I saw the photo of W. trying to escape reporters' questions in Beijing. It was a telling moment. He ended a news conference with a perfunctory, presidential "Thank you." He strode from the podium, employing his most serious presidential stride. So far, so good. Then his act abruptly collapsed. He pulled the door handle, but the door was locked.

And there he was again, for the whole world to see, pre-9/11 George, lost, adrift and looking for help. Help had always arrived for George before. It arrived and saved him in the nick of time on Sept. 11, 2001. But that kind of help doesn't grow on trees, and now he's on his own again.

September 11 did for George W. Bush what cocaine does for losers; it makes them feel and act like winners. If you've known a cocaine user, you know what I mean. They brim with energy and self-confidence. They listen to no one but their inner buzz. They are cocky, smug, obnoxious. Still, if they are able to focus that buzz, they can create an illusion that they actually know of what they speak, that they are driven -- even leaders.

As long as the cocaine lasts, the illusion can, too. But when it runs out, or stops working, the loser is all that's left. 9/11 has stopped working for George -- so Bush, The Loser, is back.

Not that he was ever gone, which explains why virtually everything he has done since 9/11 has come to naught, or worse. Had 9/11 never happened, W. would be long gone already, a one-term President, like his father before him.

Therefore, the media needs to begin a conversation we would have had around the third year of Bush's first term: Is this a failed presidency? And if so, how?

Let's begin by taking the pulse of America's majority population: Working families. (More)

  • Pre-tax incomes fell for middle-income families of every type
  • After taking into account changes in both pre-tax income and taxes, the finding remains that most middle-income families lost ground
  • Family spending on higher insurance co-pays, deductibles, and premiums has escalated in recent years
  • Inflation-adjusted income of the median household was unchanged and remains $1,700, or 3.8 percent, below its most recent peak in 1999, according to Monday's release by the U.S. Bureau of the Census

How about those Bush tax cuts and all the jobs they were going to create?

On Monday, General Motors announced it was cutting 30,000 jobs. This continues a trend we've seen throughout this presidency. One picture is worth one thousand jobs:


How about Bush's free trade deals? How's that working out for us?

The trade deficit so far this year is running at a record annual rate of $706 billion, putting it on track to far surpass the old record of $617.6 billion set last year. We are selling less and buying more from aboard.

Why? For one reason, outsourcing has resulted in everything being manufactured abroad now. Way to go. How bad does the trade deficit have to get before the dollar collapses? Stay tuned, we are well on our way to an answer.

Those tax cuts that were going to stimulate the economy so much, Bush said, would cut the budget deficit in half. How's that going? (More)

The National Debt continues to grow by $3.14 billion per day since September 30, 2005. The total national debt now stands at just a tad over $8 trillion, or $27,200 of debt for all US citizens -- yes, including the kids.

Bush inherited a government operating, not just in the black, but in surplus. How'd he build on that?(More)

First Bush went on a gifting spree, giving nearly $2 trillion of it away in tax give-aways to companies and the already-wealthy. Then he went shopping with the nation's platinum card. Surpluses quickly disappeared and were replaced by end-to-end budget deficits. We'll be adding another $320 billion to that this year. Hell, Bush ran up another $50 billion in debt in October alone. What's in your wallet?


(Note: Bush blames the deficits on the war. But during war, countries raise taxes -- they don't cut them. So either we are not in a real war -- in which case Bush is not only a spend-thrift, but a liar, or else we are in a real war and he's stupid. Take your pick.)

Every year, more and more Americans find they can no longer afford basic health insurance. Bush said he would fix that. How's that fix going? (More)

The only thing Bush has done to address this growing crisis is to cook a plan that lets large pharmaceutical firms and private insurers call the shots. He called it the Medicare Drug Benefit Program. But to get the drug companies onboard, he had to agree to a provision that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. Not only that, but now that the plan has been implemented -- as designed by this administration -- no one can understand how it works. A retired accountant with an MBA called NPR and said even though he was member of Mensa, he couldn't make heads or tails out of the Medicare Drug plans. Nevertheless, the program will add billions to the budget deficit. Clearly it's working for somebody, just not those it was supposed to help.

Bush sells himself as "strong on defense." So, how strong are our defenders? (More)

The war in Iraq, added to ongoing commitments in Afghanistan, is exhausting both our military machinery and manpower. Military experts warn that the US could not respond now to another major military challenge. And enlistment in our all-volunteer force is declining, just as demand for fresh troops increases.

That's quite a list of failures. Instead of just focusing on this administration's screw-up du jour, isn't it time for the mainstream media to take an accounting of the messes this guy has created, already?

Do they add up to a failed presidency yet? Or do we have to wait until he does something really stupid… again?

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