Apparently for George W. Bush, doing absolutely nothing for America over the past five years is a major improvement over eight years of enacting failed policies, a 14% improvement to be exact. According to the most recent polling from Gallup, 47% of Americans now give former President Bush a favorable rating; when he left office in 2009, his approval rating was 33%. The latest numbers come as Bush attempted to cement his legacy with the opening of a Presidential library in Texas last week.
The opening of the library and an antagonizing email from my Dad (one of W’s biggest fans) got me thinking about what my two sons—2 years old and 6 months old—might read about George W. Bush in their history ebooks when they get to school. I think a fair summary might look something like this:Controversy surrounded George W. Bush’s Presidential election in 2000. Having lost the popular vote by over half a million votes, George W. was appointed to the presidency by five members of the U.S. Supreme Court who overturned a Florida Supreme Court decision to recount the state’s razor-thin election results which originally showed Bush winning by a mere 537 votes, or .00009% of the state’s total electorate. One of the Justices ruling in favor of Bush had been appointed by George W. Bush’s father. Florida’s electoral process that year proved to be a huge debacle, with thousands of Americans’ decisive votes thrown out due to “technical problems” with the voting system. It was well known that Florida’s results would be close, and when Jeb Bush (George W.’s brother and Governor of Florida at the time of the election) ran unsuccessfully for President in 2016, evidence was uncovered that showed Jeb had intentionally disenfranchised thousands of voters by ensuring the voting equipment used in democratic districts was flawed. When the United States was attacked on 9/11/2001, Bush did a great job of showing unshakable leadership in the face of a crisis. He then proceeded to wage a war in Iraq on the grounds that Iraq’s leader (and former nemesis to his father George H.W. Bush) had weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attack, and the weapons of mass destruction were never found prior to the deployment of US troops. Later evidence revealed that the weapons never existed. The engagement in Iraq lasted into 2011, with President Barrack Obama finally withdrawing the last of America’s unwelcome troops from a still destabilized country. It appears that settling a personal score with Saddam Hussein on behalf of his father was worth over 4,000 American lives to GWB. George W. also managed to repeat Russia’s 1980s blunder by entering into an un-winnable war in Afghanistan, which lasted into 2015. The two wars launched by Bush coincided with a major economic disaster in America toward the end of Bush’s second term. With billions of taxpayers’ dollars tied up in the industrial war complex that America had become, American citizens suffered through a devastating recession and watched helplessly at the erosion of public sector jobs, services, and welfare programs which had provided security for the working class and middle class for decades. In the meantime, as the Iraq War reached a crescendo, Bush’s Vice President, Dick Cheney cashed out millions of dollars worth of personal stock options with the profiteering military contractor Halliburton. The Bush administration is also infamous for systematically violating the long-standing rules regarding the humane treatment of war prisoners as outlined by the Geneva Convention (See “Waterboarding” in the Human Rights Violations chapter). George W. Bush left office in 2009 with an approval rating of 33% and opened his Presidential library in Texas in 2013. Contrary to popular belief, the library is not full of coloring books, just excuses for failed policies and fancy cowboy boots.